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Old 10-17-2011, 10:15 PM   #1
John in OH
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Default Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

EDIT: THIRD UPDATE, TUE., NOV. 22, SEE POSTING #19
EDIT: SECOND UPDATE, FRI., NOV. 18, SEE POSTING #16
EDIT: FIRST UPDATE, TUE., NOV. 1, SEE POSTING #13

I’ll preface this posting by admitting that most of you will think I need to get my priorities straightened out, but I do enjoy taking an old piece of junk and returning it to a reasonably useful condition.

My most recent acquisition is an old Forney 180 amp AC welder, 240v, single phase, that I got for free. This size and type of welder (primary current limited to 39 amps) was extremely popular on farms during the late 1940s and 1950s when the REA began stringing electrical distribution lines to rural areas. The original owner thinks it was purchased in 1957 or 58.

IMG_6228 (Large).jpg IMG_6235 (Large).jpg

My preliminary electrical checks found no grounds or opens in the transformer, and I can’t see any obvious problems with the windings … except dirt, so I now want to take the refurb a step further.

IMG_6229 (Large).jpg IMG_6230 (Large).jpg

Unfortunately, the rear section of the steel housing that once held the model and serial number is so badly rusted that none of this important information is legible.

So …. I’m wondering if anyone out there knows the actual model number of this Forney welder?
Does anyone have a wiring diagram or instruction manual?
Does anyone have a similar old junked Forney machine that may yield some parts (mostly the welding cable plugs)?
And lastly, are there any additional electrical tests that I could run to further evaluate the condition of the transformer?

Last edited by John in OH; 11-22-2011 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:29 PM   #2
Stuart in MN
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

I just looked at the Forney website and they give a little history of the company - I wonder if someone there could help you out.
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Old 10-17-2011, 11:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

My grandfather gave me his old Forney C-B5 this summer (circa 1963) along with a 200 page manual (but, no wiring diagram).

There is not an exact match in the manual, but there are two machines very similar to yours; the Model A and the Model I.

I'm also in the process of restoring mine. I have seem on other sites that guys have found most of what they need to restore theirs, and a lot of people say they make great welders. My grandfather welded together warships during WWII, so he knows welders, and he says this was his favorite on the farm.

I’ll let you know if I stumble across any parts new or used.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

John
Here are some pictures of my Forney.
I've seen two other models show up in the past on Craigs List.
Haven't ever done anything with mine.
One of those future project kinda things.
I did talk to a local welding supplier , he told me as long as there were no vermin nests
or bare wires touching each other it should be fine.
Parts machines would be the only source for any broken receptacles as they are not available.

Craig
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG-20110723-00372.jpg (99.2 KB, 64 views)
File Type: jpg IMG-20110723-00371.jpg (148.8 KB, 71 views)

Last edited by Amitygravel; 10-18-2011 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

This is good stuff, guys....time spent putting these old machines back in service is time very well spent.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

I have the little brother too that one. A late 50's Forney F100 100A 220v. My grandpa's first welder, he gave it too me a few months ago.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

Thought I had a photo of the mdel number on the Forney , apparently not.
Here's another brand I have that may help in the search for info as it is similar.
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File Type: jpg IMG-20110719-00357.jpg (146.9 KB, 49 views)
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

Check welding web.comhttp://welding web.com
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

I have one very similar that I bought off craigslist for $50.
Brought it home, cleaned it up, changed the plug and fired it up.

Welds awesome. It is my go to machine.

The only thing I have changed is the earth clamp.

I have also started to paint it. I painted the top but am waiting to see if I can have decals made for the front. Maybe I will just take some close up pics of the front and have them painted on if I can find someone that can do a good job without charging an arm and a leg.

(ignore the chicago electric welder beside it. It has since been replaced with a Miller 211)
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

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Originally Posted by justsam View Post
Check welding web.comhttp://welding web.com
Indeed, that is where you should post.
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:07 AM   #11
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuart in MN View Post
I just looked at the Forney website and they give a little history of the company - I wonder if someone there could help you out.
I contacted Forney Customer Service and they were friendly and willing to help, but they can't really offer too much. They still stock and can provide two styles of male plugs and one style female welding cable plugs, but they can't say what models of old welding machines these plugs will fit.

The female jacks are #57510 and the male lead plugs are #57901 (black sleeved) & #57902 (red sleeved). If you give them your zip code, they will let you know which nearby dealers you can order those parts from. They also will provide some very generic literature that they still have on machines from this era (1950s/60s), but it isn't of much use.

I was surprised that they didn't have more old info in their archives. Considering the large number of these machines that were sold in the 1950s and 60s I would have expected them to at least still have the tech literature available.

I'll probably order one new female plug and see if it matches the plugs on this old machine. I do have the male ends off of the original welding cables so I'll see if I can figure out some method of connecting the old male ends to new cables.

I'd still appreciate any info or parts that others on GJ can provide.
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

Awesome! I have the same welder. It came from my parents' neighbors after it was in a flood. They didn't want it anymore - so it was free to me. I took it home, cleaned it up, emptied all of the silt and rocks out of the inside, and plugged her in. It works fine - good enough for a farm welder. It came with a HEAVY power cord that is about 30' long. There is probably enough copper in the power cord, welding leads, and welder itself for me to sell it and buy a new wire feed welder. I think I'll hold onto it, though. Let me know if you need me to get any info off of it.

-Dave
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:32 PM   #13
John in OH
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

Time for an update!

Based on the information provided by Forney Customer Service, I contacted a local hardware store in VA that carries Forney equipment and from them I purchased:

Two 57901 male plugs (existing stock off their in-store rack)
Two 57510 female plugs (ordered from the area Forney sales rep)

IMG_6400 (Large).jpg

Unfortunately, when I test fitted these new fittings together, they don’t fit!!

IMG_6402 (Large).jpg

The 57901 male fitting measures 0.372” OD, but the 57510 female fitting measures only 0.358” ID.

IMG_6403 (Large).jpg IMG_6404 (Large).jpg

As a general comparison to the old existing male cable plug, the old plugs inserted into the old female fittings approximately 0.873” , but inserts into the new 57510 female fitting only approximately 0.5”.

IMG_6405 (Large).jpg IMG_6406 (Large).jpg

So, basically, I've spent $60 on new Forney parts, made two 55 mile round trips to the hardware store, and nothing fits anything! I've sent this inf to Forney Customer Service and am awaiting their reply; hopefully, it will be positive and the problems will be addressed. I'll keep ya posted.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:45 PM   #14
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

John ,
Is there enough material on the 57510 to bore it out ?
Are the old male plugs the same diameter as the new ones ?
May be limited to what is available off the shelf , but it may provide
parts that can be adapted to get the welder functioning at all of its settings.

Craig

I re-read. The old male fit the new female diameter wise.
Seems modifying those plugs would be ok. Anxious to see more.

Last edited by Amitygravel; 11-01-2011 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:20 PM   #15
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amitygravel View Post
John ,
Is there enough material on the 57510 to bore it out ?
Are the old male plugs the same diameter as the new ones ?
May be limited to what is available off the shelf , but it may provide
parts that can be adapted to get the welder functioning at all of its settings.

Craig

I re-read. The old male fit the new female diameter wise.
Seems modifying those plugs would be ok. Anxious to see more.
Craig,

Not much wall thickness on the threaded portion of the female 57510 fittings ... about 0.068".

IMG_6407 (Large).jpg

However, a definite possibility is to turn down the male plugs (57901) to fit the new female fittings, but all of these fittings have a slight taper (taper unknown) so I would have to give this all some further thought. But that may be the route to take if Forney cannot resolve the issue.
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Old 11-18-2011, 05:40 PM   #16
John in OH
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

This past weekend I made a little progress on checking out the condition of this old Forney welder.

Step 1 was to install a new temporary power supply cord and see if there would be any obvious problems when putting power to the transformer. With new power supply cord installed, I switched on the panel breaker followed by the power switch on the front of the welder. Result … nice steady hum from transformer … no smoke, no sparks, no flames!! So far, so good!

Step 2 was to clean and/or repair several of the welding amp selection plugs. I cleaned the mud dauber wasp nests out of several plugs, checked to assure they weren’t grounded to the case, and checked continuity. Next was to cobble together a pair of welding cable adapters to connect new welding cables … original Forney cable plugs to new Tweco cable connectors.

IMG_6485 (Large).jpg

Step 3 … the real test … will it weld? Power on, cables plugged into “high” ground and 105 amp plug, 6013 rod, and away we go! This old welder strikes an easy arc and runs smooth and steady!! Moved stinger cable to 120 amp plug and ran another smooth bead.

I think this old girl is worth saving!! Now I just have to get the new Forney plug issues resolved with their Customer Service so the remainder of the amperage selection plugs can be replaced.

During the removal of the female amperage selection plugs I made an unexpected discovery. It was obvious that many of the existing female plugs were no longer in usable condition, but I assumed this was due to poor male-female plug fit (snicker, snicker). However, it appears that all of the female outlet plugs on the welder were originally aluminum and these aluminum plugs gave poor service. Sometime, in years past, six of these aluminum outlet plugs were replaced with brass outlet plugs similar to the current design. And of the remaining six original aluminum outlet plugs, only one is still functional … the remaining five are burned beyond use (hence my efforts to obtain new plugs, both male and female).

Photo shows burned aluminum female plug on left, remaining good aluminum plug in center, and one of the old brass replacement plugs at right.

IMG_6490 (Large).jpg
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:30 PM   #17
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

John
Good to see you got it running !
So all a person would need to do would be replace all of the
male and female connectors with a like brand to avoid any previous repairs or failures and be done with it ?
Let's see some of those beads too !
Thanks again for posting your efforts.

Craig
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Old 11-18-2011, 07:33 PM   #18
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amitygravel View Post
John
Good to see you got it running !
So all a person would need to do would be replace all of the
male and female connectors with a like brand to avoid any previous repairs or failures and be done with it ?
Let's see some of those beads too !
Thanks again for posting your efforts.

Craig
Yeah, that's pretty much it! In addition to replacing the original, brittle and cracked 240v inlet power cord, some of the welding cable plugs need to be replaced.

The welder has 12 female outlet plugs and 2 male cable plugs. Of the original 12 female plugs, which were all aluminum, six were replaced with brass plugs sometime in the past and they still appear to be serviceable. But now only 1 of the aluminum female plugs is good so that leaves the need to replace 5 burned aluminum female plugs. The 2 male plugs are in poor condition ... badly pitted and burned per the photo.

IMG_6493 (Large).jpg

Of course, it would be really cool to do a full cosmetic job on the case, but some of those decals are pretty complex ... curved lines, arrowheads, Forney logo stuff, etc. Maybe, if I get real ambitious, I'll just do a repaint of the case and replace the basic amperage numbers adjacent to the female plugs. Though, first objective is to get the plugs all in good usable condition.

The beads??? Ah, well, I don't want to totally embarrass myself!
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

Update of Nov. 22:

This past week, I received two replacement female cable outlet plugs (p/n 57510) from Forney Customer Service. Unfortunately, they are still not compatible with the two male plugs (p/n 57901) that I had previously purchased locally.

I tried to take measurements on all of the subject plugs to the best of my ability considering my limited micrometer resources and have listed the results on the attached file. Many of the measurements have been rounded off to account for my measurement limitations.

Forney Plug Dimension Summary.pdf

TABLE 1 shows the dimensions of the two existing male plugs (badly burned and pitted so good data is nearly impossible to obtain) and two typical female outlet plugs (one aluminum & one brass) from the existing welder.

IMG_6493 (Large).jpg

TABLE 2 shows the dimensions of the two male and the two female outlet plugs that I obtained from a local hardware store that carries Forney equipment. These are the plugs that were discussed in my previous post of Nov. 4.

TABLE 3 shows the dimensions of the two female outlet plugs that were supplied by Forney Customer Service.

Observations ….

1) The original female outlet plugs are slightly larger in diameter than the new plugs, but the taper is pretty close to the same as current plugs.
2) The two female plugs from the local hardware store have the smallest bores. Neither of the new male plugs will insert into either of these female plugs.
3) The two female plugs from Forney are larger that those obtained locally, but the female tapers are, again, all quite similar. Of these two new plugs, one of the new male plugs (#M4) will partially insert into both of these female outlet plugs … but not far enough to be useful.
4) The taper of the two male plugs is considerably different than the taper of the new (and original) female plugs … approximately 0.029 in/in for the males vs. approx. 0.053 in/in for the females. The small end of the male plugs is too large to fit properly into any of the female outlet plugs.

My conclusions from these observations are: a) it is actually the MALE plugs that are out of spec. for taper and small-end diameter; and, 2) the tolerance of the female outlet plug bores is not being held tightly by the fabricator. Taper may be OK, but large diameters differ significantly.

I’ve passed this latest information on to Forney Customer Service and await their response.
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:16 PM   #20
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Default Re: Forney Welder Refurb Info/Parts Needed

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My conclusions from these observations are: a) it is actually the MALE plugs that are out of spec. for taper and small-end diameter; and, 2) the tolerance of the female outlet plug bores is not being held tightly by the fabricator. Taper may be OK, but large diameters differ significantly.
Ain't it always that way?

So, size DOES matter.
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