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View Full Version : MIG welder gloat w/ on-topic project pics



tyrone shewlaces
05-23-2010, 02:20 PM
I got my MIG welder project finished yesterday. Involved making several parts and putting them all together.

You can supposedly buy an adapter to fit a Tweco gun to this welder, but I never saw one that looked like it would fit and they want more than I thought to buy them anyway, so I made my own. Another advantage is that I was able to make it function like I wanted rather than settle. Never surrender!

So here's a picture of the welder. It's in pretty good shape! The bottle attached is one I had that still had a bit of gas in it, though it's nearly empty . The one that came with the welder is the next size up but it's completely empty. That will be exchanged next week. The spool of new wire won't arrive 'til tomorrow anyway, so it's all coming together about right after all.

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff201/rgpimage/w1.jpg

Here's a closeup of the adapter I made. Required 11 parts to make it. Some are hidden inside so not apparent. A few of the parts were pretty minor and simple (one being the trigger wire) and a couple were pretty interesting. If you look close, you can see that I used a bit of liner through the adapter to allow a close fit for the wire and easy change in case I want to use other sizes (not really likely, but it's there if the need arises).

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff201/rgpimage/w4.jpg

Here's a closeup of the outside Tweco connector. I wanted the attachment point on the outside of the machine rather than the inside so it's easier to deal with. Also note that it's insulated, including a little delrin thumb screw I made for it, so there's no chance of things getting zapped (including me) from just casual contact. The metal gas connector on the bottom doesn't touch the brass core and is only in contact with the delrin shell, so no danger there either.

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff201/rgpimage/w3.jpg

And finally here's a closeup of the inside which shows how close I ended up getting to the pinch rollers. Probably a little closer than OEM anyway and as long as it doesn't interfere, I figure the closer the better.

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff201/rgpimage/w2.jpg

All in all it turned out really nice. I think it will work like a champ and I'm very happy to finally have a MIG welder in my shop.

hardtail
05-24-2010, 02:45 PM
That is nice work, and a WHOLE lot cheaper than buying adapted parts........that machine looks ultra clean considering it's vintage, try the other processes, your gonna love it..........

tyrone shewlaces
05-24-2010, 04:08 PM
Thanks HT

Best I could figure is that an adapter, wire connector and gas plumbing would have been a minimum of about $80 (though that item's picture did not show a power connector so probably more) up to another kit which was about $225 (which included a gas solenoid which I didn't require). So I figure about $100-$150, which seems awfully high to me for what it is, and the connections would be inside the machine rather than on the outside of the front panel like it should be.

My actual cost was about 50 cents for about 8" cut off a $12 liner, and everything else was just in my scrap pile or hardware drawers. My time ain't worth a dime it seems these days, but it did take probably three hours to machine all the parts. I don't even count that this time because it was kind of fun to get back into the shop. Had some practice single-point threading on the lathe and took my time making things fit just right. I should have taken a picture of all the parts laid out before it was all assembled together, but that was kind of a series of assembly/disassembly repeated about 15 times by the time I was done, so wasn't in the mood to take it apart for a photo, but I may still do that eventually.

Just for posterity's sake, I'll list the total costs of getting this welder up and running. I know I like to see how much folks paid for stuff so I can gage value for similar stuff I run into so...
Welder including tank (garage sale purchase) - $100
1/2 bottle of simple green - $1
44lb Spool of wire - $53
Nozzle, tips, diffuser, new liner for gun - $21
Shipping for various supplies/parts $31
Tank exchange - $75
Total - $281

Note that most of this stuff is consumable parts so in a way don't count since you'd have to pay again as you use the welder (half the cost was wire and gas - braack!!). But purchasing that stuff was necessary to make it function, so it should be counted as part of the initial purchase I guess. You make the call.
The cost of gas seems to me to be very unreasonably expensive compared to what I remember it being last time (several years ago). Like everything else these days, it seems 3 or 4 times higher than it should be. I was able to just drive up and exchange the bottle. They didn't hassle me for pressure test (I'm sure the bottle was old enough) and threw in a couple O-rings I needed. Could have been worse.
Just got done testing it out. The wire came in this morning and I exchanged the bottle around lunch time. The thing seems to work just fine!!
There was a feed issue. Cleaned the groove and set it all up correctly before trying it, but it was hanging up a bit. Turns out the tensioner thing was bottoming out and not pinching properly, so a little filing and it's working like a champ. It lays down a pretty good bead. Better than I expected really. The machine is definitely for light-duty work (compared to my 300-amp 60s vintage Lincoln stinger anyway) but it did pretty well sticking some 1/4" plate scraps together. It can be turned up a bit and do thicker, but I'm sure the Duty Cycle would start showing itself. No problem. Most of my welding is 1/4" or less anyway.

By the way, I've tried the stinger with this machine and it seems to be fine too. I have yet to try some kind of spot welding, but the timer on the panel works fine. I'd rather depend on my own eyes for simulating a spot weld with MIG, so maybe I can whip up some kind of spot welding attachment someday to try to do the real thing.

It's a good day.

hardtail
05-24-2010, 09:55 PM
I'd probably leave out the consumable prices but then I'm usually trying to justify to my wife how cheap it was and why I need a fifth machine......LOL (JK my wife usually gives lil grief and likely doesn't really know how many welders I have)

I would likely never get rid of my ol Idealarc either but if I had bought one of these I probably wouldn't have purchased all the other seperate machines AND space is becoming an issue so if I ever find one of these I will likely downsize some of the others........I still think this a perfect HSM machine......where can you pickup some multiprocess machine for $100?????

I had to do some welding repairs on some trailer ramps last week and I think I've used that POS Dialarc we have at work for the last time.........I was hoping to never use the Dipstick again and they consider selling it off but it's been sitting now for a few years and it's time to but some new tires on it and put it back in service........LOL

tyrone shewlaces
05-24-2010, 10:57 PM
I'd probably leave out the consumable prices
True enough. And actually a new-bought welder doesn't come with a large filled gas bottle, and probably comes with two pounds of wire on a mostly empty roll too and maybe one extra tip, so a fair comparison would probably be to leave most of the consumables price off the tally. So that comes to what - about $125 at most? That justifies it better for me too, so maybe you're on the right track.


where can you pickup some multiprocess machine for $100?????
Apparently about three blocks from my house at a garage sale !!!!
Since it was a fixer-upper, I'm sure that had a lot to do with why it wasn't snapped up before I got there. Normally I would have expected it to be bought by someone who not only didn't know how to get it running again, but also didn't know it needed anything to begin with. But I got a little lucky this time I guess.


I would likely never get rid of my ol Idealarc either
No kiddin! That's my other welder too! I love that machine. It's a power hog, but I don't do a ton of welding so I say efficiency-shmefishensy. It's the smoothest welder I've ever used. A buddy tells me a pipeliner is the standard all other welders are measured against, and he thinks my ol Idealarc is as close to a pipeliner as he's ever used before, and he's done a ton of welding.

So yea now I've got this Airco and I've been inspired to get my TIG attachment hooked up again so I can use it too, which will probably require its own cart (paired with a recirculating cooler). The space is disappearing fast. But at least it is being taken up by working tools - so much of my floor space is claimed for years by things I have never found time to fix yet. At my age I figure I better start either getting the stuff working or sell it off so somebody else can have a shot at it. I have no heirs, so it will all just be some stranger's big problem.

Anyway, glad to hear you favor your ol Idealarc too. High fives are in order.

hardtail
05-25-2010, 02:33 PM
Our philosophies are parallel on these machines........I really don't care if the Idealarc is a powerhog and I live where where utility prices are some of the highest in NA......when you push the start button and the xfrmer hums you know something is about to happen.......LOL I may have used smoother machines but not many and not much...........

You have inspired me to clean the dust off the Dipstick at work and put it back in service again........or write NFG on the cover and try and convince them to flog it.........LOL

doctor demo
05-25-2010, 10:02 PM
Tyrone now everyone can call You a real Dipstick:D .....Owner.
Clean looking machine and nice adapter too.

Steve

JoeFin
05-25-2010, 10:18 PM
Airco is a "Supplier" not a manufacturer. Does it say "Miller" inside ?

I'm only asking because I have an old Airco "Heli-Weld" which says Miller all over the inside of it

tyrone shewlaces
05-25-2010, 11:35 PM
I don't know if Airco was always re-badged Miller stuff or not. I've used a big 3-phase Airco about 15 years ago. It was pretty sweet and the shop owner's favorite welder. Maybe it's all just orange versions of Miller equipment.

Mine doesn't say Miller anywhere, and I've been deep inside it during the cleanup. But I have read numerous forum entries regarding Airco stuff being manufactured by Miller. So I neither know for sure either way nor doubt it... nor care much honestly. I'd be happy with this thing no matter who made it, especially for the price. I do kind of like the orange color though. Blue is so ordinary - I always did like being different.:D

JoeFin
05-26-2010, 12:32 AM
How is this for being different - check the property tag on top of the welder - it came from NASA - Cape Canaveral I was told

http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa83/Freakindj/welder.jpg

my Lil' Space Cadet Welder - 500 amp TIG And check this out - it has the taps on the transformer so I can run Single Phase power.

Airco Welders Rock

Black_Moons
05-26-2010, 01:08 AM
Very nice job, I bet the closeness of the liner to rollers will really help if you try and push aluminum wire through that.

hardtail
05-26-2010, 01:35 AM
I think these machines were well built and ahead of their time...........I don't know how long they made the Dipstick but it was probably just before they figured out they could sell you 3 or 4 seperate machines instead on one......

I heard Esab had some support for them but probably not much by now.....likely acquired later

Black_Moons
05-26-2010, 02:00 AM
I think these machines were well built and ahead of their time...........I don't know how long they made the Dipstick but it was probably just before they figured out they could sell you 3 or 4 seperate machines instead on one......


Very good point.. Especialy with modren SMPS based welders it would likey be very little additional circuity to add a MIG mode to a TIG
(Tig onto a mig might be harder if you want a high end tig with all the fancy adjustments and HF start and such.. but then, thats why tigs cost so much)

flylo
10-30-2011, 11:59 AM
That looks alot like my Miller 330 which would be my choice for 1 welder. 5-500 amps + it will will stick weld. What else can you weld alum foil with? It runs on 220 sng phase or any of the 3 phases. Miller was on the mark with this one. It has the liquid cooled torch.pump cooler.foot pedal.etc. All the parts are still available from miller. :D

J Tiers
10-30-2011, 12:24 PM
Very good point.. Especialy with modren SMPS based welders it would likey be very little additional circuity to add a MIG mode to a TIG
(Tig onto a mig might be harder if you want a high end tig with all the fancy adjustments and HF start and such.. but then, thats why tigs cost so much)

Maybe......

Tig is constant current, and Mig is constant voltage...... lots of Tigs seem to have a stick mode, since those are compatible.

Depending on how the control is done, it might be easy or hard to change-over.

The huge Millers at class were switchable from Stick to Mig, but they were monsters, I don't even know what the max current they could be set to was. We were at a pretty high current IIRC, and the dial was about halfway up.

wierdscience
10-30-2011, 01:31 PM
How is this for being different - check the property tag on top of the welder - it came from NASA - Cape Canaveral I was told

http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa83/Freakindj/welder.jpg

my Lil' Space Cadet Welder - 500 amp TIG And check this out - it has the taps on the transformer so I can run Single Phase power.

Airco Welders Rock

Yep,same as a Miller Goldstar-

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0903/wierdscience/miller.jpg

Airco having developed the GMAW process may have had something to do with it.Miller built machines and Airco produced inert gas so Miller building machines for Airco to sell process and product would be a smart move.

wierdscience
10-30-2011, 02:04 PM
Double post

macona
10-30-2011, 02:46 PM
Maybe......

Tig is constant current, and Mig is constant voltage...... lots of Tigs seem to have a stick mode, since those are compatible.

Depending on how the control is done, it might be easy or hard to change-over.

The huge Millers at class were switchable from Stick to Mig, but they were monsters, I don't even know what the max current they could be set to was. We were at a pretty high current IIRC, and the dial was about halfway up.

No, it won't be easy.

Buy you can use a voltage sensing feeder that will connect to a tig or stick machine. Something like an Lincoln LN-25 or Miller S-35P