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Advantages of a DC stick welder

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by saichele, Jan 5, 2010.

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  1. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    I have an older (probably 25 yrs) Lincoln 225 AC stick welder. I'm basically competent, not expert with it, but can do any of the tasks I've tried (welding tractor parts, 'framing' for a work bench, that sort of thing).

    I have an opportunity to buy a newer (about 3yrs) Hobart AC/DC stick welder, but I'm probably out a net of $100 after selling the Lincoln. I generally MIG the light stuff, and I have a gas setup that sees little use except for heating rusted parts. Is there any practical advantage for a home use in having a DC arc welder? The biggest task I see on the horizon is building a smoker this spring.

    I have heard you get more consistent welds (because the polarity is constant) and you get somewhat better off-position welding (upside down, for instance, which if I had to I would likely MIG). What I'm looking for is whether that investment will substantially improve either the appearance or actual quality of the welds (they look OK, and seem to hold, but they're clearly home made).

    Thanks
    Steve

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  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    If you have a good mig then I would just keep the buzzbox. You can do an awful lot of welding with a mig and the rest, when it gets thick, is buzzbox territory. There's a reason that the buzzbox has been around for a zillion years.
  3. ozarkjeep

    ozarkjeep New Member

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    DC is MUCH safer if you are welding outside, or in damp conditions, or laying UNDER something on the ground.

    Ive also found DC to make much easier to clean up welds, not as much spatter, and better at thin stuff- but your MIG already has that covered.

    Ive got a ac/dc miller thunderbolt, and I dont remember the last time I used AC.
  4. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    From what I've gathered, I'm pretty sure if I had DC, that's what I'd use most of the time. Elaborate a bit on the safety aspect - are you talking about electrocution, or the likelihood pf being splattered by molten metal (neither a great choice).

    Having just expended $100 on a new car battery this afternoon, the discussion may be moot. For the rare instance when I need to weld under something, it might be a MIG job.

    But thanks for the input. I'm constantly amazed by the range of talents and experiences present on Hearthnet.

    Steve
  5. ozarkjeep

    ozarkjeep New Member

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    when you weld with AC, its changing polarity 60 times per second, and constantly seeking a 'new' path to ground, for a few certain rods and processes that is a good thing.

    DC, has a set ground, and the higher voltage isnt seeking around for anything 60 times per second.

    saftey for you and less spatter.

    a freind of mine was welding on his stock car, laying in the dirt, and got burnt pretty good when his forearm was wrapped around a bar from teh roll cage, using an old AC buzz box.

    they are great when its dry, and you are not another potential path to ground, but the rest of those times, a DC machine is better.

    Not to mention , you only need a TIG torch, and gas bottle to use a DC machine as a scratch start TIG welder.
  6. moshiersr

    moshiersr New Member

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    Just have to stay I disagree with the safety arguement.. if you ever have gotten bit by a DC welder, it is nearly impossible to let go (been there, luckily it was a TIG, not a stick). AC you can let go if you get zapped because the current is alternating. DC it is constant and makes you tense and freeze up - you can't let go until the current stops. DC is far better for welding though!! I just don't think there is a safety advantage.

    Just my thoughts from my welding experiance and EE background.
    Steve
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I love my Lincoln AC/DC tombstone, but I started out with it. If AC is working for you, then I wouldn't sweat the difference.

    -pH- fan of 6013's... just drag 'em
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