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Old 26-11-2016, 05:06   #1
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Welder on a boat - equipment

Just reading another thread about welding SS water tanks and the use of mig or tig. I am not a profecional welder but I do a lot of it for fun and profit. At some point in the future I will transition from couch sailing to an actual real life boat. But in the meantime just planning. Both my welder so are 220v and I would like to have one on the boat for repairs and maybe help subserdise my cruising.

Any one have any experience with this? Using a generator v dock power? Gas fills? Corrosion under the waterline...!

I would much prefer the tig for this purpose.
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Old 26-11-2016, 06:20   #2
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

Depending of the cruising grounds ie unavailability of gas I'd take a MMA welder instead..

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Old 26-11-2016, 06:36   #3
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

I'll be taking my Miller Max Star, stick and tig rig, it's small but nice, runs on 110v so if shore power is 230v 50hz, use a voltage regulator, not taking any argon, but should be able to get your hands on it most places, I think Miller makes the Max Star that runs on 110 or 220 now, google it, see what you think
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Old 26-11-2016, 06:42   #4
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

That is a consideration but the 120 cu ft bottles (or there a bouts) are manageable and there are smaller disposable bottles that can work but TIG for verity and adaptability I think is a good idea. I'm just worried about powering it and I'm not fully upto speed with galvanic of Catholic corrosion, I would hate to fix my boom only to have a through hull dissolve while I was doing it...!

The TIG I have is 220 only but the better millers are 120/220, if there is a possible income then there is a chance I could justify the change.
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Old 26-11-2016, 07:13   #5
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

Having a steel boat has brought this to my mind. The electrical supply is the central issue. You probably will need a larger genset to accommodate the welder than you would need for routine boat use, or need to compromise the power of the welder. For simplicity and wind resistance, a flux core mig is worthy of consideration, since the weld needed might be outdoors and you have to be able to move the welder to a location within reach of your wand. I switched away from gas bottles for portability and wind resistance reasons. That, and you'll need a honking big extension cord to reach from the genset to the welder wherever it may be on the boat. I don't carry my fix it up welder, but I do have a shore power 240 outlet on our dock that accommodates it, plus a 10 KW portable genset for when the boat is out of the water. My boat's 6.5KW genset is not quite big enough for the job, and in any case is only wired for 110.
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Old 26-11-2016, 07:27   #6
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

Giving it more thought the TIG is a considerable investment that I don't want buggering up on board. Maybe this would be more appropriate... Everlast PowerArc 200ST Stick / TIG welder-PowerArc 200ST - The Home Depot

Would need to be inverter and Ac dc, aluminum and stainless tank repair and the plethora of stainless cracks and aluminum build up and redrill type repairs.

I think the small low power cheap is he way to go...
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Old 26-11-2016, 07:57   #7
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

On board i have a 160A ROD/TIG Welding Inverter and 2 x 10ltr Argon bottles.

I use this equipment basically to generate some additional income.

https://www.heelgoedgereedschap.nl/l...et-met-gasfles
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Old 26-11-2016, 09:48   #8
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

You might want to check the Origami Boat news group.
Lots of discussion by people who have welders on the boats that they built.
These guys are actually using them so no guessing involved.
You might even get inspired to build one.
I've seen a couple of the BS36 versions and they seem to be extremely sea worthy. A cousin built one and circumnavigated in it. He had a terrific trip.
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Old 26-11-2016, 09:57   #9
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

I run my Lincoln 205 Invertec ac/dc tig/stick off a 2kw inverter, works great. Short duty cycle on the ac side.
ce
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Old 26-11-2016, 10:03   #10
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

The possibility of extra income means having tig capability to weld stainless. Flux core mig welds would be ugly and limiting versus tig. (at least mine are - if I want nice looking welds then I tig.) In a hurry or if my cord isn't long enough then I have a 120V flux core mig.

You'll want several fire blankets to protect adjacent surfaces, maybe a harbor freight tubing bender (small - easy to set up outside - adequate for bending stainless tubing - (key words small - adequate) (maybe even a grinding/polishing setup too)

A 6.5KW genset should give you enough power for a small tig setup - you don't want a big rig anyway and most all welds (unless you're on a freighter) will be aluminum or stainless. A couple of small bottles of argon would store easy enough - I'd want them outside though - wouldn't want a leaking bottle to fill the hull with argon and suffocate you.

And then you're in business - fix - build solar mounts, dingy davits, radar masts, bimini frames - some places you'll be the only welder around - other places the local fabricators will work way cheaper than you will (or I would anyway).

I haven't done it yet but I wouldn't go without the ability to cut, bend and weld stainless. So to me your idea sounds great, doable, and on my list of essentials too.
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Old 26-11-2016, 10:32   #11
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

My humble opinion is a welder might be nice to have, but just one more piece of gear to add weight and take up space.
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Old 26-11-2016, 11:57   #12
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

I carry a stick welder with me, not too big and has done what I need, I have welded stainless with the stick welder, not too proud of the results but it got the job done.
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Old 26-11-2016, 12:20   #13
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by jheldatksuedu View Post
I carry a stick welder with me, not too big and has done what I need, I have welded stainless with the stick welder, not too proud of the results but it got the job done.
You sound like me. I like it, if it sticks together with a whack from the hammer. A wire feed is lighter for onboard use and only 110V.
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Old 26-11-2016, 12:55   #14
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

There are little TIG welders that run off of a 15 amp 110 AC plug, work wonders on steel and SS, but will not do the high freq necessary for aluminum. If aluminum is a necessity, your going to need way more than 15 amps at 110VAC.
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Old 26-11-2016, 12:56   #15
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Re: Welder on a boat - equipment

For basic, emergency repairs you probably have all you need already onboard. Buy a few 1/8 or 1/16 6010 or 6013 mild steel rods and 312-16 3/32 or 1/8 stainless rods at Tractor Supply - flux steel rods about $15 pound - stainless about $7 1/2 lb.
Connect your house batteries in series - possibly add a third battery for 36 volts open circuit for the 1/8 rods. Use a pair of auto jumper cables for leads. Your in the welding business. With a bit of practice you will find that you can make very decent stainless welds .
If the rod burns too fast use a heavier rod or drop out one battery. Trouble directing the arc, try reversing the leads for negative polarity on the rod.
Make sure the batteries are well charged and well vented. Do not weld in the vicinity of the batteries - sparks and hydrogen gas can make fireworks - blow up a battery case.
I ran a welding business for a number of years and find that I can get as good a stainless stick weld with three batteries as using a shop dc output genset.
Try it, you will be surprised.
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