Miller Bobcat & Trailblazer series ... overkill?

Discussion in 'Tools and Fabrication' started by CodyRx7, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. CodyRx7

    CodyRx7

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    I've been browsing around trying to gather as much info as possible regarding welders and their capabilities lately.

    It seems most people for home garage or small shop use just have some of the smaller stick or mig machines.

    From what I gather with the Bobcat and Trailblazer type units, they seem to have the capability of doing all types of welding instead of just 1 type..

    Plus they are also generators, plasma cutters and who knows what else.

    They are pretty pricey machines, I've seen them running between $2000-$4500 for some used to brand new units.

    If price really wasnt an issue, would you run one of these big units, or is there a reason you wouldn't want to?

    There are tons of variants of these with different options, gas, LP, diesel engines, etc...

    Anyone have feedback?

    I plan on doing lots of fab work, bumpers and stuff eventually.

    My thoughts so far are that an engine ran welder wouldn't require me to deal with the 110/220 specific outlets, and if the machine could handle plasma cutting too and be a generator and whatever else, thats less equipment to buy seperately.

    On an awesome note, today I was running to Lowes and Home Depot with my girlfriend for some unrelated stuff, and when we passed the very limited welding stuff aisle, she says:

    "Why are you even looking here, you know they only have the small stuff. Why don't you just get one of the big heavy duty machines? I mean, if you have to spend just a few grand more to get something good, just do that."

    I almost proposed right then and there! :p

    Ok, so back to my topic.

    Tell me why I should or shouldn't look into these Bobcat and Trailblazer engine driven welders.

    Discuss.
  2. Cuerno Largo

    Cuerno Largo SILVER Star

    Messages:
    891
    Location:
    Lakehouse
    I have a Bobcat 250. The main reason I bought it was that my business needed to have an emergency generator available for the ice storms we get every 3-5 years that knock out the power. I figured I could spend the same amount and get a bonus welder along with the generator I needed;). Worked out well for me since I store it at my home on a trailer. I really like the Bobcat.

    I has been great for my farm use as well due to obvious portability. I have 300 acres and not everything that might need repair/welding can be easily transported back to my shop.

    If you have neighbors, they will likely not appreciate you as it is loud.

    I don't use it as much as my old Lincoln crackerbox that I inherited from my grandfather.

    I have not regretted my Bobcat purchase.
  3. fj40charles

    fj40charles GOLD Star

    Messages:
    2,779
    Location:
    Texas
    If you get one, I'd get the Trail blazer. Allows for easy hookup of remote Hi Frequeny box if you wanted to do some DC tig welding. Also, the Trail blazer will have better stick welding performance.
  4. MrMoMo

    MrMoMo Addict

    Messages:
    1,628
    Location:
    N44 W76, YGK, sometimes PTY
    I have the Trailblazer 280NT with the stainless housing. Spend the extra money and get the cover, the paint will peel off and rust if you go with the painted one, or you will have to get the cover which is a pain as you cant put it on when it is hot...

    The great thing about the trailblazer, as you have mentioned is it's ability to to lots of different things. Generator, welder, AC/DC/ Mig/Stick/Tig... I'm sure they have come further since I got mine.

    However be aware... To do nice tig you will have to add a high freq. box, unless that is now built in - otherwise you will be doing scratch start tig.

    I have done quite a few different jobs with mine, I worked on a highway bridge, welding stick overhead on a bouncing bridge for 6 weeks, 12 hour shifts - machine ran flawlessly the entire time. On the same job we used it to Arc-Air the end of a beam off. Max power at 280A, never flinched.

    I use a Spool gun for mig, I had a suitcase welder to run the big spools, but found that I NEVER used it. Mind you I was not into BIG manufacturing, always fairly small jobs. I just find the spool gun much nicer to work with, much quicker to switch from Steel to aluminum.

    The BIGGEST downsides though, and it is frustrating at times... is the noise. My machine is in my garage, so to run it I need to have the doors open (as I am too lazy to plumb the exhaust out yet) I don't live in a warm environment, so it really sucks when it is below zero. The only other downside, is on occasion I don't seem to be able to turn it DOWN enough. But, both of these problems could be overcome by purchasing a small 120V box for small jobs.

    I would definately reccomend one, just be aware that there will be MANY accessories you will likely need to purchase in order to get fully set up.

    Go for it if you got the $$ !
  5. CodyRx7

    CodyRx7

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    I found a local Welding Supply shop in town and went window shopping today and gathering information.

    For the small difference in price, I'm going to go for these components:

    Trailblazer 302:
    [​IMG]
    Stick (SMAW)
    MIG (GMAW)
    Flux Cored (FCAW)
    DC TIG (DC GTAW)
    AC TIG (AC GTAW)
    Air Carbon Arc (CAC-A) Cutting and Gouging (Rated: 3/16 in carbons, Capable: 1/4 in carbons)
    Air Plasma Cutting and Gouging (PAC) with Optional Spectrum Models

    Rated Output at 104° F (40°C)

    MIG/FCAW: 300 A at 25 V, 100% duty cycle
    DC TIG/Stick: 280 A at 25 V,
    100% duty cycle
    AC TIG/Stick: 200 A at 25 V, 60% duty cycle
    Output Power Range

    DC Stick/TIG: 10 - 300 A
    AC TIG/Stick: 30 - 225 A
    MIG/FCAW: 13 - 35 V, 325 A
    Generator Power- rated at 104°F (40°C)

    Accu-Rated™ 11,000* Watts Peak
    9,500 Watts Continuous
    *Note: Kohler = 11,000 W, Subaru/Robin = 10,500 W.



    Net Weight

    580 lb (263 kg)
    Engine

    Kohler: 23 HP at 3600 RPM (gas)
    Kohler: 25 HP at 3600 RPM (LP)
    Subaru/Robin: 22 HP at 3600 RPM (gas)


    Millermatic 180:
    [​IMG]

    Plasma - Spectrum 375 X-Treme:

    [​IMG]


    The shop has a small trailer I can mount the big machine too with space for all the other toys that I'd pick up. The shop owner is also willing to set me up with a huge package discount on all the accessories and everything together.

    I love going into a shop looking like I'm 17 with a $100 max budget...and then setting up a purchase for a huge chunk of the big toys. The shop owner seemed a little sad to see me come in 20 minutes before closing, but by the time I was ready to leave he seemed like he wanted to adopt me...
  6. CodyRx7

    CodyRx7

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    Any input on the difference between the Kohler and Subaru engines available?

    They seem to be the same price with the Kohler having an extra 1hp and 500 watts of peak power.
  7. RavenTai

    RavenTai

    Messages:
    6,085
    Location:
    Dixie co. Florida
  8. CodyRx7

    CodyRx7

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    (sigh).

    After reading through all of those posts, I can't tell if either engine is better or worse.

    It was just "KOHLER is better. I go on first and clean the hair. ROBIN is better. I leave the hair silky and smooth. Oh, really, fool? Really. .......STOP LOOKING AT ME SWAN!"
  9. RavenTai

    RavenTai

    Messages:
    6,085
    Location:
    Dixie co. Florida
    Personally I would go with the kohler just from past experience.


    you could really blow the budget and get the 302 kubota diesel
  10. CodyRx7

    CodyRx7

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    The Miller website says the specs are all identical between the 302 gas and 302 diesel models.

    The only differences are Diesel = 720lbs, 19hp at 3600RPM, $9437.00

    Gas = 580lbs, (Kohler) 23hp at 3600RPM, $4797.00

    So diesel is heavier, less hp and twice the price?

    With diesel fuel being more expensive....whats the attraction to the diesel version here?
  11. CodyRx7

    CodyRx7

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    Oh, 1 other difference.

    Diesel stick - 25-300 A
    Gas stick - 10-300 A

  12. RavenTai

    RavenTai

    Messages:
    6,085
    Location:
    Dixie co. Florida
    Sorry I was not serious, I assume you are like me are interested in a welder and generator for home use not a daily work tool, diesel would not make sense.

    Diesel engine will consume less fuel and last longer under all day every day use.

    but for someone like me a gasser will last decades.
  13. CodyRx7

    CodyRx7

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    I wasn't considering the diesel, but your post prompted me to check for any spec gains with the diesel over gas.

    At twice the price though....I could just go buy another TB302G if this unit breaks out of warranty, and trade in or sell the brokedown original unit for parts and still come out ahead.

    The only gain I could see with the diesel would be if you were at a jobsite where every machine was diesel so you'd retain the same fuel type on everything.
  14. -Spike-

    -Spike-

    Messages:
    6,156
    Location:
    Phoenix
    Diesel engines are built to run much longer, take less maintenance, have fewer parts, and use less fuel for the same output. They put out more power at lower RPM's. They are used for industrial and commercial applications, where constant use makes the above benefits worth the additional cost. Probably not going to make any difference to you, as you'll never tax the capabilities or endurance of the gas engine.

    -Spike
  15. haystax

    haystax

    Messages:
    1,260
    Location:
    Diamond Valley, Nevada
    We have used the predecessor to the Bobcat with an Onan gas two cylinder for twenty years and just had the machine rebuilt last year. I wouldn't hesitate at all about the gas engines on the Miller machines, you will likely never get enough use on the machine to know the difference. FWIW all the service trucks around here are running Bobcat 250s and you never hear of one not working flawlessly.

    The only reason IMO to go with the diesel is if you foresee running for power generation for extended periods of time...

    On that note - does the Trailblazer provide 3 phase power in that size machine??
  16. CodyRx7

    CodyRx7

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    The only unit I see on their site mentioning 3 phase is a $4137 Bobcat 3phase.

    [​IMG]
    or the $14,506 Pipepro 304

    [​IMG]

  17. RavenTai

    RavenTai

    Messages:
    6,085
    Location:
    Dixie co. Florida
    the "Big 40 deluxe" provides 3 phase and single phase at the same time, but only when not welding, the welder uses the 3phase generator, Cat diesel, too much though $14.4K,
  18. brian

    brian SILVER Star

    Messages:
    5,454
    Location:
    lebanon,pa


    the pipe pro is the shizzle....don't leave home without it.


    the other truck has an older propane fueled bobcat.
    i'm not impressed with it. it was never a smooth machine, now that it's older it's even worse.
    office2b.JPG
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2008
  19. CodyRx7

    CodyRx7

    Messages:
    1,860
    Location:
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    I think I'm going for the Miller 252 unit instead of the 180 or 212.

    I am now prepared for a 3 million candlepower light attack.

    [​IMG]
  20. RavenTai

    RavenTai

    Messages:
    6,085
    Location:
    Dixie co. Florida

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