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Advice for a general contractor

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  • Advice for a general contractor

    I'm a GC in San Francisco that specializes in seismic upgrades, underpinning and excavation. I need to purchase a machine for welding temporary shoring pipes, brace plates on wide flange beams and other miscellaneous things. The temporary shoring pipes are usually 6" welded to 1/2" bearing plates. The wide flanges are typically in the W12x45 or smaller range.

    I'm leaning towards the single phase 252. Do you feel this machine would work as a job site welder for my needs? I like that it plugs into my spider boxes and it can also be used for smaller detail stuff like fence repairs ect. The 3 phase machines are a no go for me. I'm open to the stick machines if the consensus is the 252 is too light for a job site welder.

    Thanks for your help,

  • #2
    The 252 it's by no means too light for the job, in fact I think it's exactly the opposite, physically too heavy and unwieldy a machine for a job site. It's great and more than enough machine for you application, however it's not exactly the style machine I would have around on construction site. I don't think you'll be happy dragging it around, breaking off the casters and screwing around with gas bottles. That machine is happy to be wheeled around on concrete floors working in your fabrication shop.

    The real question is who is your weldor, ask him what they want to work with. I guess you really don't need an engine drive since you're working on existing buildings? The 252 could work, but I can only see it being a PITA. You'd be best off to take the whole running gear off the 252 and build it into a rugged off road engine drive type of machine without the engine??

    Personally I'd just use an inverter stick machine, you don't NEED the wire feeder or the gas bottles, it's even more portable and it's what I'd buy if I wa was strictly working on existing buildings where I didn't even need an engine drive. Something like the CST280. It's the size of a toolbox with more power than the 252, it's designed EXACTLY for what you need to weld, pipe and structural steel on construction sites.
    DYNASTY 350 w/Wireless pedal
    COOLMATE 3.5
    CK WF1
    MILLERMATIC 350P w/Bernard BTB300 w/XR-A Python 25'
    MULTIMATIC 200 w/Spoolmate 100 w/TIG w/Wireless pedal
    SPECTRUM 375 X-Treme
    (2) DIGITAL ELITE helmets
    Weld-Mask goggles/hood
    OPTREL e684 helmet
    SMITH torches
    HARRIS torches


    • #3
      For a Jobsite Welder I have to agree with XRyan, will it do the job, Yes, will it be a pain in the *** to use, yes. You would be better off with a portable welding machine such as a Trailblzer , then off that you would run a S-32 Voltage sensing welder off that.


      • #4
        Thanks - Ryan and P.W. This makes perfect sense. I really appreciate your suggestions. I feel a little stupid as the description on the CST280 clearly states pipe and structural construction. So, I'll be ordering the CST280 later today.



        • #5
          Urban Red neck, I would not recommend the CST 280 because its only stick and tig, I have been a portable welder for the 28 years and have 2 trucks on the road as well as owning a full fabricating shop, if you were doing X-ray quality pipe welds then ya go with the CST, but your welding Piling type stuff.

          Go with a XMT 304, It has a great arc for stick welding, when your welding things with gaps you can get out the voltage sensing feeder with some .045 with 75/25 gas and some E-71 Elite dual shield flux core and get the job done, If you need to do tig steel then your set with that.

          Last fall we got called out to a tunnel job and were working along side one of the tunnel companies welders, he was stick welding and we broke out our feeders and absolutely kicked his azz, it wasn't even a competition, we easily out welded him 3 to 1.

          The weld inspector came by to see our nice welds and frowned upon the stick welders welds with very little deposition.


          • #6
            Now you got me really thinking - Portable Welder. What are your thoughts on the MigRunner package for the XMT 304? It's certainly a big jump in price but I'm the type that believes in the "cry once" theory. Right now we don't have a certified welder on staff to do the important stuff like moment frames. I've been subbing that out as it needs to have special inspections ect. I was originally looking for a machine that my guys could use to do the down and dirty temp shoring stuff. The same company has been doing the temp shoring welds and I could have bought a fleet of 304s for what I've shelled out over the years. However, your suggestion seems to cover a longer vision down the road. Eg. Eventually hiring an in house certified welder. Also it allows us to do the smaller stuff with the wire feeder now.


            • #7
              I need to ask, How do you move stuff around the job site, My guess is a crane or rough terrain fork lift, with that being said, your on a construction site, you need a custom skid with for pockets for the hilo and a lift eye for the crane, you need to set the skid in the proximity of your work area with cables connected to the machine, you will also have the bottle of gas chained to the skid, you then set the feeder where ever your welding and run the pos. and neg. cable to the feeder and plug the feeder in with LC- 40 quick couplers cables, I would tape the gas line to the positive cable and you will want a western quick couple for the gas line.
              That way when the welder needs to move to the new area, he disconnects the power and gas hose from the back of the feeder, moves the feeder and then pulls the pos. and gas hose and reconnects back up to the feeder, you dont want the leads permanently connected to the feeder.

              If your going to run the E71 elite dual shield wire, you can run that wire with a maximum of 75% Argo or less, dont use 90/10.


              • #8
                I have to agree with Portable Welder you would need a Trailblazer or the XMT. with a voltage sensing wire feeder.. You also might want to check on what wire or consumables you can use to meet code for the seismic work. I believe you are limited in what wires you can use for that. It will not hurt to check into it and make sure the equipment you purchase will suite the job.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Urban Redneck View Post
                  The same company has been doing the temp shoring welds and I could have bought a fleet of 304s for what I've shelled out over the years.

                  I would suggest that you look very, very closely at the total cost of doing that work in house. There is a reason they are charging what they charge.

                  Some days you eat the bear. And some days the bear eats you.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the advice. I'll let you know which way I end up going.