Whether you own one piece of equipment or 100, that equipment is inevitably going to break down, and breakages can be more than just an inconvenience. They can keep you from planting or harvesting crops and even endanger your safety.
In a perfect world, your equipment would break at the end of the day right next to the shop. In reality, equipment tends to break down at the most inopportune time and as far from the shop as possible.
When you can't bring the work to the welder, it might be time to consider an engine-driven unit. Not only do these machines provide their own welding power, but also they supply AC generator power to run tools and lights.
“I broke the spindle on my ripper at 11:00 p.m.,” says Todd Lewis, who farms near Forest City, Iowa. “The tire fell off in the field, and it has walking wheels on it. I either had to chain it up to get it home or fix it on-site. I just pulled the welder out to the field and started working on it. I may not use my Lincoln Ranger 8 welder a lot, but it's nice to have it when things break after hours.”
What these machines can do
While basic engine-driven units can only stick-weld, by adding the right accessories to the engine-driven units, they are also able to MIG- and TIG-weld.
“When you can't bring the work to the welder, it might be time to consider an engine-driven welder.”
“In case you have in-field repair work, most of the time you need a machine that is lightweight, low cost, and does stick welding,” says Lincoln Electric's Eric Snyder, senior product manager for engine-driven welders.
For in-field welding repairs, shielded metal arc welding (or stick welding) is one of the most common processes. Stick electrodes are self-shielded and cut down on the amount of equipment needed. There's no need to haul in a gas cylinder, a hose, or a regulator. The welding rod or electrode diameters most commonly used are 3/32 inch, ⅛ inch, and 5/32 inch.
Engine-Driven Welder Manufacturers
The Champion 10,000 is a 10,000-watt generator or a 230-amp constant-current DC welder. This unit is designed for stick welding with quick and easy arc starts. It also performs general scratch start DC TIG. The engine is warranted separately by the engine manufacturer. List price is $3,457.
Lincoln Electric lincolnelectric.com
The Outback 185 engine-driven welder has portable DC stick welding with AC generator power. Features patent-pending Low-Lift Grab Bars. All engine controls are on the front control panel. Fuel tank holds 6.8 gallons. Weld with up to 5/32 inch stick electrode. Up to 185 amps of DC output for many applications. Has 5,700 watts of peak AC generator power. List price is $3,224.
Miller Electric millewelds.com
The Bobcat 250 EFI engine-driven welder/generator can stick and flux-core weld. Features include multiprocess weld output and strong generator power. Electronic fuel injection (EFI) technology provides benefits over carburetor models. For example, it is more reliable when used infrequently, has better fuel economy, and starts easily in all climates (with no choke required). Machine has 12,000 watts of generator power. List price is $5,056.