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Thread: Input sought for welding setup-$3K budget

  1. #1
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    Mar 2018
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    Input sought for welding setup-$3K budget

    Colleagues,

    I'm a hobby welder working out of an attached two car garage that, at least some of the time, has my wife's car in it. I currently have a 2012 Miller Bobcat 225 with 518 hours, Lincoln LN 25 wire feeder and a Miller Dialarc 250 AC/DC stick welder. My welder receptacle is on a 100 Amp 240 volt single phase branch circuit and switched by a fused disconnect with slow-blow time delay renewable fuses.

    My welding table is, temporarily at least, a 3x5' hunk of half inch steel plate resting on a really stout rolling maple butcher block work table. I own a number of gas cylinders up to 300 CF and have a O/A torch set with spare oxygen and acetylene cylinders and about 250' of 1/0 leads.

    As a retired home builder and farm owner I've always had a welder/generator or two (Ranger and Bobcat) and have kind of a mental block to letting the last one go although if the truth were told the odds of me loading the Bobcat in a trailer for off site welding are only slightly better than getting hit by lightning.

    Mild steel is pretty much all I work with and I've just starting to build trailer mounted wood burning smokers out of 120 gallon and larger propane tanks. I expect 1/4-3/8" to be as thick as I'll be working with and most of that will be 1/4-5/16"

    The only time I ever TIG welded was in some adult education classes but I'd like to start learning more about tigging steel and getting some seat time practicing. I also wouldn't mind getting a spool gun to have the ability to occasionally weld aluminum although I made it into retirement without any screaming need to do so.

    So, I had thought that I would upgrade the Bobcat to a used Trailblazer 325 but with limited space I've been giving serious thought to selling the Dialarc, Bobcat and LN-25 and buying a MIG/TIG/stick machine with all the bells and whistles. I'd like to keep it at $3,000 or so initial cost. I've been taking a hard look at the ESAB Rebel EMP 285ic. There are currently a few online retailers that have it for $2900 with the single cylinder cart and a bonus Optrel Neo P550 or similar helmet and ESAB has a $300 rebate.

    The welder comes with a 15' 250 Amp Spraymaster Velocity MIG gun, stick electrode holder and ground clamp with leads, Victor flowmeter regulator, 120/240 volt power adapter and some consumables and extra drive rolls. The $300 rebate would let me add a 200A spool gun or TIG torch and foot pedal and stay right on the $3,000 budget.

    So, any thought would be appreciated as would any insights on other machines to look at.


    Thanks
    Lance

    Miller/Smith heavy duty torch set
    Multimatic 255 w/MDX-250 EZ-Select gun
    9" Evolution circular saw

  2. #2
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    Re: Input sought for welding setup-$3K budget

    Might seem off the path, but my first question is how long have you been ReCareered?

    Reason I ask is I hear more "retired" guys saying "I wish I'd kept" or "can I borrow your" than I hear saying "glad I bought that new". A quick read of your machine list says you're pretty well set up in the world of steel right now, and as you say it is a steel world.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    n.w. of chicago
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    Re: Input sought for welding setup-$3K budget

    Last I seen the tweco/esab fabricator 3 in one 252i was about 1700 bucks it's a 300 amp max rig and using one be I got to say it was pretty nice

  4. #4
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    Re: Input sought for welding setup-$3K budget

    Thanks Pat. I'll look at it.



    Virgil,


    I retired from my 110-140 day a year National Guard job in 2005 to avoid another deployment that would have flat out killed my construction business that was already in the ICU. I stopped building houses after the 2011 season and we sold our 90 acre upstate New York farm last year and retired to our NC place.

    I had to make a lot of decisions about downsizing tools and machinery. My sons and I collected military vehicles (mostly 5-ton and up), antique tractors, hit-and-miss engines etc. We had 11,000 SF of shop and storage space with the main shop a new (built in 2015) 5,800 SF Morton building. But I had promised my wife that we'd make the transition to NC when she was ready. We spent a week in NC in late October 2016 and three weeks late got 38" of snow in NY and it kept coming in a string of big storms. And so in the winter of 2016-17 she decided it was time for her to retire from being a full time nursing supervisor with an hour drive each way to work.

    Of all the machinery and tools I sold I miss the 4-ton overhead crane the most. That was one handy thing!

    Until I build a new shop in a year or two space is at a real premium. Right now I have a big Ferris zero turn mower and my tractor sitting under my rear deck for lack of inside space. Fortunately the deck is roofed though. We have a 2100 square foot high ceiling walk-out basement where, among other stuff, my woodworking machinery is but I wouldn't consider welding down there and for sure won't store anything with gas or diesel in it down there as the ceiling isn't dry walled to fire code.

    We do work part time at the local BSA reservation and I still mess around with some military surplus stuff and vend at the occasional gun show and military vehicle show/swap meet but I'm sure not looking to get back into the hamster wheel with anything much more serious.

    The other one was only 20' shorter.....


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    Last edited by LanceR; 10-08-2018 at 04:08 PM.
    Lance

    Miller/Smith heavy duty torch set
    Multimatic 255 w/MDX-250 EZ-Select gun
    9" Evolution circular saw

  5. #5
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    Re: Input sought for welding setup-$3K budget

    Well Lance, on the good side used overhead cranes are a drug on the market to the degree used equipment dealers are trying to dump them on CraigsList. You might have to haul it a ways.

    Did you notice a reduction in grumbling when the alarm clock went off for the Nurse Supervisor. Buds tell me that begins to fall off rapidly after the retirement. One of them heard his wife tell a headhunter she was too busy being retired to have time to even listen to his offer.

    Only benefit I can think of since selling out to a bunch of brilliant fellows with a fist full of bank money is the phone rings less, but that might be a function of businesses closing or leaving town for 8 of the last 10 years here. The brilliant kids cost the bank so much the banker made an offer to sell the business back to us obsolete old farts .

    I'd be building a new shop to put more toys in, but I'm in the State you left and intend to stay here for the duration. I got a hunch you remember the tax and overhead costs. You're probably going to build another building, so I'd say hang onto the machines you have. Fellows down that way tell me there aren't many good machines for sale, and prices are high.

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