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  • stick welder

    those who have read my posts know i am new but am going to school. i currently own a hobart hh187 mig but i am thinking about getting a stick welder as well to broaden my skills and abilities. anyone have any advice as to what one i should look into? thank in advance

  • #2
    I've got a big mouth, so I will jump in here.

    Up here, almost everything is either 6010 or 7018 as you will find out in school. Polarity for 7018 can be either AC or DCEP (Reverse Polarity) 6010 is also DCEP (Reverse Polarity)

    I really am not up to speed on the Miller product line, but I would suggest looking around for a used Lincoln IdealArc 250 or old Tombstone welder, or Miller equivalent, but make sure that is has DC polarity and not just AC. Try to find a machine that will give you 200amps of DC welding so you can experiment with a variety of sizes of electrodes. You will also need access to 220V single phase power and a NEMA 6-50R receptacle, probably with a 50 or 70 amp circuit breaker - A 30 amp breaker will probably pop too easy with the load.

    To quote Cary (Sberry) Set it on DCEP and bust off the knob! LOL.

    Inverters are smaller and nicer, but I am assuming that you are on a budget.

    Learn your 7018 in position and verticals first, then start experimenting with the 6010.

    Food for thought. That should get you going in the right direction.
    Last edited by Black Wolf; 09-08-2008, 08:50 PM. Reason: Corrected Polarity Thanks to post by Walker below.

    Professional Spark Generator by Trade.


    • #3
      DCEN (DC- or electrode negative) is straight polarity. DCEP ( DC+ or electrode positive) is reverse polartiy. I read a post from a guy recently who had a good method to remeber this. He said that DC- is straight polarity because a - is straight and a + is not. Therefor a + is reverse polarity.
      Hope you didn't rip the knob off yet.


      • #4
        Yes and Thank you. You are 100% correct. I knew something didn't look right when I was typing but it has been a long day and I'm half asleep.

        I was just coming back to re-read it.

        Thanks for the correction, I'll edit my post.
        Last edited by Black Wolf; 09-08-2008, 08:51 PM.

        Professional Spark Generator by Trade.


        • #5
          He was willing to for the price of the 187 so I say go maxstar 150. I am going to slightly disagree with Black in the sense that as you said, just starting out I want it all to run on common 50A welder circuits or less. I agree that with some power shopping a guy could come up with an inexpensive solution. The inverters really shorten the collateral cost and they are so portable. Really go anywhere without a bunch of heavy wiring. A guy can weld a shackle on a Buds trailer from a 120V circuit.


          • #6
            Good advice Cary.

            I was just pointing him in the direction of farm auctions etc for an inexpensive used machine - our markets are not as hot as the U.S. for E-Pay etc. I wasn't figuring he was wanting to invest much if just going to school, but yeah, I'd go more your way if he could swing it.

            Professional Spark Generator by Trade.


            • #7
              Originally posted by walker View Post
              DCEN (DC- or electrode negative) is straight polarity. DCEP ( DC+ or electrode positive) is reverse polartiy. I read a post from a guy recently who had a good method to remeber this. He said that DC- is straight polarity because a - is straight and a + is not. Therefor a + is reverse polarity.
              Hope you didn't rip the knob off yet.
              Walker: I'm glad you caught this. It's what I believed, but Black Wolf is WAAAYYY over my skill level. I'd thought that I'd read 'set it on DCEN' and break off the knob; but I'm a hobby TIG guy and only use stick in my worst nightmares.
              RETIRED desk jockey.

              Hobby weldor with a little training.

              Craftsman O/A---Flat, Vert, Ovhd, Horz.

              Miller Syncrowave 250.


              • #8
                It depends on what you want to do with your stick welder. If you are going to do any structural steel, I would save up for CST280 so you can run 7018 1/8" rods all day or 3/16" rods for quite a while between cool downs. It will also run 6010 well for roots on pipes or thinner stuff.

                A maxstar 150 makes for a good light duty stick welder that is very portable, but the duty cycle limits it from serious work.

                Maxstar 200 gives you a bump on the duty cycle, but its price puts it $200 behind the 280.

                If you are looking strictly for a practice machine and aren't sure that you are going to "stick with it" save some cash and get a DC capable Buzz Box. Do not get an AC only machine.
                Last edited by projectwelder; 09-08-2008, 09:41 PM. Reason: typo

                Millermatic DVI
                Millermatic 375 xtreme
                And a brand new Syncro 200!!!


                • #9
                  I will agree if a guy has much heavy equipment repair in mind he needs a heavier machine but I don't even have an electrode in the shop bigger than 1/8 and use a Lincoln AC/DC buzzer. I got a 300A machine and just don't use it, I do carry a box of 5/32 ho-hi on the truck but its a rarity I actually need it. Steel is getting lighter all the time due to improved design and I can remember being young feller and the nature of a lot of the work. Obviously a 200A machine is better but then we start accelerating cost. I like the Max S, screw the rest of that stuff (tig, etc) and when a guy figures out where he is going and what he needs there will still be a spot for this machine, don't spend big until you need it.
                  He started well with the 187, similar situation, someday he will get a 250 or better but I wouldn't toss the small one.


                  • #10
                    well i dont quite understand the whole ac/dc thing yet but from what ive read i believe the thunderbolt 225 ac/dc is 225 ac and 160 dc. why such a significant difference in power? k so from what ive read, dc is better than ac for out of position welds (overhead ect.) because it is easier to weld with lower amperage and a shorter arc. so would that mean for smaller jobs dc can provide you with better arc/puddle control? and would that mean the more power youve got goin on the bigger and more irratic the arc will be? now with everyone seeming to preferre the dc does ac have any advantages? ive also read that dcep is used more often because the welding rod gets hotter than the workpiece and provides a steadier arc as well as smoother electrode-to-work-metal transfer while with dcen the workpiece gets hotter allowing for deeper penetration. for some reason im having a **** of a time trying to grasp this whole concept of ac/dc and dcep and dcen.. im sure ill catch on soon as ive already got a little bit better grip than i did earlier tonight but still... anyways thank again in advance for any help on this topic


                    • #11
                      Wow, you are full of questions tonight!! LOL It's all good, ask away.

                      There is always a big gap between AC and DC output on an AC/DC machine. I believe it has to do with rectifying the AC input to DC output. I'm sure that you can research this on the web in your spare time.

                      As for the AC vs DC welding... I do not use AC for stick welding, but one of the biggest benefits of AC current is that you will not have to compensate for Arc Blow when welding on magnetized pipe. Now, when I weld on this same pipe with DC, I just wrap my ground cable on it a few times to set up the opposite electromagnetic field, and we are good to go. Different people will have different reasons for welding with AC.

                      Without getting into chemistry class (a real can of worms) the polarity of the welding leads dictates the flow of electricity, and in doing so, like you mentioned, we can decide if we wish to heat up the electrode, or the workpiece.

                      DC Electrode Negative, DCEN or DC(-) is considered Straight Polarity.
                      DC Electrode Positive, DCEP or DC(+) is considered Reverse Polarity.
                      AC is a combination of both because the polarity switches several times a second.

                      Sounds like you would do well to invest in some books on welding or snoop around on the web - The information is all right there at your fingertips, and it is FREE. Read up on this stuff a little, and if you have specific questions, we can help fill in the blanks.

                      I am not discouraging you from asking, I just do not have the time to address every question.

                      Heading for bed. I have to get back up in 4 1/2 hrs and go back to work.

                      Have yourself a good night.
                      Last edited by Black Wolf; 09-08-2008, 11:57 PM.

                      Professional Spark Generator by Trade.


                      • #12
                        Don't let the AC/DC thing confuse you. AC (alternating Current) changes direction, which causes your arc to be not as stable. You asked about an AC advantage, if your having trouble with arc blow that is one way of handling it, or coiling your ground lead when using DC but that is another topic. The arc stability is why DC is prefered and as previously mentioned some rods are intended to run on it like (6010) Take a look at a electrode chart or supplier catalog. DC (direct current) flowes one direction which gives you a stable arc and by changing polarity you change that direction. You asked about the drop in power between ac/dc on a particular welder output, the ac is run thru diodes to change to dc and you get a voltage drop ,something like 1.3v??? Sberry probably knows. The 225A AC to 160A DC drop may be to componet sizing. Hope this helps. Stay with it it will get clearer


                        • #13
                          Looks like BW was answering at the same time. I like his answer better. Go to Millers resources link at the top. There is free downloadable info that would help you there.


                          • #14

                            Where are you located? I have a Miller Dialarc 250 AC/DC for sale, but you'd have to be local for it to make sense.

                            I'm in central NY
                            Miller Shopmaster 300 CC/CV AC/DC
                            S22A Wirefeed
                            HF251D1 High Frequency Box
                            Coolmate 3
                            Miller Spectrum 625 Xtreme

                            Lincoln Idealarc 250 DC CC/CV
                            LN-7 Wirefeed


                            • #15
                              blazin454 check you pm's.
                              at home:
                              2012 325 Trailblazer EFI with Excel power
                              2007 302 Trailblazer with the Robin SOLD
                              2008 Suitcase 12RC
                              Spoolmatic 30A
                              2009 Dynasty 200DX
                              2000 XMT 304
                              2008 Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52
                              Sold:MM 251
                              Sold:CST 280

                              at work:
                              Invision 350MP
                              Dynasty 350
                              Millermatic 350P
                              Retired:Shopmaster 300 with a HF-251