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What's the best stick welder for a wannabe.

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  • What's the best stick welder for a wannabe.

    Hi guys:
    I don't own any welding equipment (yet). I'd like to get a stick welder (don't ask me why, I just seem to like stick for no particular reason) with no particular use in mind, other than to play with it so see if I can learn to stick weld. I downloaded a bunch of videos to accomplish this. They indicate that after burning through about 40 pounds of rods, and following the proper procedures, I should be "reasonably" accomplished. I don't wanna spend a lot of money. I see Miller offers a ton of welders, different types, different sizes, some ac, some ac/dc, transformer/inverter, some with TIG and stick, etc. What's a good "basic no frills welder" for a wannabe? I'm 65 years young, and not looking for a new career. Just want a new "toy" to learn how to stick weld. And then maybe build a few simple projects. I doubt I'll put 50 actual hours of weld time and any welder I get.

    Thanks Guys,

    Don <><
    Last edited by genesis; 03-13-2011, 07:01 PM.

  • #2
    I would get a used AC/DC tombstone. Find one local because they're too heavy to ship ($$$).

    If you decide weldings not for you, then you can get your money back out of it.
    You could get an AC only machine, but you will probobly want to upgrade soon.

    Find someone to teach you, so you don't learn a bunch of bad habits. A friend of mine went to the local weld shop and asked the foreman if one of his people would be able to teach him after work at his house. The guy the foreman reccomended charged him $20.00hr. Worked with him 2 hours one day and told him to practice, call him back when comfortable in flat position. The guy came back and showed him vertical and overhead. Both were happy.

    I took a class at a nearby community colledge and learned a lot I didn't need. I'm just a backyard hobbiest too.

    Comment


    • #3
      The reviews on this inverter arc welder are very good. At less than 180 bucks it would be good to learn on.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...CXOJN7RDEPF57U
      Nothing welded, Nothing gained

      Miller Dynasty700DX
      3 ea. Miller Dynasty350DX
      Miller Dynasty200DX
      ThermalArc 400 GTSW
      MillerMatic350P
      MillerMatic200 with spoolgun
      MKCobraMig260
      Lincoln SP-170T
      Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
      Hypertherm 1250
      Hypertherm 800
      PlasmaCam CNC cutter
      Fadal Toolroom CNC Mill
      SiberHegner CNC Mill
      2 ea. Bridgeport
      LeBlond 15" Lathe
      Haberle 18" Cold Saw
      Doringer 14" Cold Saw
      6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite

      Comment


      • #4
        I would recommend a mig machine, a MM140 or MM180 would do most novice welders most of the time. http://www.millerwelds.com/products/...p?model=M00234

        If your stuck to doing the stick though, a thunderbolt is inexpensive and AC/DC machine. http://www.millerwelds.com/products/...p?model=M16100

        Having a better idea what your end game is would help more in the choosing. If its strictly a hobby then less expense is the norm but if you plan to turn to a career then don't go this way, move farther up the scale toward a pro machine.

        Peace,
        Paul

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Paul Seaman View Post
          If your stuck to doing the stick though, a thunderbolt is inexpensive and AC/DC machine. http://www.millerwelds.com/products/...p?model=M16100
          The Hobart Stickmate LX is the same welder (different paint) for about $100 less:

          http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too..._384175_384175

          Comment


          • #6
            welder

            I think if your just getting started, I would buy a miller thunderbolts AC/DC welder because it a very useful machine. I wouldn't start with the mig welder first because you will be cheating yourself out of alot of learning exsperiences. That just what I would do.
            V-Dot Farm

            Millermatic 210 / spoolomatic 3035
            Millermatic 200 / Spoolomatic 1
            Miller 375 spectrum plasma
            Miller Econotig







            Comment


            • #7
              I'm the OP. Thanks for your input guys. I can pickup the Miller Thunderbolt from my local AirGas dealer for $565.00. I can pickup the Hobart Stickmate from my local Fleet Farm for $444.99. While Fleet Farm sells welding supplies and the cheaper Hobart, they really didn't know to much about welders or welding. The AirGas dealer I stopped in at was very knowledgeable and friendly. Is it worth the extra $120 to buy the Miller from the AirGas dealer (especially for a 65 year old wannabe like me who don't know noth'n bout welding)? Or should I just get the Hobart and spend that $120 on rods for practice, practice, and more practice?

              Also is there any advantage/disadvantage to getting a cheaper AC only or DC only (I think DC only are inverters, right?) welder?

              I checked out the little inverter stick welder that Shovelon recommended above. It seemed kinda neat, and I am considering it. Could I make multi-passes with this unit? What's the thickest I could weld with it? I just thought I needed something with a little more power (urh, urh, urh). I know the Hobart Stickmate and Miller Thunderbolt can do 1/2 inch material.

              Would a 200 Amp DC only inverter have any advantages/disadvantages compared to the Thunderbolt or Stickmate? (i.e. Is there some function or process difference between them?)

              http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...I6RW5MC6HLCYEB

              http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hobart-Stick...-/131339640280

              Experience is what you get when you don't get what you expected.
              Last edited by genesis; 03-11-2011, 02:27 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by genesis View Post
                I'm the OP. Thanks for your input guys. I can pickup the Miller Thunderbolt from my local AirGas dealer for $565.00. I can pickup the Hobart Stickmate from my local Fleet Farm for $444.99. While Fleet Farm sells welding supplies and the cheaper Hobart, they really didn't know to much about welders or welding. The AirGas dealer I stopped in at was very knowledgeable and friendly. Is it worth the extra $120 to buy the Miller from the AirGas dealer (especially for a 65 year old wannabe like me who don't know noth'n bout welding)? Or should I just get the Hobart and spend that $120 on rods for practice, practice, and more practice?

                Also is there any advantage/disadvantage to getting a cheaper AC only or DC only (I think DC only are inverters, right?) welder?

                http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...I6RW5MC6HLCYEB

                http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hobart-Stick...-/131339640280
                as already said the tbolt and the lx are the same identical machine. unless you just want the machine to be blue or you have to much money and need to get rid of some of it, why pay 25% percent more for miller and then another 10-15 dollars to the state. as you already said you could buy rod. not to mention a cheap harbor freight auto dark hood, chipping hammer, gloves and wire brush. do the math.....jim

                p.s. the tbolt and the lx are ac/dc. use the dc. safer and cleaner welds.
                Last edited by jbmprods; 03-11-2011, 02:03 PM.
                miller 225 bobcat
                miller aead200le (with miller hf tig trailer mounted)
                mm175, mm211, TA181i
                mm252 w/30a spool gun
                precision tig 225
                hobart stickmate LX ac/dc
                Speedglas 9100X & XX / Miller Digital Elite
                hypertherm 380 & cutmaster 52
                victor journeyman & super range
                ridgid chop saw, kalamazoo band saw
                steel max and evolution carbide saws
                6 4.5" & a 20lb 9" rockwell grinders
                case 580 backhoe (for what i can"t lift)
                if first you don't succeed
                trash the b#####d

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by genesis View Post
                  I checked out the little inverter stick welder that Shovelon recommended above. It seemed kinda neat, and I am considering it. Could I make multi-passes with this unit? What's the thickest I could weld with it? I just thought I needed something with a little more power (urh, urh, urh). I know the Hobart Stickmate and Miller Thunderbolt can do 1/2 inch material.
                  The little stick welder product manual says it can weld 3/16" steel plate with 1/16 or 3/32 electrodes at full power. I was going to buy one to complement my Dynasty 200 as changing back and forth from tig to stick is a pain. I only use 115volts anyway tig or stick, so what the heck. Multipass should not be a problem as first pass heats up the metal, but duty cycle is low so you can only weld so long.

                  Personally I really don't like stick, but when in Rome.
                  Nothing welded, Nothing gained

                  Miller Dynasty700DX
                  3 ea. Miller Dynasty350DX
                  Miller Dynasty200DX
                  ThermalArc 400 GTSW
                  MillerMatic350P
                  MillerMatic200 with spoolgun
                  MKCobraMig260
                  Lincoln SP-170T
                  Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
                  Hypertherm 1250
                  Hypertherm 800
                  PlasmaCam CNC cutter
                  Fadal Toolroom CNC Mill
                  SiberHegner CNC Mill
                  2 ea. Bridgeport
                  LeBlond 15" Lathe
                  Haberle 18" Cold Saw
                  Doringer 14" Cold Saw
                  6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Stick is HIGHLY educational and versatile. DC is a must. I'd get the Hobart Stickmate.

                    As the addiction takes hold you can get more, and more, and yet more welding machines, accessories for the machines, rig trucks and shops to give them a place to live....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The AC/DC Stickmate is the best buy in this class, if my dealer was a stand up guy I might buy a blue one too,, who knows but considering this is a new purchase I would consider a Maxstar 150. If I was going to park a stickmate in my shop, had sufficient power, maybe bought used I would go that route but a Max will do 90% of the work on 120v, uses light cords and minimal secondary lead is needed. The cost difference in a few ft of lead and heavy cord would offset purchase cost.
                      I used one similar to the hf one, it did work and skilled operator could do some work with it in a pinch but the Max is a real machine. I wish they would have had them when I was a kid.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd recommend the maxstar 150 too. I really like the hot start function on the one i just picked up.

                        Initial buy in is about 2x as much, but it only weighs 20lbs! If you buy the STL version with just stick leads, you can easily upgrade to tig too.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A new Stickmate at 450 or so, the Tbolt at 550 or the Max S at maybe 750 but minus the 50 or so ft of lead a stickmate might need at 3 or 4$ a foot and the price gap narrows, even number 10 for a cord for a buzzer is a couple bucks a foot. Yes, not to mention the take anywhere factor is huge asset. Like 2 machines in one.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sberry View Post
                            A new Stickmate at 450 or so, the Tbolt at 550 or the Max S at maybe 750 but minus the 50 or so ft of lead a stickmate might need at 3 or 4$ a foot and the price gap narrows, even number 10 for a cord for a buzzer is a couple bucks a foot. Yes, not to mention the take anywhere factor is huge asset. Like 2 machines in one.
                            Are you saying I would need longer cords with a Stickmate or Thunderbolt ?

                            Does the Maxstar 150 S (stick only) have enough power for 1/2 material (like you might find on a log splitter)?
                            Last edited by genesis; 03-11-2011, 09:12 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              basically any stick welder can weld 1/2". Just wanna put a bevel on any butt welds and do a couple passes. I too reccomend not getting a mig machine right away. Stick is a very valuable skill to learn. It teaches you a lot about other prcesses. Teaches you to read your puddle, arc control, proper angle, and other things. And people thing stick is becoming absolete...but I use it almost every day.

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