Lsat

Used Miller Stick welder.

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I've never welded before in my life and I want to get a machine to start. A used  Miller AC/DC 150 Amp welder has popped up in my area for 350$ and is listed as "60% duty cycle"...I just need guidence.

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I'm just getting started with welding myself. If you can find someone to teach you or maybe a class at your local learning annex or Co-op that is what I'd do. For me that isn't possible so I went to the library and got a text book from a welding course titled Modern Welding By Althouse,Turnquist,Bowditch,and Bowditch. As  far as the machine I can't tell you If it's a good deal or not.  It sounds a little expensive for my area but it may be different where your at.

Pnut (Mike)

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Many of the welding companies have lots of instructional literature on welding, both on line and in print.

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Generally starting out you would be a very fast learner indeed to exceed a 60% duty cycle on a stick welder---remember all the changing the rod and chipping counts as down time.

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Duty cycle depends on the size rod you are using and what you are welding.  Small rod and light work may have a much higher duty cycle for the same machine.

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I dont even know what a duty cycle is...to the reading

Right, I've fixed the duty cycle knowledge problem. I might try to talk him down, but is 350$a good price for the unit?

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Those lower end old school stick welders are adequate for basic work.  With a little practice, you can learn to lay down a good looking and sound weld...but it does take some practice.  150 amps is adequate for most maintenance type welding on what a "smith" might normally run into.  Not a bad welder to have around.

However, it isn't going to be your favorite "go to" welder if you want to do some really nice work over the long haul.  A good wire feed (with gas, not flux core wire) is much more appropriate to the kind of fabrication a Smith might normally see.  My MIG gets used 99% of the time and the stick only when I have lots of heavy profiles to do.  

But...it's a good starter welder if you don't have deeper pockets for now and really want to get started.  $ 350 is possibly a little high depending on the unit...because old school stick machines come up for less and there is not much that can go wrong with them.  That 60% Duty cycle is not an issue for most non-production welding.  Just take breaks to gather your senses and examine your work while the machine rests.

Oh..and those Horrible freight cheap auto darkening welding helmets do work pretty well.  They aren't the greatest but they can sure make learning a LOT easier.  Though I'd suggest paying more for a good helmet if you can afford it, those "cheapies" on sale are a reasonable alternative to get you rolling.  I've never had a problem with arc flash on the old one I have around although I ALWAYS test any unit to make sure it's working before striking an arc.

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I have completely reverted to old fashioned helmets.

All of the electric ones eventually break and if it breaks in the field you are in trouble.

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2 hours ago, Lsat said:

is 350$a good price for the unit?

Depends upon condition. I would check with local welding supply companies, they frequently have used machines for sale.

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Lsat in your other post you said you were 16. Back in the early 90's every student at my high school had to choose an elective course like graphic arts or masonry or electronics, or welding. Does your high school have an industrial arts program.

Pnut (Mike)

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1 hour ago, pnut said:

 Does your high school have an industrial arts program?

 

One of the great disadvantage of living in New Orleans is that nobody cares about vocational jobs.There are welding courses taught at schools by outside groups, but none that are free,  sooooo finding a class  it is....unless there is sombody would would let me apprintice in their shop. However like I said before, not much of that in New Orleans at all.

1 hour ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

Depends upon condition. I would check with local welding supply companies, they frequently have used machines for sale.

Good idea, I'l see if there is one in my area.

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Times have certainly changed. I went to an inner city high school and vocational training was all that they considered most of us capable of aspiring to.

Pnut (Mike)  

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In the '90's I was attending CPS auctions in Columbus Ohio where they were selling off all their vocational equipment, (Vulcan anvils, but I got some good casting equipment and a Johnson Heat Treat forge cheap.   I kick myself that I didn't snap up a lathe when they were dirt cheap!)

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Contact the big welding brands and dig into their reference material. There is a wealth of information there for free. 

www.millerwelds.com/

www.lincolnelectric.com/

www.hobartwelders.com

Go to the welding supply places and they have books on the subject on the shelves.

The internet is full of good material if you dig for it. Stay away from youtube until you know what is good information and what is not good information. It is full of both.

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2 minutes ago, Glenn said:

The internet is full of good material if you dig for it. Stay away from youtube until you know what is good information and what is not good information. It is full of both.

I much prefer books anyway. thanks.

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Mr. LSAT,

Many welding supply stores run courses on the premesis. 

I suspect that if you talked to a number of such places,  Perhaps one of more might be willing to trade,  (barter), the cost of a course for cleaning up their place, or other work.

That is just a stray thought, that would depend upon you having the time and interest in doing so. 

(indeed),  you could even end up as an employee at such a store, with free tuition, and other staff that could assist you &/or answer your questions.

Just Sayyin.

Cheers,

SLAG.

 

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I wouldn't think $350 is a very good deal for a used buzz box. Check with the welding supplies that sell welders near you. Go visit and see what they have for used welders. If you're shopping I have yet to visit one that wouldn't take you in back and let you try them out. If you don't know how to weld they'll give you tips to get you started. ALL the welding texts I have were give always from welding suppliers when I was shopping for a portable.

Do NOT get in a rush to buy a welder and you'll see better for WAY less money. The only thing rushed decisions do is make mistakes permanent more quickly. I live in Alaska and see yard sale buzz boxes frequently for under $100. Ask them to plug it in and give you a test run before you even start dickering over the price.

It has to be a crazy good deal before I pay asking, I always make a counter offer, usually around 1/2 asking. If they don't howl I over bid. <sigh>

Funny thing is, I ran the buried cable to the shop last summer and am now in the market for a buzz box myself and I'm NOT buying a new one. 

Happy hunting

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I would grab it for that price and because its ac dc you can teach yourself tig welding as well now if ya get it practice practice and more practice...

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40 minutes ago, Frosty said:

I wouldn't think $350 is a very good deal for a used buzz box.

I would agree with that.  However, he said it's AC/DC and when I hear buzz box I always think of something like the AC only "tombstone" Lincolns.   If it is indeed AC/DC, and especially if it has reverse polarity capability, that could change the value by quite a bit.

I picked up my used tombstone buzz box (AC only) with extension cord, helmet, and a small assortment of rods for $100 US.  I definitely would not pay $350 for one of those.

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I saw a Lincoln tombstone AC/DC for that price at the local fleamarket last Sunday.  I did not consider it an exceptional buy, (and did not buy it).

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I haven't seen a straight AC buzz box in quite a few years, even DC welders buzz. Recently I've been hearing any welder that isn't a wire fed and plugs into an outlet called a buzz box. 

Of the 6 Lincoln  buzz boxes in High school metal shop 4 were AC DC the other two full multi process one mig one tig, I graduated June 1970. The mig rig wasn't used inert gas was helium and you had to be willing to spend quite a bit and be on the road for a welding career to get much tig time. Everybody got about 5 minutes on the tig a semester. 

Point taken though I shouldn't use the term Buzz box, it leads to confusion.

Frosty The Lucky.

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The big box store has an 225 amp AC buzz box new in the box for $329 today. 

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Ok, umm.. What do you intend on welding, and how often? Most of us know that answer can change over time, but give us a glimps into your plans or thoughts so we can be of more help. For $400. About 18 years ago I was able to buy a New Lincoln 135 mig welder kit that could use inert gas or flux core. I use it with the gas and still use it a Lot to this day. It can weld somewhat intriquit stuff or I can build up the weld for some heavier stuff. Hobart makes affordable migs as well. Depending on what you are doing one of those options may not be bad ones either. Mig isn't real hard to learn. The gas bottles will cost you to buy or lease, and fill, but you'll get nice clean welds.

Honestly I have 0 experience with stick welding or welders. So I'm sure others are more helpful with that. I'm just wondering what you plan to use it for and how often to help with options in the price range you are looking. 

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2 hours ago, Daswulf said:

 What do you intend on welding, and how often?

I want to do the occasional welding project. I'm  defedently going to spend more time praticing welding rather then acctaully working. I cant tell you what I will be doing but that I have had projects in the past that welding would have made much faster, so I want it for the future...most notebly I plane to make a forge and welding will help a lot with that.

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Totally understand. Having welding capabilities opens many possibilities. If I were close and showing the ropes, I would suggest a mig with co2/argon mix gas. Thats me. Others would like the cost effectiveness of a stick machine. In my opinion at $350. you could save/spend a little more and get a great machine. As with any welding it takes practice. I cut my teeth on mig and love it for most all welding projects. Again tho, to be fair, I have no experience with stick welding and it may be versitile and great. 

I built my coal forge with my old Lincoln machine. 

Just another thing to think about in the wave of answers to your question. 

Either way a decent welding machine will open up many possibilities for you. 

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