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Marfa Low Crown

2020 Welding Thread - Whatcha building?

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I think there was a welding thread(s) on teh shag but there doesn't seem to be one here on the new site.
Any surlsters going to be lighting up in 2020? This is a fire bowl I recently finished building. I've got plans to
do some more in the new year along with other art / furniture projects.  Whatcha building this year?

 

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Nice work.  I remember squib documenting building a smoker on the old site and some other dude that was building and selling fire pits (think he quit and moved away).

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Lhorn said:

Very cool. Nice looking weld

I appreciate that.

There was a gap... the lip of the bowl vs. the greek key flat strap constituted an even up to 1/4" rise throughout the project.
I really  like E7014 here... it's a great blending rod. I think I came in around 110 amps. .. 7014 It sucks for big  gap fill (porosity) but fuck if it doesn't lay down some brass.
I love me some E7024 but that would have been too much in this situation also. That was a narrow lip between the bowl and the strap
7024 might have run away with it.  7018 would have been too slow... 6010-6011 too crude..
so here we are. 

So... that's a stick weld. E7014....I parked the arc on the bowl side and just when I saw it wash over.. I cranked the electrode over 
about 80 degrees to the other side.. Just on the high spots. the rest  was a weave just to let the arc push hold it together. . Cheers.  I love this shit. 

Edited by Marfa Low Crown

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Where are you getting the material for the bowl itself?  That’s a really nice piece of work.  I never learned to weld worth a shit.  



This. Also, what kind of machine are you running? I’ve got an old shitty AC225 and an even shittier 120v fluxcore wirefeed for sticking together whatever breaks at the place. Looking for a new machine for Mig/ fluxcore and stick. Thinking something like the Miller MM215 that you can also use for lift arc TIG

Last, is that bowl like gonna be used with wood or setup with a gravel bed and natural gas? That Greek lock strap is gonna leave a nice brand on someone.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Judge Roybeanbag said:

Where are you getting the material for the bowl itself?  That’s a really nice piece of work.

Thx, Roy.... I bought a propane tank as scrap and cut off the cap ends.  

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5 hours ago, davidg said:

This. Also, what kind of machine are you running? I’ve got an old shitty AC225 and an even shittier 120v fluxcore wirefeed for sticking together whatever breaks at the place. Looking for a new machine for Mig/ fluxcore and stick. Thinking something like the Miller MM215 that you can also use for lift arc TIG

Last, is that bowl like gonna be used with wood or setup with a gravel bed and natural gas? That Greek lock strap is gonna leave a nice brand on someone.

The shop space I've got access to has a Harbor Freight Vulcan 225 AC/DC stick welder and it's....... a $500 machine. It pales in comparison to the larger Miller / Lincoln machines I've used but as long as you pay attention to the duty cycle, for basic fabrication the Vulcan is completely serviceable. For AC welding it balks a little unless you crank the amps and that's a knock on some of the other Vulcan machines as well. The Vulcan 225 doesn't run 6010 for shit but I've used a $4000 Miller dynasty that couldn't handle 6010 properly either. My understanding is Harbor Freight had this line of machines made to compete with Lincoln's AC/DC entry level crackerbox at a lower price. Having used both machines, the Lincoln costs a little more but I think it runs stick a little better... your arcs are more crisp and stable...and of course it's an American company and the money stays here. |

The bowl is vented to allow for roaring wood fires but it would be a lot less wear and tear on it to fill the bowl with aggregate and put a propane ring in it. Lolz.. yeah
the lip of that bowl with a wood fire going is hot enough to melt your shoes if you're dumb enough to rest them on the edge.. like I once did. 

Edited by Marfa Low Crown

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Several folks on this thread are pretty critical of their welds (we all are) and I do have some thoughts on this : 

I've welded over 10 years and was self-taught. This is a path I do not recommend to anyone. In my case I was working as a hand and a ranch foreman threw me a box of electrodes, pointed to a broken gate with an SA 200 parked next to it, and said "Figure it out.". I've made just about every mistake you can make in welding and far more sinister, developed a pile of bad habits along the way. Bad habits get burned deeply into your muscle memory and they're a booger to get out of there. Ultimately this led me to welding school - Let's right the wrongs, let's re-learn this from the ground up with qualified in-person instruction, and let's do this the right way. Qualified, in-person, hands on instruction is how you're going to get better at this. Fast. You see... .the thing is... you can't see yourself welding. You can't see the little ticks in your movement that get your rod angle off... or that the reason your welds are laying down on you is that you're ever so slowly pulling the electrode towards you as you weld. And about 100 other things that someone standing over your shoulder will see about yourself that you don't.. and correct them until you are the one correcting yourself. I made more improvement in the first 2 weeks of welding school than I had in the 5 years prior just welding on my own. I'm not saying I'm an expert at this, I think we're all still learning, but I can lay a bead better than your average bear and I get stoked watching people learn and get better at this. 

Sound stick welds really come down to these 5 things :

Proper electrode selection, proper current, proper arc length, proper travel speed, proper rod angle. Whether you're pursuing welding certifications or will remain a hobbyist the principles are the same. Naturally, not everyone has the time or the interest to go to welding school nor am I recommending that.... but for some of y'all that are looking to get your chops up a little, consider a short or even one day CE intro course if it's offered in your area. Get someone next to you telling you when you're long-arcing, or going too slow, or too fast. Maker spaces can be good for this if there's one in your city. If you're in / around the San Antonio area PM me and I can make a suggestion. 

Also people are often down on flux core MIG. Don't be. You can do A LOT with even a 110v flux core welder and there is no shame whatsoever in using one.  

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^^^^ All of this is good. A great online source is the Weldingtipsandtricks.com website and videos and weld.com videos on YouTube.

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I wish I had time to go through welding school it’s because I’d love to know all of that. I’ve got an great uncle that’s a expert. He used to try to get me on with him but I never wanted to travel.

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16 hours ago, davidg said:

A great online source is the Weldingtipsandtricks.com website and videos and weld.com videos on YouTube.

 Both those guys, Bob and Jody, are excellent. Agree... and if you're going to watch YouTube videos watch theirs as they are actual instructors. 
 Although he's kind of annoying, the ChuckE2009 kid is a total welding geek and he's got some good videos too. 

These are only my opinions but I think there are pros and cons to using videos as an instructional aid... my primary belief is they are a great resource
if you're already receiving instruction. We've got a guy at the shop space (and I'll admit he's a little off to begin with) and he's entirely YouTube 'trained'
in welding. King YouTube claims he's been watching videos for 9 years and although he sneaks into the shop late to practice his welds, I find his stuff lying around.
 I use his practice pieces as examples when instructing people because just about every error is there.  It goes without saying he won't listen to anyone, I don't even try, but I know the reason he's not getting better no matter how many videos he watches is  because he doesn't understand what he's doing wrong in the flesh. 

So again, it just comes back to having someone in the booth with you correcting little things... or... having someone
there who can look at your welds and tell you what's right and what's wrong until you can read them and self-correct. Another downside to videos
is that if you watch them long enough  conflicting answers and approaches to things will start piling up. As a new welder you can really get confused and turned
around and that's not ideal. Heck I got chewed out by my instructor for running 6011 in circles on a fillet one time but you'll find at least one video that says it's fine to do that.
I found peace in relinquishing everything I thought I knew and just doing whatever the teacher told me to do... once you get a baseline of knowledge you can always go back
and tweak how you want to do things. 

16 hours ago, Jkwellborn said:

I’ve got an great uncle that’s a expert. He used to try to get me on with him but I never wanted to travel.


Even just a couple of hours would be time well spent with him 


 

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Posted (edited)

Okay... a little follow up on Harbor Freight's Vulcan 225 stick welder... 

So not even 5 days after giving it a reasonably favorable review here I managed to rag out the shop's Vulcan 225. 
When I'm not fabricating I'm stacking beads and trying to stay sharp in the 1-4G positions. More or less overnight the
Vulcan started to doo doo... sputtering arcs, weak arc force, beads way too cold for the amperage it was set at.. and
no amount of adjusting the amps delivered a proper bead. It was too hot or too cold. If 7018 wasn't trying to burn through the work piece or dog dicking on 3G
then it wasn't tying in at all and I had cold, peaked, beads. That's on DCEP.. the machine wouldn't run AC at any amperage. Again,
it darn near happened overnight. My guess?... less than 100 hours of actual arc time under load.. folks I think it's more like 75 hours on the machine. The machine
was barely a year old. Yikes.

 

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For whomever this helps, this is a moment where buying the extended warranty makes a lot of sense and fortunately we did. I think it's $65 for three years
and the way I go,  I can already tell you the replacement isn't even going to see its first birthday. I don't mind rolling on Harbor Freight's dime. I'm respectful to equipment and strict on the duty cycle but there are just so many hours in a machine like this. Anyways just some honest feedback for anyone considering the Vulcan 225. 

 

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Edited by Marfa Low Crown

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I know nothing about welding, but came in to say that I love this community because you can learn about stuff like this.  Thanks for sharing.

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17 hours ago, Native Horn said:

I know nothing about welding, but came in to say that I love this community because you can learn about stuff like this.  Thanks for sharing.

#metoo

I kaint weld nuttin'....

I worked as a plumbers apprentice one summer for AMD.  We worked down in the basement primarily on all the myriad of little tubes and pipes that supported all the manufacturing, clean rooms, etc.  I'd see these master welders spend all day on a tiny little pipe no larger in diameter than a pipe cleaner with more twists and turns than a roller coaster hooked up to multiple machines transmitting some gas I'm sure would have killed us all had it leaked.  Good times.

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I worked offshore drilling rigs for 3 summers in college.  The first summer the rig's welder learned that my old man was also a welder, so I became the unofficial welder's helper.  One day we were having to weld the blowout preventer after we moved holes.  The welder was this funny ass dude from Joaquin, TX.  The toolpusher was yelling at him to hurry up and just generally being a dick, as most toolpushers are.  The welder stopped, hung his stinger up, took his hood and gloves off and said to the toolpusher, "Herman, I ain't got but two speeds: slow and stopped.  If you don't like slow, you sure as shit won't like the other.  Now leave me alone."

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On 1/6/2020 at 4:25 PM, Marfa Low Crown said:

Also people are often down on flux core MIG. Don't be. You can do A LOT with even a 110v flux core welder and there is no shame whatsoever in using one

This is all I do now. I’ve got several other boxes just collecting dust. That little mig is just too convenient, and does everything I need it to. 

1 hour ago, baboso said:

The toolpusher was yelling at him to hurry up and just generally being a dick, as most toolpushers are.  The welder stopped, hung his stinger up, took his hood and gloves off and said to the toolpusher, "Herman, I ain't got but two speeds: slow and stopped.  If you don't like slow, you sure as shit won't like the other.  Now leave me alone."

This is awesome. I managed offshore construction for a decade. I challenge you to find me a more useless fucking person than an American offshore pipeline welder.  “Get paid from the shoulder to the holder, bro”. “I weld pipe, not here for this handrail shit”.  Have demobed dozens of those entitled fuckers.  All my structural welders were mexican-American crews and they kicked ass. Second challenge, find me a harder working person than a Thai welder. Those little fuckers could rebuild a barge in a month if you let them go, and for the grand sum of $60/day. 
 

My current project is in the initial design, but I hope to be picking up some steel in short order. Going to build a quail chair setup for a ranch truck. Then build a high rack (not top drive tho) for the back.  Something over the bed for ~6  people comfortably.  I will likely use my little mig machine that’s in my garage, and not mess with the boxes in the barn. 

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Several folks on this thread are pretty critical of their welds (we all are) and I do have some thoughts on this : 

 

I've welded over 10 years and was self-taught. This is a path I do not recommend to anyone. In my case I was working as a hand and a ranch foreman threw me a box of electrodes, pointed to a broken gate with an SA 200 parked next to it, and said "Figure it out.". I've made just about every mistake you can make in welding and far more sinister, developed a pile of bad habits along the way. Bad habits get burned deeply into your muscle memory and they're a booger to get out of there. Ultimately this led me to welding school - Let's right the wrongs, let's re-learn this from the ground up with qualified in-person instruction, and let's do this the right way. Qualified, in-person, hands on instruction is how you're going to get better at this. Fast. You see... .the thing is... you can't see yourself welding. You can't see the little ticks in your movement that get your rod angle off... or that the reason your welds are laying down on you is that you're ever so slowly pulling the electrode towards you as you weld. And about 100 other things that someone standing over your shoulder will see about yourself that you don't.. and correct them until you are the one correcting yourself. I made more improvement in the first 2 weeks of welding school than I had in the 5 years prior just welding on my own. I'm not saying I'm an expert at this, I think we're all still learning, but I can lay a bead better than your average bear and I get stoked watching people learn and get better at this. 

 

Sound stick welds really come down to these 5 things :

 

Proper electrode selection, proper current, proper arc length, proper travel speed, proper rod angle. Whether you're pursuing welding certifications or will remain a hobbyist the principles are the same. Naturally, not everyone has the time or the interest to go to welding school nor am I recommending that.... but for some of y'all that are looking to get your chops up a little, consider a short or even one day CE intro course if it's offered in your area.

Took a CE course at Brookhaven in Dallas and it was great.

The one thing I learned after the basics is you gotta practice practice practice practice practice...

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I need to put a brace up in my shop. This is for a small loft I am building. Length is ~20’ across and the size of the loft is going to be ~ 17’ x 6’. I plan on using 2x6 and 3/4” plywood for the loft itself. I’m gonna store mostly stuff that doesn’t see much use, seasonal stuff, and some totes of tools that I don’t use much.

What metal should I be using for that? I’m going with metal to avoid putting a damn brace in the shop.

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1 hour ago, baboso said:

I worked offshore drilling rigs for 3 summers in college.  The first summer the rig's welder learned that my old man was also a welder, so I became the unofficial welder's helper.  One day we were having to weld the blowout preventer after we moved holes.  The welder was this funny ass dude from Joaquin, TX.  The toolpusher was yelling at him to hurry up and just generally being a dick, as most toolpushers are.  The welder stopped, hung his stinger up, took his hood and gloves off and said to the toolpusher, "Herman, I ain't got but two speeds: slow and stopped.  If you don't like slow, you sure as shit won't like the other.  Now leave me alone."

Do you remember the welder's name?  If he's from Joaquin, there's a >50% chance he's related to my wife.  

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2 hours ago, Spaulding Smails said:

Do you remember the welder's name?  If he's from Joaquin, there's a >50% chance he's related to my wife.  

Check your pm.

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IMG_0042-1020x1360.jpg

 

 

I’m respectful to equipment. 

 

 

 

Yeah, well the electrical cord in this picture strenuously disagrees!

J/k

 

I’m sure you’ve been around the web for welding related stuff. One of my favorite sites is Garagejournal.com. There’s a fabrication forum where guys post their projects. Some amazing level of skill. Tig welds like art work. Makes me feel bad about my skills as a weldor. And rightly so.

 

I’ve got a millermatic 175 which does me fine for auto body stuff. Bought a Lincoln OA setup that was too cheap to pass up but have barely learned to use it. Had dreams of getting an AHP Alphatig but can’t justify it.

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8 hours ago, Lhorn said:

Yeah, well the electrical cord in this picture strenuously disagrees!

Heh...yeah, it fell off the cart while I was snapping that picture. Tell you what though, they were really accommodating at Harbor Freight. We didn't have the receipt and a couple of other snags but they came through for us anyways. These really are just hobby / light fab machines though.  

 

8 hours ago, Lhorn said:

I’ve got a millermatic 175 which does me fine for auto body stuff. Bought a Lincoln OA setup that was too cheap to pass up but have barely learned to use it. Had dreams of getting an AHP Alphatig but can’t justify it.


Been geeking out to the Fronius TransSteel 2200 ( or anything Fronius makes)  but they're pretty proud of their stuff $.  I want an engine welder so badly but I'm priced out of a brand new one atm and I'm not a mechanic...  can't risk buying someone else's problem in getting a used one. 

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well, I'll never be a welding nerd, but I am seriously jealous of those welds, Marfa.  I've got a cut-off tank end I've been thinking about making into a firebowl, also.  

I'm self/youtube-taught, plus some good advice from friends.  first project was a welding table (been posted, before).  that was lead up to my narrow-ass smoker build.  very much a go-with-the-flow project, but not too much wasted metal (forgot to account for the halfmoon above the firebox and didn't want janky seam).

was kinda brutal, welding the firebox from the inside, inches from my face.  turned out pretty decent, I thought.

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a broken off rake handle only gets you so far

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"you may experience a little discomfort"

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"tension.  tension.  tension it's all that I know"

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first effort with my second-hand (Smith) torch

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second effort, for the top of the stack.  I was smart enough to allow for grinding to pretty it up, at least.  I can see why circle cutters are so expensive

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some guy ordered a shitload of various elbows at Westbrook, then cancelled.   worked out great for me, not having to calculate, cut and weld the smoke stack turn.

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besides some briskets, a bigass turkey with a duck and a chicken on Thanksgiving, I've smoked a bunch of fish on it.  so far, so good.

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not pretty, but it does the job.

Edited by wd40

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On 1/12/2020 at 9:32 PM, wd40 said:

well, I'll never be a welding nerd, but I am seriously jealous of those welds, Marfa.

Hey man, that's a good looking 6011 downhill weld on the elbow if I'm guessing the process right. Nice.. Pipe is tricky... that rod angle is changing. 

Awesome project... damn welding that box from the inside I bet you ate fire the f'n whole time. That takes welding discipline...and pain tolerance. From the heat affected zone it looks you covered just about all of it too.  That's a great project .. did you shore up the broken I-Beam at all? Saw that too.

Anyways.. much respect.. especially any man who smokes a whole turkey with a bicycle pump in hand. Teach me your ways. 

Edited by Marfa Low Crown

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On 1/11/2020 at 7:27 AM, Marfa Low Crown said:

I want an engine welder so badly but I'm priced out of a brand new one atm and I'm not a mechanic...  can't risk buying someone else's problem in getting a used one. 

What are you thinking?  I have Bobcat 250 EFI wishes but in reality have a hard time even justifying a used Hobart.  I've got a couple of containers at our place that I'm trying to roof to make a shed/barn.   Have been planning on wood but recently have started thinking more about doing it in steel.  If I do, I will probably will just end up using a generator and small welder.

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6 minutes ago, davidg said:

What are you thinking? 

Well... in a dream world I'd love to get a 300-400 amp engine-driven bruiser that would allow me to carbon arc gouge but that's champagne desires on a beer budget.
The reality is that for most of what I do right now, I'm usually welding 1/8 rods around 125amps or less. A pull start Lincoln or Hobart would be completely adequate here &
 more in my current budget anyways. I just wish there was more room to grow with a machine like that. 

We had a Bobcat 250 at my last ranch job. I wish I could say it was great but there was 'something' wrong with it. We replaced the rheostat, we replaced the leads, and it just
didn't weld right unless you ran it wide open. You couldn't weld anything thinner than 1/8 steel with it and even with that you had to boogie or you were blowing through. I'm sure
they're good machines... that one was a refurb so who knows what it had been through. 

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On 1/12/2020 at 9:32 PM, wd40 said:

well, I'll never be a welding nerd, but I am seriously jealous of those welds, Marfa.  I've got a cut-off tank end I've been thinking about making into a firebowl, also.  

I'm self/youtube-taught, plus some good advice from friends.  first project was a welding table (been posted, before).  that was lead up to my narrow-ass smoker build.  very much a go-with-the-flow project, but not too much wasted metal (forgot to account for the halfmoon above the firebox and didn't want janky seam).

was kinda brutal, welding the firebox from the inside, inches from my face.  turned out pretty decent, I thought.

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a broken off rake handle only gets you so far

spacer.png

"you may experience a little discomfort"

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"tension.  tension.  tension it's all that I know"

spacer.png 

first effort with my second-hand (Smith) torch

spacer.png

second effort, for the top of the stack.  I was smart enough to allow for grinding to pretty it up, at least.  I can see why circle cutters are so expensive

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some guy ordered a shitload of various elbows at Westbrook, then cancelled.   worked out great for me, not having to calculate, cut and weld the smoke stack turn.

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besides some briskets, a bigass turkey with a duck and a chicken on Thanksgiving, I've smoked a bunch of fish on it.  so far, so good.

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not pretty, but it does the job.

+ Rep for the Todd Snider quote.  Nice pit too.

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We have a little Millermatic here at work for up to half inch welds. Back in the day when I used to go to open houses to display (welding clothing), I would venture over to the Lincoln and Miller booth and learn to weld.  Im still not great at it, but good enough to cut and re-weld a trailer hitch back on the trailer.  Messy, but it works.

 

Funny story (I shared on TOS maybe):  I was good friends with the Victor rep many moons ago.  We used to do a show in San Antonio at the Airgas store on W.W. White road.  Big shindig.  He used to do a cutting contest where the gas was off, valves off, torch off.  So, you had to adjust to your liking.  Then, cut off a piece of I-beam.  It had to fall to the ground, no hammering. Winner got a Journeyman kit.  So, nice prize.

This one scrap yard won it for like 3 years in a row, and he found out that a month before the show they would start practicing during their lunch break.  That fourth year he showed up with a piece of rail from the railroad he acquired.  They were actually a little upset that he changed it up, but his contest.  

You can copy and paste this remarkably CSB and forward it to all of your friends.

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That story lacks closure.  So, did the scrap yard win for the fourth year in a row, despite being a little upset?  The Victor rep bought a whole railroad just to obtain a piece of rail for this contest?  Seems extreme.

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I don't know what the hell y'all are talking about with all the technical talk, but I want to see more projects.  

signed,

guy who wishes he knew how to weld

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Here is my first stab at welding up some live-edge table legs.  Its for my daughter so I wanted it to be perfect hence the Bondo, which helped my over-aggressive weld grinding.  I bought a little hplv painter and will be painting them soon. 

I inherited my dad's old 145 amp mig welder and am having a hell of a time getting it to weld worth a shit.  Mainly the wire sticks to the tip.  It has seen a shitload of welding so I don't know if it is just worn out or what.  I can get on my dad's new mig and weld decent enough.  

20200207_182002.jpg

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Putting in a 50 circuit this weekend to setup a welder at the house. Got an old AC225 given to me by a neighbor I want to get working and try an Hobart stick welder that I can borrow from work.

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On 2/22/2020 at 3:47 PM, Errestaurants said:

New working pens

Nice. Definitely spent some time doing that. What gauge is that square tubing? 

So... I thought I'd give the thread a little bump and post a first impression review of the engine welder I recently bought. Like most things in life there was what I wanted vs. what I could afford and of utmost importance in this decision was reliability of the machine. There were 200+ amp engine welders that were available in my price range but I would have had no money left for repairs if something went wrong. I didn't know how these machines had been treated, some of them had a high or even unknown number of hours, and although I wanted that kind of power and flexibility it was just too much of a gamble potentially buying someone else's problem. 

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I went for the safe play and bought a nearly new Hobart Champion 145 that's still under warranty.


New, the machine is around $1600 with the leads sold separately. After you add those and tax you're pushing $2000 but I was able to get mine for $1500 with better leads than Hobart offers for this model. Owner was a nice guy who owns a fence / gate company and he bought it as a back up when his Bobcat 225 went down. He ran a little more than one tank of gas through it which means roughly 10 hours of operation and then parked it. I thanked him for breaking it in and I feel very good about the purchase. 

The online reviews for it are spot on. The negatives are minor and I will start with them.

Cons

It has no idle and runs full throttle the whole time, there's no hour meter on it (you just have to estimate by gas usage),  and you can't run tools off the 120/240 and weld with it at the same time. I also noticed that when it's on an uneven surface the machine will shake enough to move the throttle arm slightly which causes the motor to 'gallop' a bit. I didn't notice any difference in welding performance when it did this and the cure seems to be to push the throttle arm all the way to full max. Lastly, I brought some 1/16th electrodes to see how it performed on the lowest amperage setting (40) and the results weren't great. This machine wants to run hot ; it's mentioned in the reviews and I'll talk about that in a second. 

I didn't try 5/32 rods but my guess is it will burn 6010 and 6011 fine in what would be about the middle range for them. Some people claim you can weld 5/32 7018 with it but I wouldn't think this machine has enough ass to run them effectively and that's been the been the general consensus I've read from those who've tried it.  

A final negative (which is really kind of positive in a way) is that you're going to have to really learn the machine and eyeball it on your amperage. There's no precisely finding say... 93 amps on this dial which only gives you a few amperage anchor points which I think are 40, 100, 120, and 140. It takes some real tinkering to find the sweet spot you're looking for and the motor is loud enough that you lose one of your senses, hearing, and can't listen for that perfect sizzle to help you know when you're there. Heat and puddle performance is what will let you know when you're in the Goldilocks zone. You have to kind of weld by the seat of your pants with the Champion 145 but I view that as a positive because having to diagnose your way to the perfect set up for the rod / situation you're in will make you a better welder. Once I get this dialed in I plan to make a card / overlay I can put over the amperage dial that has my preferred settings bookmarked for specific rods or welding positions. 

Pros

For what it is, an entry level engine welder, this machine is worth the money.   As mentioned this welder wants to run hot and don't be surprised if you're getting similar performance on an electrode that you'd run 10% (or more) cooler on a different machine. You can fly with cellulose rods, 6010 is no problem, with the only caveat being you've got to keep a very tight arc length with these electrodes or you'll break and lose it. 7018 is more forgiving. I'm not going to lie, I miss the arc force / fine current type settings you see on more premium machines but this thing is a 500cc motorbike, not a 1000 cruiser with leather seats and a stereo. The arc is stable and reliable enough and apart from some arc blow here and there it has never sputtered on me. The duty cycle is respectable and running 1/8th rods, which is what the vast majority of owners will probably do with this, it's going to be pretty hard to overheat the machine.

The fuel efficiency is really pretty impressive and you can weld hours and hours on a single tank of gas. As the other reviews say, it really does fire up in one pull start and there's no reason to ever take the machine off of the Run setting. Cut your gas off on the back to stop the machine and turn gas knob back on and pull the cord when you're ready to use it. It's that easy. If you're going to let it sit definitely put some fuel stabilizer in it. Mine hadn't been used in a couple of months and came with 3/4 tank of gas still in it. I definitely noticed a difference when I ran through that and refilled it with fresh gas. Pretty much treat it like any riding mower I guess. 

It comes with wheels and handles to push it around but you have to raise it up pretty high when you're wheelbarrowing it around or the tendency is to hit your shins. It rolls around easily enough for something that weighs 200lbs but in an ideal world you'd rather not move it much if you don't have to. 

All said, Hobart got it right on this machine and it's exactly what it's supposed to be for the market niche it fills. You're not gonna see one of these on a pipeline job but this machine has farm and ranch covered all day long and can handle light/medium professional use as well. Cattle guards, pens, fence braces, light to medium mobile repair or fabrication, there's no reason at all to pay more than double for a Bobcat or Ranger 225 unless you need the abilities of those kinds of machines. For myself, I'll upgrade to a larger machine down the road but I'm going to let this pay the way for it.  


 

Edited by Marfa Low Crown

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16 gauge. Those gates are built by a guy in Kaufman. Cant beat the price for the quality. way better than preifert or tarter gates at Tractor Supply and the same price.

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On 2/1/2020 at 8:22 AM, baboso said:

That story lacks closure.  So, did the scrap yard win for the fourth year in a row, despite being a little upset?  The Victor rep bought a whole railroad just to obtain a piece of rail for this contest?  Seems extreme.

Sorry for the delay, I have obviously not clicked on this thread in a while.  No, they did not win.  And brought a 5-7ish foot piece of rail or two to cut. 

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Flu situation has me bored off my ass and holed up along with most of the rest of the country. 

One way I've been passing the time is going to the shop several hours a day and practicing welds I haven't done in a while or stacking beads.
For about a week I did vertical up stringers (3G) with 7018 and yesterday I started stacking horizontal (2F) with 6011.

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I have access to a Miller Thunderbolt XL now and it's my first time using one, so while I was practicing yesterday
I was also getting the feel of the machine. 

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I'm not real familiar with these but it's a fine little machine. Performance-wise this is on par with the Lincoln 225 AC/DC tombstone buzz box or the Harbor Freight Vulcan Commander 225. The Thunderbolt has a snappy and reliable arc but from the looks of it they've changed their entry level stick welder and this is a discontinued design. Having used the three machines mentioned for stick welding I would rate the Lincoln slightly ahead of the Miller and the Vulcan last. If you see a Thunderbolt in good working condition for around $400-$500 I'd grab it. 

Anybody else welding their way through the pandemic? 

Edited by Marfa Low Crown

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Next day & a little more familiarity with the 'new-to-me' machine... feeling better about the amperage setting and horizontal 6011 is getting a little less choppy. 
Still could use a touch more uniformity and better bead overlay but I haven't done this one in a while and at the end of the day just stacking beads is great practice.

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Also going back and forth with vertical up 7018 stringers on some 2" by 3/8" thick angle iron. 
I'd like to tighten this one up with some more uniformity but this is also a harder weld. 

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5th pass vertical with 5 stringers. I'll probably break out the leathers and practice overhead next week.🤢
Also... a downside to the Miller Thunderbolt XL... it ships with some pretty short and dinky leads.
So far that's the only knock I've got on the machine.

Alright... I'm not going to keep posting practice pictures or turn this into a diary... just bored AF and
welding my way through the pandemic. 

Stay safe & sparky 

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