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Thread: What the heck is this thing?

  1. #1
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    What the heck is this thing?

    A friend of mine passed away and left me a Miller AC/DC welder with a Sears Craftsman "Buzz-Box" where he TIG (?) welded sand dune racers for the Unser family. He was really good at welding aluminum with this welder that he willed to me.
    I can find nothing on the Craftsman "High Frequency Attachment". Dated 11/71
    The welder appears to be all there. The Argon gas bottle and regulator, the hand torch and all of the cabling as needed. ( the ground in now internal to the Miller )
    I know nothing about this welder,nor is there anything on the WWW that I can dig up. The Miller welder is locked onto 75 Amps AC and 20 Amps low DC, 45 Amps High DC.
    I'm assuming it is a poor mans TIG type welder? ( Craftsman device rated at 300 Amps) and it all powers up with no issues.
    Is this unit to be operated on AC or DC? ( DC makes sense to me but I'm ignorant)
    How much Argon flow is needed for a bead on mild steel?
    Any helpful info you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
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  2. #2
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    Yep, poor mans TIG machine, normally high frequency is used with AC to weld aluminum. I have an old Lincoln hi freq adapter that has a remote on off switch that can be used with DC to help start the arc with DC. Once the arc was established you turned the power off. I did find that leaving the hi freq on with DC didn't cause problem and just left it on.
    Gas flow is subject to the cup size on the torch, for DC tig on steel start around 20 cfh and see if you get any porosity, if you do turn it up some.

    Oh, one other thing... Fixed amperage can make it difficult to do thinner metals. Play with some 3/16" or 1/4" stuff to get the hang of it.
    Last edited by 12V71; 07-29-2021 at 07:30 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    Thank you for the reply and info. I will try it out with some scrap metal.

  4. #4
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    Miller used to make an Econo Twin HF with built in high frequency. Your machine is a 1975 and looks like the HF unit is 1971. If everything works not a bad set up for lighter gauge Tig welding and stick for that matter.

  5. #5
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    How do you figure the machine is locked on a particular adjustment? Does the crank on the front not turn?

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    Often on these units, the metal parts of the slides get rusty, causing the handle to be difficult to turn. I've taken the cover off of mine and clean/lubed the guides. There are adjustments to keep enough tension to not rattle, and cause the handle to turn while welding. I have a late 80's EconoTwin HF, which I bought new. It got a little rusty when I put it in a shed for a few years after getting a big Airco Heliwelder to do bigger aluminum. When I went to use it again, the guides needed to be cleaned, didn't need to adjust the bolts. It was kind of the cheapest way to get into TIG welding at the time, a syncrowave 250 was way out of my budget back then. Very dependable machine for stick, and TIG welding. It will do 1/4" aluminum with preheat , and patience.

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    Airco 250 ac/dc Heliwelder Square wave
    Miller Synchrowave 180 sd
    Miller Econo Twin HF
    Lincoln 210 MP
    Dayton 225 ac/dc
    Victor torches
    Snap-On YA-212
    Lotos Cut60D

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  8. #7
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    Yeah I would clean it up, lubricate whatever slides, etc., get a big pile of scrap and just start playing with it.
    -Ruark
    "Become one with the puddle, grasshopper" - Welding Instructor
    Lincoln 3200HD
    Hobart Stickmate LX235
    TWECO Fabricator 211i

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  10. #8
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    Thank you for taking the time to do the photos. I will check out the unit for frozen parts.
    I did try the unit on two pieces of 1/4" scrap and the current was too low but it did strike an arc and formed a bead. As written above DC did not work well. AC seems to be the ticket.
    I need to repair an AR500 target ( 1/4" thick) and may try that after I see why the unit is locked on 75 amps.
    The welder came with a pack of unknown steel welding rods ( 1/8th, thin coated / plated?) that is all I have at this time to play with.

  11. #9
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    Here is a copy of your Arc Stabilizer from a Sears/Craftsman Catalog circa 1973:


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  13. #10
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    You could add a twist lock connector on the HF generator so you can start and stop the HF from a switch or foot pedal. Using the HF to start and stop the arc is one of the ways to weld aluminum without a foot pedal/amp control. You don't need a contactor as the arc extinguishes in AC when HF stops. You have to work around crater filling by pulling the torch away as you stuff rod in, get out, and stop HF. You won't get aerospace grade welds with this , but you can do some decent repairs/builds with practice.

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    Some times the crank can get rusty too :

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    Hope you get it working
    Last edited by albrightree; 08-09-2021 at 10:49 AM.
    Airco 250 ac/dc Heliwelder Square wave
    Miller Synchrowave 180 sd
    Miller Econo Twin HF
    Lincoln 210 MP
    Dayton 225 ac/dc
    Victor torches
    Snap-On YA-212
    Lotos Cut60D

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  15. #11
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    Sounds like you have some fun times ahead with your new machine...enjoy. It should serve you well. And welcome to the forum.

  16. #12
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    I spent the last two hours cleaning the "guts" of the Miller welder. No rust here in the desert but there was 50 years of dust in this beast.
    The plastic guide blocks were under a lot of pressure from the grub screws. No need for them to be as tight as they were.
    Cleaned everything with Electronic spray cleaner as Brake Cleaner could damage the winding coatings of the transformer. All moving parts were lubed as needed for free movement.
    It took many tries to free up the core but now it is as smooth as glass to move.
    Removed as much of the dust as possible, no corrosion anywhere.
    The core now shows by the tape indicator 10-150 Amps select able.
    The previous owner removed the ability to use the welder as a "stick" welder as the Ground (-) receptacle has been removed and the buzz-box wired in its place. I could rig up something to allow this to be used again. Be nice to have a DC welder working.
    The Sears Buzz-Box is permanently wired to the 240 VAC power supply inside of the welder. A simple ON/OFF switch is on the outside.
    I like the idea of a remote switch.
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    Last edited by Rapidrob; 08-09-2021 at 01:50 PM.

  17. #13
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    Should only need a few connectors, and it could all be quick disconnect. It should be a good DC welder.

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    Airco 250 ac/dc Heliwelder Square wave
    Miller Synchrowave 180 sd
    Miller Econo Twin HF
    Lincoln 210 MP
    Dayton 225 ac/dc
    Victor torches
    Snap-On YA-212
    Lotos Cut60D

  18. #14
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    Re: What the heck is this thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by albrightree View Post
    Should only need a few connectors, and it could all be quick disconnect. It should be a good DC welder.

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    That's the style couplers on my stick machine. They're Radnor brand (think they came from AirGas). I like them.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

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