View Full Version : A tale of two welders

05-09-2006, 08:04 PM
With the warm sunny weather on it's way, along with plenty of rainy days to work indoors, I figure this is the perfect year to start on that go-kart I've always wanted to build :cheers: . I'd like to get a welder to build the frame as well as to have around for general repair work; a rattling exhaust, the hole in the floor of my dad's truck, mostly household stuff. I plan on building the frame out of .12" wall thickness steel square tubing, probably 1" or 1 1/4" to a side. I'd also like to keep the cost of the welder under $400.

The two welders I'm stuck between are:

The Lincoln weld-pak 100 (http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS/EN_US/diy_main/pg_diy.jsp?prod_id=166034&cm_mmc=1hd.com2froogle-_-product_feed-_-D25X-_-166034&srccode=cii_14110944&cpncode=10-19522210-2) mig welder


The Lincoln AC-225 (http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS/EN_US/diy_main/pg_diy.jsp?prod_id=166035&cm_mmc=1hd.com2froogle-_-product_feed-_-D25X-_-166035&srccode=cii_14110944&cpncode=09-9781380-2) AC stick welder

I've done some welding with mig before, and the breaker box and 120v outlet are near where I'm going to be working. On the other hand, I could run a 230v extension cord across the basement from the washing machine. I'd really appreciate any help!

05-09-2006, 10:23 PM
I would get ATLEAST the weldpac 125 or better yet the hobart 180, I got the 100 for the same reasons you list, and I have been quite unhappy, every other project I try to do it is limited (Anything greater than true sheet metal that is) My .02$ worth. As for the Stick Welder it too is limited just on theother side of the equasion, Can't do thin sheet or small projects...

05-09-2006, 11:44 PM
I have ot agree with bcromwell in that the stick woun't allow of sheet metal work and the Weld-Pak would be way to limited in the other direction. Plus you call the Weld-pak a MIG welder and that is not waht it is set upt ot be according to the add, it is what is known as a flux core welder. Sure it is upgradable to MIG for an additional cost, but then you are likely to be beter off just savign a bit and getting a real MIG from the begining. I'm not trying to be negative here just that many people get mislead by these flux core welders thinking they are getting a MIG.

You might be able to get a new MillerMatic 135 for around $600 depending on where you buy it. So you are already down by $200 dollars. This and the comparable Lincoln welder are about as good as it gets in 110 volt machinery. Atleast we are talking about real MIGs now but hey are still limited in capacity. What you really should be considering is a 220 volt machine such as a Lincoln SP175 or Miller 175. Either of these offers a bit of extra capcity that makes them a good all around welder. The only bad part is they put you in the $800 dollar range.

So going back to the 110 volt machines, where the costs are a little more in line with your specs, you will want to consdier the Miller 135 or the Lincoln equivalant MIG welder. But and it is a really bigt BUT you have to realize that you are limited to virtually just sheet metal and thin gage structurals. If you can live with that limitation then these will be OK. The thing is once you get the machines I don't think you will think to kindly about the limitations. It is an issue of getting what you pay for. On the other hand everybody runs into limitations with these sorts of low end tools be it the stick welder or the MIG.

AS to MIG I think you will want that capability right away, especially if you want to do sheet metal work on autobodies and the like. The MIG process, once mastered, allows for more control of penetration, a flux core welder is less that ideal for sheet metal due to penetration issues. Yeah there is the issue of gas bottles and refills but your only other choice is TIG and that isn't cheap either and also requires gas. The nice thing is though that most MIGs can easily be changed over to run fluxcore wire when it fits the task at hand.


05-10-2006, 10:37 AM
You're right, I had forgotten that mig capability is an extra $100 kit for the weld-pak. It's starting to sound like a 230v mig welder is the way to go for good all-around work.

Out of curiosity, what's the thinnest metal you could weld well with an ac/dc stick welder?

05-10-2006, 02:36 PM
IMO if you are going MIG stick with a name brand like Miller or Hobart. I purchased a $500 HF MIG and have never used it as the wire feed mechanism is crap, and on MIG a smooth wire feed is the difference between day and night.

05-28-2006, 10:50 PM
Just out of curiosity, what type of kart are you planning on building? I happen to have attached a 500cc 2 stroke to a racing kart. I went to third gear twice and havent been able to bring myself to run the thing again. Im too afraid to drive it anymore and now it just sits in the back of my garage. :cool: .

I also have an 80 shifter that I have been taking to the track this season.

Danny :cheers:

06-19-2006, 04:50 PM
Well, there's no good asphalt around my house for a racing kart - but there's plenty of dirt road! I was planning on an off-road kart with maybe an electric motor for assist.

As an update, I've bought a Lincoln pro-mig 175 off ebay for $550. I just got the cable and plugs to make an extension cord from my dryer outlet last week, so I should have it hooked up sometime this week. I'll post some pictures once I've got some welds done.

Thanks for all the help!

06-19-2006, 05:18 PM
I would love to see pics of the build process. BTW, if you need any help or ideas for certain things, like a moving motor mount (chain tension), Id be happy to help.


06-20-2006, 03:37 PM
I'm realizing I'm going to hit another snag when I go to make the extension cord. My dryer outlet is an old 3-prong version; one neutral (that I'm assuming for now is grounded, but I'm going to turn the breaker off and check when I get home), and two hot. Should I attach the neutral and ground wires for the welder to the neutral (and possibly ground) prong, and the hot wire to both of the hot prongs to produce 220v? What's the right way to wire this? :confused:

06-20-2006, 10:06 PM
The welder is 220 volts so you don't need the nuetral at all. You need the two hots and a ground wire. Make sure these are wired up properly.

In fact if you are not sure get the help of somebody familiar with single phase 220 votls circuits. The reality is that doing this wrong can be very bad for your health. It isn't difficult either but I would not want to attempt to explain it over the internet. Maybe with pictures but I don't have the time to draw such up.

Note that the dryer outlet plugs are fairly easy to find. What isn't so easy to find is the extension receptical. It is a 6-50R device. A nice one is made by Cooper and is part number 6709N. Warning: it is not cheap and you will likely need to find an electrical distributor for it. Your welding supply house may have extension cords suitable for the welder, it might be cheaper to buy through them and just put a dryer outlet plug on the cord. Then agian it might not be cheaper, It depends on the dealer.


06-21-2006, 09:42 PM
I finished the extension cord tonight, hooked up the welder and turned it on, and to my surprise I didn't get a fireworks show! Seriously though, I took Wizard's advice and tried reading across the two hot prongs with a meter. Turned out to be a perfect 240v. So I tried hooking it up to the welder, and everything's working great. I made a page dedicated to it (http://www.freewebs.com/atomicbeaker/Welder.html) so I wouldn't tie up the forum with pictures. I'll be putting the build of the go-kart and any other projects on that page, too. Thanks for all the help, guys!

06-22-2006, 09:50 PM
I built a sweet go-kart type vehicle in college. I was the team captian for the during the 2003 season. It had 20 inches of independent travel front and back. We could only put a 10 stock briggs and strattion engine in it, as per the sae mini-baja rules. It could hit about 35 mph, even with the little motor. The car was completly built from scrach. We designed the spindles and suspension geometry. I even went as far as to design and build the shocks.

Here is the teams wesite www.baja.mtu.edu has a couple videos and a buch of pictures. Good luck with your project and any questions just give me a hollar