View Full Version : Newbie Which stick welder to start with?

11-30-2009, 04:58 PM

I've always wanted to get into welding, and I recently found out how easy it is to make a basic stick welder with microwave oven transformers. The first reference to this that I found was here (http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Microwave-Transformer-Homemade-Welder/) (oddly enough, hosted by that girl that was tackled by airport security for wearing a breadboard on her shirt a couple years ago), but after some research I found that MOT-based stick welders are fairly common. I found these plans (http://www.dansworkshop.com/electricity-and-electronics/homebuilt-arc-welder.htm), which are much more refined than the instructables tutorial, and describe a much larger welder. There's even an old thread from 2003 still living on an offroading forum with documentation on how to convert an AC stick welder to DC with a bunch of big SCRs. If I can put together something basic for less than $200, that should be a great way to orient myself and figure out what's what before making a serious investment.

I'm fairly confident I can make any of these (I'm an electrical engineer, although I've had to look up a lot of refresher material on analog circuits) but I don't know much at all about welding.

On one hand I could start with something very conservative; a 4-MOT 120V AC welder. Cheap, portable, limited usefulness.

On the other hand, I could try to make the last stick welder I'll ever need; 8 MOTs, with the possibility of a bridge rectifier for DC output. Expensive, large, non-portable, but highly capable.

I have a laundry list of projects that could all use some welding (custom fence, bits for a car, custom boxes and stands, etc). Should I try to build the best stick welder possible, or should I go for a much more convenient design so I can gain experience faster?


01-28-2010, 06:36 AM
Hi Eubarch

For all the trouble you're going thru to refit a bunch of used parts, you could get brand new equipment and save yourself a lot of time and effort. I've got top welders and generators reviewed at my site, including a new review due out this weekend on a great little stick welder by Hobart that's tough to beat. At under $500, it won't eat up your pocketbook either. You might want to take a look.

As I say that particular review isn't viewable onsite yet, but it should be up by this weekend, or just as soon as it's ready. It's being polished up now. It's among the first of the new article/reviews I've got flowing into the site, which has only been up since December.

In the meantime, come on over and have a look around. I've got other great reviews onsite now for you to read. My reviews are written by top industry pros, and the new content is going to grow fast and furious over the next few months, so send over all your welding buddies too.

It's at: www.welders360.com

Just click on any of the links to get to the articles and you'll see what I mean. Or read about me on the "About the Editor" page, then check out some reviews. It's a new site as I say, but it will be a top site on the web soon enough. We're working hard on it.

Rest assured of this: customer satisfaction is always my number one priority. And always will be. See you there.

The very best of luck to you in all things welding, or otherwise!!

Michael Firstman

01-28-2010, 10:23 AM
Hi eubarch

I could not resist, early model variable amp Miller stick welder, this model has a great review, no special glasses/hat hood needed gloves are optional

01-28-2010, 02:48 PM

What's sad about that picture is that setup probably works extremely well with the inconsistent power provided in places like third world countries. I've been to places where one day it's 230V 50Hz and the next day it's 120V 60Hz. Situations like that would kill the rectifiers on complex machines.

He could probably do with a hood, though.