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question for an at home welder

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  • question for an at home welder

    I don't have a 220amp plug so is there a good machine that I can get to do some basic welding? Mild steel nothing thicker than 1/4". I'm looking to keep costs down, any ideas?

  • #2
    What type of welding are you thinking about doing: mig, tig, or stick? Thats going to make a difference in the responces you get.

    Comment


    • #3
      Besides knowing just what sort of welding process you are looking to get into, it would help to know if it were at all possible to run in a new circuit to have 220v power made available. It is a simple enough process to run a new circuit if the power service panel (breaker panel) is within easy reach of your shop/garage and almost as simple to run an extension cord from a nearby electric washer/dryer or stove outlet. Renting may make this option unattractive. If you decide you can have a 220 circuit installed, come back for further advice, as I mentioned before it is a quite simple installation.

      As far as non-240v powered welders go you'll see far less useful output from them. There are a number of MIG and multi-process machines offered nowadays that utilize 120-240v power plugs. Still, if it were me, I'd be looking for a unit that ran exclusively off 240v power.

      Cheapest process for your needs would be a stick welder. Limited somewhat in the available rod selection because of use of AC current and minimal current available in 120v operation.

      BTW, Miller has many articles available on-line on this subject, as well as the information available here on the forums from members. Either select from the drop down "Resource" menu for Miller factory information on the subject or do a search in the archives of the various forums by using the search feature and typing in the relevent search.

      Best of luck to you.

      Comment


      • #4
        I knew a guy who built his own extension cord apparatus to run a 220v welder without changing any wiring in his house. He used a male plug and short cable that would normally be used for a stove, which you can find at any hardware store. He looked at the writing on the cable casing and bought some more of the same kind of cable. He wired the male stove plug into a small box which housed a single breaker and then ran the other cable to a female plug that his welder could plug into. The fuse was used only as a safeguard because the welder required less current draw then the stove circuit breaker was made to safely deliver. That means if there was a problem with the welder the stove breaker would not trip and a fire could possibly start. So he inserted the right size breaker for the welder into the middle of his cord. Then he just unplugged his stove and ran the cord out to his garage whenever he needed to weld something. It certainly didn't look pretty and it was a little inconvenient but it worked and he didn't have to spend a ton of money to build it. I think he said he did the whole thing for about a hundred bucks. Compare that to renovating the electrical system in your house to run a 220V plug out to your garage and it's cheap.

        You could also do the same thing with a clothes dryer circuit if that was closer.

        The guy used one of those plastic all weather boxes and I thought that was a smart idea.

        Comment


        • #5
          The advice above about using an in-line circuit/fuse may not be to code even for a permanent installation (depending upon how the ground to the main panel had been run). Still, probably wouldn't be a deal breaker for me either...guy will do almost anything to get a welder up and running.

          Comment


          • #6
            Actually I looked it up. There are no rules against using an extension cord to power a welding machine. Not around here anyway. The cord has to have wire heavy enough to be rated for the current draw. The circuit has to be fused to match the input draw of the machine and other than standard safety items like not laying cable in water and stuff like that there's not much else to comply with. I have worked for several fabricators who use extension cords to power their equipment and lots of them are the monster 600V 100A 3-phase kind.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Matrix View Post
              Actually I looked it up. There are no rules against using an extension cord to power a welding machine. Not around here anyway. The cord has to have wire heavy enough to be rated for the current draw. The circuit has to be fused to match the input draw of the machine and other than standard safety items like not laying cable in water and stuff like that there's not much else to comply with. I have worked for several fabricators who use extension cords to power their equipment and lots of them are the monster 600V 100A 3-phase kind.
              As I said before...don't sweat the details when a tool is down. As far as there not being "much else to comply with" is where I would take exception to what you recommended. When it comes to NEC compliance everything is under the gun, so to speak. In this case it would definately be the provision of adding an in-line breaker/fuse box in the extension cord. I believe that would definately be non-code for extension cords, but if permanently wired correctly back to the main service panel it would be okay. Without proper documentation/inspection of the previous wiring back to the panel, even on a permanent installation, I would be leery about offering the advice of just going with a cord from a dryer/stove outlet with a breaker/fuse installed in-line. Now as far as what your fabricators do/permit goes, they'll do anything within reason to get a job done. Matter of fact, I'd probably do the same.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by WyoRoy View Post
                ... In this case it would definately be the provision of adding an in-line breaker/fuse box in the extension cord. I believe that would definately be non-code for extension cords, ...
                OK, now I get you. It's the "inline" fuse you think might be illegal, not the cord itself. I confess I don't think I looked up that aspect of it. I'm in Canada so we don't have NEC but I'm sure we must have something similar. I"ll look into it. That kind of info would be useful for me personally as well. Thanks for the heads up.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Power strips and extension cords with breakers aren't that uncommon.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Why would anyone put a breaker in a cord? Especially in residential and for a welding machine?

                    As for the OP, you want to weld arounf the house from 120, Maxstar or similar machine, or a Hobart ez

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Check out the MM 211. It'll run on 110v and 220v. I use mine exclusively on 220v so I don't know how well it works on 110v. But I like it so far.

                      I know we never heard what kind of welding he wants to do but..... I think most new guys are looking for wire feed. IMO.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by USMCPOP View Post
                        Power strips and extension cords with breakers aren't that uncommon.
                        Perhaps 110V, but 220V? I don't think I've ever seen one.

                        Originally posted by Sberry View Post
                        Why would anyone put a breaker in a cord? Especially in residential and for a welding machine?
                        He did it for the sake of safety. It's now been brought to my attention that it may not be legal but his intention was good. A standard stove breaker is 220V @ 40A. In the old days they would use a 30A breaker but they tripped pretty easily if the oven was on at the same time as the top elements. My friend's welder draws 220V @ 20A. (My own wire feeder draws 220V @ 25A)
                        If a problem ever occured with his welder the breaker would not trip until the current draw exeeded twice the normal maximum draw. Wires can fry. Internals can fry. Fires can happen.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Matrix View Post
                          My friend's welder draws 220V @ 20A. (My own wire feeder draws 220V @ 25A)
                          If a problem ever occured with his welder the breaker would not trip until the current draw exeeded twice the normal maximum draw. Wires can fry. Internals can fry. Fires can happen.
                          Darn, starting to feel like a nitpicker here, but other than maybe a handful of Chicom manufactured welders and older, much much older, American built welders there wouldn't be cause for a problem in the least when being supplied with current at a higher amp rating than the welder's own rating. The reason for this is that most, if not all, modern welders have an internal circuit breaker built into their design.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Matrix View Post
                            OK, now I get you. It's the "inline" fuse you think might be illegal, not the cord itself. I confess I don't think I looked up that aspect of it. I'm in Canada so we don't have NEC but I'm sure we must have something similar. I"ll look into it. That kind of info would be useful for me personally as well. Thanks for the heads up.
                            NEC doesn't care* about what you Plug into the wall receptacle it only Governs how the wall receptacle is wired.

                            * their code for a Range Circuit/Receptacle only tells you what they want to see in that installation: they don't care if you plug something else in to it, not their problem.

                            Same for an Industrial installation:
                            Welder Receptacle: Code only dictates how the Receptacle and circuit is wired.


                            Extension cords fall under OSHA and Fire Marshal: they want safe work areas and safe exits and you'll never see them at a residential place. I imagine the Fire marshall wouldn't mind home inspections during Christmas time though
                            Last edited by Broccoli1; 10-03-2012, 12:26 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If I ever have an electrical problem around here, I'll just blame it on Ed and Roy.

                              (Hey, guys, thanks once again for the goodies you sent.)

                              Comment

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