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Do I really need an AC/DC stick welder?

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  • Do I really need an AC/DC stick welder?

    I am looking for a stick welder
    My 2 choices would be a hobart stickmate or a lincoln tombstone

    I already have a mig hh210... probably looking for a tig next year

    and looking for a stick becuase it's cheaper and faster in some situations

    Any help would be apreciated

    HTP invertig 221 DV
    Lincoln 3350 viking ad
    Next... Hypertherm powermax 65
    Miller Passport Plus with spoolgun
    Lincoln Tombstone
    Grizzly 79" Belt sander
    Firepower Oxy/acetylene
    Ingersoll rand 2 stage comp.

    Measure to build, Hammer to fit, Paint to hide.

  • #2
    I am not a weldor by any stretch of the imagination, but I would strongly suggest that you get the ac/dc model of whichever one you pick. you will find the welding easier, and you can plug in a scratch-start tig into the buzz box and work it from there

    my $0.02

    "Except for slavery, Nazism, Fascism, Socialism, and Communism, war never stopped anything"


    • #3
      If I was in the market for a stick machine, I'd definitely hold out for an AC/DC machine. If you don't have to have a brand new, just out of the box machine, you can find these machines for dirt cheap. Alot of times you'll find them from someone that purchased it brand new and have used it a few times over the last 20 + years and let it sit in the corner of the garage. I see them frequesntly on craigslist with helmet, gloves, and usually the remains of the first box of rods for around $150, from someone wanting to clean up the garage in my area. Just keep your eyes open.


      • #4
        You want an AC/DC machine as opposed to AC only.

        DC provides a much smoother, nicer arc to weld with, in addition to giving you a much larger option of electrodes to weld with.

        Another feature you want is a fine, or infinite current control. For example, on the Lincoln tombstone, the current settings are 10-20 amps apart from each other, but on the stickmate they are 1 amp apart. Having that fine current control let's you fine tune your heat much better for your specific application.

        I have a tombstone right now and it gets the job done, but I can tell you for sure that as soon as I get myself get a job, I'm getting either a stickmate/thunderbolt or perhaps even a used dialarc.
        Lincoln Idealarc 250
        Lincoln Weldanpower CC/CV engine drive
        Lincoln LN-25 wire feeder
        Miller Syncrowave 180 SD
        Various oxy-fuel setups featuring Victor, Harris, and Prest-o-lite products


        • #5
          Thousands of weldors have been welding just fine for nearly 60 years on AC machines, only to find that they don't work.

          If you can afford it, get the AC/DC, but as I said with tongue in cheek, AC machines have gotten the job done for years.

          You definitely want the infinite control, although Lincoln has sold many a tombstone with a switch.


          • #6
            What they're trying in their own special way to get across is .... DC is like cruise control and air conditioning in your car. You don't need it .... but is sure makes cuising down the highway a whole lot more enjoyable.
            For off topic conversations, discussions, rants, or even a dirty joke or two, click here


            • #7
              Originally posted by professur View Post
              DC is like cruise control and air conditioning in your car.
              Don't forget a CD or MP3 player!
              Lincoln Idealarc 250
              Lincoln Weldanpower CC/CV engine drive
              Lincoln LN-25 wire feeder
              Miller Syncrowave 180 SD
              Various oxy-fuel setups featuring Victor, Harris, and Prest-o-lite products


              • #8
                If you are welding flat on the bench it wont make much difference but if you do equipment repair where most of it is out of position then the DC is a huge asset. If I was going to the effort of getting one it would be well worth it to squeeze a little extra out for a DC model.


                • #9
                  I welded with a Hobart Stickmate AC machine for years with no problems, then I got an older AC/DC machine given to me, just had to put leads on it. While the DC does make everything nicer, I could live with the AC only. I would go for the Hobart (better current adjust) AC unit and put the cash you save towards the TIG machine.

                  Lincoln Idealarc 250 (early 60's model)
                  Lincoln Weldpac 100
                  Hobart Stickmate 235 AC
                  Hobart Champion 4500
                  Longevity 160P Tig/Stick/Plasma


                  • #10
                    Wait until next year. Most TIGs come with the ability to do stick welding.
                    Miller 251, Lincoln PrecisionTig 275, Miller DialArc 250 AC/DC, Hypertherm 900, Bridgeport J-head, Jet 14" lathe, South Bend 9" lathe, Hossfeld bender with a collection of dies driving me to the poorhouse, Logan shaper, Ellis 3000 bandsaw, Royersford drill press and a Victor Journeyman O/A.


                    • #11
                      Since you want a tig machine, I would get a AC only stick now (a used one) and then the tig machine will have a nice DC stick capibility.

                      I used a AC tombstone welder (grandfather bought it in 1971 and he gave it to me in 2003) for a few years before anything else. If you learn on AC then when you do get a DC machine, it will make you an even better welder due to the smooth arc. I say get the ac only if you are only going to be using it once in awhile, and only for the thick stuff.
                      If you want something to run on every weekend, then spend a little more and get the dc, but in all honestly I do Not think you need the DC.
                      PowerMig 215
                      Precision Tig 225
                      Old Buzz Box

                      Hypertherm 600
                      HH 125 EZ
                      MM 350P
                      TB 302 w/ 12RC

                      Originally posted by scab
                      If you are the type of person who gets upset at things breaking brace yourself for possible dissappointment.


                      • #12
                        I've had a Lincoln AC welder for years. Needed a second welder up at the farm. Close to pulling the trigger on the hobart ac/dc. Couldn't justify the extra $150+ that could be spend on something else. See below what I have, the AC sticks I use fo rthe large stuff. I use mainly 2 rods for all my stuff, 7014, 6013.

                        BTW the Lincoln is the better of the 2, just seems to groan less and the arc just seems better.

                        Good Luck,
                        HH140 and c-25
                        Lincoln 220v AC buzzbox
                        120/80 O/A
                        Second Location
                        HF 220v gasless mig
                        Hobart AC Stickmate
                        80/B O/A


                        • #13
                          He might not "need" an AC/DC but in the grand scheme of things the price difference is almost negligable. Someone recently gave me a can of 7018, not sure what one cost now but it made the difference right there. Would have been near worthless with an AC machine. One time long ago an Ironworker said, I spent the extra 100 for a DC unit and never had to buy rod again.


                          • #14
                            You will never regret getting DC. I learned on an AC buzzbox and the difference is more than worth the cost difference between AC and AC/DC. Not only can you burn any rod like Sberry said, DC rods run better and will enable you to do a better job. This might not apply here, but AC will shock the sh!t out of you on wet ground where DC won't.

                            Miller MM 210
                            Miller Dialarc 250P
                            Airco 225 engine driven
                            Victor O/A
                            Lots of other tools and always wanting more


                            • #15

                              used both AC and Dc gas driven welders for years, have a Hobart 4500 now AC only. welds like a hot dam. no problem getting rod. its not the machine thats makes the welder its the guy or gal pushing the rod. the 4500 runs my SIP 25 amp plasma cutter, my miller 180 auto set, my air compressor and cut off saws. love the Hobart Champion 4500 AC. diver down
                              2001 dodge 4x4 welding truck.Hobart champion 10.000 miller 180 auto set with spool gun.SIP 25 amp plasma cutter. Miller Diversion 165 Tig. 1996 28 foot Bayliner to haul diving and welding equipment around the lake.