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  • Bobcat or Trailblazer

    I'm biting the bullet and getting a engine driven welder so I can do most of my work onsite. I build a lot of basic steel gates and do a lot or repair on steel framed kennel runs. I'm thinking how nice it would be not to have to bring this stuff back to my shop ( currently a 2 car garage) and do the work onsite. Ive been looking at the bobcat 250 and the trail blazer 302. I think the bobcat would be more than enough for what I do but , I dont want to get stuck needing more machine either. I have absoultly no experiance with a engine drive machine this will be a first for me. Any feedback on the pros and cons of these two machines for what I do would be a great help. I use 16 to 14 gauge square tubes on everything I make and repair.
    MM 135
    MM 210
    Maxstar 150
    Smith O/A

  • #2
    I'm no expert but it sounds like you are right when you say the Bobcat is plenty enough welder. That being said most of the people with Miller engine drives ( at least here and the Miller board ) say " You can weld with a Bobcat but a Trailblazer is a welder " Talk to your local welding supply and see if you can test drive both. That's the only way I know of to see if you want the bigger machine. I have heard the TB does have a very smooth arc. The adjustable dig control can be a help and TB will accept a remote if you ever want to tig or just need to be setup to change amps without going back to the welder.
    Dennis


    Thermal Arc 185-TSW
    Millermatic Challenger 172
    VictorO/A
    Atlas Craftsman 12 by 24 Lathe
    Esab PCM-875
    Wholesale Tool Mill-Drill

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ivan
      I'm biting the bullet and getting a engine driven welder so I can do most of my work onsite. I build a lot of basic steel gates and do a lot or repair on steel framed kennel runs. I'm thinking how nice it would be not to have to bring this stuff back to my shop ( currently a 2 car garage) and do the work onsite. Ive been looking at the bobcat 250 and the trail blazer 302. I think the bobcat would be more than enough for what I do but , I dont want to get stuck needing more machine either. I have absoultly no experiance with a engine drive machine this will be a first for me. Any feedback on the pros and cons of these two machines for what I do would be a great help. I use 16 to 14 gauge square tubes on everything I make and repair.
      My take is that you get whawt you payfor here. I'm guessing there is perhaps $800 difference in the price. they have the same engine, the same weight, and outside dimensions and even the same paint.

      if you go to millers web site at http://millerwelds.com/products/engi...ctorguide.html

      they give you a feature by feature list of the differences.

      Two differences that could be of significance to you:
      The TB has a connecter so you can install a remote amperage control. The lack of this has been frustrating to us on the bobcat because our bobcat is mounted high in a truck, and you have to climb into the truck to change the amp setting--- a pain.
      an optional feature on the TB is a remote amp setting on a cord.

      The major structural advanatage of the TB is that is has a much better AC power generator in it. It actually has 2 generators in it--one for welding and one for AC power.
      this is really big deal if you ever want to add the extra equipment to weld aluminum.

      It also can be significant if you want to use AC power and weld at the same time.

      Clearly the product are different and there IS value for the extra money. Whether you will benefit from these extra features depends on where life takes you.

      WE bought a basic bobcat 225G years ago. We have liked it fine. We're loggers and we hit the wall with it because we got some things we had to do that were just too heavy for it so we bought a BIG 40 as a second welder--- when it got tired (it was used) we bought another big welder, but we still have the bob cat and like it.---though I use it more for powering a big battery charger and other AC functions than I do for welding.

      I believe Miller's own list of differences is a fair one, and it sort of depends how precious the extra bucks are to you, I think.
      www.vannattabros.com/shop.html
      Miller Bobcat 225G
      Miller Spectrum 375 (gone)
      Lincoln Pro-Cut 80
      Miller Big 40 (going--going...)
      Lincoln Vantage 400
      welding rig at: www.vannattabros.com/truck51.html

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      • #4
        I love my trailblazer, but i think that the bobcat would serve you just fine and save you some money while you are at it.
        Proud owner of Bushwacker Mobile Welding
        Pictures

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        • #5
          The trailblazer does have a sweeter arc, which may be important with the thin-gauge stuff you're working with.

          The trailblazer is set up better for CV (does the Bobcat even have a CV tap??) and if you decide to hook to a wire feeder it will do better.

          Would a 110v wire feed with a long extension cord work for your type of work? Others here could tell you if those are capable of welding the gauges you need to weld, I can't because I've never used one, but I have seen them and they're kind of neat. Just a thought.
          *** Disclaimer ***

          As I have no wish to toy with anybody's life, I suggest you take this and all other posts with a certain amount of skepticism. Carefully evaluate, and if necessary, research on your own any suggestions or advice you might pick up here, especially those from my posts, as I obviously haven't the skill and experience exhibited by some of the more illustrious and more successful members of this forum. I'm not responsible for anything I say, as I drank toxic water when young.

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          • #6
            I have the Trailblazer and would recommend it. The difference in price should come back when you trade in or sell your machine. With the TB you can have a helper grinding away while running lights without effecting your arc since they're on two different circuits. I'm not sure how much a/c use effects your arc on a BC.
            life is good

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            • #7
              I shopped hard for a machine, and ended up with a Bobcat 250. My needs are similar to yours, although I run a bit thicker walled material. I've stick welded lots of .120-.180 mild tubing with mine , and am very pleased with it. I have also used it to power my HH135 and MM210 with fine results. I usually work alone, so dual generators are not a biggie to me.

              That said, I used a Coleman 5k genset from Costco and a HH135 extensively for what you are doing with fine results. This is probably the most cost-effective setup for what you are doing, and is by far the cleanest way to weld thin tubing. Weld it, wipe it, paint it.

              I bought the Bobcat for .120+ needs, but still use the migs for 90%+ of most jobs.
              Trent
              Building my wife's fortune - one machine at a time!
              Bobcat 250, MM210 w/3545 spoolgun, HH135, Miller Dialarc 250 AC/DC w/HF251, Red AC/DC tombstone, Victor SRII

              Comment


              • #8
                I also use a 5k Coleman and a HH135 for occasional out of shop needs. For thicker stuff I just plug in my Maxstar 150S and stick weld. This set up costs about $1450. and suit your needs. I can weld just about anything I neen to, but if I did portable welding everyday I would have an engine drive.

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                • #9
                  I bought the TB302 for its ability to run the 12RC Suitcase feeder. Sweet arc, even with thin wire, vertical and overhead.

                  At the local welding supply, about $500 difference. Some of that will come back when you sell or trade.
                  Barry Milton
                  ____________________________

                  HTP Invertig 201
                  HTP MIG2400

                  Trailblazer 302, Spoolmatic 30A, Suitcase 12RC
                  Clarke Hotshot

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                  • #10
                    page 23 of my ops manual for my 3 yr old bobcat 225 nt says Quote simultaneous welding and power with fine adjust set at 10 .......210 amps welding 10 amps 120v/240-5 amps......140 amps welding 42 amps.....120v/240v-21 amps. based on the miller figures i don't think you would have any trouble using a bobcat 225 or 250 while doing fencing unless your welding an M1A1 tank barracade i might add that at 90 amps welding it says 70 amps available at at 120v/ 35 amps at 240. i haven't tried it as i haven't needed to but at these specs you should be able to run a mm 135 or even a mm175 at the same time your burning rod.

                    don't take my word for it check it out on the manual from the miller site
                    tc.....jim

                    miller bobcat 225
                    miller AEAD200LE with hf tig
                    mm175, mm252 w/30a
                    lincoln PT 225, mm211, TA181i
                    stickmate LX 235/160
                    Speedglas 9100X/9100XX/Miller DE
                    hypertherm 380
                    TD cutmaster 52
                    steel max 14" & evolution 7.5" dry cut saws
                    2 victor journeyman/3 superange, smith little, meco midget torches
                    ridgid chop saw
                    kalamazoo band saw/ 8-4.5" & 1 rockwell 9" grinder
                    case 580 backhoe for things i can't lift

                    if at first you don't succeed
                    trash the b#####d (me )

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi IVAN I have the trail blazer 301g with the Kohler motor with mig and tig and spool gun set up have had great luck with thin or 1inch thick stuff the arc is outsanding on this machine the 12rc suitye case mig runs butifull beads I would certanly recommend this machine to every one especaily if your thinking of expanding what you do always better to have to much welder than not engough when you need it you can also run a 110 mig off it if need be also if you loose power the 10.000 watt gen is realy nice to good luck
                      garthswelding@aol.com one welding truck trailblazer 301g w/ spool/mig/plasma/drill press/ band saw/ and all the other stuff to do this/and air compresser

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                      • #12
                        Have a "Pal" up the road that has 2 new 250 Bobcats. Him and his Father in law run the rigs w/ miller suitcases and mm-175's building stock fences and steel buildings.
                        Recently I had the chance to check the Bobcat out compared to my Hobart Champion. The Bobcat is a real nice machine and has all the gingerbread a guy would probably ever need! (not gonna try and sell ya a Champion tho for me, it's just as good) I have NO experience with the Trailblazer, but according to Millers literature, the "generators" are exactly the same type. (Smoother arc is a crock according to the spec's.) The fact is that unless yer WAY out there in ability and need, the T/B won't do a thing for ya that the Champion won't, and the 250- Bobcat bridges the gap. 1 thing I did notice is that the Miller want's ya to turn UP the amps when ya use the gen. while welding. This is NOT required with the Hobart, and I have noticed NO differance in welding when running a saw, grinder, or lights while welding at the same time. I'm sure the Miller Bobcat/Trailblazer is better than the Champ,,,but ya couldn't prove it by me when welding under 150 amps. IMO the 250 will be more welder than most here would ever need, the Champoion will satisfy ya, and the T/B is a waste of money for anyone but the absolute best professional weldor that can tell the differance. (Most couldn't tell ya which machine they were using in a comparisson test.) The Bobcat would do ya fine, but so would the Hobart Champ. Yer choice! Buy what ya want. There ain't a nickles differance between all 3 for what I do in weld quality or performance.

                        Before ya spend yer $ check out the Hobart Champion 10,000 and compare it to the Bobcat 250. The Hobart is a very BASIC welder. The Bobcat is very nice and offers features the Hobart does not have. Other than another 52 amps the T/B offers nothing the B/C doesn't that I can see, and neither one would get my attention as long as Hobart keeps makin Champ's. JMO
                        "I cut it twice,,,and it's still too short"!

                        Hobart Champion 10,000
                        Hobart Handler 180
                        Hobart Handler 140
                        Miller 8vs suitcase. (fcaw)
                        Victor Super Range
                        B&D saw , grinders,& drill motors

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                        • #13
                          I'm an amateur welder with very similar needs as yours. I bought the Bobcat 250 and I love it. It is way more welder than I need. I've also been running an HH 180 on it, in addition to grinders, an air compressor, fan, etc. while I'm welding. No problem!
                          Best yet, the power went down a couple of weeks ago and we were in the dark for about 14 hours. We can manage just fine without electricity, but the wife was upset because she just bought a freezer full of meat that weekend. I just sparked up the Bobcat and plugged in the freezer, fridge, lamp and TV (why not?). Now that she gets it, she's stopped nagging me about how much I paid for it.

                          Despite that, I'm a "get more tool than you need" guy, so I understand your idea about getting the Trailblazer, just in case. But in my case, I decided to get the Bobcat and spend the difference buying that HH180. Go for it!
                          Bobcat 250 • Spectrum 625 • Handler 187 • Victor O/A • Sahd.biZ

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                          • #14
                            I would definatly get a wire feeder for it. I almost always over buy and end up getting just enough. I know as soon as I get the new unit I'm gonna get a call and need every bit of output the machine has... that just seems to always happen.
                            MM 135
                            MM 210
                            Maxstar 150
                            Smith O/A

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ivan
                              I would definatly get a wire feeder for it. I almost always over buy and end up getting just enough. I know as soon as I get the new unit I'm gonna get a call and need every bit of output the machine has... that just seems to always happen.
                              hey Ivan, sounds like you already convinced yourself to get the trailblazer so go for it. if and when my old aead200le quits(1981 model and runs as strong as new) and my 225 bobcat dies i'll no dout step up to the plate much bigger and badder but till such time i'll enjoy the bank interest even though we all know they don't return enough to buy a box of rod. good luck with your new blazer
                              tc.....jim

                              miller bobcat 225
                              miller AEAD200LE with hf tig
                              mm175, mm252 w/30a
                              lincoln PT 225, mm211, TA181i
                              stickmate LX 235/160
                              Speedglas 9100X/9100XX/Miller DE
                              hypertherm 380
                              TD cutmaster 52
                              steel max 14" & evolution 7.5" dry cut saws
                              2 victor journeyman/3 superange, smith little, meco midget torches
                              ridgid chop saw
                              kalamazoo band saw/ 8-4.5" & 1 rockwell 9" grinder
                              case 580 backhoe for things i can't lift

                              if at first you don't succeed
                              trash the b#####d (me )

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