New welder

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by Jay Kempf, Jan 20, 2015.

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes Forum by donating:

  1. Jan 20, 2015 #1

    Jay Kempf

    Jay Kempf

    Jay Kempf

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,643
    Likes Received:
    916
    Location:
    Warren, VT USA
    I have finally begun playing with my new toy. I got a package from Eastwood that included their 220V MIG 175 and their smaller 40 AMP VersaCut plasma cutter. Some distractions and injuries kept me from playing with it until just the last week. Last week I got out some scraps and started trying to melt things together. I know there are welding snobs out there that have to have the best there is but so far with my limited skill this package is way ahead of my expectation curve. The voltage and wire speeds are infinitely adjustable and the gas controls give great control over flow and pressure. The entire rig is really very well thought out and very easy for someone with only rudimentary understanding to just turn on and start using. I had some scrap 1/4" junk that I started on just because I knew I couldn't blow through it. The chart on the inside of the welder door pretty much idiot proofs initial settings and a couple beginner videos give you an idea of how to dial from your initial settings to perfect.

    First project after playing with scrap was a tiny weld on one of my older cars. I broke a gas lift strut ball stud off of a station wagon rear hatch on my audi. The part is tiny and it has a lot of load on it cantilevered so fairly critical. This weld was scaring me because is was near tempered glass and the amount of weld was tiny so no room for screwing up. Well, it wasn't pretty but I was able to do this work without bringing in a mentor to get me through the first one. Just walked up set the machine and did the weld. Later when I get better I will probably be able to do it with less grinding and cleanup after but still pretty happy with the overall experience so far.

    MIG is just as easy as I was lead to believe it is. There is virtually no learning curve. All I have so far is a C25 bottle so only mild steel experiments so far but can't wait to get into complex sheet metal brackets and things like that using the plasma and welder to fab up complex shapes. Never been much of a tube and fabric guy so I think this thing is going to be useful. If I get in over my head I will get the Eastwood TIG rig as well.

    The total package with MIG175 and VersaCut40 with autodarkening helmet, gloves, split leather cape and bib, MIG pliers, initial materials kit, aluminum MIG spool gun, regulators and hoses, castered stand and 25' 220V 50AMP cord was just about $1300 delivered to my door. Eastwood sells on Ebay so that turned out to be the best way to buy direct from them. Bottle of C25 is $140 initial cost, $40 refill for 20CFM size. Same for all the other gases like pure Argon for aluminum and Tri-mix for Stainless.
     
    akwrencher likes this.
  2. Jan 20, 2015 #2

    jmt1991

    jmt1991

    jmt1991

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Northern MD, USA
    I've had an Eastwood plasma cutter for several years now, and it has cut everything from sheet metal all of the way up to 3/8" plate. For what I paid for it, it was well worth it. You'll really enjoy cutting with it.

    Marty
     
  3. Jan 20, 2015 #3

    Jay Kempf

    Jay Kempf

    Jay Kempf

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,643
    Likes Received:
    916
    Location:
    Warren, VT USA
    Are you using straight shop air or do you have some sort of specific drier on the plasma cutter air inlet?
     
  4. Jan 20, 2015 #4

    dcstrng

    dcstrng

    dcstrng

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    Messages:
    912
    Likes Received:
    322
    Location:
    VA or NoDak
    Good to hear -- I got Eastwood's little AC/DC TIG (about six months ago) and given my meager skills as a weekend-hack, I've been very pleased...
     
  5. Jan 21, 2015 #5

    jmt1991

    jmt1991

    jmt1991

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Northern MD, USA
    I use shop air with an inline water separator. The air line runs are long in my shop and I drain the tank every time the compressor runs, so the chances of ingesting water vapor are very slight. I found someone on Ebay who sells the consumables for that plasma cutter, as well as some accessories. The first time you cut with it, you'll be grinning like a school kid because it's so fast! The light show is pretty cool too! :grin:

    Marty
     
  6. Jan 21, 2015 #6

    ekimneirbo

    ekimneirbo

    ekimneirbo

    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    Messages:
    1,009
    Likes Received:
    324
    Location:
    Deep South
    Well Jay, I'm glad you found something you can afford and are happy with....and now you are enjoying them. I'm sorry that you feel that I must be a snob because I recommended buying more expensive equipment
    with a name for durability and quality, but I was just giving my opinion based on having bought lesser known items in the past. I had one plasma cutter that was made in Italy and it was very unsatisfactory. Luckily Hypertherm
    gave me about what I had paid for it years before ($300 20 yrs ago) as tradein on one of their Plasma machines. About 3 years ago an old friend offered to trade me a SnapOn plasma cutter for a sheetmetal tool I had. Since I
    only had about $100 in the tool I traded him. He said it worked fine the last time he used the SnapOn but it needed a new tip. Spent $50 on some tips, plugged it in and shortly thereafter watched the smoke roll out of it. SnapOn
    is made by Century which is a second tier tool in my opinion. Since I had gotten it for my son, I traded it in on another Hypertherm unit and recouped my losses. Most of the equipment you buy will work well for a time. I hope
    yours works for you for a long long time.

    Something I would recommend is whatever cart you set your plasma cutter on, (I modified a Harbor Freight one), I would put a permanently mounted water separator on it in addition to what you have on your normal compressor
    set up. Moisture is the worst thing you can get to ruin your tip life. IMGP0034.jpg IMGP0035.jpg The water separator is another Harbor Freight item. Good luck welding and cutting:).....
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  7. Jan 21, 2015 #7

    Jay Kempf

    Jay Kempf

    Jay Kempf

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,643
    Likes Received:
    916
    Location:
    Warren, VT USA
    I have a water and oil separator on my shop lines but with a long hose I am worried about condensation past the manifold. So I am putting an inline desiccator at the cutter. Don't have it yet. All winter my shop is heated so it would probably be fine but no need to ruin consumables.

    The thing I like about the Eastwood stuff is that they are just such an American auto enthusiast company and their customer service is somewhat legendary. They stock all parts for the welders in the USA and have very good phone support for diagnosing and fixing anything that goes wrong. The welders are made to Eastwood specs by Locos. I have been pretty impressed with the quality of the build of the equipment. I have been involved in production sheet metal and appliance type equipment and this stuff seems to be made well.

    When I said welding snobs I meant people that have to have the good stuff to do production work. I have been around them for years. This thing won't get used enough to ever wear it out. But it will be useful to have it. I couldn't possibly afford even a used Miller Synchrowave which is what I was originally looking at. This way I have a complete set of everything for what I can afford.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white