Instructables
Picture of Batteries + Jumpercables = DC Welder
Here's the simplest welder you can make.
It's just a pair of jumper cables and a welding rod.
Oh yeah. And some batteries to power it.
I happened to have some nice juicy batteries in the form of a Golf Cart.

Here's me welding a trailer hitch with 1/8" 6011 rods. Welding current peaks at around 140-150 amps with these rods and around 120 amps with 3/32 6013 rods according to a Fluke 1010 clamp probe.


Greatly inspired by South Africans battery-welding their landrovers.
More battery welders
Also check out this great homemade AC stick welder.

Oops! Almost forgot a warning. DON"T ELECTOCUTE, BURN, OR BLIND YOURSELF. DON'T BREATHE THE FUMES OR DETONATE YOUR BATTERIES.
That said, read the specs for your battery. Big ones are designed to produce enough current for welding. Don't let the nay-sayers keep you from trying it. Check your batteries and don't overheat them. Lead-acid batteries can go into a thermal-runaway self-discharge mode.

Action photos by Andrea, video by Pete Lynne.
 
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Step 1: Cables and Rod

Picture of Cables and Rod
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Here's the stuff.
The jumper cables were $12 from Harbor Freight.
The strip of bicycle innertube is optional, to wrap the end of an alligator clip and make it grip harder.
If you're feeling fancy you can replace one of your alligator clips with an electrode holder.
This nice one was made in India and cost $7 from Harbor Freight.
The welding rods I tried are 3/32" 6013 and 1/8" 6011, 5lbs for $6 or so. Available in Africa, S.America, anywhere.

You'll also want to wear gloves,
and a welding helmet, $16 from Northern Tool

Step 2: Alligator Clip Orthodontics

Picture of Alligator Clip Orthodontics
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Bend the alligator clip's incisors forward so the canines can grip the rod properly as seen in the 2nd photo.
Strengthen the alligator's jaw muscles with a wrapping of bicycle innertube strip.
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Of course I don't have access to it but how would or could one deep cycle battery from an rv work for this?

look at my comment above I use marine batteries

I used two marine batteries, with 9ga wire coiled to be the resistor between the two batteries, more wire= more resistance. I needed at lot more resistance than in the last pick but needed it small also so I coiled the the wire around the jack Handel so the coils will be the same size. I can't tell you how much resistance it is but I have several different coils of different sizes to very the amount of power depending on the welding rod you use, also the coils produce enough heat to melt a screw driver, when incerted inside the coil after being used for over a few hours

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HammE1 year ago
How could you control amperage? I'm just unsure of that
HammE HammE6 months ago

Also, would that be able to weld mild steel tubing for applications like welding a go kart frame?

smpash2 years ago
How big of a hole does that thing make when burning though metal?
wtuck2 years ago
so I understand the wiring! What kind of amperage, and duty cycle will a microwave transformer take?
will the golfcart batteries still hold a charge and function correctly if u weld with them?
supposedly
sconner1 hintss2 years ago
I bet deep cycle are better for this application but car batts will will work too, they just don't like being "deeply" discharged as much.
Golf carts use deep cycle batts already.
Just try not to overheat them nor recharge while still hot and everything should be fine.

All batteries eventually wear out.
Sometimes you can revive "dead" lead acids with a little epsom salt.
This make it possible you could "recycle" (more like reuse) discarded batteries you can get for free.
hintss sconner12 years ago
"Sometimes you can revive 'dead' lead acids with a little epsom salt."

or a welder...
okie16852 years ago
i was driving throught ok. back in 1972 when the drive line on my big rig started slipping. the weld that kept the ujoint conneted to the driveline broke.
a farmer with about 10 old batters in the bed of a pickup had me back on the road before the engine in my truck got cold.. no charge thanks again mister rouse.
hey how you doing? okay first of since I'm trying to weld and know nothing about nothing can you tell me whats that circular piece of object that has two clamps attached to it? what is it ? It looks like a coil wraped in a circular shape but used to do what? I'm clueless nice project Its real nice!!!!!
Hopefully by now you have learned that that big iron donut is a toroid.  Google or just wikipedia "toroid"and you will get better explanation than i have the patience to type here.
I'll tell it in brief.
The coil acts as a half of a transformer or an electromagnet.
DC current flowing through creates an magnetic field.
When the arc stops so does the current and the field collapses, but in so doing it induces current in the coil in the same direction like a magnet passing over a generator coil but only for a very brief time.
This effect will help keep the arc going or kick-start a broken arc.
A good analogy would be that it's like the momentum a flywheel gives to an engine between the power strokes.
That round thing that looks like a donut with wire wrapped through it is the torroidal inductor. It's used as an arc stabiliser (see step 6)

toogers toogers4 years ago
oh, sorry.acccident

leebryuk6 years ago
Hate to be a downer, but the chemistry behind this eventually moves toward tragedy. An arc welder costs easily less than $100 from Harbor Freight and is much safer and reliable. The helmet is interesting, and I know that it matches the minimum quality requirements. But as someone whose vision is compromised I would feel that a couple more bucks would be worth it. Cheap Beer -yes, Cheap Helmet-No It's the same with brake pads for me. I have bought many brands of pads with varying properties with varying efficiency and have settled on certain facts. Not all are created equal. Most will do the job just fine. But there may be a time that an extra 5 feet stopping power can save you from a lot of pain. Same principal, don't skimp on safety.
As long as it covers your face with an ANSI rated shield and has the proper shade in it a $16 dollar helmet will work just as well as the "professional" models that sell for a lot more.
No, it will not. ANSI covers minimums. I am a big believer in the functionality of goods from various sources. I purchase items made everywhere on the planet and they are roughly the same. However, it is not worth the short term financial savings versus the long term damage. Do not expect "professional" models to mean pricey. These versions are made for people who weld 12 hours a day in hot, dangerous environments. Plus those guys love angry graphics on their helmets.
Please explain how an opaque impact resistant polypropylene face mask and a properly rated shade costing $20 is less effective than the exact same thing purchased in another store for $30. Because I've used them both, and the cheaper one held up a lot longer.
Let's go back to my brake example.

My car model came with two braking versions. One was the standard. The other was the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS.)

They both meet the minimum safety standards set up by the federal government at that time. However, the ABS systems well exceeded the minimum braking safety standard. Get the point?

I don't care for your tone. I'm not going to explain to you why one lived longer than another. To be honest, I don't know why one "held up a lot longer." Besides, what does it mean to "held up a lot longer?" I don't know and I don't much care

Have fun inhaling fumes and burning your retinas out.

Penny wise, pound foolish.
There is no tone implied. Your example is not applicable to this discussion. Brake-pads and #13 welding shades do not even begin to work the same way.
Calorie Grimarr5 years ago
Really? brake shoes and welding filters don't work the same way? I guess that's why I keep crashing my car when I jam those danged welding filters into the old brake pads.

Similes, Metaphors and analogies are the basis of languages (and before comp sci guys get spun out of control, compilers also use oodles of the above.) They allow us to relate ideas that apply from one concept to another.

There is a mental "leap" (well, more like a "hop") that allows a person to understand how things are associated. It is the hallmark of learning, both in basic association and higher cognitive learning.

***
I'm not sure how to make it much simpler. There is the basic safety standard in which a product must meet certain attributes for reliability, durability and failure rates.

Products can exceed those basic safety standards if the producing company views it as profitable (among other considerations.)
***
If you still find this confusing, good luck. Talk with a welding instructor and ask him/her to explain the differences between helmets and why the are desirable.
Grimarr Calorie5 years ago
Thank you for the condescension I really enjoyed it.

Here's my point, in a nutshell. The little green tinted piece of glass in a $16 welding hood works exactly the same as the little green tinted piece of glass in my $30 hood. The only difference is the little piece of glass in my $30 hood is bigger.

Also, please keep in mind the effect advertising plays on the cost of products. The cheaper welding masks like you get at Northern do not have ads in trade magazines.
I think the fellow with a good point above was saying the $50 (or $80) hood is better than the $16 hood (also priced as $30 elsewhere, possibly with a different dimention.)

Cheaper (but minimally rated) filters allow some fraction that over time may be detrimental. Static is static, higher rating means dimmer view. The cheaper auto-flip might work fractions of a second slower (or decay faster?) Again, an accumulated effect over time.
Suffice it to say, the battery, jumpers and rods join metal for cheap.
Let's start a new tab for the cost of protecting the human doing the work.
Calorie Grimarr5 years ago
sigh...well at least you got the patronizing part.
For me, if I were to buy an arc welder, (I learnt at school) then i would probably end up buying a $20 helmet. Not because I can't afford it, but because I would only have a minimal need for it. If I were to weld as part of my job or every week, then I would go out and buy a professional helmet. But, I would be welding a couple of times a year at most, so I have no need for an auto darkening helmet. My school has both a $20 fixed shade and a $100 auto shade mask, and yes, the auto helmet is nicer, but they do provide the same protection.
Not even close to reality . Unless You use a fixed shade #12 or higher will You have decent protection for You're eyes . The problem with that is that You can't see what You are trying to weld . Even the cheap($50.00 H.F.) automatic shading lenses/ helmets provide something like 800% more protection from UV and IR radiation . I have first hand knowledge of this as I used to weld for a living when the automatic shades were new . Before I bought an automatic shade after 1.5 to 2 hours of welding I was seeing sun spots for a while . As soon as I started using the automatic shade I have'nt seen sun spots at all . The sun spots before had been happening for maybe 4 months so I'm hoping there was'nt any permanent damage to my vision . Anyway , take it from me be smart and invest a little in an automatic shade / helmet . Good luck
An arc welder is actually free at this instructable.

This is different from an arc welder - it's DC, which is good for steel.

The helmet is perfectly fine.
Just so you know any type of welding that uses electricity to make a spark or "arc" is arc welding, weather it be DC straight/reverse, or AC.
This is intended to demonstrate an off-grid welding technique.
Death does come cheaply. I'd be equally afraid of the Harbor Freight welder. The slogan for Harbor Freight should be: "Our return lines are longer than our checkout lines!"
lol good one!!!
bigbadbill3 years ago
RE: arc stabilizer inductor, something to try; the biggest problem you will likely encounter due to the inductor windings overheating for two reasons:1) you will tend to use smaller guage wire since it is easier to wind, but it will dissipate more heat. the other problem is the insulation will not let the wire cool readily, so try for wire with thinner insulation if possible.enamel insulation is best if it is available.you may have a ready made inductor available already if you already have spar batteries laying around for the project.. use an old starter motor, it is plenty inductive and can cetainly handle the welding current. Weld the shaft or otherwise lock the motor from turning, lest it run away from you when you strike an arc.
Note that any arc stabilizer is goint to cause a voltage surge when you break the arc and ( that's how it restarts a failed arc) and you may get a tingle in your fingers if you didn't do a good job insulating your connections
If you choose to use a rewound transformer for the inductor core make sure you remove or well insulate the unused windings becausethe welding current winding will act as a new primary for the transformer and induce a current in any other windings that remain. you could easily produce hundreds of volts in short bursts as you drag the stick.
please be careful with your sparks, I have been around an exploding car battery and it wasn't much fun
Can you please show a schematic on how to wire the microwave transformer to the battery welder? Where does the white wire come from? Thanks in advance!
What I mean is, is the white wire just the second wire from the secondary that goes to the negative? Its a bad angle. And for some reason on my transformer my primary has four leads coming off of it, the two like this one but Ive got two others ....do I just cut the other two off? Thanks
two of them are pwer input the other two are output
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