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Old 05-19-2011, 05:59 AM
 
2,186 posts, read 7,528,085 times

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Anybody who wants to do some welding at home, without spending a fortune on equipment, should look at the Lincoln Electric range of welding tools. They are reasonably priced, reliable and come with a three-year warranty.
The Invertec V155-S is a highly portable welding machine weighing less than 15 lbs. It is quite small (measuring 11.3" x 6.2" x 15.4") but it does have the ability to deal with demanding on-site jobs. If there is electricity on site you can plug it into a 200 ft 230V extension (although this is not included in the price), and it can also be used with a portable engine driven power generator. The fact that it has a hardy casing which the manufacturers describe as "dent resistant" means that it is suitable for use outdoors as well as in the workshop.
What appeals to me most is that this is not just an MMA (manual metal arc) or stick welder, it can also be used for DC TIG welding. This is a real bonus since TIG welders are generally much higher priced than this machine.
It comes with a holder for electrodes and a work clamp, both of course with cables and plugs. The input cord is 6.6 ft long and is rated 120/230V. It has a 120V 15 Amp plug, and is also supplied with an extra 120V 20 Amp plug.
What we find particularly useful with this welder is that it really is easy to strike the arc with the TIG DC mode. It also has an automatic "hot-start" that effectively boosts the incoming current which also makes it easier to strike the arc. If you generally have trouble with electrode sticking in the weld pool, then you'll love this machine, because it has what they call an auto adaptive arc force to stop this from happening, or at least minimize it. This doesn't have the effect of compromising the arc's stability and we were quite surprised to find that it doesn't increase spatter either.
The normal MMA or stick welding (or what a lot of people call SMAW or shielded metal arc welding) mode is also great to use because it has two options. These are labeled "soft" and "crisp", and are used according to the electrode you are working with, rather than any particular type of weld finish you are aiming for.
Another great feature is that the machine has an auto restore fuse than resets itself if there is too much current. There is also a fan that you can switch on if you need to reduce noise or the amount of dust accumulating inside the machine.
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