When it comes to welding, many enthusiasts are often skeptical about the capabilities of budget-friendly equipment. In this blog post, we dive into the world of a $70 welder purchased from Amazon, hoping to uncover its true potential. Join us as we put this compact DC inverter welder to the test, exploring its features, setup, and performance in both plate and pipe welding scenarios.
Small but Mighty
Upon unboxing, our $70 welder revealed itself as a lightweight, two-pound machine, branded with the name "Arc 200" – a mysterious alias we'll have to live with for now. Its simple design included a convenient shoulder strap for easy portability, and it came with a stinger that, while affordable, seemed functional. The description claimed it was capable of handling stick and TIG welding, except for aluminum and MIG welding.
The set up
Setting up the welder was a breeze. We plugged it into a 20-amp outlet to ensure smooth operation without tripping the circuit. Grounding the workpiece and attaching the stinger were straightforward tasks, requiring minimal effort to get the welder ready for action.
Testing the machine
Skeptical but hopeful, we initiated our trial by attempting to lay some beads on a metal plate. Setting the machine at 170, though uncertain whether it meant 170 amps, we proceeded cautiously. To our surprise, the welder ran smoothly, producing a clean arc, which led us to estimate the amperage to be around 85-90 amps. This range was perfect for our 3/32 7018 rod, giving us a clean, well-formed weld that held up well.
Welding on Pipe
Next up, we put the welder to the test on a four-inch pipe. Using the same 3/32 7018 rod, we were impressed with its performance. However, we noticed that maintaining a tight arc was essential to ensure consistent and quality welding. Running at higher amperage did trip our 20-amp breaker, highlighting the limitations of this budget machine for prolonged industrial use.
Our little $70 welder proved its worth for small at-home projects, such as repairing lawnmowers or joining light metal pieces. It delivered solid results for its price point and was surprisingly capable of handling basic welding tasks with ease. Nevertheless, it may not be suited for heavy industrial applications or continuous high-amp welding.
In conclusion, this mini welding wonder from Amazon has certainly exceeded our expectations. For hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts, it provides a cost-effective solution to tackle various projects. However, for professional welders or industrial use, investing in more powerful and durable equipment is essential.
Remember, welding is both an art and a skill, and with the right tools and practice, you can create impressive metal masterpieces. Whether you're a seasoned welder or a beginner looking to hone your craft, stay curious, and keep experimenting with different equipment and techniques. Happy welding!