NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase
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  1. #1
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    NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    I am a NEWBIE home hobbyist/DIY fixup welder. I'm only somewhat experienced at GMAW with a Hobart Handler 140, and am looking at some welding repairs to heavier metal (1/4"-1/2" bar and angle repairs on tractor equipment). I've done a bit of fabrication with sheet metal and .125 tubing, mostly. I've done repairs on sheet metal up to about 10ga., too, which has been pretty decent.

    Looking to start welding with a stick welder, and am aware that it would be easier for me to weld as a newbie, from what I've seen, with a DC stick welder (as opposed to AC, and I DO have 220 wired for a welder circuit in my shop).

    With that in mind, I am debating buying a used old-iron-style AC/DC Lincoln or Miller, or maybe a Hobart Stickmate AC/DC, compared to the new inverter-style welders with about 180-200 amp capacity for stick welding. I have NEVER gotten into TIG welding at all, and have only burned holes in sheet metal with AC buzzboxes in the past.

    Are the new inverter based DC stick welders the better option vs. the old AC/DC machines for a NEWBIE?


    thanks for the help

  2. #2
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by powrguy View Post
    I am a NEWBIE home hobbyist/DIY fixup welder. I'm only somewhat experienced at GMAW with a Hobart Handler 140, and am looking at some welding repairs to heavier metal (1/4"-1/2" bar and angle repairs on tractor equipment). I've done a bit of fabrication with sheet metal and .125 tubing, mostly. I've done repairs on sheet metal up to about 10ga., too, which has been pretty decent.

    Looking to start welding with a stick welder, and am aware that it would be easier for me to weld as a newbie, from what I've seen, with a DC stick welder (as opposed to AC, and I DO have 220 wired for a welder circuit in my shop).

    With that in mind, I am debating buying a used old-iron-style AC/DC Lincoln or Miller, or maybe a Hobart Stickmate AC/DC, compared to the new inverter-style welders with about 180-200 amp capacity for stick welding. I have NEVER gotten into TIG welding at all, and have only burned holes in sheet metal with AC buzzboxes in the past.

    Are the new inverter based DC stick welders the better option vs. the old AC/DC machines for a NEWBIE?


    thanks for the help
    .
    most new people end up buying more than one welding machine over the years, i am always amused when someone talks about buying a welding machine to last forever. stick welding i rarely ever even think i ever have a need for more than 145 amps as i rarely weld over 3/8 thick and the few times i do i just use more than one pass to make a bigger weld. small welding machines you can pickup and carry easy are far more convenient.
    .
    some people like a machine with over 200 amps so they can burn big rod for fun. but i rarely use bigger than 1/8 rod. to me do not buy a stick welder with low OCV or open circuit voltage. a low OCV welder makes it harder to pull a longer length arc and harder to use rods other than 6013.
    .
    look at OCV and i recommend at least 65 volts. i recommend a DC welder over a AC welder too

  3. #3
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    There is nothing wrong going with old iron. It is possible if you scour Craig's List to find a used Miller Dialarc or a used Lincoln Idealarc for less than $200. These are great bargains, and they are fantastic stick welders. The ONLY benefit to an inverter is if you get one that has adjustable hot start and/or arc force (aka dig). If you are looking at a small inverter that doesn't have these features then there is no benefit to buying an inverter.
    Hobart Handler 190
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  4. #4
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    There is nothing wrong going with old iron. It is possible if you scour Craig's List to find a used Miller Dialarc or a used Lincoln Idealarc for less than $200. These are great bargains, and they are fantastic stick welders. The ONLY benefit to an inverter is if you get one that has adjustable hot start and/or arc force (aka dig). If you are looking at a small inverter that doesn't have these features then there is no benefit to buying an inverter.
    .
    .
    i got inverter cause i can pick it up one handed carry with shoulder strap climb a ladder with it even weld with it on a my shoulder. or just carry to truck one handed and put on a car seat to take somewhere else
    .
    arc force dig being adjustable. nice feature but dont have to have. majority of welding i did had no fancy extras. i just welded easily over 1000 tons of steel without the extras.
    .
    old machine often had 200 lbs (or more) of welding cables and 240 volt extension cords that went with it to reach job. something to be said with little welder you carry one handed and easily use with 10 ga extension cord. little inverter literally can be on a steel beam 40 foot up within 5 feet of welding. of course you might want to tie it secure so it dont fall off steel beam. or inverter can be in a manlift with the welder. many manlifts have 500lb capacity. you could overload it just putting old heavy welder in it
    .
    really now a days not unusual to carry welding machine and supplies in a 5 gallon plastic bucket
    Last edited by WNY_TomB; 09-13-2017 at 11:49 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    There is nothing wrong going with old iron. It is possible if you scour Craig's List to find a used Miller Dialarc or a used Lincoln Idealarc for less than $200. These are great bargains, and they are fantastic stick welders. The ONLY benefit to an inverter is if you get one that has adjustable hot start and/or arc force (aka dig). If you are looking at a small inverter that doesn't have these features then there is no benefit to buying an inverter.
    I like old iron too, my dialarc is a great welder. But I also have inverters to carry to other places.

    Small inverters are pretty nice (but don't tell my big old ones I said that)

    If you get an inverter, get the 160 amp size or larger in my opinion. I've used the little 95 amps ones and I find them too underpowered.

    ESAB 161 works excellent and is pretty cheap too.

    The 160 amp class machine burns 1/8" rods with authority.
    The 250 and 300 amp ones I have are awesome beasts
    Dave J.

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  6. #6
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaDave View Post
    I like old iron too, my dialarc is a great welder. But I also have inverters to carry to other places.

    Small inverters are pretty nice (but don't tell my big old ones I said that)

    If you get an inverter, get the 160 amp size or larger in my opinion. I've used the little 95 amps ones and I find them too underpowered.

    ESAB 161 works excellent and is pretty cheap too.

    The 160 amp class machine burns 1/8" rods with authority.
    The 250 and 300 amp ones I have are awesome beasts
    .
    .
    Lincoln and Miller makes good heavy welding machines, they burn rod really good. but i have had big old welders outside in tank farm loose a wheel and hit ground and i needed to call a crane to pick it back up and put wheel back on. literally 500 lb (or heavier) welding machines i wouldnt take if you gave them away for free.
    .
    majority of welding is 150 amps or less. at least in my experience

  7. #7
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by WNY_TomB View Post
    ...i got inverter cause i can pick it up one handed ...
    The only way I can pick up my Idealarc with one hand is to also pick up my Dialarc with the other hand to balance the weight.

    Powrguy, what is your location? Perhaps someone will spot a deal on a used welder in your area.
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  8. #8
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    I've been demoing this little guy for a week now (before I commit to selling them) and I love it. Ignore the price listed
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/MMA160GDsv-1...wAAOSwsg9ZjB5M

    But it does 6010/6011 well and scratch tig is great.
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  9. #9
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    looking at some welding repairs to heavier metal (1/4"-1/2" bar and angle repairs on tractor equipment).

    If you have space, and don't need portability, I would look for an older AC/DC 200 amp+ machine. Plenty of deals out there and the welder will probably last long enough to be willed to your offspring.

    Now if you want to haul it in the back seat of a car over to help buddies out on projects, I would check out a 200 amp inverter, should handle up to a 5/32 rod and get those thicker metals fused without so many multiple passes- as was said in another thread Mo power is Good
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  10. #10
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by powrguy View Post
    I am a NEWBIE home hobbyist/DIY fixup welder. I'm only somewhat experienced at GMAW with a Hobart Handler 140, and am looking at some welding repairs to heavier metal (1/4"-1/2" bar and angle repairs on tractor equipment). I've done a bit of fabrication with sheet metal and .125 tubing, mostly. I've done repairs on sheet metal up to about 10ga., too, which has been pretty decent.

    Looking to start welding with a stick welder, and am aware that it would be easier for me to weld as a newbie, from what I've seen, with a DC stick welder (as opposed to AC, and I DO have 220 wired for a welder circuit in my shop).

    With that in mind, I am debating buying a used old-iron-style AC/DC Lincoln or Miller, or maybe a Hobart Stickmate AC/DC, compared to the new inverter-style welders with about 180-200 amp capacity for stick welding. I have NEVER gotten into TIG welding at all, and have only burned holes in sheet metal with AC buzzboxes in the past.

    Are the new inverter based DC stick welders the better option vs. the old AC/DC machines for a NEWBIE?


    thanks for the help
    any of the older lincoln or miller AC/DC welders can be picked up for a few hundred bucks and they are proven and almost bullet proof....thats your best bet, then if you want to spend for a more portable inverter welder you can...the old simple non computer welders will keep on working for decades of trouble free use...

  11. #11
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by WNY_TomB View Post
    .
    .
    Lincoln and Miller makes good heavy welding machines, they burn rod really good. but i have had big old welders outside in tank farm loose a wheel and hit ground and i needed to call a crane to pick it back up and put wheel back on. literally 500 lb (or heavier) welding machines i wouldnt take if you gave them away for free.
    .
    majority of welding is 150 amps or less. at least in my experience
    so tell me how much a lincoln AC/DC tombstone welder weighs in at? no where close to 500 pounds....lets try its about 110 pounds..not at all a problem to wheel or move around..

  12. #12
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbytime View Post
    so tell me how much a lincoln AC/DC tombstone welder weighs in at? no where close to 500 pounds....lets try its about 110 pounds..not at all a problem to wheel or move around..
    .
    they weigh more than i can pickup one handed put on my shoulder and climb a ladder and weld with still hanging from my shoulder. they also use more amps so require more than a 10 ga extension cord
    .
    most inverters putting out 145 amps use close to 25 amps on 240 volts so they easily work with a 50 or 100 foot 10ga extension cord with a 30 amp limit
    .
    i had a Lincoln tombstone over 35 years ago which i long ago got rid off.

  13. #13
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbytime View Post
    any of the older lincoln or miller AC/DC welders can be picked up for a few hundred bucks and they are proven and almost bullet proof....thats your best bet, then if you want to spend for a more portable inverter welder you can...the old simple non computer welders will keep on working for decades of trouble free use...
    Very true. My first stick welder was a new AC/DC buzz box.

    Only problem I had was popping a diode when I was learning to tig with it.
    Apparently maxing them out on DC and not paying any attention to the duty cycle will do that

    It made it well over 10 years before that happened and was a cheap fix.
    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Airco 300 - Syncro 350
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  14. #14
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    My Lincoln Idealarc 250 = 350#s. Reason I still have it- doesn't have legs to walk off and 37 years later it still works like new.

  15. #15
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by WNY_TomB View Post
    .
    they weigh more than i can pickup one handed put on my shoulder and climb a ladder and weld with still hanging from my shoulder. they also use more amps so require more than a 10 ga extension cord
    .
    most inverters putting out 145 amps use close to 25 amps on 240 volts so they easily work with a 50 or 100 foot 10ga extension cord with a 30 amp limit
    .
    i had a Lincoln tombstone over 35 years ago which i long ago got rid off.
    thats great but now for reality..how much welding does the beginner do 30 ft up on a ladder balancing a welder and extension cord??? for a second or back up welder your situation is fine...

  16. #16
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Are the new inverter based DC stick welders the better option vs. the old AC/DC machines for a NEWBIE?
    In my opinion, no. Unless you need portability, which I am not sure why a newbie would. Portability is the only benefit to one of the smaller 160-200 amp inverters. After that its up to you to decide how to best spend your money. The only disadvantage for old iron is size. You won't weld nearly enough to notice any cost of electricity savings. if you found an inverter welder with hot start and arc force, it might make it a bit easier to learn. But then you will be spending probably >$600. It doesn't seem worth it to me if you can find a sweet old Lincoln for a couple hundred. Just make sure you get a DC capable machine if you go with old iron. I am not a fan of the AC only machines.
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  17. #17
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    I have an Idealarc 250ac/dc and an Esab 161. If I had bought the Esab first, I wouldn't have bought the Idealarc. The arc on the Idealarc is amazing and the duty cycle at 125 amps is 100%. But the Esab very portable, very small and dual voltage. My Idealarc is pushed into the corner of my shop and it's a hassle to dig it out. The Esab can be set up in a minute. The AHP 160 stick welder is $250 new, a Hobart StickMate 210 is $429 and the Esab can be found for less than $500.
    Eventual master of the obvious, practitioner of "stream of consciousness fabrication". P.S. I edit almost every post because because I'm posting from my phone and my fingers sometimes move faster than my brain.

  18. #18
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    I have both inverter machines and old school transformer machines. Both have their place in a welding operation. If you can live with the lack of portability, a Lincoln Idealarc250 or Miller Dialarc250 are hard to beat for the money. Your money, your choice. I recommend one(or more) of each.


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  19. #19
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldendum View Post
    The only way I can pick up my Idealarc with one hand is to also pick up my Dialarc with the other hand to balance the weight.

    Powrguy, what is your location? Perhaps someone will spot a deal on a used welder in your area.
    I'm in NE Ohio. I'm looking at possibly just picking up an old Miller Thunderbolt, AC/DC, if I go with old iron, or maybe the Lincoln 225 tombstone that's AC/DC. Have no plans to get into TIG. HOWEVER, if I go lightweight, I was thinking Everlast 160, or 200.


    thanks

  20. #20
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    I agree on the Miller Thunderbolt or Lincoln tombstone. Both available in AC / DC. I bought a Thunderbolt, used it for 10 years, and sold for what I paid for it. 6010 DC will do the farm repairs great on old rusty dirty metal. Did it forever and STILL do today.

  21. #21
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    I would keep looking for the Miller Dialarc 250. Better duty cycle and it's a MA type machine with a rheostat so no buzzing like a movable shunt machine (MSM)



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  22. #22
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    If you have some cash to spend I love the Miller maxstar welders. The older 150 or new 161 only weigh 13lbs and weld awesome. Nice to tig weld with as well.
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  23. #23
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    An AC/DC Lincoln tombstone would be a good option. This one is on CL in Maryland, too bad you aren't a little closer.
    https://frederick.craigslist.org/tls...304243284.html

    2 weeks ago I picked up a super sweet old Idealarc 250 and am very happy with it.
    Home tinkerer and old tool junkie

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  24. #24
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    a portable easy to carry one handed welding machine that works good with 50 foot 10ga extension cord means you dont need heavy expensive welding cables to reach or heavy gage extension cord.
    .
    literally copper welding cables can easily be over $200. more than the cost of a small welding machine. portable means literally 30 seconds later you are welding in the backyard. or put welder on car seat take to another house literally carry one handed.
    .
    i used to have big heavy old fashioned welding machines. i got rid of long ago. i would not want over 150 amp welding machine if it means welding machine is heavier. in many countries welder has his welding machine and supplies in a 5 gallon plastic bucket he carries to sidewalk or up scaffolding with or uses in a manlift or welds up high on structural steel.
    .
    really welding over 150 amps is often just somebody playing with his adult toys and not really needed. rarely need over 150 amps and usually making 2 or 3 weld passes at 140 amps is more than good enough rather than dealing with larger heavier welding machine
    .
    sure you can find big heavy used welding machines for sale. you can also find 8 track players, VCR's and 35mm film cameras for sale cheap too

  25. #25
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    Re: NEWBIE choice for stick welder purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by WNY_TomB View Post
    really welding over 150 amps is often just somebody playing with his adult toys and not really needed. rarely need over 150 amps and usually making 2 or 3 weld passes at 140 amps is more than good enough rather than dealing with larger heavier welding machine
    .
    sure you can find big heavy used welding machines for sale. you can also find 8 track players, VCR's and 35mm film cameras for sale cheap too
    It's nice to play with real POWER LOL.

    I think the main thing to consider about old cheap heavy duty welders is you pay for it once and use it for a lifetime as long as you have the space for it. Inverter welders do pop and when they do if you are not able to make repairs your self it is often cheaper to toss it and buy another. IMO the value of inverters is not as stable as the value of old trasformers if and when you want to sell providing you did not get ripped on the transformer when purchased.
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