DC welder mod for AC TIG

Thread Starter

BUCKSHOTBOTOX

Joined Oct 18, 2021
2
So I've known for several years of the possibility of wiring on a Bridge Rectifier to a simple AC(buzzbox) welder to expand capabilities to include DC for use of 6010 electrodes. I'm in the market for a new multiprocess welder that can perform MIG(gas/fluxcore)/stick/TIG processes. They are very reasonably priced especially considering their versatility in the range of different welding processes but I have not yet found a welder with ask those processes and also the ability to run TIG or mig or stick with AC output. What is required to expand a welders capabilities to run AC output in terms of a DIY modification. How difficult is it to pull off and can it be economically viable for person with limited monetary resources? Thanks in advance.
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,694
So I've known for several years of the possibility of wiring on a Bridge Rectifier to a simple AC(buzzbox) welder to expand capabilities to include DC for use of 6010 electrodes. I'm in the market for a new multiprocess welder that can perform MIG(gas/fluxcore)/stick/TIG processes. They are very reasonably priced especially considering their versatility in the range of different welding processes but I have not yet found a welder with ask those processes and also the ability to run TIG or mig or stick with AC output. What is required to expand a welders capabilities to run AC output in terms of a DIY modification. How difficult is it to pull off and can it be economically viable for person with limited monetary resources? Thanks in advance.
IMO, jack of all trades = master of none. I have this AC/DC TIG unit that came with an electrode holder for stick. It's decent, not great, but for the price hard to beat. It doesn't do MIG, but maybe you could connect a spoolgun to it? IDK never tried. I have an old school Lincoln dedicated MIG machine that I bought used, broken, for cheap, and repaired. I would recommend that if you're on a budget. Get an older unit of good quality over some cheap import machine. You won't regret having dedicated machines. The idea of having an all-in-one seems attractive but when you realize how much time is wasted switching back and forth between processes, it makes less sense. I've spoken to several people who gave up multi-process machines in favor of dedicated machines, but none in the other direction.
 

Thread Starter

BUCKSHOTBOTOX

Joined Oct 18, 2021
2
IMO, jack of all trades = master of none. I have this AC/DC TIG unit that came with an electrode holder for stick. It's decent, not great, but for the price hard to beat. It doesn't do MIG, but maybe you could connect a spoolgun to it? IDK never tried. I have an old school Lincoln dedicated MIG machine that I bought used, broken, for cheap, and repaired. I would recommend that if you're on a budget. Get an older unit of good quality over some cheap import machine. You won't regret having dedicated machines. The idea of having an all-in-one seems attractive but when you realize how much time is wasted switching back and forth between processes, it makes less sense. I've spoken to several people who gave up multi-process machines in favor of dedicated machines, but none in the other direction.
Thanks for your input. I definitely see your point and it makes sense. My friend got an ESAB rebel 215 multiprocess capable of mig mag stick and tig all able to run on either ac or dcen or dcep. I was given free access to this machine to use it as much as I pleased and while having to swap the different connectors for different ops could be a little annoying I can say that it was made up for with the welders very user friendly interface, preset modes and variable options, ie. SMAW electrode type like 7018, 6010,6011,6013, along with all the diameters: 3/32, 1/16 1/8 5/32, plus all the power parameters; hot start, arc force("dig") and quick and easy amperage and voltage control right there on the digital touchscreen interface. Thats just the adjustability for stick welding as I can recall there is far more adjustments and variability for TIG and MIG that I will skip over for brevity sake and to avoid making an advertisement for ESAB that im not getting paid for....yet.(* fingers crossed*)the machine was never underpowered for the tasks it was used to perform and it was exceptionally portable and versatile, especially with dual voltage input capabilities. The only thing I can find fault in.... cost.. I just cant afford to pay $3k for that machine, though I would in a heartbeat if I could swing it. If ESAB started to do in house financing like zzounds.com music where I got my electronic sunset for $163mo interest free for 1 year then I would pull the trigger in a split second with zero hesitation and I guarantee I'm not alone in that camp( hint hint ESAB or prominent welder distributors out there). The fact that Amazon is selling these welders for so cheap, shopping them for nothing and giving you free returns if they turn out to be POS presents a very difficult dilemma that is proving to be more challenging by the day. I was just curious how feasible that sort of modification would be. realistically it sends like my best coarse of action would be to settle for one of the machines that runs MiG stick and lift tig just to see how it performs and if its crap I can return it and get a refund, then leave my review to help someone in the future faced with such a dilemma. I'd eventually add to my arsenal a dedicated TIG rig with ac dc. I really don't have a whole lot of use or need for welding aluminum as it stands right now just steel tbh but hey, a boy can dream right.. question. Which welder did you end up acquiring used and what repair did you have to make to restore it to operable?
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,694
Which welder did you end up acquiring used and what repair did you have to make to restore it to operable?
I picked up a pair of defunct Lincoln Idealarc SP-250 machines for $500. Both would power on, but wouldn't weld. My hope/plan was to combine the good parts from each into one working machine, but unfortunately they both suffered many of the same problems and I had to buy parts. On both I replaced:
  • Wire feed drive rollers
  • Drive roller clamp bracket and spring
  • Gun liner
  • Trigger switch
  • Power cord
This model has buttons on the gun to increase/decrease voltage and on one of them the buttons were stuck so voltage was always changing. I just disconnected the buttons and change the voltage from the front panel.

One of them, despite the new drive roller parts, won't feed consistently. I think it has a bad drive motor or the plastic interface between the spool and machine does not spin freely enough. I don't know, haven't taken it any further because that machine has a spoolgun on it and I just leave it set up for aluminum. I had to replace almost all of the plastic pieces on the spoolgun.

One of them needed a new solenoid for the gas. Neither one came with a regulator so had to buy two.

On both I took them apart and chipped out about 20lbs of mud huts from dirt daubers. Thankfully nothing seriously wrong with either.

I think I spent an additional $500 getting them both operational. $1,000 total, Not bad for a pair of real quality production machines. I can have them both on at the same time, spool gun for aluminum and mig gun for steel, both ready to spew metal at the touch of the trigger, no changing bottles or settings or anything. Add the TIG to the mix, and there's not a lot that couldn't be done around here, if there were someone around with the skill to use them to their potential.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
23,897
If talking converting a stick (SMAW) to MIG they use different methods for power production.
The SMAW uses a initial high voltage that collapses when the strike current occurs, MIG etc and most of the other technologies require a steady lower controlled voltage level.
 
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