DCW100K Cordless Portable Stick and TIG Welder-rear view
DeWalt DCW100K Cordless Portable Stick and TIG Welder-rear view

One of the more interesting tools I saw at the STAFDA show last November was a prototype of a portable battery-powered stick and TIG welder from DeWalt. I was getting ready photograph it when my tour guide said, “sorry, the welder is embargoed”. Embargoed means “we’ll show it to you but if you talk about it before we’re ready to announce we’ll never show you anything cool again”. So as interesting as the product was, I didn’t include it in my STAFDA report.

But the DCW 100K welder appeared last week on DeWalt’s website (thanks ToolGuyd for spreading the word) and is listed for sale on some online websites, so I figure the embargo is over. Information on the tool is sketchy; here’s what I can tell you at this point in time.

The welder is powered by an large internal battery. If you attach the tool to its charger and plug the charger into a receptacle (120v) or generator, the battery will charge while you are welding—though probably not so fast as you are depleting it. The welder always runs on battery.

The technology for this tool almost certainly comes from Fronius, an Austrian company that introduced a nearly identical tool in Europe a couple of years back. The Fronius welder (Accupocket 150/400—video below) is intended for use by people making off-grid repairs to buildings, heavy construction equipment, cell towers, and the like. The DeWalt rep I spoke to at STAFDA mentioned mechanical contractors as a group that would be interested in this piece of equipment.

The DCW100K can be used for both stick and TIG welding. Stick welding is used for thicker metal; TIG is used for greater control and/or for welding thin material and multiple types of metal. Stick welding uses consumable electrodes (rods) for filler material and flux to prevent oxidation (vaporized flux keeps atmospheric gases away from the puddle of molten metal). The DCW100K kit includes everything needed for stick welding: welder, charger, charging cords, and electrode holder and grounding clamp with attached leads. For TIG welding it will be necessary to add a TIG torch and a tank of shielding gas. The shielding gas (usually Argon) displaces the atmospheric gas at the weld and is inert, so it won’t react with the molten metal. As of last November (the STAFDA show) the battery-powered welder was scheduled for release in the summer of 2015.

The specs below (everything except the price) come from the DeWalt website. The welder is at its most powerful when plugged in, which is referred to as hybrid mode. Duty cycle is a standard way of classifying a welder’s size/capacity, the amount of power it can deliver within a 10-minute period of time (the duty cycle) without overheating. When plugged in and set to 100 amps, the DCW100K can stick weld for 2.5 minutes (25% of 10 minutes) before needing to be shut down for 7.5 minutes. Open-circuit voltage refers to the voltage at the electrode when current is not flowing; if OCV is too low it will be difficult to strike an arc—especially when stick welding (80 volts would be a typical OCV for a stick welder; 35 volts for a TIG welder).

DCW100K Specs
Weight of welder: 24.5 pounds
Weight of charger: 2.4 pounds
Dimensions: 17.1x6.3x12.2 inches (LxWxH)
Current range-stick: 10-140 amps
Current range-TIG: 3-150 amps
Hybrid duty cycle @ 140 amps-stick: 18%
Hybrid duty cycle at 100 amps-stick: 25%
Hybrid duty cycle at 40 amps-stick: 100%
Hybrid duty cycle at 150 amps-TIG: 25%
Hybrid duty cycle at 65 amps-TIG: 100%
Open circuit voltage: 91V Max
Price: approximately $4500

The video below was produced by Fronius and is of the Accupocket 150/400 cordless welder sold in Europe. The DeWalt version of this tool will likely be similar.