Is it possible to convert an ARC welder into a MIG welder?

  1. cosmin_cosmin_1 Member

    Posts: 2
    Hello
    and greetings from Romania

    I have a question..if you can please help me.

    Do you think it's possible to convert a cheap arc welder into a MIG/MAG welder? I have the welding torch, i can make the advancing mechanism for the wire, but the main problem is the compatibility between the arc welder transformer and the one that a MIG/MAG should have.

    MAG (CO2) welding uses AC or DC current?

    What do you think?

    Here, the price for a MIG/MAG welder is about 500$ and the price for an arc welder is about 50-60$...
  2. Bigjoe Here,there and everywhere!

    Hi,
    In theory its possible the cost and time to build/convert a wire feed mechanism makes it not worth the hassle unless the cost of a Mig in Romania is that much?
    Good luck tho!

    Joe
  3. malcolm

    malcolm Administrator Staff Member

    Posts: 8,214
    Bedford UK
    From memory (and I might be wrong on some of this):

    Cheap arc (MMA) welders are normally AC, and MIG (MAG) is DC. There are other differences in the transformers too - minimum current tends to be very high in arc welders, and the output of a MIG is constant voltage varying current, while I think an arc welder has a constant current varying voltage output (varies when you move the torch away from the work).

    ARC welders are commonly used as a power source for TIG welding, but rarely for MIG. That's not to say it's not possible - just I don't know more of the how or why. Someone else will know better.
  4. Haze

    Haze is it can be hugs tiem ?

    Posts: 640
    West London
    my brothers 200amp MMA rig has digital power selection, and although it has amp by amp adjustment during the actual welding process the current jumps by 20 or more amps up and down, I dont know if this is the same on mig welders, id love to see a mig welder with digital selection like that, without spending £1000 obviously, im sure that with a seperate wire feeder an MMA machine could be converted, but like you said there might be other issues with the kind of current.
  5. Alex Member

    I looked at diodes to make a rectifier for an ARC welder to use with a TIG HF starter unit.

    The diodes are quite expensive. For diodes IFAV 150 Amp they are around £13each and you need four. You then need a choke and some smoothing caps would be nice and almost a must for TIG.

    But the problem is the tappings on the transformer being higher voltage on the ARC welder, so its a no go really for MIG.
  6. AVENLEY 10 Member

    Posts: 53
    The only type of arc welder that can be used as a mig are all inverter based multi process units using DC current.These are made by INE of Italy and also Butters(rebadged Italian machine) retailing from £1700 upwards.There are also mig wire feed units that can be used with a welder generator but still have to use electronics.I would have to say that unless you are an electronics engineer with a big budget it would be cheaper to buy an off the shelf mig and use your AC welder for heavy work
  7. cosmin_cosmin_1 Member

    Posts: 2
    ok, thanks.
    But what about using something like this.
    It's a ARC+TIG DC inverter, made by ESAB. It's not mine, my father uses it at work. They don't have the TIG gun, they only use it for arc welding.

    I'll try in this weekend to see if i can adapt one mig gun to this welder, to see if it might work.
    Is it very bad if i don't use gas for testing? Because i don't have a canister yet.
    • esab1.jpg
    • esab2.jpg
  8. AVENLEY 10 Member

    Posts: 53
    Don't bother wasting your time the open circuit voltage is too high to weld thin steel so your not going to have the full advantage of mig welding ie to weld thin steel and also the chances are you will do expensive damage to an internal circuit board.If an attachment could be made to convert this to a mig ESAB would market it.
  9. Drains

    Drains Yeah, nah.

    Posts: 7,670
    Soggy Sefton, NZ
    Migs are constant voltage, Stick sets are constant current. The changing current on a mig allows for the variation in wire stickout.
    My guess is that the two types of machine are too different (including and not forgetting the AC/DC difference, open circuit voltage difference etc etc), to consider such a conversion.

    But you can turn a vehicle alternator into a stick/tig welder. Now that would be a worthwhile challenge. Theres a thread about it on this site somewhere...
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