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Susan_in_SF

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#1
Hi guys,
So I am still in the process of selling woodworking equipment to make room for all my metalworking stuff in my 1 car garage. I picked up an Eastwood mg 135 welder (couldn't afford a Hobart or Miller). This welder supposedly can weld up to 3/16" mild steel, and it got good reviews. I should be content with that, however, like Tim Allen, I want more power (uhr, uhr, uhr)! I am a measly renter. What are my options for welding with more power so I can weld thicker steel? I would like to be a rebel to mig weld 1/2" mild steel and feel confident that the weld penetrated well enough. I could use a generator, I suppose. Is there anyway to power a welder with oart generator, part 20 amp wall outlet? The washer/dryer in my garage are on a regular 20 amp outlet. I also have a 15 amp outlet that is on my ceiling for my garage door opener. Can I use one of those RV cheater boxes to use a higher powered welder? Would it be dangerous to run a heavy duty extension cord from my kitchen's 20 amp gfci outlet by drilling a small hole to the garage, hook it up/combine with an adaptor to the 15 amp garage ceiling outlet, then plug into the 30 amp inlet to the cheater box with the washer/dryer outlet plugged into its 20 amp inlet so I can run a 50 amp welder? Here is a link to a site selling such a box:

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts...MIx6Wz4cOT2wIVD9VkCh18Nw1nEAQYASABEgJPL_D_BwE
Screenshot_2018-05-19-22-21-28.png
I know this idea sounds crazy, but it sounds like maybe it can work? This is why I am turning to you knowledgable guys - so I don't burn down my home.

Or could I weld 1/2" mild steel with what I have if I were to make a whole bunch multiple passes?

Thanks in advance to your kind, friendly constructive responses :)

Susan
 

ttabbal

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#2
Is it just that you want 220V? Is a dryer or oven outlet accessible? I have a long extension cord I used to use for that.

The cheater boxes work, but there is a trick to them. You need 110V circuits on opposite phases. The only way to know is to try it and measure the voltage across the two hot leads. You can make adapters pretty easily that do the same thing. The other thing is that you only have 15A if it works. That might be enough for a welder, but my Lincoln SP-175 says it wants just over 20A. Oven and dryer outlets are usually 30A or 50A.
 

Downunder Bob

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#3
Hi, What is the power input requirement for your welder. I'm assuming that as you're in California you have 110v power, but how many amps does it need for full power, probably 20A or maybe even 30A. For best results you should run it off a supply that is at least equal to the maximum machine requirements. If you run it from a lower amp outlet you may damage (burn out) your house hold wiring.

No you can not share the power between a generator and your household supply. apart from being illegal, its very dangerous. Those RV cheater boxes look a bit dangerous. I have never seen one i think they are illegal here in Downunder.

As you increase the output power on the welder it will draw more current from the supply. To weld thicker steel you basically need more current output, which means more current input. It's all about heat, the current provides the heat.

Yes you can build up with multiple passses, it is often done in industry. A good welding book or video will guide you to get best results. Another trick when the machine is not powerful enough for the task in hand is to preheat the metal. If the parts you are welding are not very large then its quite easy to preheat them with oxy or even in an oven.

Another thing to consider is how strong does the weld have to be. If you do not require a high strength industrial weld then you should be good to go. Preheat to about 500f and crank the machine up to full and go for it. You will have to consider duty cycle. that is the payoff when you buy a cheap machine you will probably have weld for a couple of minutes then stop to let your machine cool down. The manual should have duty cycle guide lines in it. pleas follow them if you don't you will wreck the machine, as in let the smoke out.

Have fun.
 

Downunder Bob

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#4
Is it just that you want 220V? Is a dryer or oven outlet accessible? I have a long extension cord I used to use for that.

The cheater boxes work, but there is a trick to them. You need 110V circuits on opposite phases. The only way to know is to try it and measure the voltage across the two hot leads. You can make adapters pretty easily that do the same thing. The other thing is that you only have 15A if it works. That might be enough for a welder, but my Lincoln SP-175 says it wants just over 20A. Oven and dryer outlets are usually 30A or 50A.
So that's how those cheater boxes work, and it also explains why we can't use them here in Downunder. Our singe phase lime voltage is 240v and we don't split it to make 110 opposite phase. We get our 240v 1Ph by splitting the 3 ph to neutral so all we get is 3x240v
 

rock_breaker

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#5
Not familiar with the RV 3o to 50 amp converters but to me it sounds like something for nothing, be careful. Cloths dryers and electric ranges normally have 240 volts, is your cloths dryer gas heated? A lot of good comments have been made prior to this one. If you pay the electric bill you will see a picture of overloading your electric system in your power bill.
Have a good day
Ray
 

Tozguy

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#6
Did you say you are a renter?
Unless you will have a lot of heavy welding to do regularly why not just rent a portable generator when you have a project that needs more than your 220v dryer circuit can safely provide?
 

Ray C

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#7
Folks have pretty-much covered all the info. Downunder Bob outlined all the basics and touched on an important idea... Multiple pass welding is the way to go for most things. It takes an enormous welding unit to stitch two pieces of 1/2 steel in 1 pass... big-time industrial equipment, like the kind found in ship making yards.

In my shop, I have a 60A, 220V line setup. All the welding units are 220V -and even still, almost all welds are done in multiple passes. I dare say that 100% of any structural welding I perform is done in multiple passes.

As others have stated, if you need extension cords, a typical garden-supply type cord is not good. You'll need very heavy duty rated cord with at least 12 ga wiring. Keep the length as short as possible. Make sure the wall receptacle is in good condition and that is has a good ground connection. If possible, plug into a receptacle that's a close as possible to the house electric service panel.

If your welding area is very crowded, be really careful. Welding in tight cramped spaces where you've got items made of wood or lots of cardboard storage boxes around, is an invitation to burn your place down. If anything is combustible at all, a welding unit can make it burn. It's probably the hottest flame a typical human being will ever encounter in their lifetime.

Ray
 

Dave Paine

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#8
The Eastwood 135 welder is designed for 120V input and maximum input amps of 20A so I do not think you can hook up 220V or use more input amps.

Eastwood 135 welder

As others mentioned, it is common to use multiple passes to weld thicker metal. If you use the flux core wire, you need to clean off the slag between passes. If you have a welding gas bottle you should not get much slag, easier to clean for the next pass.

A new and fun learning curve with this welder. If you use the flux core wire, it creates a lot of fumes so you need to have a well ventilated location for welding.
 

Cadillac

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#9
Not to p on your parade but a Eastwood 135 has only 20% duty at 90 amps. Your welder maxs out at 3/16. You want to be able to weld 1/2. So you trying to weld 3times your max rating. You will smok that welder in no time if you don’t think about duty cycle. Preheating 1/4” then multiple welds might get you there. To weld 1/2 material you’ll need 200-300 amps
If you run a extension cord better be 12 gauge or better. If your serious about welding I would run a 20amp circuit from main panel to dedicated plug for use with welder.
And lastly make sure your renters insurance is paid up. :rolleyes:
 

dlane

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#10
And have a fire extinguisher close by.
 

ttabbal

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#11
So that's how those cheater boxes work, and it also explains why we can't use them here in Downunder. Our singe phase lime voltage is 240v and we don't split it to make 110 opposite phase. We get our 240v 1Ph by splitting the 3 ph to neutral so all we get is 3x240v
Yup, pretty simple really. I'd happily trade for 3 phase though. :)

I forgot to mention with my extension cord, it's a 12G that I cut the ends off of and wired for 220V without neutral. It works well for most 220V stuff as they usually don't use 110V, so don't need the neutral. So it's hot/hot/ground using 220V connectors on the ends so there's no doubt what it is. I don't use it as much these days as I have a 220V outlet in the garage now.

I'm seriously considering running a subpanel in the garage. Between shop tools and an EV I have a lot of power needs in there.
 

ttabbal

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#12
And have a fire extinguisher close by.
Very important. I haven't managed to light anything with my MIG, but I have with oxy/acetylene...
 

Cadillac

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#13
When I lived with my parents I had a Lincoln 150 amp mig welder. The garage was detached about 20’ from house and had a 20a circuit ran to it. It was a direct buried line about 12” deep. If I remember it might have been 12g.
I had the garage light up like it was day light out when the door was closed. I did a lot of car detailing and needed great lighting. Anyways in the long run I had the circuit overloaded! In the winter when snow was on the ground. When I was done welding or working in the garage for the hours and hours I use to be able to do. When I would go outside you could see a melted snow line of exactly where the line was buried.
Luckily I had a union electrician friend that help me run a 50a sub panel to the garage for the plasma machine that I got at the time.
Learned a lot from those times and one thing I was very lucky for is that I hadn’t burned the parents house down.
 

DAT510

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#14
When you say you want to weld 1/2" material with the welder, I'm taking you mean in a single pass? You can always do it with multiple passes.

I personally like to weld thicker material with multiple passes. It takes longer, but I find I'm better able to control distortion and I don't have to turn my welder all the way up, which has other benefits, such as not hitting the duty cycle as quickly.
 

Asm109

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#15
What on heaven's green earth are you building that requires 1/2 inch steel? I've built dune buggies, large welding tables, trolley for a 500 pound overhead hoist, patio furniture , stools, tables, you name it. Thickest I can recall using is 3/8 most times under 1/8 inch.
Use your welder, when you someday run up against a limit you can't work around you will know it is time to upgrade.
 

Old junk

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#16
1/2 single pass requires mucho amps and huge machine,thick stuff I weld multiple root welds and face weld top
 

dbq49

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#17
My GOD your a renter!! Don't mess with the wiring. Get a generator that will give your 30 amps @ 240v. A welder at 30 amps needs a 10ga wiring. Listen to the responders before you do so much damage to yourself or your landlord.
DBQ49er
 

ericc

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#18
That cheater box looks kind of dodgy to me. You aren't in Silicon Valley, but you're close. It is possible to get 50 amps or more with a ghetto set of jumper cables. Note that this will eventually get you a visit from authorities, but my neighbors are sly and get away with it all the time. As for welding 1/2" thick steel, that is sufficiently rare that you can enlist a friend for help. There are maker spaces around where you can do this. I did a 2" thick full pen weld just to give it a try. I toasted one stinger and a set of gloves. You only need to do this once to get it out of your system.
 

tq60

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#19
Reality check ...WHY????

Been tinkering with lots of things for 40 years.

Have bobcat and made many attachments and many odd things.

Never have had to weld up 1/2 plate...

Welded many things and have tripped the 20 amp 240 breaker with the stick welder but never with the miller 185 wire welder.

For what you likely will be working on where you are what you have will do 99.999% of your needs.

Multi pass will fill in where needed.

If you really feel the need for large work then start saving for a self contained engine welder and do not waste time or money with stand alone generator

Generators are cheap on the used market but motor welders are as well

Just passed on one for about $250.00.

Have one in the yard we got for free...and still have not done anything with it after 10 years...

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk
 

pontiac428

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#20
Don't burn down your (landlord's) house. The claims inspector will make sure you don't get a dime if some of those wiring schemes are detected in the ash pile after the fact.

I have owned big welders that are harder to move than a knee mill, and run them off of 30A with room to spare. That eastwood should run from the dryer outlet (220v) for all it's rated for without an issue. If you need to weld 1/2" structural steel, you are best off using a different process (SMAW). It takes some wild settings and gas mixes to do that with a true industrial-rated GMAW machine.
 

Downunder Bob

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#21
It appears that Susan in SF has not responded to our collective advice. I hope we haven't scared her off.

If you are still there Susan please respond with some answers to our questions. A lot depends on why you want to do this and how big the job is and how strong it really needs to be.

Give us some info and we'll advise how to go about it.

Whatever you do play safe.
 

Blackjackjacques

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#22
I wondered why the RV's and trailers frequently burn down. If I understand, according to the cheater manufacturer, you can access a 120 V leg to neutral at one receptacle, and then access the other 120V leg to neutral at another receptacle, and thus have 240V at an ampacity rating that sums the individual amp ratings? In theory, you can arrive at 240V using this type of connection, but the ampacity rating of the circuit would be the smallest of the two branch circuit breakers. I note the device isn't UL listed nor identified by the NFPA. Seems like a cheesy way to get 240V, and probably won't be approved by the building folks. I'd consider a water wheel before this approach.
 

Silverbullet

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#23
Ok ill give you my take on your question. Learn to use your Eastwood , it should work on your circuit if it's a twenty amp breaker line. At worse if it gets to much draw it'll pop the breaker, I've been running my shop which is over fifty feet from the house load bank . It's a hundred amp service and my shop line is 60 amp with ugf 8 ga. Wire . I've never popped the the sixty and my shop breakers I have . I have forty amp breaker on my welding 220 line at the load center and a separate twin thirty for the plasma esab 875 , my heavy welder plugs into a dryer type outlet and it's a stick welder , my mig is a Clarke spool gun with 110 volt 20 amp breaker, if I do lots of welding long runs it may pop a breaker but it's very rare . I'm more likely to pop a breaker using my chop saw doing lots of cutting then welding. And I've been using this setup for forty years. Multiple pass works well I even do it stick welding with 3/16 7018 or 7014 rods. These have given me my best welds , I must say I welded up a hitch haul for my large power scooter on my blazer , we got rear ended and not one weld on any part broke , it got bent up but no brakes. The thickness of the box channel is 1/8" x 1 x 2" with a heavy 2 x 2 , hitch hook up. And that was mig welded no stick . If you need more holler.
 

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#24
That "cheater" device is most certainly illegal to use in this country and IMO quite dangerous as well. Combining power off different branch circuits to "create" 240v may work but is a serious safety risk especially if you don't throughly understand AC electricity. A better way to get temporary 240V is to use a "Temp box"(sometimes called a pull box or cheater box), use a heavy gage (3-10 for 30 A or 3-8 for 50 A) SJ cord with heavy insulated spring clips (like on jumper cables) going to disconnect breaker box with appropriate sized breakers, then as much of the same SJ cord as you need, terminating in a receptacle suitable for your machine. Clip the leads directly to the busbars of your service panel (make sure the cable is secured so it won't pull the clips off if accidentally pulled), plug in your machine, energize the breaker and weld away... when done, unclip the cables from the busbars and reinstall the cover of the service panel.
 

yarrrrr

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#25
Some great advice in this thread. This being SF, also wondering if the wiring is knob & tube, and if the panel is modern(ish)?
 

Susan_in_SF

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#26
Did you say you are a renter?
Unless you will have a lot of heavy welding to do regularly why not just rent a portable generator when you have a project that needs more than your 220v dryer circuit can safely provide?
Yeah, I was looking into that as well. I was just researching/ brainstorming possible options and asking you more knowledgeable manly men for your opinions :)
 

machPete99

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#27
Its been said before, but you need to find a real 240V outlet, or have one installed. Most ranges (stoves) will utilize one. You could buy or make an extension to get to where you want. You could install another circuit providing a 240V outlet at the breaker panel, assuming there is room in the panel for another (double 240V) breaker.

Your welder also needs to be capable of running on 240v. Some can do both 120V (at reduced power) as well as 240V, but I think your Eastwood is 120V only. You typically have to pay a bit extra for the dual voltage option. You will probably need to upgrade here.

The other option would be to use a generator but that will set you back around $1500 for something with enough power. I have a Generac 8000 watt unit that is capable of running my 220A welder (on 240V), but it is loud and heavy, and ear protection is required. A (gasoline) generator typically needs regular maintenance, like switching out the gas each year, oil changes, test running, etc. Diesel is less maintenance but more costly and heavier. My generator is a backup for the house, which happens to also be capable of running the welder. I've only used it that way a couple of times.

Even with that setup I don't think I have welded anything over 1/4 thick, although the welder is certainly capable of it. My welder is air cooled TIG, I would really need to step up to a water cooled torch to do anything heavier for any length of time. I suppose it could stick weld thicker stuff, but I generally like the TIG mode.
 
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Susan_in_SF

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#28
Its been said before, but you need to find a real 240V outlet, or have one installed. Most ranges (stoves) will utilize one. You could buy or make an extension to get to where you want. You could install another circuit providing a 240V outlet at the breaker panel, assuming there is room in the panel for another (double 240V) breaker.

Your welder also needs to be capable of running on 240v. Some can do both 120V (at reduced power) as well as 240V, but I think your Eastwood is 120V only. You typically have to pay a bit extra for the dual voltage option. You will probably need to upgrade here.

The other option would be to use a generator but that will set you back around $1500 for something with enough power. I have a Generac 8000 watt unit that is capable of running my 220A welder (on 240V), but it is loud and heavy, and ear protection is required. A (gasoline) generator typically needs regular maintenance, like switching out the gas each year, oil changes, test running, etc. Diesel is less maintenance but more costly and heavier. My generator is a backup for the house, which happens to also be capable of running the welder. I've only used it that way a couple of times.

Thanks for the rep
Even with that setup I don't think I have welded anything over 1/4 thick, although the welder is certainly capable of it. My welder is air cooled TIG, I would really need to step up to a water cooled torch to do anything heavier for any length of time. I suppose it could stick weld thicker stuff, but I generally like the TIG mode.
Yeah, I was looking into that as well. I was just researching/ brainstorming possible options and asking you more knowledgeable manly men for your opinions :)
Btw, I really like your renting idea, especially when space is limited
 

Susan_in_SF

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#29
Thanks guys for all your input. According to the Eastwood site, my welder, "Welds up to 3/16" with solid core wire." With such a statement, does that mean it can weld 3/16" in one pass? To be honest, if so, this welder probably is all I need. I just am power hungry, like Tim Allen. Plus, I just wanted to feel secure that my welds would be strong enough to held heavy items safely.
 

Eddyde

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#30
Yeah, the stated weld thickness is for one pass, you can weld thicker material with multiple passes.
 
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