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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default 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 at 07:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    38

    Default

    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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,163

    Default

    The reviews on this inverter arc welder are very good. At less than 150 bucks it would be good to learn on.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/welding...der-91110.html
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,348

    Default

    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    375

    Default

    Quote 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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    22

    Default 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








  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default

    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.airgas.com/browse/product...duct=MIL903642

    http://www.fleetfarm.com/catalog/pro...lx-235ac-160dc

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you expected.
    Last edited by genesis; 03-11-2011 at 01:27 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Chico, Ca.
    Posts
    316

    Default

    Quote 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.airgas.com/browse/product...duct=MIL903642

    http://www.fleetfarm.com/catalog/pro...lx-235ac-160dc
    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 at 01:03 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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,163

    Default

    Quote 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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    485

    Default

    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....

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