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View Full Version : Advice on buying an arc welder in the UK



Mulcher
09-10-2011, 03:01 PM
Hi all.

I'm hoping to purchase an arc welder in the UK. Are there any features I need to look out for when buying?

Btw, my budget is about 50.

Mulcher.

Roccorob
09-10-2011, 06:12 PM
I have a clarke 140 ex hire company, it looks like it got hit by a truck but works and only cost me 20 quid, look in cash converters, second hand shops, loot etc. Mine is no frills has a knob on the front to adjust ampage and thats about it.

stormbird
09-11-2011, 02:21 AM
Hi there

if you have no knowledge of Welders and Welding visit this forum , loads of unbiased advice on purchase and use:- http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/forum/index.php

They will advise that you cannot weld bike tubing with a stick welder , that is because most welders in the real world do not weld anything below 3mm [ 1/8" ] and so they have no experience of welding stuff that thin.

My understanding of Stick welders is that the more money you spend the lower the amps and the higher the amps it will kick out , lower is better for bicycle thickness tubing . also look out for duty cycle.

That is the amount of time the machine can weld before it needs time to cool down , not such a problem with the low currents for bicycles but if it says 50% duty cycle at 45 amps then as a rule of thumb for every minute you weld at that current it will need 1 minute to cool down before it can weld again.

However probably 75% of the people on this forum use Stick maybe 23% use MIG and the rest TIG or OA , if you wish to follow Brads plans then brazing is not suitable as you cannot braze butt joins in square tubing.

I wish I had found them before I shelled out 300 + on a cr*p SIP [ MIG ] welder [ Now have a lovely TIG set ]

I am sure someone with more knowledge will be along shortly to help ? and good luck with your purchase , the Clarke one's seem to be popular and well like but make sure you buy the right one for the job.

Paul

Trike Lover
09-11-2011, 05:24 PM
For welding tubing, a welder that allows you to select amperage, and a fairly low amperage at the bottom end is useful. Duty cycle is a consideration. For most beginners or garage hackers/weekend welders, MIG is far easier that stick, especially if you invest in an auto-darkening welder's mask.

DIY store welders - the cheap ones - are usually junk. You might want to look in a) pawn shops, especially in or near an industrial area, b) local classified adverts, c) auction houses that specialize in liquidating industrial tools, and d) shops that sell new industrial welding equipment. Sometimes they have stuff they've taken in on trade, and often they get to hear of someone who's either going out of business and selling up, or who has just purchased newer, higheir capacity equipment and now has an older, lower capacity welder sitting idle. Even an older, smaller industrial grade welder can be leaps and bounds ahead of the Chinese imports found in DIY stores. I don't know any brand names for the U.K. - but some internet searching will quickly tell you what names to look for.

Just my two bits worth, based on some rueful bad buys. If they have them in the U.K., Lincoln, Miller, Hobart, and Century are all good brands in my experience. My last welder buy was for a higher-end MIG set; I bought it for not very much cash from a fabrication shop owner whose business had gone into bankruptcy, and got it out of his shop about 15 minutes ahead of the bailiffs (They drove into the parking lot as I was driving out, LOL).

Still waiting to find a TIG welder and a plasma cutter going cheap.

Mulcher
09-12-2011, 05:52 AM
Great advice as ever!

Think I'll hold off getting a new 'buzz box' and start looking around (thanks Trike Lover).

Mulcher.

xanda2260
11-05-2011, 05:15 PM
Great advice as ever!

Think I'll hold off getting a new 'buzz box' and start looking around (thanks Trike Lover).

Mulcher.

Got mine from Screwfix. 40, works great. 20amps to 130, plenty for this stuff.

Ibedayank
11-06-2011, 02:34 PM
stormbird...you CAN butt weld with brazing.... done ALL the time on motorcycle frames from the 1890s to current and was done on racecars for many years...

that being said I am sure it will work on a bicycle...

Trike Lover
11-07-2011, 01:17 PM
stormbird...you CAN butt weld with brazing.... done ALL the time on motorcycle frames from the 1890s to current and was done on racecars for many years...

that being said I am sure it will work on a bicycle...

Agree 100% with the above about brazing. The only thing that keeps me from having a permanent oxy acetylene cutting/brazing outfit is the cost of the tank rental. I know that in some places tank rental is quite reasonable, but the price around here runs about $75.00 per month per tank. Buying the tanks outright is another option, depending on the local regulations about recertification times. I've also had trouble with different dealers filling tanks that were purchased somewhere else. This seems ridiculous if you have bought the tanks and are the owner, but that is sometimes what I've run into when there's not much local competition. Having said all that, I'd really like to have a brazing setup as a permanent part of my workshop. It offers a lot of flexibility and good joint strength in some situations.
Just my two bits worth.
T L