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Stick welder recommendations ?

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  • Stick welder recommendations ?

    Could you please recommend some model numbers and reasonable prices for a used basic DC stick welder that will weld 3/8 - 1/2 steel in one pass (I presume 200 to 250 amps) ? And also any new model numbers that will fit once you read my application.

    I have a small farm and will be fabbing small farm implements for my 23HP tractor and doing mods on tractor, etc. I've taken a stick welding course and was cutting and drilling large holes in 1/2 in plate and welding aluminum with an arc welder. That made me think I should get more proficient at stick welding and get a larger solid used basic stick welder (NOT a crackerbox), and maybe thereafter I would get a mig for lighter work, better cosmetic beads, or convenience if I needed it and as I gained experience.

    I realize you can do multiple passes with a mig welder for thicker stock. And maybe I wouldn't be welding as much 3/8 - 1/2 steel as I think and maybe somebody could convince me a smaller mig is the way to go. But I've seen the kind of stuff on a tractor forum ( these guys are doing and have been warned about getting too small a welder. And I was amazed at what I could do after only one course in stick welding.

    Just seems for right now a bigger capacity plain ol' stick welder is what I need that does DC in the range I was needing to cut plate, drill holes, and weld thicker plates (3/8 - 1/2), e.g. 200 amps was about my setting on the Dialarcs the school had. I was planning on spending $800 or less for the welder alone. So things like the Econotig might not be doable, and some of the mig units I see (and the Econotig for that matter I believe) that also do stick have a stick capacity but only around 150 amps tops which I worry is not enough.

    Advice ? Thanks for any. And remember, I am watching Ebay and auctions now, so specific model numbers would be very helpful. It seems there are a zillion used model numbers, but I am looking for some basic workhorse rugged unit that maybe has been working 10 years and will work another 20. Portability is not an issue as I do all the work outside my shed.


  • #2
    Several recommendations I've been receiving elsewhere say just go with a Hobart Stickmate 235 AC/DC or Lincoln Tombstone and be done with it.

    But the DC maximum amps I'm seeing is maybe around 160-175 amps.

    Is this enough when welding with DC for 3/8 - 1/2 inch plate ? Or would I have to use AC ?

    I seem to recall mostly using a setting of about 200 when I was in welding class and for sure I needed a little more than that (210 amps I recall) when blowing holes through thick plate with an arc (which I really liked since it seemed to beat the heck out of drilling).

    What are the limitations of having 175 max amps DC versus a 200 or 250 amp machine ?

    I also got a response on one of the welding forums that you don't necessarily want to weld 3/8 or 1/2 inch in a single pass anyway due to "HAZ" (large 'heat affected zone') and an excessively large, overheated weld.

    So maybe when welding the thick stuff 160-175 amps DC is enough.

    Any opinions ?



    • #3
      DC machines

      If welding 1/2" plate 7018 1/8 rod is going to around 125 to 135 amps 5/32 rod in the range of 160 to 175 so any of the meduim duty cycle machined well work good, Ive got a dial arc 250 ac/dc and weld stuff up to 1 1/2 wear plates on equipment with it. you might want to look into a thunder bolt 225 ac/dc should due what your looking for as long as you don't have to stretch out a bunch of lead. hope this helps..


      • #4
        I think a Thunderbolt or other color equivellent would be just fine. I had one many yaers ago and it handled 5/32" 7018 no problem. For welding 3/8 or 1/2" plate, you will probably get the best results laying down three stringer beads as opposed to onbe big fat weld, as mentioned before. Last time I checked, about ten years ago, the Thunderbolt 250 ac/dc was around $500 Cdn, not including leads.


        Dynasty 300DX
        Esab PCM 1000


        • #5
          thuder bolt

          I agree with johnny tig stringers would be better, list on the thunder bolt is $600 according to millers sight. also check e-bay have seen several on thier.


          • #6
            The list on the site is more than what a local dealer sell for.. definately Ebay is the way to get a deal for a used machine. I sold my Thunderbolt with leads and an oxy-fuel torch setup minus bottles for $300. Look around for a while, good deals are to be found.

            Dynasty 300DX
            Esab PCM 1000


            • #7
              Good deals....

              Keep watching. I bought a Miller CST 250 Inverter box late last year for just over $500 including shipping. It runs on 230 - 575 volts single or three phase, has simple controls and will do all the things you mentioned and more like tig and power a feeder, etc. Good luck!

              Ammonia refrigeration tech
              Trailblazer 302 (yes, it's new)
              Millermatic 180 w/Autoset
              HF-15 High frequency
              XR15 w/Push-Pull Gun
              Victor O/A, DeWalt, North mask

              "A professional knows what to do. A craftsman knows why."


              • #8
                There was a Tombstone used on eBay for something like $79.00. I found them at Home Depot for $269.00, new in the box.

                I like that welder, I have others that do a lot of good work, but I like the AC 225 very much. It' s great to for small to medium projects.

                Instead of one large set of dimes that may not look so well, two or three passes look much better and I think is stronger.



                • #9
                  My local "craigslist has several toumbstone welders for $125.00 to $250.00