From auto body repair to heavy metal fabrication, the utility of a good welder is invaluable. While there are many types of consumer and professional welders available, an arc welder provides a good balance of function, cost and ease-of-use. This makes arc welders ideal for everyone from the hobbyist to a professional fabricator. The price you pay for your arc welder will often predict its performance and reliability. While a cheap arc welder will work great for the occasional types of welding job or part fabrication, if you intend to use your arc welder regularly or fabricate items where strength is critical, the best arc and electric welder for the job is often more expensive.
Tips in Buying an Arc Welder:
When choosing the best arc welder for your needs, there are a few things to consider. Since there are numerous options in terms of buying an arc welder, you need to make sure that you do get one that is just right for you. Here are some of the points that need to be examined:
* Voltage and Amps – a 110-volt inverter arc welder will allow for easy hook up anywhere a power outlet is available but there are also 220-vold arc welders available. You also need to get the right amp of arc welder to do the job. A 90-amp arc welder can weld steel with 2.0mm thickness while a 180-amp arc welder can weld steel with 5.0mm thickness.
* Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) – Arc welders with lower OCV would be more difficult to start with thus needs to be considered.
* AC and DC - You can find arc welders that would use either currents; hence, most rods are compatible with DC arc welders.
* Display – most arc welders sold today have a display that indicates amp readout.
* Duty Cycle – Another important factor to consider when purchasing an arc welder is its duty cycle. The duty cycle is a measure of how many minutes out of a 10-minute interval that the welder can be safely used.
Generally, voltage and amps tell you the power and capability of a particular arc welder. Higher voltage and amps allows the user to create stronger and bigger welds. Hence, they would also be the once that would burn a larger hole in your wallet. OCV and Duty Cycle tell you on the performance and use of the arc welder. As an example, a cheap arc welder might provide a 30-percent duty cycle at full power. This means it can be used for 3 minutes and must cool for the remaining 7 minutes of a given 10-minute interval. If you want an arc welder with a higher duty cycle, you need to find one that has higher amperage. For voltage, 220-volt arc welders are more versatile compared to 110-volt ones. By increasing the voltage, less amperage will produce the same amount of power output. This allows 220-volt arc welders to run for longer periods without risking damage to the welder.
Regardless of the type of welder you are looking for, companies such as Lincoln, Century, Clarke, Miller and Hobart produce a variety of models with varying voltage requirements and power outputs. If you are looking for an arc welder for professional use, these companies also produce dual-input welders that can utilize 110-volt power for light jobs and 220-volt for heavier jobs. This allows increased power efficiency and the ability to fine-tune your output to the job you are performing. By adding an oil-based cooler to the arc welder, duty cycles can reach nearly 100-percent. This allows the welder to be used almost continuously without risking damage to your equipment.