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Welding

Portable power

By Lisa Rummler

March 2010 - Some people go to great lengths for their job. Shane Slinger has been known to go to great heights--or at least up to 30 ft.

Recently, the owner of Slinger’s Portable Welding, Rifle, Colo., was doing a job that required him to crawl inside of a hole that was 30 ft. off the ground. His task: weld aluminum inside the 2-ft.-by-2-ft. area.

With such a confined space, there would normally be various challenges. Slinger, however, had the right equipment to do the job.

"I was able to get inside that hole with my Ready Welder and weld [the material], and I didn’t have any problems," says Slinger. "If I would’ve had to use a different-style spool gun, there’s no way I would’ve been able to do it for two reasons. One, other spool guns are bigger, bulkier and heavier. Two, you’ve got to carry a lot more stuff with you to do the job."

Manufactured by Ready Welder Corp., Wilmington, Calif., the portable welding machines have a ship weight of 15 lbs.

Six Ready Welder models are available, and the difference comes from their connection capabilities.

According to Julian Rifa, sales and marketing manager at Ready Welder, the most popular connection capability is the ability for the Ready Welder to run strictly off of two 12-V batteries. It also has the connection capability of hooking up as a spool gun to a DC output welder.

"[Ready Welders] give the user the capability to hook up to not only the MIG machines, like your normal spool gun, but they also give the user the capability to hook up to a couple of 12-V batteries and have enough power to [do] some significant welding," says Rifa.

Additionally, the portable welding machines can weld steel and aluminum--users don’t have to choose one or the other.

In regard to material thicknesses, Ready Welders can handle 0.5-in. material with two 12-V batteries. With three 12-V batteries, users could weld up to 0.75 in.

Several models feature an optional cold-switch safety feature, according to Rifa.

"[With the CS feature], when users let go of the trigger, the welder is going to go cold, so they don’t have to worry about where they set the gun down," he says.

Here, there, everywhere
Ready Welders are used in many industries, including aircraft, automotive, steel fabrication, tube bending and fabricating.

Individuals also use Ready Welders, particularly those who do automotive repair and ride all-terrain vehicles.

"I recently had a gentleman call in who broke an axle when he was out four-wheeling with his buddies," says Rifa. "He said he was in the middle of nowhere, and luckily, he had a Ready Welder onboard. He hooked it up to a couple of batteries in the truck, welded his axle on the spot and drove off. He said that if it wasn’t for his Ready Welder, they would’ve been stranded for hours."

The U.S. military also uses the portable welding machines—according to Ready Welder’s Web site, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are all Ready Welder customers.

Ready Welder’s military roots go back further, however. Rifa says the company’s owner, Dr. Theodore Holstein, drew on a memory from his days as a soldier in creating the portable welding machine.

"He came up with the idea because he served in World War II," says Rifa. "So it’s pretty ironic that now the U.S. Army is one of our biggest customers today."

Additionally, many construction companies use Ready Welders, especially when their work entails ceiling fixtures, according to Rifa.

"They have a couple of batteries that they put on the floor, and they climb up the ladder with our 50-ft. extension cord and do welding right on the spot," he says. "If they didn’t have a welder capable of hooking up to batteries, they would have to lug around this gigantic MIG machine to all of their jobs, which obviously can be pretty inconvenient."

Bang for the buck
Slinger purchased his Ready Welder toward the end of 2009, and he says the machine’s versatility has benefited his company.

"I weld on drilling rigs, and we’re doing a bunch of aluminum work, so I needed a portable unit that I could do aluminum with," he says. "[Regarding] regular mild steel, it’s done a superb job on that. And then, of course, the aluminum work I do with it--I’m really impressed with the job it does on that."

Slinger’s Portable Welding, which was founded about six years ago, runs the gamut from oil and gas fields to pipeline construction to structural fabrication.

For jobs that require Slinger to be high up, as he was in the case of the narrow space 30 ft. off the ground, he says the Ready Welder has proven especially advantageous.

"Hanging in the air from a safety belt [with the Ready Welder], you don’t get any fatigue from having heavy tools or heavy units," he says. "It’s just lightweight and convenient, and it’s worker-friendly."

Additionally, Slinger says he appreciates the convenience of being able to power the Ready Welder in various ways.

"I run mine off of an engine-driven welder on my truck, and I also run it off of car batteries," he says. "It’s a standard unit that a fabricator would use. It’s a reliable and versatile unit that runs off of many different power sources, and it’s worth every penny." FFJ

Interested in purchasing reprints of this article? Click here

Sources

  • Ready Welder Corp.
    Wilmington, Calif.
    phone: 310/834-3321
    fax: 310/834-3323
    www.readywelder.com

  • Slinger’s Portable Welding
    Rifle, Colo.
    phone: 970/371-1573

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