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Starting with nothing. Can u help guide me

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  • #16
    Personally, I would NOT buy an engine driven welder unless more than 90% of my welding HAD to be done out of reach of a 100' heavy extension cord - at the price they want for a bobcat, you could buy a clean power (under 5% THD) 8000 watt RUNNING (not peak) generator and about $3k worth of other welders, possibly even more - if you read the Q&A on the Bobcat
    You'll see that MIG requires an extra feeder ($$) and, like nearly ALL "multi-purpose" things, the bobcat doesn't do much of anything as well as a dedicated "one trick pony" machine -

    Then there's the NOISE, fuel consumption, either running long leads when welding in the shop (or a supplied air pack if you want the machine closer to the work :=)

    This is why most of my machines (except the MM252 and my ancient 250 amp AC/DC stick machine) can run off my 8kw genny - I have a second MIG (MM211), an Everlast DC TIG/stick, and a Hypertherm PM45 plasma, ALL the inverter based machines can run to max off the genny.

    I probably run over 90% off MIG, only reach for a stick machine if it's too windy for MIG (even with screens up), the little green Everlast is hot enough to run 1/8" 7018 and only weighs about 25 pounds. My welding LEADS often weigh more than the machine. It also is programmable with 9 memory locations for either stick or TIG settings.

    Both my Miller MIGS run fan ON DEMAND, so the ONLY time I hafta listen to noise is when grinding/cutting or welding. The MM252 can reach 30 feet away from the machine using the 30A spoolgun (works fine with 2 pound spools of .030 or .035" steel wire)

    I have under $5k invested in the plasma + stick/TIG + MM211 MIG + 8kw genny, and the genny uses a little over HALF the gas my buddy's Bobcat uses, so the genny makes even the "whole house" function less costly. Plus, if ONE of those dies it doesn't blow me out of the water...

    Been on this planet since 1945, only took me about 65 of those 74 years to learn, and it STILL ain't over - HTH... Steve


    • #17
      Well franz and bukit: That’s a one two punch right there in new engine drives. But you also coupled it with alternatives. Replies which contain opinions coupled with reasons or alternatives are few and far between these days. Thanks fellas!
      On the flip side: Slightly bummed there’s not an easy “yup that’s the one to get” machine.

      In regards to a pto driven genset: Wouldn’t that rack the hours on a tractor. And wouldn’t holding A lower (quieter) rpm essentially on a tractor just decimate the stupid tier 4 emissions way sooner? Just asking?

      I really thought about a generator and dedicated welding machine. However to get even a generac 10k generator runs almost 3k plus welder, that gets close to matching an all in one unit. Unless I’m a poor shopper?


      • #18
        You misspelled GeneCRAP! Tme tin box you wish you never bought. But that's a whole different discussion.

        Tier 4, thank Califooledya politicians for that mess. Yes, you'll accumulate hours, that's going to happen anyhow but they will only be engine hours, not machine hours like pulling an implement, so you can deal with it easily.

        Honestly, more I ruminate on the situation the more I lean toward the tractor/PTO/ welder option.
        If nothing else, it allows you many cheap practice hours in the shop on utility power (when that is available) and it gives you the generator for planned shutdowns. I'd look to either Diesel or Propane for that machine.

        Remember both PG&E AND CALEDISON have run the numbers and it's cheaper for them to pay fire claims and do annoying shutdowns than it is to rebuild their current physical plant. There will be a lot more shutdowns, and it will get worse if the Governor makes PG&E State owned.


        • #19
          I don't agree with using the tractor/pto genny; I have 2 40 horse tractors and a Case 580B, and often have ALL THREE running at the same time, 2 different implements on the tractors (neither has a loader) - if I needed remote power and did NOT have a standalone genny I'd be pissed off even MORE of the time :=)

          This one

          puts out 27.5 amps steady state @ 240 volts; that will run my plasma (1" cut) TIG/stick (Everlast, 200 amps TIG/180 amps stick; Miller MM211 (16.6 amps/240 volts max) - it's under 5% THD so safe for inverter welders, and Northern has free shipping (and, they will actually ship it to CaliForlornYa) - AFAIK, the GX series of Honda engines are STILL made in Japan, not out of "Chinesium"

          That genny ($1600), my MM211 ($1315, free ship) @ Cyberweld (great company), and this TIG/stick machine (the one I have)

          ($754, free shipping) totals out to $3669 (plus roll-yer own genny wheels if needed)

          Also keep in mind - a MIG can be used for flux core (AKA "Stick-on-a-roll" by simply NOT hooking up the gas AND reversing two wires inside - but a FLUX core ONLY can NOT be used for MIG without either cobbling up a rube goldberg contraption or buying another welder.

          If my shop were to get burgled (and they somehow got past my dobermans AND 12 gauge) I'd use the insurance $$ to buy back the exact same units; 'nuf said IMNSHO... Steve

          Granted, that total does NOT include the plasma (new version of mine $2 grand) or the MM252 with spool gun (around $5 grand new), but it'd still let you do quite a bit of damage :=)
          Last edited by BukitCase; 11-05-2019, 04:10 PM.


          • #20
            Oh, here's my MM211's pimped out ride
            I'd have posted here, but I doubt I'll LIVE long enough to get pics to work on this site... Steve


            • #21
              Now that right there is a turn key item list. Actually more than more current needs, but a full list. Thank you. I read about pto gensets after reading the above posts, but I don’t think that’s the right route for me. The general principal of running my tractor to weld really seems off putting to me. Not slandering another’s choice for doing so, but I just can’t.
              My property came with a little single axel beat up trailer. So putting your setup on that trailer and being fully mobile is not a poor setup or idea. I could get away with just the generator and stick welder for now, and add a nice torch.
              I’m going to read about the list you provided this evening. Thanks again


              • #22
                Well, we haven't sufficiently confused you to run screaming like a girl yet, even with Bucki't Conex RanchoDelux.

                OK, one more time I'll emphacize the storage advantages of Propane such as No deterioration of the fule, and toss this for you to look at.

                Prices on the dual fuel models are good, and the vendor is reliable.


                • #23
                  Franz, I couldn't agree more on the dual fuel thing; I've been looking for one that has low enough waveform distortion (THD less than 5%) to keep electronics happy (instead of just LUCKY) - haven't found one yet that I wanna PAY for.

                  Your link has some good prices, and they're rightly proud of their all copper windings, etc - but NONE of the 4 I checked out says ANYTHING about "clean power", "true power", "electronics safe", or the actual TEST parameter of BELOW 5% THD -

                  These days, if a genny DOES have that they will GUARANTEED be BRAGGING about it.

                  In my experience (close to 54 years in tech fields, in some case teaching and mostly field repairs and/or system design/implement) when it comes to welders running on gennys, you either go OLD school with both, or NEW school with both. My OLD school all copper 250 amp AC/DC machine is basically bullet proof, BUT - if I were to wanna run even 1/8" 7018 using a genny, it'd need to be nearly TWICE the size of one that'll let a newer inverter machine do a BETTER job. Plus, not only would the genny be twice as heavy, so would the welder (if you can find one the meth heads haven't stolen for the copper)

                  I listed the max draw on my newer machines, NONE take more than 26 amps @ 240 volts - my old copper boat anchor has tripped a 50 amp breaker when I occasionally stuck an 1/8" rod, so I rewired for a 70 amp.

                  One of the downsides of the newer machines is their "pickiness" about CLEAN power - nearly every mfg states "less than 5% THD", and will void the warranty if the machine fails on a "non-approved" generator.

                  This isn't ALWAYS the case, but usually an electronic device (if the engineers really WERE, and quality control really IS) will (barring an overdose of stupidity on the operator's part) either crap out in the first hour, or run a LONG time.

                  So IMO, if a person wants to stay away from "those dadgum electronics", they would need a 15-20 kw genny and a welder like my old one (which still works like the day I bought it over 45 years ago)

                  OR, going "NEW school" - 10k genny (one that DOES have "clean power") is fine, buy whatever "newfangled" wiz-bang welder you like, and RUN THE CRAP OUT OF IT IMMEDIATELY - bounce it around a bit, run every kind of rod/wire you can think of, bury the rod, stick it several times, etc - if it DIES, it's still under warranty.

                  If not, stop drivin' it like a rented mule and take care of it like ya PAID for it ('cause you DID) - If it didn't die when you TRIED to kill it, it most likely won't when you treat it decent.

                  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't take TWICE what I paid for my old stick machine; but that little Everlast DC stick/tig impressed the crap outa me - stick has hot start, arc force (dig), and the arc is AT LEAST as smooth as the SA200 I learned on (the old copper one ISN'T, even on DC) - and the TIG side's HF start is all electronic (no pesky points to adjust gap on) - plus, it'll go from 200 amps clear down to 3 amps (just in case you wanna weld some razor blades together) Not bad for a box that weighs 20 pounds (my old beast weighs more like 200)

                  That's MY opinion; kinda like A-holes, EVERYBODY'S got one :=) ... Steve


                  • #24
                    Bukit, one advantage of bein around a long time is you got to pick up a bunch of goodies. In 83 we replaced over 25 1950s vintage gensets for the Crotch of Enginincompoops because they needed remote start machines. Remove old set was part of the contract, and I hung onto a few. My primary for replacement power is a 1952 Onan that still had the original oil filter and 52 hours on the clock. Spare is a 51 Kohler from the same source. Being a wizeazz, after the OIC signed off on completion of installing the new GeneCRAPS, I showed him how 2 push buttons and doorbell wire remote started the machines we were hauling off. He didn't care. The GeneCraps got replaced in 91 due to failing to start and failing to deliver electrons.

                    I have a stash of constant voltage transformers I picked up along the way, and between one of those and a UPS I got clean power for what needs it.

                    Biggest problem I find with standby sets is off frequency, especially when an oil burner is involved. Electronic burner controls are very intolerent of 58hz when the burner comes up.
                    Second biggest problem is people who slam a machine against a house that's been without power for a couple hours. Gee, why would anybody unplug the refrigerator, freezer and sump pump so that load doesn't all come on instantly?

                    Far as running welders off gensets, I noticed long ago you want a big enough set, preferably 1800 rpm that is running under a slight load before you pull the trigger on a MIG machine. Small 3600 rpm sets lack the rolling mass to handle the current rush when the welder fires, and machines with idlers to economize fuel consumption just ain't in the game.

                    I also laugh a lot when I read how people size standby plants to carry the whole house + AC when the juice goes off. Sure, plant a 16kva machine so SallyJean won't pop sweat thru her makeup during the power failure. That could cause the globe to cease revolving.. Even funnier are the Texans who claim to be 3rd generation and can't get thru a day without AC. Ummm how you figure generation 1 and 2 did it?

                    Average US house consumes 650kwh± a month + AC load or electric heat load.. 4500 watt machine will handle that without the HVAC load. Welder loads are a little different, but certainly handleable with a little thinking.

                    I own a SA 200 copper wound with 10 hours since rebuild, and I own enough other machines to last till I assume room temperature. Got no desire to own or contend with any inverter regardless who made it. If it has a PC board it has a calculated life to failure from solder wiskering thanks to the folks protecting us from lead.


                    • #25
                      Something else to consider is an older model pipeliner style engine drive like an SA200 or it’s cousins. They come in gas and diesel powered engine models. Since you’re not looking to power a fancy outdoor movie projector and all, a machine that wants to be a welding machine might fit your needs. There are tons of them around and they’ll always be around because people like them. People like them because they’re reliable. Slap it on a small trailer and go build your fence. If the noise of the engine bothers you then wear ear plugs. You should probably be wearing them when you’re using your grinders anyway. Since you’re very new at welding you’ll most certainly be doing some grinding.


                      • #26
                        Tractors - if you're not already a member of TBN, you SHOULD be (follow my earlier link and register)

                        Franz - you're already covered til you're cold and stinky, congrats :=)

                        ryan - dunno about your area; in mine, I've seen a few engine drives old AND newer on CL, most are either "rode hard and not put away at all" and overpriced, or "refurbed", either REALLY or "rattle can rebuilds" - either way they tend to run as much or MORE than the list I gave CSGC. Upside - with some luck, a refurbed pipeliner can likely be SOLD for what it cost if/when you finish whatever "remote" project you bought it for :=)

                        Throwaways - If my little green stick/TIG box dies the day after its 5 year warranty runs out, it'll have cost me $13.50 a month -

                        CSGC - Before you take ANY of our advice seriously enough to pay CaliFornica's unGodly 9.5% sales tax, you need to estimate HOW MUCH of your welding is actually gonna be "remote" - keeping in mind that there's a good chance your new tractor is either gonna break from "newby-itis", factory defect, etc - even if it doesn't, the more you play with it the more likely you'll wanna do things it CAN'T without "extras" - and even if you're not "inventive" enough to come up with 'em on your own, TBN will DEFINITELY help you spend your money, time, energy, etc, and likely help you save body parts by using hydraulics/gadjets instead.

                        Again, if most of your fencing (like pens) is within 100' of "shore" power, $180 will buy 100' of 8/3 SOOW cord


                        AND male and female connectors -


                        That would run ANY of my welders and the plasma with no problems (maybe not quite with the old stick, or full power on the MM252)

                        Between all the facts/opinions/wild guesses so far, hopefully you will be able to arrive at decisions that work for YOU (NONE of us is currently wearing YOUR shoes :=) - Bottom line is you will almost NEVER escape the "good/fast/cheap" rule (pick any TWO; you can NEVER have all THREE)... Steve


                        • #27
                          You nailed the good, fast, cheap thing Steve.

                          A good thing about the old pipeliners is a guy with moderate mechanical skills can work on them. In my area, there is a good bit of pipeline work/industrial welding going on. Have a few places here that their primary business is working on those machines. They’re not cheap for a reason. Certainly running an extension cord is cheaper for most things. Probably be at least a good way to get going, get some of your projects done and learn a bunch. Then once you have a better idea of what you’re doing start upgrading your gear. You should be able to find an old buzz box or an AC/DC stick machine online for a few hundred bucks.

                          But then again, if California is as communist as some say, you might be screwed.


                          • #28
                            "But then again, if California is as communist as some say, you might be screwed."

                            It is; I ended up there when I got out of the service in '69 (you could get a job in electronics in Oregon (home state) if you'd work for $4 an hour (in 1978) -
                            That's when we bought our place here. went back to Santa Cruz for wife's aunt's wedding in '86, traffic was maybe 10 TIMES as bad. The GOOD news - since EVERYTHING IN THE F'n UNIVERSE CAUSES CANCER THERE, maybe they'll get lucky and it'll hit all the F'n BUREAUCRAPS FIRST... Steve

                            You're right on the buzz box thing, here's an ac/dc tombstone locally


                            Personally, I like my Solar 250 better - plug-in leads and INFINITE adjustment (reactor core slider)

                            Last edited by BukitCase; 11-06-2019, 01:48 PM.


                            • #29
                              Hello all.

                              many amazing suggestions. Many different directions suggested with different price points and concepts.
                              Nothing would make me happier than a refurbed red face. We have offices in Arizona and there’s an amazing shop that does rebuilds there. Before I posted here I watched about a bazillion videos on the sa200 and I was set on that route. But for a rebuilt reliable sa200 its going to run a pretty penny for the single type task machine it is. But oh how’d id love one!

                              From all my research from your posts and spiraling my searches from there, I’ve come to somewhat two avenues.

                              ave #1). One of the engine drive 225’s (one of the two colors). Use it solely for stick”n” my fence. If desire to mig arises, just buy dedicated mig down the road.

                              ave #2). A machine like the Lincoln 210 mp plus generator. A genny snd a smaller machine like that I. Could build a small “sled” and just use my Front end loader to either place where I want when I weld, throw on the ranger bed, or in back of my truck.

                              Ave #1 is 4500 with taxes and leads
                              ave #2 is 3200 with taxes and leads (210mp is 1000 + taxes after rebate and genny about 1500 to 2000) after research.

                              Decions decisions.


                              • #30
                                Well, before you learn to weld pipe, you gotta learn to cut pipe and fit pipe, so that gives you a while to ponder on machines..

                                Hey, you can even go purist and gas weld the fence, and really cook off money.

                                Machine prices are very regional. I have a SA 200 sitting in the yard with a complete engine rebuild and 10 hours on the engine, and in this area it won't sell for $1000-
                                Watching plastic gas line getting drilled in all over this area, NO Welding involved.