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Old 10-26-2013
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welding and welder options

I have a number of projects I want to do, working on a 4x4 and a small bus, I want to make a trailer and most importantly I have a lot of welding to do on a 75 yr old steel boat.

I'm a newbi weldor, I've used a 110v hobart MIG up til now. I like MIG.

However even in a boatyard, that thing is huge, heavy and unwieldy on the boat, and lacks power for other projects.

I'd like to get a decent welder that I can learn on and grow with, with the idea of being able to do mild, stainless and Aluminium. (up to 1/4" SS)

And eventually I'd like to be able to pack it up and take it on the boat with me.

So here's my problems:

In many ways, I think Oxi/Acetylene would be the best solution. No Power, can cut and weld pretty much everything, cheaper and easier to stow. And if I learned that, it'd be a real skill

But I'm not too enthused about having acetylene on the boat. (but I am thinking I could stow a tank(s) off the stern.


I really like the Miller maxstar or lincoln invertec machines. The size of a toaster and can do stick or tig. I think I'd use tig a lot in my garage, but on the ocean likely stick (wind) But those machines can't do aluminum. Bu I could show up in a marina and weld 'wherever' and I like that.

A miller Suitcase Mig welder, seems about the easiest to use, but is a little bigger, and can it do Aluminium?

A machine like a Dynasty 200 that can do ac/dc but it's a bit on the big side for stowing on the boat.

And... I'm actually not planning on having a big ole 7k gennie on board. I want to make a small 5hp diesel driving an alternator.

So, do you guys think it's even possible to run a 110 welder off a 3000w inverter? (8-10 6v trojan bank)

Which then brings up the idea of using a 4x4 welder like a premier power unit, but then again it's not going to be able to do aluminum And seems like the worst possible solution for ease of use in all my other projects I want to do around the house before i set sail, cuz before i could even start I'd have to build it and then lug around a motor whenever I want to use it.

So, do you guys have any thoughts, insights or opinions on any of this you can share with me?

Last edited by xymotic; 10-26-2013 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 10-26-2013
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Re: welding and welder options

Look into the welding capabilities of acetylene alternative fuels.

I do a lot of brazing using Chemtane on a converted oxy/acetylene rig. Chemtane is LP based (but burns more like acetylene) and is a lot safer to handle. It goes into standard LP tanks, which would make it easy to handle on a boat. Since I don't do any welding (just brazing) I don't know if it is suitable.

Wouldn't a small inverter machine like the Miller Dynasty 200 do the trick? It is a TIG machine that can handle aluminum or steel. Since one of the primary welding jobs on a boat would be making new pulpits and railings TIG seems like a much better choice than MIG. It looks like it could even work pretty well for thin tubing on a 115/30A circuit, something that is easy to find at marinas.
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Re: welding and welder options

I've carried oxy/ acet tanks on board for years while cruising the north coast. Never had any problems. Just pack out side to use. Most docks supplying 30 amps will likely have both sides of 220 volts .With the designated plug in harness you'd have big volts for real welding.I think many suitcase types are dual voltage any way Most marinas are not insured for this kind of stuff and would be in your face pronto..For regular ac stick welding Brent advocates a jimmied auto alt run off the boats engine. Work well for him.Ask him.
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Re: welding and welder options

Thanks, I guess I didn't realize an alternator is "alternating" before it gets converted back lol.
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Re: welding and welder options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
Look into the welding capabilities of acetylene alternative fuels.

I do a lot of brazing using Chemtane on a converted oxy/acetylene rig. Chemtane is LP based (but burns more like acetylene) and is a lot safer to handle. It goes into standard LP tanks, which would make it easy to handle on a boat. Since I don't do any welding (just brazing) I don't know if it is suitable.

Wouldn't a small inverter machine like the Miller Dynasty 200 do the trick? It is a TIG machine that can handle aluminum or steel. Since one of the primary welding jobs on a boat would be making new pulpits and railings TIG seems like a much better choice than MIG. It looks like it could even work pretty well for thin tubing on a 115/30A circuit, something that is easy to find at marinas.
Yeah the Dynasty is right up there on my list but I'm not sure how 'small' it is.
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Re: welding and welder options

The box that it ships in is:
24.3 x 14.3 x 12.0

So it should be about 3-4" smaller than that in each dimension.

It weighs 45lbs. I don't think you are going to find an inverter TIG machine that is too much smaller.
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Re: welding and welder options






On SS and aluminum you can TIG or you can TIG as any other process is just going to make a mess

While you can MIG aluminum it is done with a spool gun as the wire is to soft to be pushed through a normal gun and that would be yet another thing to carry


For the steel hull boat oxy acetylene to cut and stick to weld


While you can oxy acetylene weld it is about the worst choice and best suited for brazing
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Re: welding and welder options

For working on steel it is hard to beat the simplicity and economy of a stick welder. With the right rods stainless and CI can be worked on too.

But for shear versatility a MIG set up with alternative bottles and wire types might be the way to go and buy or rent a stick welder when you come to doing the boat.
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Re: welding and welder options

Has anybody had any success running a invertec or maxstar type welder off an inverter?
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Re: welding and welder options

I don't think that using an inverter as the power source will work too well. Alternating generators struggle to power arc welding equipment that generally have very high inrush currents. I suspect most inverter welders have relatively horrid leading power factors which won't help either. Ring up Lincoln technical support and ask them for final verification. They will have a definitive answer for you.

On a more general note, you need a decent MIG of at least 200A for your auto / trailer / initial boat work. Either get a combo inverter stick/TIG welder as a companion to use once cruising on the boat or trade the MIG for one when the time comes. You might also consider that some combo units now also include a plasma cutting option as well although these will be getting up a bit in physical size. Having said that, if it were me, I'd get a simple inverter stick / scratch start TIG for storing on a boat. This will allow welding of mild and stainless steels with stick (on a side note, I think stainless is easier to weld than mild with stick). For smaller cutting jobs, a thin cutting disk on a 4 1/2" grinder is hard to beat.

Just for interest, Oxy Acetylene welding, while versatile (it can weld and braze just about all metals including aluminium in the right hands) has a lot of disadvantages. The most significant is that it has a very high heat input when fusion welding compared to other processes. This means that materials with high coefficients of expansion like stainless steel and aluminium will distort like crazy unless done with some skill (TIG suffers from this as well since it is "electric oxy"). Stainless steel, in particular does not like to be kept soaking at certain elevated temperatures otherwise it suffers from "carbide precipitation", which is bad (google will explain more on this)
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