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Old 01-12-2015, 10:14 PM   #1
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Welder


Any ideas or recommendations on a welder? I'm wanting to use it for some light duty repair work, fabrication of furniture, tools, etc.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:50 PM   #2
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Have you welded before?


A MIG welder is probably the easiest to learn on but there are a lot of downsides to a MIG.

a stick welder is probably the most versatile but it is more difficult to master as well as other issues

TIG welding is great for light weight material but the welders are generally more expensive and the learning curve can be big. In the hands of a skilled welder they can produce probably the most attractive weld of the 3 main tupes of welders. They are not generally used for welding thicker metals so if you are into industrial stuff, they would probably not be the best choice.
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Old 01-13-2015, 06:43 AM   #3
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Ayuh,... At a bare minimum go with a 135/ 140 amp 120v wire feed mig, with or without gas,....

The little 90 amp machines run outa power if yer base metal is anymore than tin,...
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Old 01-13-2015, 08:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,... At a bare minimum go with a 135/ 140 amp 120v wire feed mig, with or without gas,....

The little 90 amp machines run outa power if yer base metal is anymore than tin,...

Not to hijack, OP... I too am looking for a welder.

What is the advantage of the mig with gas? Is it just used for shielding? About how thick of metal will the 135/140 weld?

Can you recommend a decent, reasonably priced make? Any makes to avoid?
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Old 01-13-2015, 08:48 AM   #5
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Well, actually it isn't a MIG unless you have gas. Metal inert gas, or more accurately, gmaw or gas metal arc welding.


Without the gas it is a wire welder. You must use flux core wire.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 47_47 View Post
Not to hijack, OP... I too am looking for a welder.

What is the advantage of the mig with gas? Is it just used for shielding? About how thick of metal will the 135/140 weld?

Can you recommend a decent, reasonably priced make? Any makes to avoid?
Ayuh,.... The gas is for shieldin', 'n only good Indoors,....

Many of my welds are done Outdoors, so I pretty much run flux-core wire in my smaller portable welders,....
Only my monster Lincoln 200 uses gas, both for steel, 'n aluminum,...

I once had an ole Craftsman/ Century 90amp unit, that eventually grew legs, 'n walked away,...
It would weld 1/8", 'n little more,...

I replaced it with a 135 amp Lincoln portable 120v machines,....
It would handle up to maybe 1/4" plate,... Tops,....
That is now my 2ndary machine that stays at the river house,...

My newest greatest machine is a Hobart Trek 180 amp, which uses battery technology, over the more popular capacitor technology,....
It'll run 'bout 4 to 8 inches of weld, just on it's batteries,....
It'll run on just the 3000w inverter jumpered off my truck,...
With the extra 40 amps, it'll easily weld 1/4" plate, or more, with multiple passes,...


While it's possible, the cheap Chinese welders might do the job for ya, I'd rather bite the bullet, 'n buy a machine from a big name builder,...

Used on ebay, or craigslist can get ya into a decent machine, without the price shock,....
The only welder of the Many I've owned bought New is the Trek, 'n it was a salesman's demo unit,...
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:18 AM   #7
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Thanks for the detailed post Bondo.

Not planning on welding thicker than 3/16", so the 135 size should do fine. How is it for the thinner stuff ~ 20 gauge?

I hear you there about the Chinese stuff, I'll check on e-bay or buy new. Any tips on what to look out for buying used?
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:19 PM   #8
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there are so many brands to choose from....... mig that can burn 023-030 wire would be ok. the 120v ones like 20amp circuit that is short in length.

for light duty say up to 1/4"max mild steel, the 120v versions with gas should be ok. i had chinese from harbor freight for years, it was adaptable to gas cylinder and i quickly moved it to gas. you can get the 120v migs to run a tad hotter with a helium/argon mix.

the mini 120v/240v inverter tigs are nice too, but the small ones are usually DC only. i like tig because it make no splatter mess, so be warned, especially if you use flux core wire.

i have esab 161 tig and a miller 251 mig for all my DIY stuff...... both run 240v...... and i do gas mixing for some tasks like thicker AL.

my advice, if you want good support go with some of the bigger names in welding like miller, lincoln, esab, etc etc.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:51 AM   #9
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A used TIG is better than a new MIG if cost is an issue. Most TIG welders can also be used for arc welding if doing something heavy.
Don't ever assume will only go as thick as 3/16" because something always comes up.
For 20 ga steel, the TIG will work wonders.

Can you tell I like TIG?
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Old 01-15-2015, 12:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
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A used TIG is better than a new MIG if cost is an issue. Most TIG welders can also be used for arc welding if doing something heavy.
Don't ever assume will only go as thick as 3/16" because something always comes up.
For 20 ga steel, the TIG will work wonders.

Can you tell I like TIG?
tig or stick, its only as good as max amps, etc.........
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:02 PM   #11
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A used TIG is better than a new MIG if cost is an issue.
Not so much of a cost issue, but I'd look like a one armed paper hanger trying to learn TIG

Last edited by 47_47; 01-15-2015 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:49 PM   #12
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Not so much of a cost issue, but I'd look like a one armed paper hanger trying to learn TIG
TIG not that hard to learn. its gets harder with other metals like SS and AL, and when you start mixing gases and want to use a pulser.

basic mild steels, TIG should be easy to learn. it is more $$ to run though because Argon not cheap these days. MIG you can run co2, or mixed co2/argon, etc.
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by concrete_joe View Post
tig or stick, its only as good as max amps, etc.........
100 amps stick welding is plenty for about up to 1/4" steel.
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
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TIG not that hard to learn. its gets harder with other metals like SS and AL, and when you start mixing gases and want to use a pulser.

basic mild steels, TIG should be easy to learn. it is more $$ to run though because Argon not cheap these days. MIG you can run co2, or mixed co2/argon, etc.
I agree with the aluminum. That's some tough stuff to weld.

Actually, for learning, stainless is good. It doesn't spit or spatter when fusion welding. Tacks up real nice too. I'm talking about learning to get the feel of course. Not about practice that will net panels without waves or distortion after welding. Just to get the feel as it fuses so well.

A metal shaper on one of the sites welds sheet metal exclusively with oxy acetylene. This leaves the material more pliable than MIG or TIG when it's done. I tried fusing some scrap together and managed a bit but it's not easy and requires gap free fit ups. But rod can be added just like TIG. Steel, not the brazing rod that I've only seen others use.
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:04 PM   #15
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Not so much of a cost issue, but I'd look like a one armed paper hanger trying to learn TIG
Not really. Just grab some scrap and play. If you get a machine, post on here and you'll get the guidance you need.
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