Because I live in a house that is older than your grandfather, it has a 60 amp service. A 60 amp alternator is considered small, and this is supposed to power my house? Well it does, marginally. But powering a 220V welder is out of the question. If we were to wire up a 220V plug I'm pretty certain the house would burn down. I'm pretty sure it would be successful this time. Yes, it's tried to burn down before. With me in it. While I was sleeping. But I digress. I needed a welder and a generator to power it.
When it became apparent that rental welders were either anemic 110V models, or massive overkill structural ARC welding units, I started to ask around. My first thought was Cousin Nate. Cousin Nate might be the most redneck person you'll ever meet. He stuffed a 7.3 liter diesel in an '89 Ford Ranger. It's that project that eternally needs just that one more part and it'll be driveable. You know the type. In case you were wondering, Cousin Nate really is my 4th cousin on my moms side. Anyway, Cousin Nate is a welder by profession, and does good work but tends to take charge and overcharge so I wasn't too keen on just hiring him. I realized just after starting our conversation that asking Nate if I could rent his welder was about like asking a Puritan Minister if I might perhaps rent his wife. The awkward was so thick, I had to cut my way to the car with a machete. Not wanting to commit that faux pas again I thought I ought to come up with a new plan.
I'm convinced that the car guy gene comes in a package deal with the craigslist gene. Almost every car guy I've ever met is also a craigslist junkie. I'm always cruising craiglslist, and over the past week welders have been a main topic of search. On Wednesday I struck gold. The listing was for a Millermatic 211 which is the exact welder I've wanted for about a year. It was also in Torrance and that meant that I could go check it out on my lunchbreak since I work in Torrance. I borrowed a truck from work, stopped by the bank and went to a storage unit to meet Dale.
Dale was a slightly crazy guy in his mid fifties with a band-aid on his nose. He said he was a contractor and had used this welder in conjunction with a generator on a job last year. Now he was offloading it along with an attachment for aluminum welding, a few spools of welding wire, a tank for 100% argon, a tank for argon CO2 mix, two welding helmets, one of which was an auto-darkening shade, a set of gloves and pelican case. Dale also threw in a 25 ft 220V extension cord and a plug adapter. I couldn't pass this deal up. I got all of this gear for what the welder alone cost when new. I also didn't have to pay sales tax. Take that, Commies!
It's hard to describe how excited I am to finally own a welder. It's like I've grown my first chest hair all over again. I'm walking on clouds of inert gas.
Vaughn managed to borrow a generator from a friend of his. It is powered by an air cooled 4-cylinder diesel engine. There is no kill like overkill. Before we do any welding it looks like I'll have to repair a fuel leak to avoid starting on fire. With a little luck next week my mind may be occupied with plotting a plan of attack on the four-link rear end.
edit: Whoops. That was a lot of words.