- Automotive and Motorcycle: [WON RUNNER UP!]
I was interested in a "portable welder". I started investigating and I found a few gas and propane driven models from $699+
I then found a great Instructable that started me thinking in a different way: http://www.instructables.com/id/SpoolGun/
Instead of a gas generator powered welder, I could use a 24V DC battery powered welder system; based around a spool gun.
I currently own a Lincoln 175HD 208V [220V AC circuit] welder which can weld aluminum via its push-wire gun, but it requires changing out a liner in the gun's cable so that the wire doesn't "birds nest" [bunch up] in the feed tube. Needless to say, it raises the threshold of "what's worth the trouble" of switching everything out. Lincoln now makes a separate spool gun that works with the newer models of Lincoln welders, but not with my 175HD. I found a great "retrofit" website on how to wire the spool gun for use with my welder. Having a spoolgun that I would use for aluminum welding, and the push-wire gun for other wire types, would lower that threshold, and I could also use the spoolgun for my portable welder idea.
So while Tim Anderson's great Instructable is based around a generic spoolgun that he found on ebay [priced in the $135-$150 range], I decided to go with the Lincoln Electric Magnum 100SG Spoolgun [priced in the ~$222 range] so that I could use it with both my existing AC powered welder and the DC welder that I had in mind.
Complexity: Intermediate, requires:
- knowledge of welding
- knowledge of DC electronic circuitry
- experience with High Amperage vehicle batteries
Safety: *Special precautions*
- I am not a professional certified welder nor electrician, so understand that you (like I did) assume all responsibility and liability for attempting to [re]create this project.
- Not going to get into the whole Edison vs. Tesla debate of the safety of DC vs AC, but for this specific project, DC is relatively safe. Relatively in that you won't get "shocked", but the arc from high amperage DC current releases various gasses, radiation, and produces enough heat to seriously burn, even maime.
- While welding, make sure you use protective gear and cover your skin. A DC arc can generates molten metal slatter, enough ultraviolet radiation to give you a sunburn, and can permanently damage your retina if viewed with the naked eye. Be cautious of any spectators/bystanders