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Generator or Engine Driven Welder/generator?

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  • Generator or Engine Driven Welder/generator?

    Hi, I'm new to the welding forum. We have a small fabrication shop in northern Colorado. We are a job shop and will build anything that comes our way but are limited by our small shop space (<1000 Ft2).

    We work about 50% of the time in our shop and 50% on site using a Millermatic 211 MIG set up. Up till now we've always drug a 100' extension chord onto jobs and plugged the Millermatic into that, with varying results based on where we are plugged in. What I'm thinking about now is buying a generator or an engine-driven welder/generator. I'm trying to decide if I can save some $$ and just buy a generator (on a wheeled cart, ~5000 or greater watt) or would I be better served to buy an engine driven welder like a bobcat 225?? Obviously the bobcat will allow for additional welding like stick, but since we are partial to our Millermatic 211 MIG set up is it worth the extra cost to buy a bobcat just to use it to plug our seperate welder into?

    Also am wanting to get a plasma cutter to use on site as well, something like the hypertherm 30 or 45 or the Miller equivalent - wondering if a something like a bobcat 225 can keep up with a 240V plasma cutter.

    My apologies for the lengthy post - a lot of factors in the decision.

  • #2
    First I think you will find the consensus here is buy a Powermax. I have the 45 and love it. It needs about 6kw input running flat out so the 5k gen is not big enough. Will also need an air supply for it. A bobcat would be plenty of power for the plasma but likely could not run a compressor too. I attempted using my small Bostich nail gun compressor with the PM 45 for out of shop work but was totally inadequate.
    You will have to determine how much you would use the stick capability to really make a good decision. My experience is I have seldom been happy in the long term by saving a couple of bucks and regretting it for years but it has to be a personal decision. I'm Sure there will be more views as others chime in. This is a great forum.

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    • #3
      Great, thanks for the response. I guess the air compressor issue is the real question. Looks like cutting with the powermax 45 requires 6 CFM @ 80 psi which is a decent sized/cost air compressor for mobile use, and would require a bigger generator than the Bobcat 225 to power both the compressor and the PM45 plasma.

      Anyone had any luck with the Powermax 30 Air set up? The unit has a built in air compressor.. I wonder if the Powermax 30 air plugged into a 220 V outlet of a bobcat 225 generator would keep up cutting mild steel 1/2" thick. Hypertherm website says it uses 5.5 Kw at full 30 amp output so I suppose it would.

      I wish they made a Powermax 45 with a built in air compressor..

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      • #4
        Cruizer is the resident repair expert here-I have been searching for a thread where he commented on the PM30 Air but haven't found it so far. IIRC his view was the compressor part would likely not be as reliable in the long term as the rest of the PM 30 and recommended against it. However depending in your needs you may be OK with that. If I remembered incorrectly, my apologies to Cruizer.

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        • #5
          Engine driven compressor and a pm45 would be a nice set up for mobile. Depending on your work, the pm30 may be under powered.

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          • #6
            Found the thread with Cruizer's response. search on "plasma machine". It was In June of this year. His view was 'get a separate compressor'

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