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lidl arc welder- opinions please

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Ady115/05/2013 14:44:13
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4810 forum posts
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I'm swithering over getting one of these to glue bits of metal together

Previous purchases of Parkside kit have all been reliable, I've had great fun with their soldering station and it's been darned useful too

arc welder

 

edit

if it's ok I'll upgrade the face protection and get proper gloves etc

Edited By Ady1 on 15/05/2013 14:46:54

Stub Mandrel15/05/2013 15:44:20
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4311 forum posts
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Ady,

Don't do what I did and buy a cheap Aldi one and wait over a year before trying it out and discovering it's duff!

I ended up with a cheap Clarke one, but these basic ones are all much of a muchness, I understand. Arc welders are not sophisticated beasts. The smallones have the advantage you can run them off a 13A plug. I great tip I was given was to use a long 13A rated extension lead (fully unwound), as this reduces the switch on surge and avoids tripping the circuit breaker on tehmain fuse board.

The biggest frustration is that they, even with a cooling fan, overheat quite quickly and then take a good long while (up to 30 minutes in warm weather) to cool down again. They are fine for small jobs, or ones where you are doing lots of fiddly bits.

I use small rods and it took a while to get the right current, for a long time I was using too little, now both I and my stepson (who has basic welding training and does non-critical jobs like welding up sheet metal battery boxes for boats at work) find it quite handy. He recently welded both the support arms back on my wife's exhaust back box, which was a tricky job (thin, rusty metal) with success using it.

The supplied face shields work, but are a pain. It is 100% worth getting an auto-darkening helmet, the quality of your welds will improve instantly as it gets easier to strike an arc, you aren't distracted by flipping or holding the shield and you will always start the arc in the right place.

I would like to move up to a mig, which is supposedly much easier and definitely better for sheet material, but for the little welding i do I can't justify this (yet).

Neil

Russell Eberhardt15/05/2013 16:53:53
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2720 forum posts
86 photos

As a first welder I would go for an inverter one if you can afford it. Much easier to strike the arc and it won't damage your back lifting it!

Russell.

_Paul_15/05/2013 18:35:42
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543 forum posts
31 photos

80a is a bit on the small side, the duty cycle on some cheaper end machines can be quite short so I guess it's down to what you intend to use it for.

fizzy15/05/2013 18:54:44
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1824 forum posts
120 photos

No dissrespect but it will be bird pooh welds only unless you are already a skilled welder - you will be very restricted to welding any decent thickness. Cant knock it on price and with a 3yr warranty you wont get more for your money anywhere else.

Stub Mandrel15/05/2013 20:20:24
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4311 forum posts
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Agreed only small welds, but I was able to knock up the cover below from old tumble drier. Also got an ancient Bedford CF through it's MOT.

Neil

Front of restored engine

I.M. OUTAHERE15/05/2013 20:21:28
1468 forum posts
3 photos

Hi all,

I have a little over 25yrs experience as a welder and have used similar cheap machines in the past and my thoughts are :

For the price even though the amperage is a little low it will still be fine with smaller diameter rods for the odd light duty welding job that a model engineer may have and you could weld up to 6mm material with multiple passes to build up the size of the weld fillet .

I'm not sure if you can get 1.5mm rods where you are as here in OZ 2mm is the smallest i have seen for a long time and 2mm will run on 80A although running a vertical down weld may be a bit more difficult on 3mm material.

The duty cycle will be low as it won't have a cooling fan but if you have a compressor a small air hose poked through the air vent will aid cooling and increase run time . I have only had issues with this when doing long runs or vertical up welds .

There is not much to a transformer type welding machine like this and they are usually very reliable unlike cheap inverter machines that have electronic circuits to control the welding current , the transformer machine has a mechanical choke to change the amps so not much to go wrong there .

Yes inverters are smaller , lighter and more expensive but if you have to lug a welder up 10 floors then they pay for themselves and if you were doing this every day for a job you would buy a top end machine as they are more reliable than the cheap inverters .

Small Mig welders are usefull especially for welding sheet metal but you have to pay for gas as well.

I'm hoping my brother will empty my gas bottle this weekend so i can take it back to BOC and then i won't have to pay for the rental of the bottle that usually just sits there as it gets very little use these days !

If you are new to arc welding get a book on it (workshop practice series has one ) and have a good read as it will make the whole experience easier and safer .

The helmet you will get is good to lend to others so they don't use your good one !

Buy an auto darkening one that does not need batteries and start on the darkest setting then lighten one step at a time it until you can see the weld pool clearly but not so bright that it make you squint .

Wear overalls or a cotton /denim jacket , dust coat - not anything nylon or flannelette as you will burn to the ground !

Wear boots - not runners or thongs as slag will burn a hole straight through them or your feet !

Proper welding gloves are a must unless you like serious burns or skin cancer !

One trick i always use is when i have welded something is to use some chalk to write HOT on it as you or some one else may try to pick up the recently welded item and burn the skin off thier fingers .

Finally remember that practice makes perfect so the more you do the better you will become .

Ian

Jeff Dayman15/05/2013 21:17:51
2189 forum posts
45 photos

People that write HOT on metal are just too lazy to write HEAVY. cool

In my experience in industry, when you work in the welding shop or foundry you soon learn not to pick up ANY metal without gloves, tongs or both. If you do you find out it is heavy and drop it right away. Hence the 'heavy' marking noted above.

You also learn to let hot metal go again if the leather on your gloves starts smoking, and to get those ^%$^&*^%$ gloves off as fast as you can - heat travels surprisingly fast even through leather.

A word about boots - if you are going to be doing any electric welding, sparks and slag will find their way right by the laces and past the tongue to your feet. It feels like it's taking 10 years to get your boot off when a hot spark is in there. Use leather welding spats over your normal boots or get a pair of ironworker boots with a leather clad steel shank over the tongue, riveted to the metal toe cap. Ironworker boots are very safe boots for dropped heavy articles too - mine have saved my feet several times.

JD

Andy Davies 9915/05/2013 21:39:38
10 forum posts

I only have one day of welding experience, taught by a friend in his garage, but I used a nice mid-range inverter welder and found it to be very easy to learn to use. It had a wide range of amps, and a good duty cycle meant that I could make the new table for my mill with little fuss. We used varying sized rods and it coped well with all of them.

I will certainly be looking to purchase a decent inverter welder in future, and am going to stay away from the cheaper options.

Ady116/05/2013 00:10:12
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4810 forum posts
717 photos

Thanks for all your comments

Looks like I'll be down there tomorrow AM

Have ordered that welding book too

cheers

Ady116/05/2013 09:18:22
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4810 forum posts
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Their welding rods are 2.5mm, a fiver for a kg so I got a box

Eb*y has loads of 1.6 and 2mm ones so going smaller won't be a problem

Ady116/05/2013 09:23:10
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4810 forum posts
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I've also noticed there are Aluminium arc welding rods on ebay

Not that I need any at the moment but has anyone any experience of doing aluminium ?

Trevor Wright16/05/2013 12:46:57
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139 forum posts
36 photos

Ady,

Bought some ali welding rods for my Clarke 160amp welder.

Useless, unless someone else has had success, would steer well clear.

If someone has managed to weld with them I would love to pick their brains.....still have 3 rods left and would love to get them to work......

Trevor

Jeff Dayman16/05/2013 13:07:38
2189 forum posts
45 photos

Aluminum welding is relatively easy if the following three conditions are met:

1. You have a TIG or MIG welder rated specifically for aluminum work or both steel and aluminum work (for aluminum, the amperage, high frequency, and gas shield are critical for good welds)

2. You have many many many hours of practice, preferably tutored by an experienced aluminum welder.

3. Repeat #2 many times

JD

PS I have never had good luck with aluminum welding with any AC transformer welder without gas shielding, and have tried several, and am an experienced steel welder.

Ady116/05/2013 13:52:16
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4810 forum posts
717 photos

I did wonder about heat issues too, Ali is combustible at higher temps

So steel it is

A pal of mine just had a spot weld put on his car front door hinge to stop it opening too wide

That'll be fifty quid for time and labour please sir (and he's a regular customer)

So this should pay for itself one way or another

fizzy16/05/2013 20:37:51
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1824 forum posts
120 photos

I once welded my girlfriend to the wall....looked ok till the slag fell off!

Andrew Johnston16/05/2013 20:54:44
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6315 forum posts
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Posted by Jeff Dayman on 16/05/2013 13:07:38:

1. You have a TIG or MIG welder rated specifically for aluminum work or both steel and aluminum work (for aluminum, the amperage, high frequency, and gas shield are critical for good welds)

Put it like this, I bought a high quality AC/DC TIG welder (Esab) and welding aluminium is still damn near impossible for me. Even the Esab rep made a right pigs ear of it when he was helping me learn to use it.

I actually bought the welder for use on stainless steel, which is fairly straightforward, but it seemed sensible at the time to spend the money once and buy one that could do both AC and DC. I have the highest regard for those who can apparently effortlessly TIG weld aluminium.

Regards,

Andrew

Rik Shaw16/05/2013 21:09:13
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1463 forum posts
396 photos

Fizzy - your rod was to smallwink 2

Jeff Dayman16/05/2013 21:25:42
2189 forum posts
45 photos

"Even the Esab rep made a right pigs ear of it when he was helping me learn to use it."

I should have also mentioned that some grades of aluminum are far easier to weld than others.

JD

Andrew Johnston16/05/2013 22:14:06
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Posted by Jeff Dayman on 16/05/2013 21:25:42:

I should have also mentioned that some grades of aluminum are far easier to weld than others.

That's what the Easb rep said after we'd tried 6082 and 1050A. Then he reckoned it must have been contamination from my guillotine.

Andrew

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