Introduction: Repair a Welder

Friends of mine bought a house. In the back of the garage was an old welder, left there by the previous owner. Knowing that I like to tinker with things, they thought I might want it. Of course I said yes. I figured even if it was garbage, I could cash in the copper.

It wasn't exactly garbage, but I'm glad they didn't plug it in to see if it worked.

Step 1: Inspecting the Cables

My first task was inspecting the wires. Old welding equipment can be dangerous. This one was. The cables were cracked pretty bad. This would kill someone if they weren't careful.

Step 2: What the Hell !

Electrical tape isn't part of a welding cable ,so I removed it. Underneath was a finger tight nut and bolt connection. The positive lead wasn't long enough for the previous owner, so they added more wire AAAGGHHHH!!!.

At this point I'm wondering if my friends new house was an estate sale, of a deceased amateur welder.

Step 3: Check the Power Wire

The power cord was in good shape, but the rubber grommet had been pulled out of the sheet metal. The cord would eventually wear through and short out on the cabinet.

Step 4: Remove the Back Panel

First disassembly step was to remove the back panel.

Step 5: Inspect the Inside

Things are in pretty good shape inside. It doesn't show water damage. No broken wires. Just lots of dust to blow away later. It doesn't look like its ever been opened.

Step 6: Loosen the Cables

The cables have to go, so I loosen them and put the nuts and bolts back on the connection so I don't loose them.

Step 7: Remove the Cables

The cable grommets are easy to remove, just squeeze with pliers and give a gentle push.

Step 8: Prep the Old Cable for Recycling

When you cash in copper you get more money if its clean. The extension that was bolted to the old cable is still in good shape.

Step 9: Remove the Side/top

The power cord and ground wire must be removed before the side/top panel is removed.

Step 10: Removing the Front

The selector knob has a set screw to remove. It was very tight, I took great care not to strip the screw head. A super long screw driver would have been nice. Being able to keep the driver seated while holding the screw driver was tough. I ended up pushing on the end of the screwdriver with one hand and then turning it with pliers.

Step 11: Removing the Power Switch

The switch removal was easy.

Step 12: Undo the Selector

The last few screws to remove before the front can come off are attached to the amperage selector switch.

Step 13: Destress Loose Wires

I used zip ties to hold the power cord and power switch to avoid stressing the wire connections. All the other wires were super stiff. There was no need to support anything else. With that done I used a couple scraps of wood to support the unit on the cart. Without it's cabinet, it would fall right through the bottom.

Step 14: Blow Off the Dust

With compressed air I cleaned the dust off the internal parts. That's as much cleaning as the inside needs.

Step 15: Sand the Rusty Spots

I sanded the rusty spots on the body panels, then set up a spot outside for painting.

Step 16: Paint

Massey Ferguson red was the best match I could find. I picked that up at the TSC store.

Step 17: Can't Forget the Hardware

The screws and bolts painted up nicely as well.

Step 18: Puting Things Back Together

The front is the first item to reassemble.

Step 19: New Cables

I bought the new cable and lugs at Canadian Welding Supply

I soldered the cables into the lugs by holding the lug in a vice, dipping the cable into flux, stuck the fluxed cable into the lug and heated it with a propane torch. Once it was hot, I filled it with solder. I was looking for a decent priced lug crimping tool but had no luck. I believe a soldered connection should be OK but time will tell. If the solder melts, I'll just lose power and have to pause my project until I fix the problem.

Step 20: Install the Cables

To reinstall the cables, just squeeze the plastic grommet back onto the wire and pop it in the hole. Then reconnect the wires.

Step 21: Spruce Up the Cart

Can't forget the cart. I masked the wheels and painted the hubs. I wire brushed the cart and painted it as well.

Step 22: All Done

As is the case with most of my Instructable projects, I forgot a few pics along the way. I replaced the rubber grommet and installed the power cable while installing the back on the machine. I also removed the amperage selector display plate before painting.

Step 23: It Works

For those who care to see, here is a short clip of the welder, well, welding.

I didn't notice any heat generated in the soldered connections, so I guess I'm good to go.

Step 24: Voilà

Here it is. My good as new welder. Now comes the hard part, learning to weld with it.

Fix It Challenge

Second Prize in the
Fix It Challenge