Well, I've currently have a Lincoln Weld-Pak 100, with the gas setup on it. It isn't a bad little welder, but it doesn't have much capacity.
I'm trying to get a business going making pattern welded (diffusion welding) steel knives and other objects. I'm about 80% where I need to be to get into production, but I've run into a snag. I don't have a power hammer. And while you can do all the work by hand without a power hammer, it is a heavy grind and I'm not in good enough shape to do it production wise.
I could buy a power hammer, but there are ups and downs involved there. Used takes more work and there are occasional problems (I had to rebuild my first power hammer). New is spendy, a good model in the range I need runs $8K-$12K.
I do have plans for the Kinyon style air hammer. It is fairly easy to build and not that spendy. However, I really don't want to try and weld up I-beams large enough for this type of hammer with a Weld-Pak 100!
So, what I'm looking for is some guidance on getting a larger welder. I'm going to be using 3/8" to 1/2" thick I-beams (depending on what I can find for a reasonable price) to build the hammer. I'll probably be welding the dies up as well.
I also plan on building other shop tools: hydraulic forging press, and forging hot rollers.
I can get (at my local Airgas) a Millermatic 210 for about $1400, or a Millermatic 251 for about $2000. This is of course minus the spool gun. I don't really plan on doing any work with aluminum anytime in the near future. My shop will be wired with a 100 amp subpanel and a couple of 50 amp 220V outlets in the next few weeks.
Which one of these would be a better tool for my situation? I'm currently leaning towards the 251, but if the 210 is really a better tool for me, I could go for that one instead.
Thanks in advance. Todd