When buying your first welder, identify beforehand the types of welding materials and projects you will be working on mostly. Are you going to use it for metal sculpture? Do you plan to restore that old muscle car sitting in your garage? Does your two-year-old motorcycle require some fabrication? Or maybe you have some farm equipment needing basic repair.
Taking time to know what projects that will consume the largest percentage of your welding activity will help you determine the right metal thickness you will likely weld most often, and eventually choose the most right welder model. Take note that plenty of these materials are made from combinations of two or more metals, which is great for reinforcing the tool’s strength and functionality.
Being a first-timer, you must look into a lot of factors when before deciding on a welder to buy, and much of this is budget-related. The product you choose must be compatible with the specific functions you need, and the projects you plan to work on the most.
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Define your goals for buying a welder now, and the potential uses it may offer you later on. In short, is there a possibility you will need additional power and amperage in the future? On top of the cost of the welder itself, also consider that of the supplies and accessories necessary to use the tool. These may include gas, a helmet and a jacket, a pair of gloves, etc.
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As you check out various products, take note of the different amperage requirements of each one, including power requirements and duty-cycle that is needed to get the most efficient results. What exactly is duty cycle?
A way to classify the size of a welder is by the amperage it can generate at a particular “duty cycle. Duty cycle is the number of minutes within a span of 10 minutes that a welder can work. A particular welder, for example, can do 300 amps of welding output with a duty cycle of 60%. This means it can weld at 300 amps straight for six minutes, but for the remaining four minutes, it has to cool down in order to prevent overheating.
To determine whether a machine will be able to meet your DIY needs, consider that light industrial products typically have duty cycle of 20% and a rate output of 230 amps or less. In most cases, industrial products have a duty cycle from 40 to 60% while rated output will be 300 amps or less.
It’s never wise to buy anything without thinking the purchase through. Spend time defining your needs first. Again, since you’re a first-timer, you will likely have questions in your mind. Don’t hesitate to talk to an expert.