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  1. #1
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    Default What should I buy?

    My OLD Lincoln Tombstone finally gave up the ghost. I'm tired of messing with it, need to buy something new, and I'm looking for suggestions. Most of my welding is on broken farm equipment or in fabricating implements/things I'm too cheap to buy or can't buy. Typically I only use stick on heavy/thick steel. On anything 3/8" or below, I'll usually use flux core if it's plain steel and MIG for anything else. I use a spool gun for aluminum. I have read a lot about the new inverter welders that can also do TIG which I learned about 35 years ago as heliarc. It was great for exotics but I'm not sure what I would do with it now. Please educate me. My inclination was to just get a Lincoln AC/DC-225 which I would just leave on DC but I'm not sure what I would be missing. Portability is not really an issue. All my fields are reasonably close and I've got a little 120V 100 amp wire feed that I can run on a generator to tack stuff together before I drag it back to the shop. So here are my questions:

    1) What is the real difference between stick welding, using DC on a tombstone or one of the new inverter machines? I don't think I have any real arc control issues, so what am I missing?

    2)What could I use TIG for that I can't already do with MIG?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Reyer Farms's Avatar
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    Mahindra 5010

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    Hey mike. Wearing out an Lincoln 225 tombstone is an accomplishment ! Congrats. If you want dc I recommend miller thunderbolt or Hobart stickmate. With the right stuff you can scratch start off them. They are infinitely adjustable unlike your tombstone. I can say I was very impressed with the miller/ Hobart a few years ago. It just comes down to what you like on the other end of your whip.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Reyer Farms's Avatar
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    Question 1: inverters allow you really customize your arc with voltage and amperage. Water or butter, soft or hard. They are also adjustable infinitely instead of tapped 75, 90,&... Inverters are more compact and some offer variable input power. When you look at the machine voltage and amp curve you get constant current or constant voltage. Inverters allow you to have best of both worlds. Tombstones are great, simple, and dang near bullet proof. It and the shield arcs really built much of America IMHO.
    Question 2: tig will allow you do anything if it is ac/dc. Tig is the most versatile of all methods. Tig gives weld quality that far exceeds mig.
    Good luck.
    Jody

  4. #4
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    NH Boomer 1025

    Default Re: What should I buy?

    Check out the EverLast line of welders. Good price & great support & service. Their PA200 would be good for the farm.

  5. #5
    Elite Member Shield Arc's Avatar
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    Default Re: What should I buy?

    I have an Everlast PA-200, and I have run one of the members here Longevity Stickweld 250. I also have a Lincoln V350-Pro. All inverters, I would suggest Everlast PA-300, or Longevity's Stickweld 250 because both have adjustable hot start, and arc force like my Lincoln V350-Pro. Even though I'm a hobbyist, I' am a little old school, these inverters just amaze me with the control they have over the puddle.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What should I buy?-stickweld-250.jpg   What should I buy?-powerarc200.jpg   What should I buy?-new.jpg  


    Miller Dynasty 300.
    Lincoln V350-Pro w/pulse
    LF-72
    Lincoln SG Spool gun

    Lincoln LN-25.
    1937 IdealArc-300
    Everlast PowerArc 200.
    5 Lincoln SA-200s.
    1800 Ellis saw
    Hypertherm Powermax 1250, CNC table.
    PROFAX Welding Positioner.
    JD2 model 3

  6. #6
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: What should I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reyer Farms View Post
    Hey mike. Wearing out an Lincoln 225 tombstone is an accomplishment ! Congrats.
    Not sure I wore it out. It still runs but only at top speed. I think the selector switch is probably corroded. It's been problematic in the lower ranges for some time It gives me an excuse to get something new and I want the DC option.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reyer Farms View Post
    Question 1: inverters allow you really customize your arc with voltage and amperage. Water or butter, soft or hard. They are also adjustable infinitely instead of tapped 75, 90,&...
    Question 2: tig will allow you do anything if it is ac/dc. Tig is the most versatile of all methods. Tig gives weld quality that far exceeds mig.
    That's what I assumed. I had been looking at a Miller Thunderbolt XL 225/150 AC/DC for that reason. However, I rarely run into anything that I can't stick together. I tend to spend a lot more time cutting and prepping the metal so the assembly phase is almost anti-climactic. Farm equipment doesn't typically involve exotic metallurgy and the only time I mess with aluminum is making repairs/modifications on my horse trailers. I know TIG is versatile, I just can't figure out what I'd use it for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shield Arc View Post
    I have an Everlast PA-200, and I have run one of the members here Longevity Stickweld 250. I also have a Lincoln V350-Pro. All inverters, I would suggest Everlast PA-300, or Longevity's Stickweld 250 because both have adjustable hot start, and arc force like my Lincoln V350-Pro. Even though I'm a hobbyist, I' am a little old school, these inverters just amaze me with the control they have over the puddle.
    I've looked at their machines and have been watching Markcuda's thread with great interest. My concern is equipment quality and if they are over-endowed with technology do-dads. Over the years I've found that with the proper gas mixtures and wire you can do almost anything with MIG and good welders come from experience not more dials on the machine.....I'm a lot old school. I know they have long warranty period but what's their customer service like? I know with Lincoln I can take it into a repair depot about 25 miles away. I've only had to do it once when a wire feed motor died, the machine was out of warranty but they still fixed it for free and I had it back in two days. A warranty is only as good as the organization and balance sheet behind it.

  7. #7
    Elite Member Shield Arc's Avatar
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    Default Re: What should I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike120 View Post
    I've looked at their machines and have been watching Markcuda's thread with great interest. My concern is equipment quality and if they are over-endowed with technology do-dads. Over the years I've found that with the proper gas mixtures and wire you can do almost anything with MIG and good welders come from experience not more dials on the machine.....I'm a lot old school. I know they have long warranty period but what's their customer service like? I know with Lincoln I can take it into a repair depot about 25 miles away. I've only had to do it once when a wire feed motor died, the machine was out of warranty but they still fixed it for free and I had it back in two days. A warranty is only as good as the organization and balance sheet behind it.
    Well there isn't a lot to go wrong with a stick welding machine, no more sophisticated than a big battery charger.

    At least here we have Mark! Not only does he stand behind the products he sells, but he has no problem passing along his welding knowledge!


    Miller Dynasty 300.
    Lincoln V350-Pro w/pulse
    LF-72
    Lincoln SG Spool gun

    Lincoln LN-25.
    1937 IdealArc-300
    Everlast PowerArc 200.
    5 Lincoln SA-200s.
    1800 Ellis saw
    Hypertherm Powermax 1250, CNC table.
    PROFAX Welding Positioner.
    JD2 model 3

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    SW OH - near Dayton, OH
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    Kubota L285

    Default Re: What should I buy?

    Well my 2 cents is this:

    First, I highly doubt that your Lincoln tombstone is dead. I imagine it just needs some work done on that selector switch which is really pretty easy to service. There are many rebuild threads around on servicing that switch with photos included (e.g. welding web). All parts are still available probably $10 worth of parts at most and you be good to go - and you may simply require a good cleaning and not need any parts. If you are as cheap as you claim then absoluletly nothing will last as long as an old AC welder - your grandkids will still be using it. If you shop craigslist then you might even luck out and find one of those old add-on DC rectifiers for like $30 to add DC cabability to the unit you already have.

    AC/DC tombstone (or Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC or Hobart Stickmate AC/DC). I started out with a Lincoln AC225 and several years later found an older Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC at a good price. Comparing AC stick welding on each I think the Lincoln was slightly better on AC even though it was tapped setting and Miller is infinitely adjustable. I kept the Miller because it was DC though. DC allows you to run some exoctic rods (I never do), some arc starts are smidge easier (not earth shattering easier), some out of positions are supposedly a tad easier (I suck at any OOP anyway so...), if you lack mig then I do think DC biggest advantage is stableness at really low amps and the ability to switch polarity again at really low amps to avoid burn through on really thin metals (you have mig already so doubt this is huge benefit for yah). For me, I burn the exact same rods that I did when I only had AC now that I have DC and notice little difference on anything above say 60 amps. Lastly, you can add a scratch start tig torch to any DC output welder and do scratch start tig. I have done this simply because it was cheap $45 for the torch, already had an unused bottle and regulator. I have yet to really need it, but has been fun to play with. If you want to add tig torch then definitely go Miller/Hobart over the Lincoln for the infinitely adjustable amp setting over tapped. AC/DC transformer almost as durable as AC only units but Diodes will eventually fail, but easily replaced by homeowner without special tools so likely to still provide decades worth of trouble free service.

    New Inverters: I have never welded with one. Lighweight would be nice if you need portability (I do not), Dual voltage operation would be nice (I do not need that either though). I imagine the arc force would be nice (Have not needed up to now though). You are not going to weld aluminum with low dollar inverters as they are DC only so no different than DC on a transformer in that regard. Inverter will use 15-20% less electricity than comparable transformer machine. If you are welding 8 hours a day 5 days a week then this electricity savings can add up. I weld only when needed so electricity savings is mute point for me. Plus I use "Twin Carbon Arc torch" for free source of intense heat for bending metal, freeing rusted nuts, brazing, etc. and you can not run "Twin carbon arc off an inverter" without frying it so that totally rules them out for me. For me, I do have no doubt that inverters can be nice and they have their place for some people, but their are lots of circuit boards that are eventually gonna fail (when who knows) but more than likely in 5-10 years you are going to need either service on it or replace it again totally because that board is no longer available. Pretty much like this computer that I am currently typing on. It works great when it works, but I have never gotten more than 6 years out of any computer before it died with failed components rendering it cheaper to replace than repair. My computer is stored in my climate controlled house. My welder is stored in my old barn that is unheated, leaks in spots, has a dirt floor, and sweats sometimes when there are drastic temperature changes. Not an environment that bodes well for electronics but will not hurt an old AC tombstone or AC/DC buzzbox one bit.

    Now if I made my money or living with a welder, then I might change my mind. Having the best of the best might matter on something you are selling. Replacing high dollar equipment is not a problem if you have enough revenue to justify it - you simply pass those costs along. For me though, I am just a guy like you that repairs ole junk farm equipment and totally prefer durability and low cost over all other things. I have no one other than myself to pass high costs onto, and I simply do not use a welder enough to justify expensive equipment that is also highly likely to eventually break.

    Ooh boy- sorry for the long post - LOL
    Last edited by rankrank1; 01-13-2013 at 03:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What should I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shield Arc View Post
    At least here we have Mark! Not only does he stand behind the products he sells, but he has no problem passing along his welding knowledge!
    No doubt in my mind that he's an asset and honorable person. I'm also sure it's a good product. So were Farmtrac and Montana tractors. I just worry about getting parts for things down the road. I also suspect your welding knowledge is probably superior.

    Quote Originally Posted by rankrank1 View Post
    First, I highly doubt that your Lincoln tombstone is dead. I imagine it just needs some work done on that selector switch which is really pretty easy to service.
    I agree....a new switch is about $45. As I said, I'd like DC and this gives me a good excuse to get a new one. This one is over 30+ years old. I'm not going to throw it away.

    Quote Originally Posted by rankrank1 View Post
    If you are as cheap as you claim then absoluletly nothing will last as long as an old AC welder -
    My cheapness only comes out when I can build something for a fraction of what I would pay for it. I built a little 300 gal. field sprayer with a 30' boom, controls in the cab, etc for under $1K. When it comes to tools however, I have no problem parting with money. I'd rather not pay for capabilities I don't need but I also don't want to miss an opportunity because I didn't know about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by rankrank1 View Post
    Ooh boy- sorry for the long post - LOL
    Au contraire...You pretty much answered my questions. The kicker was your point about the carbon arc torch (they are great for rusted nuts and faster than a smoke wrench) and reference to the computer boards that I hadn't considered. I'll order an AC/DC Thunderbolt in the morning. Thanks!

  10. #10
    Advertiser Mark @ Everlast's Avatar
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    Default Re: What should I buy?

    I'll address the FarmTrac and Montanna jab first. One was owned by out of country people (farmtrac) AFTER it bought out a company in business for more than 30 years (LONG). Montana had people that were former Wal-Mart Execs running them and they could not think of any other way to run a farm tractor company except like wal mart. But I can counter with a example of Mahindra, which started with fits and spurts in the mid 80's. My father was one of the first dealers outside of the state of Texas. Now look at them. They eventually got it right after about 10 years, but they were committed and determined to stay in the market.

    With that said, we've been here since 2004. We're owned within the states, and we are multi-national now and have been since 2009. As far as parts, go try to find a part for a welder one of the major companies that was made more than 10 years ago. It's likely the part has been superceded, or just considered obsolete and limited to existing stock. It's happened to me, so I know about this part of it. Or for that matter try to get a part for one now, that you just bought. It isn't as easy as it sounds, because they don't break down their major components into serviceable sub components. If you need a resistor on a board, or an IGBT, you have to get the whole thing, which can cost more to replace than the cost of one of our new welders. As far as our part availability, most of our parts are off the shelf components...no specially made components with the names or part numbers hidden. We use Texas instruments, IXYS, Siemens, and many other "national" brands.

    As far as welding knowledge, I make no claims of superiority to anyone, but I do hold my own.

    Tombstones do give problems...as do any welder. I know of several that had fan issues, switch issues, or selector issues....or worse. And most were "just" out of their warranty period.
    Mark Lugo
    Everlast Welders
    http://www.everlastgenerators.com/

    Need a welder? Give me a call at (877) 755-9353 ext 204!

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