Hobart Beta MIG Revival

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About three months ago I purchased a raggedy looking Hobart BetaMIG 250.

12/28/05  Here's the first installment in the renovations.......

The welder obviously spent some time outside.....

The good part is it is all there and it came with a full bottle of gas, regulator and a 35lb spool of wire.  Somewhere in its past the hinge for the cover broke and was replaced by an ugly welded on strap hinge.  Someone also added a clunky heavy wagon like running gear which came complete with two flat tires!  I replaced the line cord and tried to weld with it.  No joy, it made ugly noises but no sparks!  Marty Escarcega a fellow Yahoo Valley Metal group member and one of our resident club electricians came over and we played with it until we found the High/Low range switch full of mud and debris.  The MIG gun is a Tweeco with a very long cord, not measuring it I think it is 18 feet long.

After verifying the welder works, I proceeded to take it apart to refinish and repair.  First on the list was to get rid of the crappy wheels.  I used some smaller hard rubber ball bearing wheels on the rear.  I had to cut about 3/4" of the frame away to get rid of the torch cut modifications.  The front casters were mounted to the metal frame that had been added to the underside.  I elected to retain this piece because major structural cutting and rewelding would be required to do this.  As it turns out the wheels selected allow the welder to sit virtually level! 

I replaced the ground lead with a new cord adding a twist lock disconnect while I was doing the work.

Jodie at Lenhart's ACE Hardware in Mesa AZ color matched the blue and grey panels to some ACE Enamel paint.  I masked the various decals and sanded, primed and painted the cabinets using a production air sprayer.  ACE will not tell you how much thinner to use when reducing the paint for spraying but this was done at 25% and looks great  

Plans are to have SignTastic in Mesa make the Hobart logo decals for the side seeing as the Miller folks just laughed at me when I inquired about new decals.  The bright side is you can still go down to the John Deere dealership and buy decals for a 1926 John Deere GP.  I will likely not try to replicate the BetaMIG 250 decals.  

A new knob for the voltage control was ordered from Praxair's Mesa office near where I work.  I will need to file and grind away the "pliers rash" on the shaft from many years of using a pair of vice grips to change the setting.

The top cover and side door is going to be the most difficult to refinish due to the welded hinge and the fact the welder has been used as a work bench by many people over the years.  Here I have started the removal process.  I managed to cut the welds with a thin cut off wheel in an air die grinder as they were not very deep.

      

I have the welded ground away and the preliminary sanding completed.

 

Test fit #1 of the re shaped cover.

2/11/06  Update

I finally found some time and had some warmer weather that would allow for some outside painting!

I spent some time hammering out the majority of the dents and then started to sand and fill the dents and scratches.  There was a point of idiocy involved on how far to carry the process.  I elected to not knock myself out and took care of the dents and the scratches enough to make the unit look nice and be a pleasure to have in the shop.  Concours it's not!

I know how we guys are, and the paint on the cabinet cover is still tacky, but hey, I needed a place to put it while it dried.....

 

I was able to remove the orange Hobart decal in one piece and will scan it into the computer and turn it into a graphic file that SignTastic can handle.  The BetaMig 250 decal came off in one piece however not as intact as I would like.  I should be able to replicate it also.

More to come......