How Much Math Do You Need To Know For Electrician Pipe Welding: Should You Get a Diesel Welder Or a Gas Welder? (What About Propane)

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Pipe Welding: Should You Get a Diesel Welder Or a Gas Welder? (What About Propane)

If you are going to weld pipes and assemble, which will be better? Gas? Diesel? Propane?

A gas welder is the best choice if money is your biggest consideration. A used soldering iron (in my opinion makes a lot of sense if you can find a garage queen. This article is not about brands, but in my opinion, I would stick with Lincoln or Miller for three reasons.

Reason 1:

American Made Yes, the Chinese are starting to make good things, but they are NOT there yet when it comes to welders.

Second reason:

Availability of parts. Almost every welding shop in every town will have parts for what’s in the bed of your truck.

Third reason:

Copper windings. Copper and aluminum are used to conduct and create electricity. Copper is superior. Because? I don’t really know, but I do know this: a 1980 Lincoln Pipeliner with copper windings will weld so smoothly you’ll think it’s ice cream.

Which fuel will you choose?

Gas is everywhere and easy to get. it’s clean It’s not a big deal if you spill a little. However, gas has a problem: it is not as efficient as diesel. Cars are a good example. A VW Beetle with a diesel will get up to 54 MPG on the highway. The exact same car on gas will max out at about 35 MPG. THAT my friend can mean a lot of money if we are talking about powering a welder that is sitting in North Dakota working for 12 or more hours a day.

Let’s do some math.

Assume an older diesel pipeline uses one gallon per hour in average use. At $4.00 a gallon, that’s $48 a day. The same welder using gasoline would probably use about 1.5 gallons per hour under the same conditions. 1.5 X 12 = 18 gallons for say $3.75 = $67.50. The difference is about $20 a day. Let’s say you run it 300 days a year, so 300 X $20 = $6,000. And let’s say you’re going to run that welder four years, so that’s a difference of $24,000.

What about propane?

Propane is pretty cheap and where you will be welding it will probably cost $2.00 a gallon. A gas engine running on propane will burn more fuel because gas has more BTUs than propane (and diesel has more BTUs than gasoline). Let’s say we will use 20 gallons of propane X $2.00 = $40 per day in fuel cost. OK, that’s a bit less cost than diesel. Normally, a diesel welder would be more expensive than a gas welder, but when you have a propane kit and a tank, you’re about to break even.

Propane has another advantage: it burns very cleanly. You can stretch oil changes. All things being equal, I still think I’d go with the diesel. Because?

Propane can have a bad habit of not being easy to get when you need it. It also always means moving the truck to another location to feed the welder. On the other hand, your truck will probably be diesel and therefore a stop and you can leave the truck and the welder.

WARNING:

Take your time if you want to buy a used welder. Find that sweet garage queen who still has the paint on. You’ll be glad you waited. If you decide to go with propane, do your best to find a welder already set up for propane. Welders have to move to another trade for various reasons, and businesses go under. Look for auctions and complete equipment ready to go. Consider all your options.

You can put “All of Craigslist” into a Google search and you’ll search everywhere (great for price comparisons.

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