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ebinmaine

Stick welder. Entry level. What would you buy?

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ebinmaine

I'd like to purchase a low-budget stick welder.

I'm thinking under $500. A little flexible on that if somebody convinced me that spending a little more will get me a lot more welder.

 

What I'm basically after is structural welds that would normally be between sheet metal and 1/4", occasionally thicker.

I say structural because I'm really not looking to have artwork. I want to become somewhat proficient at decent quality farmer welds, so to speak.

 

I'm not so much interested in a wire feed welder at this point. I'd like to learn how to stick weld and I already have several different types of rods on hand.

 

I've watched a bunch of videos and read some stuff on YouTube and a lot on this site as well. Also spoken to people I know.

 

I've considered purchasing a used welder off of CL but I have had mixed results with used items in the past and I've decided to just go new so I get a warranty for a year or two at least.

 

I'm leaning towards getting a Lincoln tombstone style.

I also have interest in an ARC 180 amp.

 

I have a 220 circuit next to where my welding station will be.

 

I'm looking for ups and downs. Tips and tricks. Recommendations.

 

What say you, Red Square crowd?

 

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953 nut

:twocents-02cents:        Find a good used Lincoln 250 Buz Box, the older the better, Mine has served me well since the late'60s, all copper windings and built to last.

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AMC RULES

 

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Achto
29 minutes ago, ebinmaine said:

I'd like to purchase a low-budget stick welder.

I'm thinking under $500

 

For a good sturdy stick welder it is really hard to beat a Lincoln.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200434276_200434276?cm_mmc=Google-pla&utm_source=Google_PLA&utm_medium=Welding > Arc %2B Stick Welding&utm_campaign=Lincoln Electric&utm_content=167743&&cm_mmc=Google-pla&utm_source=google_PLA&utm_campaign=&mkwid=sVlyaIJ6C&pcrid=200681799740&devicetype=c&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4L_Cl87X5AIVkYrICh1QlwTGEAYYBiABEgL9WPD_BwE

 

In my area there is one of these in the shed on almost every farm. They sit there neglected, sometimes the out side is all rusty with the paint falling off but they always work when they are needed.

 

A good all around welding rod is a 6013, they produce a lot of slag so they don't work the best for a vertical weld though. I prefer a 6011 rod when making vertical welds. Definitely spring for an auto dimming welding helmet, you can pick them up for as low as $50 at Harbor Freight and they make welding so much easier. 

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WVHillbilly520H

Eric, this is my FILs that I have been using lately... Also 5/32" diameter rods seem to work better for me... 

Screenshot_2019-09-17-06-45-12.png

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953 nut
32 minutes ago, Achto said:

I prefer a 6011 rod when making vertical welds. Definitely spring for an auto dimming welding helmet, you can pick them up for as low as $50 at Harbor Freight and they make welding so much easier.

:text-yeahthat:                   Both good points.

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JPWH

I agree with the older used Lincoln buzz box. They can be purchased for about a third of new. If you go used route be sure to check the fan is working. Not hard to replace if not but the machine will overheat without it. 

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Rob R

If I were you especially since you have 220 volts purchase from Harbor Freight their 220 volt wire feed welder this welder is the bomb works on anything especially in between welding jobs where you are matting lighter metal to thick plate. The one I have for five yrs has given me zero problems.  You can get this for less then $300 then you have $200 left to get a good used buzz box and just switch the 220 line. The problem with just a buzz box is you will be burning through a lot of repair welds you normally are faced with.  Key is get a good quality auto on helmet especially at our age. First thing you need to fabricate is a welding table so that anything you weld is grounded to it.....  just saying..... 

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bottjernat1

i own and use a lincoln mig welder. i love it my late dad bought it back in the late 90's and she is still working!! 

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oliver2-44

You mentioned you want to weld sheetmetal to 1/4".  I'm the farmer welder you said you want to be.  

I have a Miller "Thunderbolt 225" buzz box I bought new about 30 years ago and its a good welder.  However, with my welding skills 1/8 is the thinnest I can weld.  I sometimes do some 3/4" (1/16" 0.065 wall thickness) or 1" square tubing (0.076 wall thickness) with 3/32 rods and I'm very challenged to not burn to many holes in it.  I wish I had a wire welder for sheet metal to 1/4"   

 

So while I think a buzz box is a good farm welder, I woulds recommend you getting a wire welder.    A friend has a Miller "suitcase" style wire welder I borrow sometimes and I love it. 

So what do the rest of you RS members think, if you're really in the sheetmetal to 1/4" would you really go with a buzz box or move to a wire welder 

 

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Kenneth R Cluley

wire feed is definitely better for the thin stuff. I have lincoln tombstone older copper model probably 30 years old and it s great all Purpose "farm Welder" but it is a challenge to weld anything thin with it.

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pullstart

Preachin’ with the choir here... I’d say a MIG welder is going to be your best friend for the little stuff.  With a couple passes, welding up a 1/2” channel is easily achieved with a 220 MIG and so is sheet metal, belt guards, etc.  I love the idea of having a stick welder on hand for farm repairs too, but it might not be the best first welder.

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JPWH

I have a 70's Lincoln arc welder and a small Lincoln 100 mig welder. I use the mig the most but when I weld thicker than 1/4" I pull down the arc welder leads. 

If I was buying a welder for this hobby it would be a mig.

Jay

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bcgold

Recommending a welder is a tough call.

 

For light metal I agree Mig would be your best choice but get a newer model with pulse, a feature that interrupts the arc in rapid succession, allows the weld puddle to cool. It all happens lightning quick hardly discernible to the human eye.

 

The pulse feature makes vertical welds easier to do

 

As for stick get an older AC/DC machine, with DC you can weld at lower amperage's and its much easier to strike and maintain an arc.

 

At home I have an older Lincoln AC welder that I purchased at a yard sale, it's alright as far as welders go. recently had an opportunity to use a newer Lincoln inverter welder and found my new love.

 

Buying a new welder is like finding a new bride, try before you buy.

 

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bcgold

Next which auto darkening helmet do I purchase a cheap offshore or a more expensive name brand, just remember you only have one set of eyes.

 

I've tried the cheaper offerings and get a headache after a few hours of welding the response time is too slow, you get what you pay for.

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WHX24

Following with interest here EB as I am in need. I usually take all my welding to Dan's place but is a pain in the rear if I just need to tack something together. I usually bust out the torch and braze it but that is getting old too and doesn't work in all applications. So a welder and a bigger air compressor are definitely on my tool list.

Unlike you I am definitely going with a mig of some sorts. Just don't know if I should go flux core or gas?

I am also lucky that I have a bro who is a professional welder so I am going to just drop a dime on him and tell him to pick me something up that will do just fine for a hoobyist!

Or haul Dan's @ss  to HF with a coupon in hand and have him help me pick something out! Even with the steak dinner I'll have to buy prolly be the cheapest route!

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bcgold
8 minutes ago, WHX24 said:

Following with interest here EB as I am in need. I usually take all my welding to Dan's place but is a pain in the rear if I just need to tack something together. I usually bust out the torch and braze it but that is getting old too and doesn't work in all applications. So a welder and a bigger air compressor are definitely on my tool list.

Unlike you I am definitely going with a mig of some sorts. Just don't know if I should go flux core or gas?

I am also lucky that I have a bro who is a professional welder so I am going to just drop a dime on him and tell him to pick me something up that will do just fine for a hoobyist!

Or haul Dan's @ss  to HF with a coupon in hand and have him help me pick something out! Even with the steak dinner I'll have to buy prolly be the cheapest route!

 

Your Mig will run both flux core or gas.

 

Flux core with and without gas.

 

 

 

 

 

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bcgold

If your welding outside you'll soon discover gas is a PITA even the slightest amount of breeze will have a negative impact.

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ebinmaine

Man oh man. I love this site.

 

You all are awesome.

 

The reason that I wanted a stick welder is because I have already purchased some rods because my father gave me a stick welder. Turns out his will only weld 1/16" 6013 and even that not all that well.

 

Trina and I are at a point where we want to start doing more complicated repairs and build ups so the natural progression is to just buy our own welder.

 

I do also already have a decent Auto dimming helmet and a small but very heavy duty welding table.

 

I have to admit that I am liking the idea of purchasing a used arc welder and maybe an inexpensive MIG to do the thinner stuff.

 

 

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ebinmaine
8 minutes ago, bcgold said:

welding outside

ALL of my welding will be done outside for at least the next few years

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bcgold
5 hours ago, AMC RULES said:

 

 

I learned how to weld on a home made welder consisting of three metal plates stuck in a pail of lye water. You controlled the amperage by moving the two outside plates either closer to center or further away.

 

The metal five gallon pail had to sit on bricks to keep it from grounding out.

 

It was a horrible thing to weld with very difficult to strike an arc.

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bcgold

:hide: Using a pail of lye water for a welder is an experience one never forgets, electricians on the forum would best understand the principal.

 

pull.png

 

The homemade welder was a type of water capacitor that could be used as a welder.

 

A water capacitor is a device that uses water as its dielectric insulating medium. A capacitor is a device in which electrical energy is introduced and can be stored for a later time. A capacitor consists of two conductors separated by a non-conductive region.

 

 

 

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Mikey the Monkey

I have a Lincoln MP 210. Mp means multi purpose...mig Tig and stick. Gas or no gas... bought it a year ago for $1400 and then had a $400 mail in rebate. Don't regret the purchase at all. I love it. I also have HF auto dark helmet. Very happy w ir

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bcgold

Cheap welder using salt water as the electrolyte, for some reason my father used lye water. As a kid in the early 1960's this is what we used for our first welder and it's what I learned with.

 

We also had a carbon arc welder that seldom got used, was good for brazing.

 

 

 

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WVHillbilly520H
2 hours ago, ebinmaine said:

Man oh man. I love this site.

 

You all are awesome.

 

The reason that I wanted a stick welder is because I have already purchased some rods because my father gave me a stick welder. Turns out his will only weld 1/16" 6013 and even that not all that well.

 

Trina and I are at a point where we want to start doing more complicated repairs and build ups so the natural progression is to just buy our own welder.

 

I do also already have a decent Auto dimming helmet and a small but very heavy duty welding table.

 

I have to admit that I am liking the idea of purchasing a used arc welder and maybe an inexpensive MIG to do the thinner stuff.

 

 

MIG is so much easier especially for sheet metal to 1/4"  anything 3/8" and thicker I do say stick... @WHX24 Jim get the bottle and spool of flux core wire then and you'll be set best of both worlds and yes you can use gas with the flux core stronger welds

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