Start a Welding Business – How to Buy Used Welding Equipment

One of the things that seems to confuse welders who want to start a welding business is the purchase of welding equipment. There are so many options available that its hard to know where to begin. And you do not want to make any mistakes here because unlike buying a car or a new set of golf clubs, this decision can really make the difference between being successful or failing. For example: Should you buy new or used welding equipment? What brand is the best? Miller, Lincoln, Esab, Hobart? Should you get a multi process machine like the Miller Shopmaster that is capable of Tig, Mig, Flux core, and stick welding? Or should you buy a separate machine for each process? Oxyfuel cutting outfit or plasma cutter? Air compressor or electric grinders? You see what I mean?

This article about starting a laser parts manufacturer welding business is strictly opinion but it is based on solid experience. It is only because I have a welding business that I feel qualified to weigh in on how to start a welding business.

Here is what I would do in a down and dirty nutshell:

Stay away from multi process machines like the Miller Shopmaster unless you get a smoking good deal on one and intend to use it for only one process. Why? It just takes too much time to swap processes and the hoses, torches, and cables are downright unmanageable.

For your main Tig welding machine, try to locate a Miller syncrowave 250 on eBay or craigslist. If you are patient, you can find one with all the accessories for 2000 bones or less. A bargain.

For a Mig welding machine, again shop eBay or craigslist for a Millermatic 250 or 251.

Somewhere around 1000 bucks is a good deal. Anything less is a steal.

If you are cramped for space, a foldable welding table or two is the ticket. They are strong and you can hang them on the wall to get them out of the way.

You can get by with electric grinders at first and I would definitely get a couple of straight grinders and 4 1/2 inch angle grinders with a good assortment of consumables.

If you have a shop and not just the garage in your home, I would recommend an oxyfuel cutting, welding, and heating kit. Very useful. Owners size cylinders are roughly 175 each and the torch kit along with cart might cost another 300. Thats a total of 650 dollars. But you need it.

In fact, you really need to have a spare cylinder for all your processes. Welding gas cylinders are available in basically two kinds: leased cylinders which are the full sized cylinders used in industry, and owners cylinders. Owners cylinders are usually about 125 cubic feet or roughly half the capacity of the big ones. I recommend getting two owners cylinders for everything. Why? Because running out of argon on Saturday evening when the job is due out Monday morning is not bad for business. Having an extra owners bottle will not add to your monthly expenses and buys you time in getting your main cylinder refilled.


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