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Old 01-02-2016, 07:10 AM
ShawnR ShawnR is offline
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Question Help to identify welder please

Hi
Years ago, I found this old Wisconsin VF4 hand crank engine and welder unit sitting in a scrap yard. I bought them, thinking it would be kinda cool to get running (not my best decision). I finally got the engine running recently (that process would be a whole other thread) and last night attached the two back together to try the welder out. I got spark and a very short bead but ugly, almost like not enough volts. I tried various rods and moved the dial through its range but there was not much difference. All of the images I have been able to find show direct coupled units so I suspect this belt driven unit might have been built up by someone. I do have all of the shrouds for the engine, they are just off while I was working on it.

The engine running before I connected the welder is here if interested https://youtu.be/WSA8Uue4Cag



Sooooo, couple of questions, not process related but hoping that some of you that have been around for a while might know.

Any idea what make of welder it might be? I can find no tags, labels, numbers or any identifying marks on it anywhere, and I have had it flipped over while checking it out. It has a large coil in the base but no diodes anywhere so it must be only AC.

I have heard of "flashing" units that have sat for a while to restore some of the magnetism. How do I do that? How long do I keep the battery connected for? There is an H and L on two of the 3 connections, the third being "Gnd" so do I need to flash both the H and the L?

Thanks in advance
Shawn
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2016, 07:30 AM
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Ironman Ironman is offline
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That old girl is a aircraft generator, somewhere between 200 and 400 amps. The majority of them were made by Westinghouse, I think.
They produce around 27 volts when used as a welder, as the aircraft were 28 volt charging systems. I learned to weld on those machines and built up 2 of them, one with a VW motor. They also made a V-twin engine generator unit with 2 cams, 2 mags, 2 carbs, etc and a heat duct to use the cooling air from the engine to heat the aircraft engine while it was charging up or starting the plane.

If you want to see an unbelievable difference in the arc, wind up a reactor coil from the heaviest magnet wire you can buy, 00 or #000 and it will be smooth as butter. The coil should be wound on a 2" x8" piece of round hot rolled stock, with the coil OD 4"+ diameter.
A seriously large capacitor will raise the voltage for arc strikes, but if you learn to weld with it everything else is a breeze.
But I'll tell you right now that rubber band you got on there will not drive that gen and you will have super slippage. They need to be driven at 3500 to 4000 rpm, and need 3-4 belt to drive it.
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:56 AM
ShawnR ShawnR is offline
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Wow, that was fast! Thanks Ironman. That is exactly what I was hoping for in a reply.

Are you suggesting it might be just hard to get the bead started? Any idea if flashing it would make it more usable? I tried 7018 but probably my DC rod. I also tried some 3/32 6013, 1/8 7024, and could not get it to run a bead.

If you want to see an unbelievable difference in the arc, wind up a reactor coil from the heaviest magnet wire you can buy, 00 or #000 and it will be smooth as butter. The coil should be wound on a 2" x8" piece of round hot rolled stock, with the coil OD 4"+ diameter.

There is a coil just like this description under the base. Do you mean another or I wonder if someone already put one in. It all looks factory. I do have some very old large capacitors. Might have to experiment some more.

Yes, agree on the "rubber band" :-) It was all I had last night. I can get some more today but want to make sure it will work ok. I have been throwing money at this project for years but don't even need it so now it is just pigheadeness (is that a word?) that keeps me plodding along.
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Old 01-02-2016, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnR View Post
Wow, that was fast! Thanks Ironman. That is exactly what I was hoping for in a reply.

Are you suggesting it might be just hard to get the bead started? Any idea if flashing it would make it more usable? I tried 7018 but probably my DC rod. I also tried some 3/32 6013, 1/8 7024, and could not get it to run a bead.

If you want to see an unbelievable difference in the arc, wind up a reactor coil from the heaviest magnet wire you can buy, 00 or #000 and it will be smooth as butter. The coil should be wound on a 2" x8" piece of round hot rolled stock, with the coil OD 4"+ diameter.

There is a coil just like this description under the base. Do you mean another or I wonder if someone already put one in. It all looks factory. I do have some very old large capacitors. Might have to experiment some more.

Yes, agree on the "rubber band" :-) It was all I had last night. I can get some more today but want to make sure it will work ok. I have been throwing money at this project for years but don't even need it so now it is just pigheadeness (is that a word?) that keeps me plodding along.
OK, good that you have a reactor. Flashing will do nothing for you, the gen is already working. It only is useful when you have a gen that will not self excite. This is a DC machine, so 7018 rod is perfect for it. I really think I would buy a new Multi-Band belt for it, before you do anything else. And then check the rpm.
These are not bad machines, difficult to strike compared to modern welders but the penetration and weld quality is very good. Also check all connections on the control circuit for corrosion and high resistance. The only place resistance should occur in that control circuit is in the wire wound rheostat. Remember this is only 28 volts so 1 ohm of resistance on a connection is a serious effect. This control limits feedback voltage to the field coils and determines the amperage output. You literally should see a stuck rod melt off as these buggers put out serious current.
Also, as a determining factor on getting it right, a stuck rod should almost stall or drag down the rpm of that V4. It would stall a 36 hp VW engine, but I had a 12" driving pulley on the engine.

I bet you can't here a load on the engine with your setup.

EDIT really check the rpm. The V4 should be governed at about 24-2500 rpm, and you may not be anywhere near 3500 on that gen.
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:07 AM
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LKeithR LKeithR is offline
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Gerry's pretty much got it covered I think.

Back in the post-war years when surplus was cheap there were thousands of aircraft generator welders out there. A lot of them were home-made one-offs but there were also a few manufacturers who turned them out in fair numbers. Yours looks like it could fall into the latter category as those brackets and covers look to be purpose built for that application. A lot of the homebuilts were pretty crude and ugly.

My father-in-law had a large collection of old "mechanics" magazines from the 40s and 50s and I've still got a few kicking around. I know that one of them has an article on building a generator welder. If I can find it and have the time I'll scan some of the pictures and post them.

My experience was more as a user than a builder. When I was first starting out in the trade in '69 one of my "mentors" had a machine/repair shop just a couple miles from where I lived. He had made himself a welder from an old* generator--it was powered by a 4 cylinder Continental if I remember correctly. I hung around his shop quite a bit and played with that welder quite a few times and I can still remember how smoothly it burnt a rod and I'll never forget the buzz/hiss noise it made when everything was in sync. It was a sweet sound for sure.

And Gerry's absolutely right about the belts and the RPM. A rig like that should be good for 350-400 amps; enough to make that ol' Wisconsin suckhole real good...


*Really the wrong term because lots of welders were made from surplus generators that were brand new and unused.
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:36 AM
ShawnR ShawnR is offline
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I have been looking around more on the web now that I have this info. I found this article, which may the one to which you refer. The whole magazine looks like a good read. Funny how it leans strongly to building things yourself and even has lathe articles in it. Aircraft to engines to waterskiing. I think I was born many years too late. :-)

https://books.google.ca/books?id=Ti0...erator&f=false

I may have the wrong connections. When I thought it was a welder, the three connections were EL, EH and Gnd, iirc. I assumed high output and low output and then the Gnd so I made my connection EH and Gnd. Now I think they should be EL and EH. What do you think?

In trouble shooting, I disconnected the rheostat while it was running to see if it was making a difference. There was a bit of an rpm surge I think, but when I went to reconnect, quite a bit of sparking at the spade connector. With the darkness outside and a running engine and because I have the fan blades exposed, etc, I finally choked the engine down to shut if off and reconnected the rheostat. It is is definitely in the circuit. I think I will wire in a shut off switch as the magneto shut off is kind of awkward. I also need to fabricate a new fan cover. The old one was made of a soffit material and so beat up, I did not want to put it back on but that running fan is kind of dangerous.
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:05 AM
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Those covers and "factory Mods" that are on it are a Princess Auto thing. The fan shield at the back end was a sheet metal band with a clamping screw, and a screen held in with sheet metal screws. The reactor coil should be from the +terminal(Armature) and the electrode holder is connected to the other side of the coil. I would call their 1-800 number and ask to speak to the oldest fucker in there. He may just have what you need as for the wiring diagram. I also must confess to still having a brand new rheostat for the 200 amp P1 welder. If you need one....
The connections should be two large terminals and one small terminal. They are armature, field, and ground. The control circuit is between field and armature IRRC. Here is a wiring diagram, it is not rocket science.
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Old 01-02-2016, 11:19 AM
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Would have been interesting to make a mark on the pulley and a corresponding mark on the belt and see how far it slipped in 30 seconds of welding. My bet is that belt slip is half your trouble with engine speed and terminal connection problems making up the other half.

Also, if you get 'er working good, keep a gas can handy. That Wisconsin will get real thirsty under steady load.
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Old 01-02-2016, 01:44 PM
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Neat find Shawn. Before I read Gerry's first response, I was going to remind you to get a belt set. So they were all the exact same length. Never heard of those multiband belts before. Interesting. As far as getting that up to speed, since that Wisconsin isn't feeling it yet, get a bigger pulley for the engine.
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Old 01-02-2016, 01:44 PM
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I got one of those welders. Says 300 amps on the label. Been keeping my eye out for a 12hp gas engine to run it. Some day all the planets will align and I will have the engine. Was planning on a 3 belt drive. If my memory works then, I will come back to this thread for guidance.
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