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Thread: Lead reels

  1. #1
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    Lead reels

    I have 50 feet of #2 leads. They are thick and bulky and I am tired of walking on them. The welder is completely non portable. I went looking for some lead reels and they start at $360. That costs more than my leads or my welder. So here is my question:
    Does anyone have a design for home made lead reel that will attach to a very large (Linde 305cc) welder that I could review. I donít need it for a truck, so it can be light duty. I just want it to keep the leads rolled up.


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    Re: Lead reels

    Check your local "craigslist" or marketplace for spare tires... just use the rim with a hand crank

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    Re: Lead reels

    Mine on my truck are live reels and are made out of old trailer hubs and the current actually goes through the bearings. Many another weldor has told me how they won't work, shouldn't be rolled while working, settings on machine won't be right etc. but they have worked perfectly for the last 37 years.

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    Re: Lead reels

    If use plug in cables and old reel will work.

    I spent over 40 years with car time split in haft and the just rapt by hand. The bottom has 4" pipe so you could remove fast at start of day.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrey.penfield View Post
    I have 50 feet of #2 leads. They are thick and bulky and I am tired of walking on them. The welder is completely non portable. I went looking for some lead reels and they start at $360. That costs more than my leads or my welder. So here is my question:
    Does anyone have a design for home made lead reel that will attach to a very large (Linde 305cc) welder that I could review. I donít need it for a truck, so it can be light duty. I just want it to keep the leads rolled up.


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    Re: Lead reels

    Don't coil them – flake them. Coiling them makes them into a huge electromagnet. And if you have to coil them by hand (as opposed to reeling them up on a reel) that means you have to wind all this twist into the leads, and then wind all the twist back out, every time you use them – and then wind all the twist back in to coil them for storage.

    For mine, I cut an old steel wheel in half and attached it to the wall. Then I just flake the leads over that. When you need to use the leads, you just pull the cables off the rack, and when you're done, you just flake them back in place. NO TWIST!

    Life's too short to spend half of it wrestling with welding leads.

    ETA: I see you're just dealing with #2 wire. I was thinking you were using heavier stuff. Can't you just put 100' of #2 into a 5-gallon mud bucket or two? Not sure I see the need for a reel for that light stuff.
    Last edited by Kelvin; 01-10-2020 at 01:35 AM.

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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    Don't coil them Ė flake them. Coiling them makes them into a huge electromagnet. And if you have to coil them by hand (as opposed to reeling them up on a reel) that means you have to wind all this twist into the leads, and then wind all the twist back out, every time you use them Ė and then wind all the twist back in to coil them for storage.

    For mine, I cut an old steel wheel in half and attached it to the wall. Then I just flake the leads over that. When you need to use the leads, you just pull the cables off the rack, and when you're done, you just flake them back in place. NO TWIST!

    Life's too short to spend half of it wrestling with welding leads.

    ETA: I see you're just dealing with #2 wire. I was thinking you were using heavier stuff. Can't you just put 100' of #2 into a 5-gallon mud bucket or two? Not sure I see the need for a reel for that light stuff.
    A bucket might work.
    What do you mean by flake instead of coil? Would rolling it up in a bucket cause it to be an electromagnet? Will an electromagnet effect the welds?


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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrey.penfield View Post
    What do you mean by flake instead of coil?


    You make figure-8s instead of coils. Also works with garden hoses. It saves you from having to work 500 twists and kinks out of it every time you pull out the garden hose (you just pull it straight out). It also saves you from having to put 500 twists back into it every time you coil it back up.

    And yes, a coil in a bucket will still make an electromagnet. Whether or not that causes difficulties in welding, it generally ain't recommended, particularly with tig machines. When I once called Miller about some problems with my tig, one of the first questions they asked me was whether I was leaving the leads coiled up on the front of the machine.

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    Re: Lead reels

    On my welding trailer I repurposed some pressure washer hose reels. Works great and was inexpensive. I have a cam lock connector mounted to the reels and plug in a short jumper to connect them to the Trailblazer.
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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    On my welding trailer I repurposed some pressure washer hose reels. Works great and was inexpensive. I have a cam lock connector mounted to the reels and plug in a short jumper to connect them to the Trailblazer.
    When you are spinning the reel to let cable in or out, is the cam lock connector disconnected, or can you spin them while connected to trailblazer (welder)? Do you have problems with causing a magnet like listed in the above posts?


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    Re: Lead reels

    Interesting thought on causing a magnet from coiled cable. Does that mean all my extension cords that I coil up or hank up do the same?

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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob-O View Post
    Interesting thought on causing a magnet from coiled cable. Does that mean all my extension cords that I coil up or hank up do the same?
    With AC, I don't think so. Or not much. Because the current reverses direction 60 (or 120) times a second.

    But a magnetic field surrounds any wire carrying current. The more current, and the more loops there are, the stronger the magnetic field. This is in part why transformers (and electric motors) do what they do.

    When you flake the leads instead of coiling them, I think the magnetic fields cancel each other out for the most part.

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    Re: Lead reels

    Any coils of weld leads will affect the welding arc. How much depends on the number of coils and if they are air coils or around steel.
    Also depends on the process. If you are short arc Mig welding around 18 volts the added inductance will have a large effect. spray arc at 24 volts
    the added inductance will not have much affect to the weld profile. It will how ever drop voltage like a large resister. I have seen cords reels start to smoke because they got to hot. we were load banking an engine drive at the time. The hot reels dropped a lot of voltage and current.
    Now if we have inverter welders attempting to pulse weld, NO coils are allowed and how the leads are laid out are just as important. To get high quality welds.

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    Re: Lead reels

    a old tire rim. you don't even need two; cut it in half hang them on the wall or the side of the welder. very low tech but low cost and will last forever.
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    Re: Lead reels

    I agree with ccawgc rolling leads up on a spool can cause a lot of problems diameter of spool amount of lead on spool and amperage or voltage you’re running affects weld output spools look great and are easy to roll up. Put a meter on your leads and measure at the start of day and weld steady and keep watching it will surprise you first time I saw a inspector do that I was surprised cause I didn’t believe the old timers that told me to roll my leads up in big loops bigger was better

  16. #15
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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Mine on my truck are live reels and are made out of old trailer hubs and the current actually goes through the bearings. Many another weldor has told me how they won't work, shouldn't be rolled while working, settings on machine won't be right etc. but they have worked perfectly for the last 37 years.
    Maybe you've gotten used to welding while making a magnetic field with your wound up coil of welding leads, this is something I've run into, it doesn't cause the welder to run "bad" per se, but it does suck some of the juice out of it.

    actually ran into this last week, moved to a new station with a lincoln power mig 450 and an LN25 set up, had 100 foot leads on it that were wound up in a coil on the floor, setting the machine I was sitting there wondering why I needed 38 volts by the dial to get into spray transfer and just figured the readout on the machine was way off until i got sick of tripping over the coil on the floor and replaced them with 10 foot leads, went to weld and it was hot as anything, the coil i figure was sucking a good 6 or 7 volts out of the output of the machine, went back to the 100 foot leads and pulled them out into a straight line to test and sure enough 32 volts with C20 gas was a nice spray arc.

    Now with MIG i can see that its pretty easy, just up the volts to make it work and accept the extra power consumption from heating your workshop with the magnetic field, with stick where the voltage varies though i can see it being a problem especially with 6010's.

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    Re: Lead reels

    Put hangers up hi, make big loops or flakes. With 50 ft wouldn't mess with any thing complicated,,, way different than 150 ft of 2/0 several times a day. Not many larger loops to do 50 ft and 2 is really light.
    Last edited by Sberry; 01-13-2020 at 10:24 AM.

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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by Sberry View Post
    Put hangers up hi, make big loops or flakes. With 50 ft wouldn't mess with any thing complicated,,, way different than 150 ft of 2/0 several times a day. Not many larger loops to do 50 ft and 2 is really light.
    I checked and the leads are 1, not 2.
    Do I have to flake if I separate the leads (ground and electrode)? Can I flake both leads together or do they need to be separated from each other?


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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by Sberry View Post
    Put hangers up hi, make big loops or flakes. With 50 ft wouldn't mess with any thing complicated,,, way different than 150 ft of 2/0 several times a day. Not many larger loops to do 50 ft and 2 is really light.
    Here are some hangers I made. The leads are flaked. I need to make hangers below these for my ground.


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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrey.penfield View Post
    When you are spinning the reel to let cable in or out, is the cam lock connector disconnected, or can you spin them while connected to trailblazer (welder)? Do you have problems with causing a magnet like listed in the above posts?


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    Sorry Jeffrey - I just noticed that I never responded to your question.

    I have to disconnect the reels when I’m spinning them in and out. I use some 3’ long jumpers with cam lock’s on them to connect from the Trailblazer Pro to the lead reels. They are permanently mounted in a cabinet adjacent to the machine.

    I haven’t observed a problem with magnetic, but I usually spool almost all of the cables out when I’m using it.

    The way that my system works, I have about 20’ of smaller lead with a stinger holder on one end and a cam lock on the other. Same thing with the ground, except a ground clamp instead of the stinger holder.

    If I’m welding near the machine, I just use the short lengths plugged directly into the Trailblazer.

    If I need to weld further away from the machine, then I spool out the reels, plug in the jumpers, and plug the short lead ends into the extensions.

    Works well for me, and everything is stowed in a lockable cabinet on the trailer.
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    Re: Lead reels

    Here is what my setup looks like.

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    The locking storage cabinet is an 18" x 18" x 48" underbody truck tool box. The four reels are for 100' each of lead, ground, Suitcase MIG cable and gas hose for suitcase MIG. The bottles are mounted in the middle behind the cabinet (seen behind the Trailblazer in the first pic). Two vertical toolboxes on the opposite side of the trailer store cutting torch lead, power and air reels, and extra supplies (note that the air and power reels were added after this photo was taken). I keep an oxy-propane setup on this trailer, along with a couple of different bottles of MIG mix for the Suitcase.

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    Last edited by scsmith42; 05-17-2020 at 01:14 PM.
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  23. #21
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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    Sorry Jeffrey - I just noticed that I never responded to your question.

    I have to disconnect the reels when Iím spinning them in and out. I use some 3í long jumpers with cam lockís on them to connect from the Trailblazer Pro to the lead reels. They are permanently mounted in a cabinet adjacent to the machine.

    I havenít observed a problem with magnetic, but I usually spool almost all of the cables out when Iím using it.

    The way that my system works, I have about 20í of smaller lead with a stinger holder on one end and a cam lock on the other. Same thing with the ground, except a ground clamp instead of the stinger holder.

    If Iím welding near the machine, I just use the short lengths plugged directly into the Trailblazer.

    If I need to weld further away from the machine, then I spool out the reels, plug in the jumpers, and plug the short lead ends into the extensions.

    Works well for me, and everything is stowed in a lockable cabinet on the trailer.
    Sounds like you have a nice organized setup on your truck. I wont ever need that as a hobby welder, but I hope my son gets his own truck some day. I do all this welding to support him and then offer him some advice I get here from experienced welders such as yourself. Thanks for the reply.


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    Re: Lead reels

    That looks like a several thousand dollars in leads. I can see why you lock it up in a safe. What kind of welding jobs do you do?


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    Re: Lead reels

    To build a set of reels you need a couple of trailer hubs. Build the reels on the lug bolts, build clamps on the axle side of the hubs that will clamp on a 2x2 sq tube. Work side can clamp direct to the tube. Electrode side needs to be electrically isolated from the tube. Clamp it on with rubber between it & the tube, making sure the bolts have enough space between them & the tube that they won't arc across. Connect short leads between the clamp bolts & the welder.

    This is live reels as Bob described above. Work side is bonded to the frame, electrode is isolated from the frame & is live with current when the welder is on.

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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrey.penfield View Post
    Sounds like you have a nice organized setup on your truck. I wont ever need that as a hobby welder, but I hope my son gets his own truck some day. I do all this welding to support him and then offer him some advice I get here from experienced welders such as yourself. Thanks for the reply.


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    IF your son is going to get serious about welding, you ought to seriously consider buying the $5,000 welding rig that Butch has for sale in the classifieds. Buying new, there is probably 20K or more of tools and equipment in that rig.
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  28. #25
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    Re: Lead reels

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrey.penfield View Post
    That looks like a several thousand dollars in leads. I can see why you lock it up in a safe. What kind of welding jobs do you do?


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    Just my own stuff around the farm, and occasionally some volunteer work at the railway museum nearby. I'm kinda a tool junky....
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