Product Review No. 3 - Readywelder II - Portable MIG welder

Tuesday, Dec 21, 2010 at 18:21


A disclaimer of sorts;
These reviews are not designed to influence you towards any particular product. I’m not receiving any financial advantage in doing this, rather I am providing my personal opinion on the quality and suitability of the products I have purchased and used. Any decision about purchasing a product should be made on a thorough analysis of your own needs and budget and supported by your own research (as were mine). Any questions, please ask it in the comments section below and I'll do my best to answer them for you.

Ready Welder 2

($900 to $1100 Australia or $500 -$620 USD/CAN if you can get it shipped)

With any prolonged outback travel, I've always believed in being prepared for as many eventualities as you can. The need to put something back together can rear it's ugly head when you least expect it. Previously I had prepared a bush welding kit for DC welding using stick and a couple of car batteries. While this worked in a rough and limited fashion, regulation of the ampage was tricky and a s a result the welds were hit and miss with real risk of doing some serious damage to thinner metals. This year I sourced the Ready Welder 2 through my Canadian associates (bless em) and thank god I did as it was invaluable on the trip with some interesting outback welding exercises taking place

The Readywelder can be powered in several different ways. One way is to use 1, 2, 3, or 4 12 volt deep cycle batteries depending on the material being welded. For example one 12 volt battery works great when sheet metal welding is needed. For thicker steel such as 6mm angle iron, The Readywelder recommends two 12 volt deep cycle battery's. The Readywelder can also be used with most traditional welders (40V DC or less). For our applications we chose to run two 12 volt batteries joined together equalling 24 volts output which allows the Ready Welder to weld up 15mm steel with a 200 amp draw. If I were to ad an additional battery for a total of three 12 volt batteries combined voltage equalling 36 volts would allow me to weld up to 20mm steel (or aluminium if you’re good enough at 270 amps drawn).

The controls are pretty basic. The trigger turns on the wire feed motor and the red dial is used to control the wire feed speed. A pair of LEDs (one green, one red) indicate the polarity of the gun (details included the manual). The trigger does NOT control the is always electrically hot, so be careful that you don't arc it while moving the tip into position. Ready Welder has recently released a "cool" tip model which eliminates the always “hot” tip.

The kit comes with everything you need to get the welder running. As per any outback welding, it’s advisable to remove the batteries from the vehicle or at the very least, disconnect them from the vehicle prior to use. Batteries should be covered, particularly non sealed to prevent any ignition of gases produced and released by the batteries.

We did encounter one issue with the Readywelder in that the feed mechanism tended to jam at times. We were unable to ascertain the reason for this as the tensioner still appeared to work, the tip was clear and the spool in good order wire wise. We believe that it bay have been due to burring or wear on the central shaft supporting the spool. We would advise that when travelling with the Readywelder, you don’t do so with the spool loaded. Leave the spool holder empty and fit the spool at the time you wish to commence welding. Also use the smaller half kilo spools rather than the heavy 1kg spool (1lb and 2lb spools).

One of the real pros of having a unit like the Readywelder is that your far more experienced travel companions will fight each other for the privilege of using it leaving the mechanically challenged like myself to "supervise" and provide the cups of tea ;-). If you're serious about "Off Road" travel then this is one that transcends the "He who has the most toys wins" mentality to be a piece of kit well worth considering.

LINK to another example of Bush Welding

LINK to Scotty using the Readywelder in the Gibson 2010.

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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