I just added two more profiles for Mr. Lima, and Mr. Coffee. (The latter is a lengthy one, from an American ex-pat living in Costa Rica.) I consider them both “must ” reading.
“Dan Fong” on Survival Welding Gear (SA: Tools)
I have a comment on your recommendation concerning the “Dr. November” Profile. In addition to buying an oxyacetylene rig, I would add a plasma cutter. They are far superior to the gas rig and they run on compressed air and electricity. An air compressor and a generator will run these units. They cut faster and cleaner than a torch. The only consumables are the tip/electrode and cup which run ~$6-$8 a set but they last a long time. I would use the torch on structural steel that is thicker than 3/8″ but wouldn’t waste the gas on thinner material. An arc welder is good for most stuff assuming that you have the correct rods that have been correctly stored. This needs electricity to run but I wouldn’t recommend it for smaller applications due to you might end up burning through the work. Again, the main focus is to minimize gas usage. If you are worried about rod storage, you might consider a MIG welder which uses gas and wire.
My personal favorite are welders built by Miller. This is like the best handgun argument where everyone has an opinion and preference. My reason for liking Miller is that I have burned up power supplies with other brands due to the amount and speed at which I was welding. Some of the well known brands were using Al instead of Cu wiring and I guess I was burning them out. The welding supply store used to send me samples units to try out, but I favor the Miller brand. They have an over-temp protection feature that automatically shuts the system down before you damage the system. In addition to this there is support equipment that needs to be factored into using welding equipment that a lot of people tend to ignore. Enough on this subject. – “Dan Fong”
[JWR’s note: Some of the readers of my novel Patriots will remember the Dan Fong character. Dan Fong is the pseudonym of a real life individual that I have known since college. He is an industrial designer, gardener, inveterate gun nut, beer brewer, aviation enthusiast, and barbecuing expert. (Your basic 21st Century Renaissance Man.) And yes, he really does have a tendency to say: “Oh Maaaaan!”]