Which small welder for arts projects and maybe diy

  1. Chris long New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    West Midlands
    Hi

    I'm looking to get my son a welder for Christmas. He is into metals, has a furnace and casts so this is the next step. I would use it too. I don't want anything expensive but want to make steel garden sculptures , decorative stuff etc. I know he will want to try stuff other than steel, probably sheets of brass or copper.

    What would I be looking at for ease and versatility. There is a lightweight welder on Toolstation for £111 that gets great reviews?

    https://www.toolstation.com/sip-05702-weldmate-t113-arctig-welder/p75918

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  2. gaz1

    gaz1 Member

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    Location:
    westyorkshire
    arc welding theres a knack to it to be honest

    I picked it up but i did have someone with years of practice showing me how to use it and also how to do it as well

    sometimes not as easy as many people may think it is

    not here to put you off though as many of us have done it

    easier would be a gas welder like the clarke 150 blue model

    but for cheapness its an arc welder like youve posted
     
    Nick DV likes this.
  3. tom2207 Member

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    2,520
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    uk northern ireland
    could you get him a voucher for an evening class in the local tech or the likes , give him a taste of it and see if its for him if it is he will know what he wants after as a welder
    if its not for him , hes had a go , and you dont have a welder gathering rust.
    The education / tutoring he gains will last a life time .
    Education is easily carried.
     
  4. Mark 2

    Mark 2 Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    491
    Location:
    London UK
    Arc tig inverter. The Sip in the Toolstation link is lacking in tig torch and gas fittings as far as I can see.
     
  5. Divingdad

    Divingdad Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    UK Northampton
    I went through the same process of choosing an entry level machine eighteen months ago or so. Went for the Workzone (Aldi) 20 - 140amp Arc Welder. Took advice from an experienced friend who recommended arc to learn on as it will teach you the basics that transfer to other methods.
    They are great bits of kit to use, there are plenty of online tutorials to use and with regular practice you can master the skills well enough to encourage you to move on to Mig,Tig etc.
    Got my daughter into it too, she is very arty and is constantly working to expand her knowledge of metals and the techniques to employ to stick them together. She now wants a Mig set up, which will be more convenient for her arty stuff. But, the Arc learning curve has given her the background start to move on.

    good luck
     
  6. eddie49 Member

    Nick DV, a111r and northwest like this.
  7. Divingdad

    Divingdad Forum Supporter

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    Location:
    UK Northampton
    I would add, that should you go down the Arc route, then get one with the 20amp low end. When using thin sheet or other narrow steel low amps are essential.
     
  8. mdr

    mdr Collector of welding machines

    Messages:
    344
    Location:
    wye-on-earth
    Welcome! :waving:

    Tricky to say what would be the perfect machine/process. The keywords I've picked out from your post are: cheap, ease [of use], versatility, lightweight.

    It also depends where you/your son are going to weld. Outside? Garage? A wooden building is not good for welding nor full of paint thinners and oily rags. A fire extinguisher is something to buy ahead of the point you realise you need it.

    If it's just to dip a toe in the water and get started; just to "have a go"; get a toy for Christmas; and play with a welder of some sort over Christmas that will stick two bits of metal together (but not do thin car body panels)... arc welding.

    For £57 delivered (standard/free delivery takes less than a week in the UK) I have one of these...

    https://www.parkerbrand.co.uk/160-amp-portable-mini-inverter-welder-15-duty-cycle

    Absolutely nothing wrong with it for that price (it's one of three welders I have at the moment so I can compare it to much more expensive ones). 160 amps allows for up to 3.2mm rods too. It comes with a 16 amp plug. I swapped it for a 13 amp 3-pin plug but if you want to keep the 16 amp plug you need something like this...

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Defender-E85301-Lead-13A-Plug-Socket/dp/B007VVNDRS/

    ...so about £7.

    Then you'll need a big box of named brand rod. E6013 2.5mm. You want a named brand so you know the rods are decent and it's your technique that isn't correct. Go for Esab e6013 OK46.30 from eBay they could be £30 and not the cheapest. Shop around and you can get them, as an example, for £16...

    https://engweld.co.uk/product/esab-ok-4630-25mm-6013-5kg-packet

    You'll need at least one welding helmet (two if you're both looking at the puddle at the same time). The Parweld XR938H gets some recommendations on here (about £67) but have a look at the threads on different helmets...

    https://www.mig-welding.co.uk/forum/forums/welding-helmets-and-other-safety-equipment.44/

    You don't want to be keen to weld on Boxing Day and find you have no helmet nor rods. If you only buy one helmet the other will have to turn away from the arc each time and not learn anything from watching the other.

    Assuming you already have safety glasses (a must in my opinion because of the hot slag flying about even after the helmet has been flipped up - ask me how I know!), welding gloves, jacket or thick 100% cotton long sleeved shirt your spending...

    £57 + £16 + £7 + £67 = £147. £214 if you get two helmets the same.

    After you have burnt that whole box of rods running straight beads on thickish (+8mm) flat plate you'll have learnt an awful lot about welding and looking at the puddle (the puddle exists for stick/MIG/TIG).

    Then you can decide if you/your son has been bitten by the bug and look at MIG or TIG and agree to get something decent with a budget of several hundreds of pounds. You then get into the world of regulators and rent free gas prices etc. At that point you can keep the decent helmet(s) and rods and sell the Parker welder on gumtree for probably £25 pound. Your training has cost about £30. Bargain!

    If you can't commit to a Parker welder, Parweld is a decent brand. A 140 amp welder from Oxford Welding Supplies is £122.50...

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PARWELD-...ding-Inverter-140-AMP-230v-LEADS/222588745636

    I previously owned the Parweld XTS 142 and rated it (https://www.mig-welding.co.uk/forum/threads/parweld-xts-142.86154/) but the Parker is way cheaper and has a digital amp display so you know it's - for example - 77 amps and not 79. Helpful for dialling in the same amps each time when practicing.

    Just my two cents!
     
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  9. Will! Member

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Derby - England
    I'd second this option, once it becomes more practical again. Preferably an (/some) evening class(es) that cover arc, MIG and TIG - that way he can take his pick once he's played with each.

    Most TIG welders will also arc weld.
    Some arc welders will TIG weld - poorly.
    MIG welders are MIG only.
    Some welders will do all three but will empty your wallet.

    Here's a similar priced welder from Machine Mart that's 140 amps max instead of 100.

    Don't forget to factor in gloves (probably already got decent gloves if he has a forge) and a helmet - preferably with an auto-darken feature because the one you get with any welder will be garbage and make learning harder.

    Edit: Yeah, what mdr said.
     
    Nick DV likes this.
  10. BarrieJ

    BarrieJ Member

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    636
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, Bucks, United Kingdom
    All good advice on here and if a gran/grandad or aunt/uncle want to get your son a few small Christmas gifts - ask for socks and boot laces, because he'll be burning lots of holes in the ones he's got.
     
  11. Chris long New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    West Midlands
    Wow thanks for all the advice. Very useful.

    Ok, to summarise my thoughts..I've had a look at videos of arc and tig welding. I know it's a learnt skill, and I appreciate that, but I think he will pick up at least Arc. I'm very practical myself so I'm looking at tig and fancy a go. We are building a wooden petrol driven go cart and I'd like him to develop it for his GCSE technology work with a welded frame. But at the same time he could well have a crack at some more delicate work for his art. Maybe the best option would be a cheap TIG welder (they can also do arc I believe?) I'd pay over £100 if it is something that can be used for other DIY stuff as well.
    Does that make sense? I guess I'd like the option. If we just for an arc then we will have to get another welder if we want to try other projects...

    Chris
     
  12. Chris long New Member

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    14
    Location:
    West Midlands
  13. Mark 2

    Mark 2 Forum Supporter

    Messages:
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    Location:
    London UK
    I do not see how this can claim to do tig when there is no way to introduce gas to the system.
    I would buy one with that comes with a tig torch Chris
     
  14. Chris long New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    West Midlands
    Yes ok, it's looking like most of these you have to buy the tig torch separately... Maybe an arc/TIG welder and buy the torch in the future... Torch seems to be around £40-50
     
  15. Chris long New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    West Midlands
    Actually, Parker do one for 29, with some bits and pieces, think I just need some tungsten electrodes and gas after I've got that...
    parkerbrand.co.uk/tig-welding-torch
     
  16. Munkul

    Munkul Jack of some trades, Master of none

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    3,170
    Location:
    Cumbria
    The little SIP unit will probably be quite good for the money. It has a TIG mode which lowers the voltage for TIG welding. But it is scratch start TIG only. Lift-arc TIG is much nicer. You need a torch with a gas valve.

    Ultimately, any TIG set that requires a valved torch is hard work in my eyes. So you either want a "proper" TIG set with HF start and gas control, or you save money and buy something like this, and just run it for stick only.

    Be aware that a 140 amp machine would be required for running 3.2mm rods, if you needed. 2.5mm will be fine for most stuff though.

    If you buy locally, you'll have much better support if it goes wrong, and at this price range, it's a bit of a lottery as to whether it will last or not.
    If you're buying online, you might as well look for something cheaper still, like a Rohr or Stahlwerk.
     
  17. mdr

    mdr Collector of welding machines

    Messages:
    344
    Location:
    wye-on-earth
    While I recommended the Parker welder, that was if you purely wanted a cheap welder for stick (aka MMA/SMAW) welding. Small inverter MMA welders can do TIG (even without a 'TIG' switch on the front) but you have to know that is just scratch start TIG and cheap MMA welders rarely come with any bits for TIG and the instructions probably won't offer any advice nor support.

    If you have definitely decided you want to be able to TIG in the future you should first research the different types of arc initiation for TIG. Namely: scratch, lift, high frequency (HF). Once you know what the differences are and the pros and cons you can decide on a machine. HF is preferred by most and probably recommended for beginners. Do know that scratch and lift are not 'bad' and even preferred/must be used for some environments but perhaps not best for the beginner hobby welder.

    While you can MacGyver together a TIG welder from a stick welder, I'd recommend jumping up to some that is designed for TIG and can stick weld too.

    Cheapest TIG that does HF start and comes with most of the bits required for TIG (still need tungstens, regulator, and pure Argon gas) that looks fairly decent (purely in my eyes) is...

    https://weldes.co.uk/gb/tig-dc-gtaw-welders/1427-sherman-tig-dc-202p-puls-welder.html

    Video:



    I haven't used it but it's a Sherman like the darling TIG welder on this forum at the moment for AC/DC TIG (for aluminium welding)...

    https://weldes.co.uk/gb/tig-acdc-gtaw-welders/62-sherman-digitig-206p-acdc-inverter-welder.html

    Do note that the 206P (the expensive AC/DC welder for welding steel and aluminium) is said to be a Jasic welder under a Sherman label (and Jasic are rated) so the 202P may be completely different under the skin. That doesn't automatically make it a bad welder though. The 202P will probably come with a two-pin plug so you can either cut that off and add a 16 amp one (void the warranty immediately) or get an adapter. What warranty you do get (even without cutting off the plug) should be checked as you may have to pay to send the welder back and it may not be to an address in the UK. I'd say that generally if it doesn't immediately go pop when switched on and you keep clean and dry, and look after it, it should last a few years. If it goes pop after 12 mths you may be looking at putting it on eBay for £80 or best offer as a spares or repairs listing.

    Again, just my two cents.
     
    Chris long likes this.
  18. Chris long New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    West Midlands
    Thanks for the help again. So the cost gradually starts to go up ...
    I think I could handle lift arc ignition but I'm struggling to find a welder. As you say, scratch seems like a bit of a faff. If I can keep it under £200 with the torch that would ok I think. And if it isntnworthbit I'll for a cheap stick welder and have a bit of fun. But I know within a week my son will want to weld other stuff
     
  19. Mart63

    Mart63 Member

    Messages:
    237
    Location:
    Essex, Uk
    Rohr do a few smaller cheaper welders that have had good reviews on here. I saw a Tig welder with a torch on the bay of evil earlier that was £169.99.
     
    Chris long likes this.
  20. Chris long New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    West Midlands
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