A couple of weeks ago I took advantage of a great sale and purchased an entry-level MIG welder from Eastwood. It arrived the day we left for Ohio, and it’s only been the last week since I’ve been able to get it set up and tested out.

Most of what I intend to do with it is repair sheet metal and some basic fabrication. I’m limited by several things, which means I need to be smart and creative: I’ve only got a 120V service in the garage, I don’t have a lot of room for a big setup, and, of course, I’m trying to do this inexpensively. I’d started by looking at Hobart and Miller units, and while they all had their benefits I found muscling Brian’s beautiful Hobart unit around the garage with a 125cf tank to be difficult at best and completely impractical at worst.

So I kept my search focused on a 140amp unit that ran off a standard 120V plug. The Miller and Hobart units were all based around a heavy transformer while the Eastwood was designed around an inverter—lighter and smaller, at around 25 lbs. And with a 3 year warranty I figured I was in good shape. On Tuesday I drove over to the shitty side of Baltimore to a welding supply house and bought an 80cf tank of 75/25 argon/C02 and hefted it on to the back seat of the Honda. Driving home through Curtis Bay I saw what Canton was like 20 years before I moved there—downtrodden rowhomes with a bar or package goods store on every corner.

Back in the garage I assembled the whole unit as per the instructions, flipped the switch on, and put some basic beads down on scrap metal. Success! This evening I split some 22ga. steel in half and practiced tacking it together while I dialed in the settings. It’s going to take a lot more practice but I think I can get the hang of it when I’ve got some more metal to work on.

I think I’m going to start by repairing the crustiest of my Scout fenders and practice tacking things together before I get adventurous with the Travelall, but I’ve got a really good setup for the fall and winter to play with.

Date posted: June 29, 2023 | Filed under general | Leave a Comment »

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