Welder Recommendations?

   / Welder Recommendations? #1  


Gold Member
Mar 16, 2003
Beaverton, Oregon
JD318, Power-Trac PT425 with scuffed-up green paint.
Hi guys,

With all the talk of welding up attachments, and of repairing your own PT, I've been investigating learning to weld. Sorry, but that's a class I skipped in High School. Frankly, I'm pretty confused by the different kinds of welders, but I think I understand the basic differences.

What recommendations do you guys have for a welder suitable for making attachments for the PT? It appears that most of the 'consumable electrode' variants would not be 'big' enough to weld 1/4" and 3/8" steel plate.

I'm looking for the best combo of ease-of-use, cost-effectiveness, and capability. What do you guys recommend?


Rob /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
   / Welder Recommendations? #2  
I have a 25+ year old Sears buzz box AC/DC stick welder. Still works great! Didn't cost too much back then. I would like a wire feed welder, but one that will do the thick steel in one pass is a little pricey for me right now. But, you could get a less expensive one and do multiple passes. Very acceptable for working on mild steel.

There were some excellent welding discussions in other forums on TBN. Be sure to search for them and read them. Many discussed just what you are thinking.
   / Welder Recommendations? #3  
Great question, Rob. I am interested, too. No time right now for taking course at local Community College, so I would be learning on my own. I would not undertake anything "critical" for that reason. The shop that does all our race car welding (and also the frames/rollcages for NASCAR) uses Miller exclusively, and recommends Miller/MIG. They suggested the 115V unit {HERE}. I'd like to get input from fellow PTers.
   / Welder Recommendations? #4  
A mig welder is probably the easiest to use. A new welder may even come with a video. The 115v migs are ok, and they cost up to $300.00, but for fabricating things for the Pt, I would recommend a Lincoln 175A, which is 240v. It cost around $575.00 to $700.00. It can use flux-core-wire, or solid wire, with co2 as the gas. It's all about bucks and versatility. I have both the Lincoln 175A mig, and the Lincoln 55A Plasma cutter, and they both work fine for me. I also use the automatic welding helmet. For my heavy duty welding, I tack weld things together and take it to a professional welder. The old buzz boxes still work pretty good, and good used ones cost around $100.00 to $150.00 . I would also spend some time with some one watching them weld, and will explain what is going on.
   / Welder Recommendations? #5  
Welding = my definition = Melting two pieces of metal together with a filler rod. STICK, T.I.G, or M.E.G. You choices will most likely one of these three.

Fishing. You can buy a bass boat, a 4 wheel drive, and a bunch of other equipment and go catch a fish. Or you can get a cane pole and go catch a fish. I guess the difference is the stile. Either way you can do it and have fun doing it.
I, like moss, have an old welder (mine is just a 25 year old AC Lincoln buzz box.) My most used setting and highest for welding things for the pt (some times it is less, for sure with smaller rods) is 160 ac amps using 7018 - 5/32 rod. The same results can be obtained with lower amperage and smaller rods. The larger and higher temp just saves some time.

When I was learning to weld there was no such thing as an auto darkening welding hood. It would really have been nice if there was. I would recommend one of these when learning to weld. They are nice even if you are a welder.
   / Welder Recommendations? #6  
Buy a US brand 240 volt AC/DC stick welder and learn how to use it. I have a Hobart LX235AC/DC which I got at TSC for less than $250. Don't buy a straight AC unit (buzz box), unless you can get one used and cheap. DC stick welding is easier and neater, and new AC/DC units aren't much more expensive than the straight AC models. 115 volt welders are too lightweight to be of much use around tractors.

A MIG welder will cost 2.5 to 3 times as much as the stick for the ability to weld the same thickness material, and it will require either flux cored wire or shielding gas. In the hands of an inexperienced weldor, MIGs can make pretty welds that look perfect, but are dangerously weak. No danger of that with stick. You can easily use stick outside in a breeze, not so easily with MIG

Whatever you do, don't buy a cheap, imported MIG welder. You will need to buy parts and supplies, and they may not be available long. Stick welders go for generations without needing parts. They are extremely simple devices.

If I was welding for a living, or even if I was just welding as a serious hobby, I would own a quality MIG welder, no doubt about it, but for fixing the occasional broken implement and doing odd welding jobs around the place, stick is cheaper and more versatile.

If available, evening community college or trade school welding classes are your best bet for learning how to weld.
   / Welder Recommendations? #7  
Not sure I agree on going for the 240v setup. Not to start at least. The number one reason is that you need a 240v circuit for it. And there ain't too many garages that have that. So if you're going to go that route, then you'll need to install the electrical first. Having said that, the 240v units are probably your best bet if you want to buy once and once only.

My plan is to go for a 115v Hobart 140 MiG (about $500). And comes ready to use with or without shielding gas. Not all of the 115v (or 120v) units come with that ability. I believe Miller is more $$$ but possibly the best quality. Clarke is sold by JCWhitney...I don't believe it's a highly regarded brand in U.S. welding circles. AFAIK they're manufactured in the UK which might be a problem if you need parts.

Beyond MiG, there's TiG, but any type of stick welding requires a greater degree of skill.

As others have mentioned, heavy duty work requires more heat and that generally requires a bigger welding setup. I think you also need to be concerned with the size of the weld bead that you can create and that's why a stick welder might be better (or even necessary) for certain types of work. Does that sound right guys?
   / Welder Recommendations? #8  
Yeah, I forgot to mention my old Sears unit is 220, not 110. I had to run a 50 AMP circuit to our unattached garage. That ended up being a big PLUS, as I installed a sub-panel in the garage with a 50AMP for the welder and several other circuits for lights, tools, the pool pump, etc....
   / Welder Recommendations? #9  
I hear ya MR, that's where I'm going once I have my workshop up.
   / Welder Recommendations? #10  
I'm pretty lucky in that our electrical panel is IN the garage. Unfortunately, the dopes that did the electrical also managed to fill it up (on a new house, go figure). So much for expansion plans without adding a sub panel. /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif