Recommended starter welding machines
ARC welding or stick welding is the most basic forms of modern metal welding. Arc welding produces high energy electrical arc that melts the metal in ‘sticks’ and conjoins the metal workpieces. It is the cheapest and most common form of welding because of these ease of using the machines and budget friendly equipment and consumables. In India you can get a decent arc welding machine for less than 7000 INR (>$120). And a pack of sticks and related welding safety gear will cost you less than 1200 INR. We have been using a Toshan ARC 200 for the past 3 years at Gomake Makerspace and it is one of the most reliable and cheapest arc welding machines available in India or South East Asia.
ARC welding machine has generally has 4 vital components (Weld rods are normally not included in a purchase of a new arc welding machine):
- A Power supply (the heart of the machine which generally has power control unit as well)
- Stick holder. This part holds the electrode and provides a power contact. It is generally one of the first parts that wears down and will need replacement with a year or two of heavy usage. Good news is they are relatively cheap to replace.
- A ground clamp – This part closes the power circuit and is mechanically similar to a stick holder.
- Weld rods/Sticks – These are consumables and relatively cheap. These are generally not included with the purchase of a machine.
Lets talk about the 3 main welding machine components in detail:
- The Power Supply Unit
As mentioned earlier, this is the heart of your welding apparatus since all welding is supplying enough power to your weld roods that will melt and conjoin the metal workpieces. Power supplies can be both AC and DC depending on the type of transistor being used in the machine. 2 of the most common transistors used in welding machines are MOSFET and IGBT. Now without getting too much into the technicality of these transistors understand that MOSFET is generally cheaper but is not as robust as IGBT. IGBT based welding machines generally tend to be 30-50% more expensive than MOSFET welding machines.
2. Stick holder
Sticker holder is a simple insulated prong or clamp to hold your weld stick. There is not much technicality here. Look for the best stick holder with prominent insulation, good contact (generally has a copper or gold coated contact surface), proper and adequate spring action to hold the weld rods.
3. Ground Clamp
Similar to the stick holder, a good ground clamp is one which has thick robust insulation and good contact with a efficient and strong spring action.
iBELL Inverter ARC Welding Machine (IGBT) 220A
iBell will definitely be our next welding machines as the features provided and build quality are a deal to steal. It is a new entrant but it is quickly gaining popularity as one of the best welding machines to start out with.
- The biggest advantage is that this welding machine is IGBT basedso you know you will getting a bang for your buck on durability.
- It is packed with loaded features such as hot start, anti-stick function and arc control.
- It has a robust build quality so you know it will safe out doors or when handled by multiple hands.
- The price is very competitive considering it’s a IGBT machine
- Come with a 2 year warranty
I recommend the Toshon Arc 200 simply because we have used it since the past 3 years and it has never let us down.
- It is reliable, even though it takes a beating with everyday use.
- It is friendly to use outdoors and indoors
- It has a good price point
- Tested and proven by Gomake Makerspace
Other good machine that have rave reviews
BMB Technology Inverter Welding Machine Arc-200 Amps
This is the simplest and yet reliable welding machine money can buy. It highly recommended as a starter welding machine. Only down side is it is MOSFET based and not IGBT.