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Old 12-09-2016, 06:23 PM   #1
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Welding Help


I am hoping someone can help me out with choosing some equipment to get started welding. Before I go any further, a few things: 1) I must admit that I have no experience welding whatsoever. 2) I do not like to upgrade equipment--I want to buy the best from the start so I don't "outgrow" anything 3) This will never be a source of income for me 4) I am blessed to have the means to buy top of the line.

Based upon my amateur research, I was thinking I would likely be best suited for a MIG welder. What I want to do it very basic welding. I want to weld a piece on my trailers, join two pieces of stock together, etc. Eventually I may do more but I will be learning on basic things.

So, if you wanted to buy a welder and money was of no issue whatsoever, what would you buy? Any opinions on brands, size, type, etc. are greatly appreciated. I know they may only be an opinion, but they will point me in the right direction to research things further.

Thanks!

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Old 12-09-2016, 06:34 PM   #2
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Re: Welding Help


Brands? You won't go wrong with either Lincoln or Miller. Stay clear of Hobart.

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Old 12-09-2016, 06:45 PM   #3
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Re: Welding Help


I would start by googling the nearest welding supply houses, and see if any of them offer classes. It won't be the equivalent of a full semester at a trade school, but I know that several of the distributors in our area have half day or so classes on different types of welding. Obviously they are going to have an at least somewhat biased opinion on brands, etc., but if knowledge is golden hands on is titanium.
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Old 12-09-2016, 07:27 PM   #4
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Re: Welding Help


Thanks for the responses. I actually have a few friends who can teach me and I will certainly check into some short classes as well.

As far as brands go, I know using them is ideal but if you haven't ever welded then I would think it would be hard to evaluate (kind of like driving a car to see how it corners if you have never driven one). I am just looking for the quality, top of the line, will last a long time and are relied upon by the pro's brands. Similar to how in power tools most would vote for Makita over Black and Decker.

Any links to specific models or specific features I should look most strongly at are greatly appreciated. Thanks for helping me get started!
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:06 PM   #5
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Re: Welding Help


I certainly agree with what rooster said regarding brands. Lincoln is probably my favorite but Miller definitely would be my second choice. I haven't looked at new units in while so I'm not quite sure what their lineup is these days. Your best bet will be to talk to a distributor tell him what you want to do how much power you have available to run it.
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Old 12-10-2016, 07:29 AM   #6
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Re: Welding Help


Since you want to start at the top, forget the MIG.

Get yourself a nice Miller TIG machine. (Or any other popular brand for that matter)
The beauty thing with these are that you can weld anything including light gauge sheet metal or tubing along with steel plate virtually any thickness.
When it's time for heavy welding, just click the settings over to stick and arc weld the heavy stuff.
Aluminum welding can also be done with this machine.


Get yourself a whack, and I mean a whack of sheet metal scrap bits and pieces of tubes, pipes, plates to practice on.

Stainless steel scraps are probably the best to get your hand pulling nicely as this material will fuse together without rod. Cold rolled sheet metal will also except it will spit where there is a tack weld as you run across it.
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Old 12-10-2016, 11:03 AM   #7
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Re: Welding Help


Quote:
2) I do not like to upgrade equipment--I want to buy the best from the start so I don't "outgrow" anything
Ayuh,.... I'm a Steel kinda guy, with a backyard full of it,...
I also play with aluminum, which is a very different material,....
'n, Yes, I'm a Lincoln guy,...

With that quote in mind, I'd go this way,....
This machine is the more basic low production mig welder,....
A Darn nice welder, a couple steps better than my go-to machine, but that's another story,..
This welder is the same as the 1st, with an aluminum spool-gun add-on kit,....
'n This welder is the 1st one, with the tig/ stick welder add-on kit,....

That base machine, with the add-on kits will weld anything that's weldable for the rest of yer life, 'n probably that of yer heirs,...

I've got an ole Ac/ Dc Lincoln tombstone welder, my 1st, bought used many years ago,...
It's consumed literally Tons of rod,...
I also have an ole former production Mig, an SA-200, with an aluminum spool-gun kit,...
A Monster of a machine, a space hog, but cheap at an auction,...
My Go-to machine is the 140 amp/ 120v machine,...
I run flux-core wire for portability, 'n the reason for the 120v,....
I can weld steel anywhere I can drag an extension cord,...
I bought it a couple years ago at my weldin' supply shop for $500. tax in, out the door, a factory refurb unit,...

Acouple of pointers for a gonna-be-welder,....

Never weld galvanize,... The Fumes will literally Kill ya,...
Always grind the coatin' off for a couple inches either side of the weld,...

Buy a decent name brand weldin' hood,....
Ya don't need the several hundred dollar Pro hood, but don't buy a cheap imported knock-off from harbor fright either,....
Flash-burn sucks,... been there, done that, it sucks,...
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Last edited by Bondo; 12-10-2016 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 12-10-2016, 12:12 PM   #8
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Re: Welding Help


Thanks so much for those responses. They have been monumentally helpful as a starting point for education and research.

One thing I need clarification on: are there machines that can do different types of welding (stick vs. mig vs. tig)? It sounds like there may be, but you may have to purchase an add on attachment? As long as they can do a quality job with each type of welding, that would be a great option for me since I will never be doing mass production. It would be nice to have versatility as I learn and improve, but would probably struggle to get value out of having every different type of welder.

It sounds like Lincoln, Miller, and Hobart is the big 3 as far as brands go. Hobart seems to be lower end, cheaper priced of the 3, while Lincoln and Miller seem to be neck and neck on a lot of things with a slight edge historically to Lincoln as the king of welders.
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Old 12-10-2016, 12:19 PM   #9
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Re: Welding Help


So Bondo suggested a Lincoln machine that looks pretty nice. This machine MIG, Flux core, DC Stick, and DC TIG. Does it do a good job with all of those, or are you better off with a dedicated welder for each job?

That machine certainly looks to be something that would be spot on for what I am seeking. I would appreciate any thoughts.
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Old 12-10-2016, 12:20 PM   #10
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Re: Welding Help


Ayuh,..... Hobart, 'n Miller are the same company,....

Lincoln has economy models, but not under a different name,....
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Old 12-10-2016, 05:03 PM   #11
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Re: Welding Help


Am I correct in my assumption that the Power Mig 210 multipurpose from Lincoln is a higher quality machine and something likely as good as I will ever need for a nonprofessional?

I am still interested in the multifunctionality. If this one can do several different things well, how come more models aren't multifunctional?
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Old 12-10-2016, 08:11 PM   #12
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Re: Welding Help


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Originally Posted by SMLWinds View Post
Am I correct in my assumption that the Power Mig 210 multipurpose from Lincoln is a higher quality machine and something likely as good as I will ever need for a nonprofessional?

I am still interested in the multifunctionality. If this one can do several different things well, how come more models aren't multifunctional?
If you can get the TIG and stick also, get them.

Manufacturing requires a machine ready to go without taking time to swap over. Multi machines are mostly used by hobbyists or shops that don't do too much of one style welding, so demand is less.
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Old 12-10-2016, 10:26 PM   #13
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Re: Welding Help


I don't know diddly about welding, but I've bought a lot of tools that I didn't necessarily know how to use. Generally, you get what you pay for, but I'd be careful about buying too much. Sometimes an expensive pro level tool has too much power and too many settings and adjustments and it's difficult to get parts and service and it's big and heavy and dangerous. It's geared towards high production, but it's very tough for a beginner to learn on. You don't want to learn how to chainsaw with the biggest chainsaw. You don't want to learn to drive in the most powerful car.
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Old 12-10-2016, 11:45 PM   #14
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Re: Welding Help


Quote:
Originally Posted by 123pugsy View Post
Since you want to start at the top, forget the MIG.

Get yourself a nice Miller TIG machine.
While a TIG machine is nice it's a lot more restrictive in its use than a good MIG machine is depending on what type of voting you really want to do. It's much more difficult to lay down a nice weld using a TIG gun in one hand and a stick of filler material in the other than it is to laydown one using a MIG unit.

A lot of people will actually recommend starting out doing stick welding, then progressing to MIG and finally to TIG. I've never seen any welding professional recommend starting out with TIG.
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Old 12-10-2016, 11:53 PM   #15
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Re: Welding Help


Thanks for the help and advice. I hear what you are saying about being too powerful. With some things, the pro model is harder to use and if you don't have basic knowledge you can make it hard on yourself. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think that is the case with the Lincoln I am looking at.

With regards to multifuncationality, I agree, if you are in a production situation where time is money then dedicated machines are the way to go. I never intend to make a penny off welding so I don't think "production" is worth buying 3 machines just so I don't have to change settings.

I believe the model from Lincoln I was looking at above does stick, MIG, and TIG welding. While I realize there may be some work in changing from one model to another, if it does all of those pretty well I think it would be a great model for me.
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