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babelloyd
02-26-2010, 11:07 PM
Hi folks,

Pardon my newness; I'm just thinking about how to get started in bike building, and I've been looking at welders. I found one for $300 Canadian. I'm wondering if this is actually a good deal. Here's the description:

~~~
This NEW in factory sealed box Clarke 105 Fluxcore Wire Welder will weld up to 3/16" steel in a single pass! Features multiple voltage settings, electronic variable wire feed control and fan cooled for better performance.
With this NEW Clarke 105 Welder Kit you will receive the 105 wire welder, welding mask, chipping hammer, mig wire roll and manual as well.
Will work in any standard 110 volt outlet. FACTORY CLOSE OUT!
Retail: $599.99.
Features:
Advanced thermal overload protection for transformer
Multiple voltage settings for maximum welding heat control
20% duty cycle @ 80 amps
Welds up to 3/16" steel in a single pass
Operates on standard 110 V circuit
Welds all types of carbon steel
Electronic variable wire feed control
Fan cooled for better performance
Includes welding mask, chipping hammer, mig wire roll and manual
Specifications:
120 V input voltage, single phase
Heat settings: Variable
Maximum metal thickness: 3/16"
38 lbs
~~~

Do any of you have any opinion on this?

Dave

darwin-t
02-27-2010, 12:31 AM
I have a Clarke stick welder, Menard's discontinued them and I bought one shelf display unit at a discount. They sell a different brand now.

I looked around and I was not able to find your model on the web. The price seems kind of high to me, even at $300. The $599 list price is just crazy high..

While I was poking around I found this one:

http://store.weldingdepot.com/cgi/weldingdepot/K2789-1.html?id=UyoK8cZS

It's made by Lincoln, a quality brand. Two things I like about it: It's a DC welder, which is supposed to make cleaner welds than an AC welder. It also has a knob allowing you to adjust it to any setting between 10 and 90 amps.

My other welder is a Harbor Freight wire fed welder. I think this is the model

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=94056

It has a switch - high or low power (like my Clarke welder), but to be quite honest, I don't notice a whole lot of difference. This is probably because I'm a beginner and just don't know any better.

Granted, my welders don't have fans, but neither one has ever tripped the overload from exceeding the duty cycle.

babelloyd
02-27-2010, 01:50 AM
Darwin-t,

Right on, thanks for your input. So, both your Lincoln and your Harbor Freight welders have been effective in your bike building projects?

I have another question about the type(s) of welding people do to build bikes, but I'll post that on another thread.

Dave

TheKid
02-27-2010, 05:05 AM
I have an HF inverter welder, which i find easy to use, and the welds do seem cleaner than my AC stick welder. Here's the same century a bit cheaper:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Century-Lincoln-K2789-1-Inverter-Arc-120-Stick-Welder_W0QQitemZ120520007238QQcategoryZ113743QQcmd ZViewItem#vi-content

It may be worth bidding on this flux core wire welder:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Century-80-Wire-Feed-Welder-120V-Welding_W0QQitemZ360238646311QQihZ023QQcategoryZ11 3743QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp3286.m7QQ_trkparmsZal go%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D4%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3 D8136598992582757485

darwin-t
02-27-2010, 07:10 AM
Darwin-t,

Right on, thanks for your input. So, both your Lincoln and your Harbor Freight welders have been effective in your bike building projects?

I have another question about the type(s) of welding people do to build bikes, but I'll post that on another thread.

Dave

I don't have a Lincoln. I have a Harbor Freight wire fed, a Clarke stick welder and an oxy-acetylene welder.

Many people here like wire fed welders better. They ARE easier to use. The wire is very thin though, so they make narrower beads. I haven't practiced enough with mine to give a valid opinion on them.

You should seriously consider an auto darkening welding helmet, especially if you get a stick welder. It makes it a LOT easier to see what you are doing when striking an arc. I think Harbor Freight has them on sale for $49.

Any of them should work fine for bike building.

darwin-t
02-27-2010, 07:12 AM
It may be worth bidding on this flux core wire welder:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Century-80-Wire-Feed-Welder-120V-Welding_W0QQitemZ360238646311QQihZ023QQcategoryZ11 3743QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp3286.m7QQ_trkparmsZal go%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D4%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3 D8136598992582757485

Wow, why didn't the seller clean the thing up a bit? How hard would that have been? That thing is filthy.

Doc Hollywood
02-27-2010, 09:44 AM
I had a clarke welder and it was okay. I sold mine because it just couldn't keep up. If you are willing to pay that much I would reconsider and get a little better welder and you can do more.

I stepped up and have the reconditioned Hobart Handler 187 and I weld just about everything with it. they carry the same warranty. If you wait you can get a pretty good deal from tool king. they pop up every so often.

Here is a HH 140 MIG and flux core reconditioned. It is only 100 more and you get the extras. Hobart Handlers are made by Miller and they are for home use. Many miller parts are interchangable.

http://www.toolking.com/hobart-500500a-factory-reconditioned-handler-140-mig-flux-cored-welder-a-stock

Cheezy Rider
02-27-2010, 12:15 PM
You may want to think about that Clarke welder before you buy it. I was going to get one off of Ebay from a guy not far from here. Found out that they (Clarke) went out of business last year, and if you try to call their number in Bowling Green Ohio, it doesn't work any longer. The guy on Ebay said that he bought some of their stuff at auction when they went out. Where are you going to get parts now.

babelloyd
02-28-2010, 01:10 PM
Hi everyone! Wow, thanks for all the helpful info! Clarke does seem to be out of the contest, if only because those welders aren't supported anymore. Century and Hobart seem to be doing well in the contest though.

@darwin-t: Sorry, I got mixed up about your welders. I'm normally a more attentive reader!

@TheKid: So, does "HF inverter" mean DC? I admit, I'm a bit wary of buying a used welder, just because nobody has to answer to me if the thing stops working, and I don't know how respectful the previous owner was in his or her use of the welder.

TheKid
02-28-2010, 03:54 PM
Yes. It's a cheapie from Harbor Freight (HF), that was in someone's trash. Inverter welders are DC, and can be used either negative or positive ground, (Some rods are DC Positive only), and many can accept kits for TIG welding. Thanks to the advice from Trikeman, I used 1/8" 7014's, which give very clean results with very little spatter, and are extremely easy to start. The only problem is, the steel has to be squeaky clean to get the best results. However, after getting consistent results with the 7014's, I went to 6013's, also easy to start. (Sometimes both are called beginners rods)
I started with 6013's (until Trikeman suggested the 7014's). I couldn't get the hang of it in tight spots, so I went to wire welding. When I tried the 7014's, I got hooked on stick welding. Now the 6013's are a breeze, and I even went to 6011's with excellent results.
Even though wire welders are DC, flux core creates a lot of spatter. MIG doesn't. But I do all my welding outdoors, so MIG isn't an option. The slightest breeze blows the gas away from the work, so the welds are weak and ugly.
There are pros and cons for every method. Over the past several years, I've acquired an AC stick welder, an inverter welder, and wire welders. I can add a MIG setup to the wire welder, and a TIG setup to the inverter welder, if the opportunity to weld indoors arises.
I'd suggest Craigslist, or another source for getting a good used welder. That way you could try it out, or bring someone who knows welders. Be patient, because good deals are out there. I recently saw an HF stick welder for $25 on Craigslist. It could be used with 110v or 220v.

babelloyd
03-01-2010, 10:32 AM
@TheKid: Wow, that's all great info. Thanks! I'm seeing some terms that seem to be synonymous:

"Inverter welder"and "DC welder"

"wire welder" and "flux core welder"

"Arc welder", "rod welder", "stick welder", and "MIG welder"

Am I right? Also, I'm not sure where TIG welder fits in.

But don't worry. I've got a book reserved at the library, and I will begin to keep my eye out for good deals on welders. I wish I had the opportunity to work outdoors! That would be great!

Dave

TheKid
03-01-2010, 10:53 AM
Very close. There are inverter welders that run on AC, but you could run them on either positive or negative ground. Wire welders include MIG welders, most of which can be used with flux core wire. Some Flux core wire welders are capable of MIG by using an optional kit.
I'm not really sure about TIG, but it seems to be stick welding with non fluxed rods, replacing the flux with gas. Perhaps OMO could enlighten us on this, since he uses TIG welding for his aluminum bikes.

Odd Man Out
03-01-2010, 04:07 PM
I'm not really sure about TIG, but it seems to be stick welding with non fluxed rods, replacing the flux with gas. Perhaps OMO could enlighten us on this, since he uses TIG welding for his aluminum bikes.

T.I.G. = Tungsten Inert Gas

This type welding you are coordinating three out of four of your appendages:
One hand holds the Tungsten Rod that conducts the electricity through it -- it is inserted through a "cup" that blows either a mixture of Argon gas or a exotic mixture of gases that create a gas bubble around the area that you are working on. The gas is inert and not flammable. You hold this rod/cup system about 1/8 inch away from the area you want to weld -- all the while swirling it around making small figure eights. The tungsten rod never touches the work piece.

In your other hand you hold the rod that you push into the leading edge of the molten puddle of metal that you create with your tungsten to add filler materiel. Both hands are always moving in coordination with each other, one melting the metal and the other adding filler.

While this is happening you have a foot on a peddle pressing down or easing up -- the peddle adjusts the ampheres or how much "juice" you are sending through the tungsten rod and into the metal. At the beginning of the weld you give it all you have to start the arc. Once the arc starts you ease back off the peddle to the desired amp rate (you can tell this by sight -- with experience). And at the end you slowly ease up to reduce the amps at the end of the weld.

While all this sounds hard -- and TIG welding is considered one of the hardest welding skills to master, anyone can do it with practise. There are many advantages to TIG welding;

1. You can create some of the most aesthetically appealing welds in the world.
2. You are able to weld Titanium, Stainless steel, ChroMoly and Aluminum.

But there is much to discourage one from attempting it:
1. It is very expensive to get into -- around $1500 for a beginning TIG machine to start. Buying the Argon bottle, etc.
2. It is not like MIG welding where you pick up the squirt gun and quickly learn to use it -- coordination comes in REAL handy.
3. TIG welding is slow compared to other types -- you will weld in terms of inches per minute.

I jumped into welding by tackling TIG --I find that when I try all other types that my experience with TIG helps greatly. I highly recommend TIG to one and all.

savarin
03-01-2010, 07:01 PM
I'l go with OMO on this. If I had the readies I would use tig for most of my work.

babelloyd
03-02-2010, 02:56 AM
Thanks again folks! By the way, what are "the readies"?

savarin
03-02-2010, 03:09 AM
Thanks again folks! By the way, what are "the readies"?

ready cash laying around for instant use.:punk: