Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwed

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Cooksomerice
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Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwed

Post by Cooksomerice » November 25th, 2015, 10:14 am

I do not weld.

Currently obsessed with building my own off-set. Got two 150 gal tanks filled with water at the moment and now I am shopping welders/torch etc.

Responded to a local ad Sunday, showed up at this very old gentleman house and saw the brand Miller and though "
i cant go wrong".

Paid $275.00 and received the Miller Thunderbolt, some rods, self-darkening helmet, acetylene and oxygen tanks, hose and gauges, cart, striker, hammer,etc.


Get it home and start researching /calling friend.

1- It is a AC welder stick welder. ( I do not weld)
2- My electrician friend says I need a 50A breaker to connect it to. ( my dryer connection is 30A)
3-the power cord was frayed and friend/electrician convinced me to let him replace it. $60.00 later I own a 30 foot massive power cord.
4- Friend now thinks I am going to need a 10000w generator to run this thing. (The old man I bought it from had it plugged into his backyard shop. WTF.)

I feel like I am on a sinking ship here and should probably cut my losses and try and sell the thing for some of my money back.

Questions:

Does anyone see option to powering this thing?
Did I totally screw the pooch on this deal or did I make out Ok based on what I received?
Thinking about just renting the Lincoln 125HD from Home Depot for the job, good/bad idea?

Oh, and BTW, feel free to reread above to feel better about yourselves/purchases. You are welcome :p



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Re: Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwe

Post by Rodcrafter » November 25th, 2015, 10:40 am

That welder costs new over $400.00 the tanks costs over $100.00 each the helmet cost over $50.00, so that being said you have gotten a very fair deal. As for the electrician friend I don't know where he came up with the whole breaker idea but I have been running all sorts of welders from a dryer plug for over 30 years. Just as the old guy had it running in his little shed out back you can too.

As for the point of the right welder, considering "you don't weld" you have chosen a tough welder to learn on. I say that because an A/C stick welder makes a pretty good welder look bad. D/C just welds so much prettier, in my opinion. Then a mig welder makes everyone look like a pro.

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Re: Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwe

Post by Cooksomerice » November 25th, 2015, 1:03 pm

Well, its somewhat of a relief that you think I got a fair deal on everything.

I jump them gun on the welder, which I'm inclined to do.
I think I'll will repost the welder for sale and focus on finding the proper MIG for the job.

That said, do you think I can complete the job weigh the Lincoln 125 HD they rent at HD?


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Re: Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwe

Post by Rodcrafter » November 25th, 2015, 1:34 pm

I'm not familiar with that machine personally.


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Re: Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwe

Post by The Czar » November 25th, 2015, 4:24 pm

If anything your stove is on a 50 amp circuit but I would look up the requirements of your welder


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Re: Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwe

Post by mp4 » November 25th, 2015, 7:03 pm

I looked up the Lincoln. It's a 110v model that most likely won't be up to the task. We have a 140 at work, and it's a terrific light duty welder but I don't think it will do what you want it to.

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Re: Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwe

Post by Puff » November 25th, 2015, 10:00 pm

I agree with what RC said, I think you scored. My first smoker was built entirely with a Miller Thunderbolt 225. I had it over 28 yrs and maybe used it twice when it was new. Never really got the hang of it so it sat in the garage ALL that time collecting dust, overspray and wood chips. When I was infected with the smokerbuilder bug, it came out and despit EVERY obstacle I had put in my way, my first smoker and custom built trailer turned out fantastic.

I have some ugly but strong welds on that thing and the thoughts of it falling apart while a roaring fire was cooking away danced thru my head every step of the way. Add the vision of the trailer ripping apart on its travel to my first gig ... :o

Guess what, it starts to make more sense once I got started and I learned to fill in holes,set a really nice bead in place and control the sticks as these guys here guided me into the process. Eventually bought a Miller matic 211 and enjoy the heck out of it. My welds look really nice but I have had 5 smokers worth of practice in the last 2 1/2 years.

I did have a 50 amp breaker that I had installed for my compressor so I just tapped into that. My lights don't even blink. Start with some nice 1/4" scrap to just get the feel. I'm sure your gonna do well. I too am obsessed with this so you are not alone out there.


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Re: Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwe

Post by Cooksomerice » November 25th, 2015, 11:07 pm

Thanks for the write up Puff and RC. I think I will plug it into my dryer outlet have a go at it. I picked up some scraps at the local yard today to practice. It came with two complete sleeves of rods, so I've got plenty to spare.
I'll keep you guys posted and share some progress pics


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Re: Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwe

Post by Puff » November 26th, 2015, 7:38 am

Try the thinner and heavier rids as well as different number types. The react differently. My worst is still 6011 and my best is 7018


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Re: Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwe

Post by Hunterwheeler » March 16th, 2016, 7:02 am

Holy cow 10000w generator :D then you should go for Generac 20kW Generator.
I can say from personal experiance, that if you intend to do any fabricating where welding is involved, this is not the machine. I'll clarify my statement. I bought the Thunderbolt, and a 110 wire feeder at the same time, also a Miller. The wire feeder worked great, but certainly has a size limitation for steel thickness. Descided to use the DC to finish some small details of a project, maybe 10-15 minutes of actual running, or welding and the unit shut down. I assumed there must be a reset, but afterwards found it had simply melted itself down internally, all the "aluminum" connectors inside had gotten hot enough to melt the insolators that supported the terminals and shorted the whole unit.

I managed to make some emergency repairs, since the warrantee did no good for me, and now have a very limited tack welder for DC only.

If you need a good welder, buy a good one, if tacking a few things together is your final goal... Its a great machine. Duty cycle, duty cycle duty cycle.... Compare and save in the long run. "Just my opinion".


Holy Guacamole! I am surprised no one has commented on this yet. I thought a Miller WAS a good welder. Doesn't the thing have thermal shutdown circuits on it, or do you have to watch the duty cycle times yourself? Did Miller cover the problem under warranty? If a guy can burn up a Miller welder in its first 15 minutes of use, something is very wrong.



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Re: Just bought a Miller Thunderbolt and I think I am screwe

Post by Dirtytires » March 16th, 2016, 9:42 am

It's been said but I'll take a shot here as well.

I would keep the tanks and you have yourself the making for a pretty good torch outfit. The helmet is a score also so I don't feel you lost anything in the deal.

Unfortunately, I don't feel you got what you need either. I would resell the machine or keep it for the really thick stuff once you get some experience under your belt.

Renting a machine is going to cost you as a smoker build is not a weekend project. Unless you have no other commitments, I would plan 3-4 months and that rent would buy you a machine. And I agree the home depot model is borderline too small.

Decide what you want and how long you are planing to weld. A good machine will last a long time and is worth the investment. I've had mine for 8 years and it has been worth every penny.



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