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Replacement or supplement old Lincoln idealarc 300/300?

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  • #16
    I'm with Bob La Londe. I've had my AHP for about 3 years and am extremely happy with it. I continue to be amazed at how much a hobbyist will spend for a TIG welder given the choices.

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    I'm not a weldor, I'm a machinist who can weld.
    It's all mind over matter.
    If you don't mind, it don't matter.


    • #17
      His next container load is coming in May, but new units ordered now are only $725.
      AHP AlphaTIG 203XI - OUT OF STOCK - SHIPPING MAY 15, 2021 | AHP Tools Inc. (
      *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.


      • #18
        Speaking of costs, the ancient Lincoln Idealarc 300/300 was part of a bid I put in on a business bankruptcy.
        In 1984 I paid $400 for their welding shop equipment.
        So I’m probably going to keep using this antique, even though I would really like a newer tech unit.
        Probably spent more on supplies over the last few decades than I paid for the welder.


        • #19
          Originally posted by kj4oll View Post
          Probably spent more on supplies over the last few decades than I paid for the welder.
          My employer got *all* of their equipment that way.... good deal. People may find it funny, but I bet I don't have $500 in my entire setup at home. I paid more than that for my oxy-acetylene rig. And yet I do it for a living. The nice thing about the older machines is you can get them for almost scrap price and know that it'll outlive you.


          • #20

            I will say this. I did a lot of Aluminum welding this weekend. Multiples hours of arc time. And I was using an old dinosaur spark gap machine like yours, my 330A/BP. I'm not sure the Lincoln is quite as good for AC work, the old ones certainly had a weird HF setup.

            Mosty of my work was 1/8" tube, but up to 1/2" and down to 0.065" and sometimes, 0.065 to 1/2". And these old machines will do it. With about 4 days of serious practice, I'm feeling pretty confident. So I'm not sure that trading $2500 over 4 days is all that great of a trade, especially since a new welder isn't guaranteed to make it easy.

            I will also say that even on 1/8" I was averaging 200 amps with peaks of 230, so a modern welder with that capability and a reasonable duty cycle at that isn't cheap.

            21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
            1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration


            • #21
              My welds improve the more hours I use the machine, but lots of wasted metal before I get the technique stable.
              I was looking at the Lincoln manual - for Aluminum welding there was an option called “Arc Polarizer”.
              It was recommended for doing fine work on Aluminum, especially thin sections @ less than 40 Amps.
              I don’t have that option on my welder, and apparently the 70’s are over, so I can’t order one.

              However, the manual describes the Arc Polarizer as “Three paralleled six volt automotive batteries mounted in a case”.
              The batteries are charged by AC welding over 150A for several hours a day.
              The case also includes a battery charger, for use if the batteries aren’t fully charged by enough welding.

              The Arc Polarizer is only connected for AC welding, and less than 300 amps.
              So it must be disconnected for other welding .
              Ancient technology that was simple & effective!


              • #22
                Metal Butcher pretty much nailed it, again. Stuff was built just fine with machines like these for decades. The modern features tend to be either for convenience, or for very specific tasks. What makes the biggest difference of all is called "arc time" The more of that you can get, the better. And The Metal Butcher is absolutely right about the economics of the situation. By buying older industrial machines, somebody else has already amortized and depreciated it, and took the financial hit. You, the buyer, gain from that with the older machines.


                • #23
                  A feature that a new machine has that yours does not is AC balance which can be helpful for aluminum. Among other things, it lets you use a wider range of electrodes and maybe not have to ball the electrode. I've only done DC TIG on steel and SS to date but I am looking for a machine that will do AC so I have been reading up a bit. "New machine" is relative because Miller invented AC balance like 30 years ago and built it into the Syncrowave.
                  Tom - Spotsylvania, VA


                  • #24
                    There are a couple areas where the new inverters really shine over the old transformers.

                    Size, weight, and power consumption. All 3 are usually pretty important to home shop users.