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Thread: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

  1. #1
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    Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Hi Guys,

    I've done a ton of mig welding but I'm venturing more and more into welding thicker materials as wells as welding outdoors due to the limited size of my garage (planning to do some trailer builds for myself). So far I've been able to sneak by with my mig using multiple passes as well as turning up the gas when I'm outside but I"m getting tired of grinding out porosity when the wind blows a little too hard. Thus, I'm in the market for a good stick welder. I've done some research and it seems most people recommend used idealarcs and used hobart stickmate welders. I've been watching ads and an idealarc hasn't come up in the last 6 months so I'm thinking that's not going to be an option (plus it would be a pain to have to re-wire due to demanding electrical requirements). While the hobart stick welders do seem to pop up used for around $300, I'd like to buy once and cry once to ensure I get a top of the line machine that will serve me well and last a long time. I feel like $1k should get me a really nice stick machine but I'm willing to pay more if it makes sense. What do you guys suggest?

    My requirements:

    Needs to be able to handle big boy rods including 6010
    Needs to be able to handle a minimum of 1/2" plate in single pass but preferably up to 3/4"-1"
    Dual voltage is a plus (110 and 220) if available
    I'd like to have all the bells and whistles (hot start, infinite adjustment, etc)
    As portable as possible is a plus

    Let me know if I need to clarify anything about my requirements and thanks for your help!
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    How many amps do you have available in your shop now?
    Safety 3rd
    Gump

  3. #3
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    I've got 30 amps wired up right now.
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Too bad you just missed out on a great sale on the HTP Inverarc 200 TLP for around $1000 but it looks like it's off sale now...

    You might want to checkout the ESAB 180i, you can pick it up for about $600.


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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Hobart Stickmate is a low end machine. You want to weld 3/4"-1" plate in a single pass with stick? Not going to happen. Forget a dual voltage machine. I'm not sure if the machine you're looking for even exists. If you've got the capacity it's not hard or expensive to put a larger breaker and plug in for a welder. Idealarc 250 or Dialarc 250 is your best bet but you could also look at machines that also do Tig like a Miller Syncrowave 250 or Lincoln Square wave Tig 255 or 275. Someone asked about a Hobart Cybertig that was a re-badged Syncowave 250 (need to check serial number). A Dialarc HF just has a high frequency added to a standard Dialarc. Inverters will use less power and are compact but don't know if they will last like a transformer machine.

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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Thirty amps is marginal, especially if you go with a transformer machine. There is no machine that I am aware of that will stick weld 1/2 inch material in a single pass on 30 amps. I think you need to accept that the common practice is to stack beads at that thickness with that amount of input power. I mean you could probably manage 1/2 inch in a single pass with 1/4 inch electrodes, but a 1/4 in 7018 requires a welding current of ~350 amps. You are not getting that out of a 30 amp circuit and probably not going to get it for $1000.

    In your budget, if you are buying new, this is a very good choice. It will weld 1/2 or more but not in a single pass and it has adjustable hot start and arc force.

    https://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.c...der-0700500070
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    "Pretty robust" Anything you can carry around with a SHOULDER STRAP like a purse ain't a welder, it's a TOY. No AC current (that kills it for me).

    Wanna real welder, buy a transformer machine.

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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    My usual recommendation for a used stick welder is like mentioned earlier is the venerable Lincoln Idealarc 250 or Miller Dialarc250. Those however donít meet your criteria in all respects. There are inverter machines that will such as Fronius Transpocket and others but not for $1K.
    Before I would do a Hobart stickmate I would go with the old war horse Lincoln or Miller IMHO.


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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Have you tried running fluxcore wire when outside? I am surprised Sam did not mention that. That may be a quick solution until you find the right machine.

    I had a project outside and bought a roll of fluxcore and practiced with it a bit before I did the job itself. It behaves/or looks a bit differently compared to running gas shielded wire.
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    As Louie1961 said, at your budget level your not doing any single pass heavy plate work thats usually the realm of 3 phase machines or engine drive machines, your list of requirements is actually conflicted... your describing work thats best done with a transformer based machine but with features of an inverter machine... that 30 amp circuits going to be the killer for doing much heavy stuff regardless of the machine ya get... if nothing is showing up used in your area ya might needa add travel expenses into your shopping budget

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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Seems like 1k dollars puts you in the dead zone per your requirements, Especially if you look new. That ESAB looks nice.

    "As portable as possible and 1/2 inch single pass" seems to lean toward engine drive.

    Good luck

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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Thanks everyone. I'm clearly a noob when it comes to stick welding and all of the comments are helping me determine what kind of capabilities I should expect at my price point. My miller 211 mig welder can do 3/8" in single pass so I didn't think it would be much of a demand to have a stick welder do 1/2" in a single pass, but it sounds like it is. I've read on here that an AC/DC stick welder is greatly preferred over DC only, is that true? A Hypertherm PM45xp is next on my list and I was hoping to squeeze in a stick welder shortly thereafter but it sounds like I'll have to save up for something nice if the used market doesn't provide some opportunities. Definitely a few good suggestions to keep in mind though, when I move I'll be sure to wire up for 50 amps versus 30.
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    You can run 5/32" 7018 with that esab machine. Without upgrading your electrical that's your best option. Most heavier structural steel is done with multiple passes, especially out of position stick. I have the esab 161, predecessor to the 180, and it's been a great machine.

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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    My miller 211 mig welder can do 3/8" in single pass so I didn't think it would be much of a demand to have a stick welder do 1/2" in a single pass, but it sounds like it is.
    Apples and oranges. In stick welding its all about the size of the electrode that the machine can burn. 3/32 and 1/8th being most common for hobbyists. Generally 200 amps is about enough for any hobbyist. I never really get above 150 amps myself, burning 1/8th inch 7018, 7014, or 7024. The 60XX rods generally require fewer amps. The AC/DC versus just DC is a bit controversial to be honest, Farmersamm not withstanding. You only really need AC in situations where you encounter arc blow. Most inverters do not do AC stick welding, at least not the ones in your price range. If AC is a must, then you are back to a transformer machine, and you might need to upgrade your 240v circuit to accommodate a transformer. The type of stick welder that is about comparable to your 211 would be one of the inverters mentioned above or perhaps something like the transformer version of the Miller Thunderbolt or Hobart Stickmate. They are easy to find used and won't take up but a fraction of your budget. Harbor Freight sells one that is virtually identical inside to the Miller Thunderbolt transformer. But with a transformer in your price range you aren't going to get arc force or hot start.
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Before you install a larger breaker like welder dave suggested be sure the wire from the breaker to the receptacle is large enough to handle the extra load.
    Mike
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    I vote for a Miller CST 280 inverter. I have one and we have 6 at work. The Miller XMT 304 is another.
    Most prefer the CST for stick but it's only 220 volt. 150 amps 100% duty cycle.


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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Quote Originally Posted by BD1 View Post
    I vote for a Miller CST 280 inverter. I have one and we have 6 at work. The Miller XMT 304 is another.
    Most prefer the CST for stick but it's only 220 volt. 150 amps 100% duty cycle.


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    Just checked some listings and this popped up for the CST 280. Sounds like it needs new leads but otherwise would be a deal? Hopefully not stolen or something wrong with it for that price.

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...3028484400645/

    Others are about twice the price, in somewhat rough condition and further away...

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...7410392629458/
    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...8257585984635/
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
    Trajan Q1400
    Crowbar for when $@&%* gets real

  19. #18
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    been using this everlast 200STi PowerArc for several years.

    especially like the arc force feature

    have used Lincoln tombstone and various other boxes

    tombstone a real beast to move

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    Charl

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  21. #19
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Quote Originally Posted by WeldCrazyDude View Post
    Just checked some listings and this popped up for the CST 280. Sounds like it needs new leads but otherwise would be a deal? Hopefully not stolen or something wrong with it for that price.

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...3028484400645/

    Others are about twice the price, in somewhat rough condition and further away...

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...7410392629458/
    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...8257585984635/
    Iíd go test drive that CST on Facebook. It has leads for you to try.
    :

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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    "Pretty robust" Anything you can carry around with a SHOULDER STRAP like a purse ain't a welder, it's a TOY. No AC current (that kills it for me).

    Wanna real welder, buy a transformer machine.

    Sammy,
    pretty sure my Esab 220i would change your view. It's 29 pounds and has a nicer stick arc then any machine you have used ever..It's a real welding machine, and yours are toys compared to it..
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  23. #21
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    I'd be testing that $500.00 one.
    A friend paid $1500.00 for one and it is in nice shape. I never saw anything for less than a $1,000.


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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Thanks guys, I'm thinking about reaching out and testing that CST 280. I noticed in one of the photos the Miller logo is in black but all the CSTs I've been able to find have a white logo. Could this be some cheap Chinese copy? Looking for anything wrong with this machine at the price point.

    Any advice on testing this unit or if it holds an arc it's pretty well set? It's about a two hour drive so I want to make sure this is really a good unit and worth my time. Any idea on the cost of good replacement leads for the machine?
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
    Trajan Q1400
    Crowbar for when $@&%* gets real

  25. #23
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Quote Originally Posted by WeldCrazyDude View Post
    Thanks guys, I'm thinking about reaching out and testing that CST 280. I noticed in one of the photos the Miller logo is in black but all the CSTs I've been able to find have a white logo. Could this be some cheap Chinese copy? Looking for anything wrong with this machine at the price point.

    Any advice on testing this unit or if it holds an arc it's pretty well set? It's about a two hour drive so I want to make sure this is really a good unit and worth my time. Any idea on the cost of good replacement leads for the machine?
    Depends how long you need. 200$ should get you a ground clamp, stinger, connectors and 40-50' of lead

  26. #24
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Contact the seller and have him send you a picture of the serial number on the Miller.
    :

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  28. #25
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    Re: Advice on a Good Stick Welder Under $1,000

    Yes check serial number on miller site.
    Get picture of electrical data too.
    I think they did have dedicated 3 phase machines.


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