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  1. #1
    Bronze Member nsmithnd's Avatar
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    Default Current value of a Miller TB AC/DC

    I know there are a lot of threads out there on this topic (value of used welders) and prices seem to be all over the place.
    So thought I would toss it out there yet again to see if this particular welder is in the ballpark.

    I've got an old Forney AC 180 amp welder that I paid all of $50 for, but everywhere I turn I hear DC...DC...DC...
    I even read a post that said "flip the switch to DC and cut the switch off" (or something to that effect).

    So of course this local ad for a Miller Thurnderbolt AC/DC peaked my interest.
    Seller is asking $299 and I'm curious what the current "fair" market value might be.

    -miller-thunderbolt-ac-dc-jpg

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Current value of a Miller TB AC/DC

    That photo is an older top crank Thunderbolt ( I have one). Current Thunderbolt (and its Hobart twin Stickmate) have the cranks on the front. Price is at absolute high end of what I would be willing pay for an older one like that. $250 or less is much more realistic for one that old IMOP. Cherry shape, extra long leads, etc. could change that...rough shape and price goes down.

    Do not let everyone rag on your AC only Forney machine: They work fine for a occasional use hobbyist. Frankly that Forney of yours will still be working when many other welders have crapped out. First, nothing lasts longer than an AC welder and yours has zero moving parts in it so no adjustment knobs or cranks to ever fail. Granted, DC will work a bit better (not earth shattering better) and you can run some speciality rods on DC (e.g. hardfacing rods which I never use). Frankly now that I have DC I run the same rods that I ran when I only had AC (7014, 6011, and a touch of 6013). IMOP DC biggest advantage over AC on a buzzbox welder is at the settings less than 60 amps or so when trying to weld thinner metals (if you lack a wire feeder). DC is just more stable at really low amp settings and you can reverse polarity to help with burn through on thin stuff. Otherwise at amp settings above 75 amps then you might notice 10% to 15% improvement over AC.

    DC is supposedly easier on "Out of Position welding" but I suck equally at OOP regardless of AC or DC so...little benefit to me anyway.

    Of course if you want to add a scratch start tig torch then you will need DC....and the Miller Thunderbolts or Hobart Stickmates are the best choices for that as far as buzzboxes go due to the infinite amp adjustments over tapped settings. That said, if you are wanting to get serious with tig welding down the road then there are better welders to buy for that instead of the buzzboxes. Adding a cheap tig rig to a buzzbox sometimes makes sense if you already own a buzzbox, but buying a buzzbox to purposely add a tig rig to it then not so much - there are better choices for tig.
    Last edited by rankrank1; 01-26-2013 at 09:59 AM.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Reyer Farms's Avatar
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    Default

    Hey first off I think the thunderbolts are great. I run the stew out of one and it is just a great little machine. As far as the value beauty is in the eye of the beholder. New prices are pretty straight across the board, so look at it compared to new and best of luck. The whole ac or dc argument is not that big a deal to me. I measure things in feeding my ego or feeding my family. Dc is nice, but I can weld nice, sound, pretty welds with ac. If I get a job and they have welder on site I'll weld with it, buzzbox or whatever.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member nsmithnd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current value of a Miller TB AC/DC

    Well... Another AC/DC unit finally showed up locally (slim pickin's around here).
    Appears to be in very good shape and has 20' leads.
    Asking price is $350 and I was thinking I'd offer $300.
    Sound reasonable?

    -miller-thunderbolt-jpg

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Current value of a Miller TB AC/DC

    $300 might be reasonable compared to a new one but you should price out a new Everlast or Longevity inverter. Might be close to the same money for a brand new, better machine with up to a 5 year warranty.

  6. #6
    Gold Member Reverser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current value of a Miller TB AC/DC

    I imagine quite a bit depends on where you live. Here in Texas, $300 sounds maybe a little high. But there in ND, the economy has been booming, and welders may be selling higher there.

    Have you checked any area pawn shops? Or, you might put a "Want to Buy" in a local Craig's List, Thrifty Nickel, or Newspaper.
    I would want to make sure they worked before buying. And personally, I would stay away from used older inverters, especially imported.

  7. #7
    Bronze Member
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    Default Re: Current value of a Miller TB AC/DC

    ive got that same miler, had it for over 20yrs..beautiful lil machine doest everything I want it too do...cant say I ever used the ac side other then messing around one time... as someone else mentioned prices vary by location I'd jump on that for 3 bills where I'm at even though it is an OLD model u just cant wear those things out! oh if it only had a remote!

  8. #8
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: Current value of a Miller TB AC/DC

    I looked for months for an AC/DC buzz box for under $300. Never found one and refused to pay that much $$$ when you can order a new dual voltage inverter for what people want for used thunderbolts.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Current value of a Miller TB AC/DC

    The local pawn shop put a Lincoln AC225 on Craigslist for $400
    Everlast PowerARC 300

  10. #10
    Gold Member Reverser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current value of a Miller TB AC/DC

    Quote Originally Posted by DXN1EL View Post
    The local pawn shop put a Lincoln AC225 on Craigslist for $400
    Good grief!!! Good luck with that!

    I don't know where those pawn shops get their pricing, sometimes. Other times they are fairly reasonable. I think they overprice their items at times thinking (knowing) people are going to try getting the price down.

    About a year ago, a pawn shop in Texarkana had a Thunderbolt ac/dc for $200. I would have gotten it but I didn't need it. So you never know when a good deal may pop up.

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