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Ok, I thought I knew what welder to buy, but I guess not...

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by ChevyCaGal, May 20, 2002.

  1. ChevyCaGal

    ChevyCaGal 3/4 ton status

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    AHHHHHHHHHH!!!

    OK.... I went to buy a welder today (thanks! Grandma for the gift! /forums/images/icons/smile.gif).... however I was so lost I couldn't figure out what I was looking at and what to get.... can someone break down tig, mig, arc and anything else there is for me... what do each do? How do they run (gas, 110v, 220v etc..).... what one is best all around (I want something that'll weld 1/4" (bumpers) thick and cut too) I thought I knew what I wanted but when I got there I was like aw crap I am sooo lost... thanks! /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  2. outlaw612

    outlaw612 1/2 ton status

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    The MIG welder is the way to go. Ive got a 220v gas MIG. They weld great and you can turn up the power and cut with them also.(although it is messy). TIG is a great type of welder, but Ive never learned to use it. They make very clean, smooth welds. The arc welder is the old "stick" welder.
     
  3. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Steph,

    I initially wanted TIG....but the more I read about it, the more I realized that MIG was actually the best for most things. TIG is a more difficult type of welding to do especially if you've never welded before.

    I went with a 220V MIG (Lincoln SP175+) which has a "continuously variable" voltage knob for more precise voltage selection. The 220V version should allow you to weld pretty THICK stuff. I got mine new from a welding supply website for around $600.

    So far, I've been able to do some small projects for myself, and also help out Zakk with his ORD steering brace. It worked fine for that.....

    My only advice is get a TALL bottle of Ar/Co2. I got the "cute" one and I've already had to have it filled twice....it goes pretty fast if you weld a lot. /forums/images/icons/shocked.gif
     
  4. CooknwithGas

    CooknwithGas 1/2 ton status

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    I went to Lowes and bought a cheap (under $300) mig welder. I use the flux core wire so I don't need the gas. It has SAVED me on may occassions where I would have been dead in the water while working on my truck. Just yesterday I was putting the final touches on my tailgate rebuild and the crank mechanism was not working, so I drilled out the rivets and found that the crank mechanism was destroyed inside. I took apart another regulator and tack-welded the crank mechanism and it worked great. Would not have finished without the welder.

    If you want to spend big bucks, go ahead, but my el-cheapo has been great. It's a Campbell-Hausfeld welder. I can't justify spending a whole lot more on a welder. Save your money for truck parts.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    Go with MIG, stay away from TIG. TIG is nicer, but it also takes awhile to learn, while MIG is a lot easier to learn and can do the same job.

    Now for power options, there is always 200 different opinions from 75 different people. I've always been told to "buy as much welder as I can afford." My Lincoln SP-125 Plus is rated at 5/8th inch and I've done 1/4 inch without a problem, at the time this was the welder I could afford. It works great. I hear there's a SP-135 out now, but have no knowledge of it.

    If you have the hookup, go with a 220v machine. It is nice to have the power if needed to do a big chunk of metal down the road.
     
  6. solowookie

    solowookie 1/2 ton status

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    there are a lot of really good welders on another board that I am on, and my decisions came down to the following 2 welders;

    a $500 a Lowes, a Lincoln, that will weld up to 1/4". only problem with it is that it runs on 110v, and everybody told me a 220v welder will weld much better / easier.

    second choice (and this is the brand that everybody recommended) is a miller - around $645 that will weld up to a 1/4" also, but it is also a 220v welder. <a target="_blank" href=http://www.cyberweld.com/millermatic175.html>this website has the best prices of any on welders</a>

    of course the limit of 1/4" steel is just with one pass so you could weld as thick as you wanted with multiple passes.

    I've been looking a welder for sometime for my hotrod projects, and fabrications (TONS more welding on my other project then my k5, and much of it more important then the k5 stuff like welding in IFS front suspension etc.) I'd pick up the miller, and it should do about anything you want / need, and still be good enough you can learn to weld on it much easier. I wouldn't do anything cheaper then the lincoln.

    on my hotrod I've got to weld in new cab corners, firewall &amp; floorboard (all really think metal), and then weld in a 4 link suspension for the rear, and new front crossmember (IFS suspension) which is both thicker stuff. then new bumpers on the k5, rear crossmember for relocating shocks etc. either of these welders will do about any job you want, and that miller welder has free shipping included.

    I wouldn't worry too much about it cutting - torches aren't too expensive (get a complete kit minus card pretty easy for under $200), and you can even cut most stuff with a sazall...
     
  7. Burt4x4

    Burt4x4 3/4 ton status

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    sheezz, How come no one likes the good ole BuzzBox? Ya it's old school stick welding, but so far I love it! I bought a 220vac Licoln225 AC/DC stick welder with extened leads and mounted to a dolly. Damn thing works great on all kinds of different steel. I don't mind stoping and switching rods either. But I am old school and it is probly messyier and you have to beat it and grind it a little more but heck that is part of the fun!!/forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  8. four_by_ken

    four_by_ken 1/2 ton status

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    I agree with the statemtent... :Buy as much of a welder as you can afford."

    But also just something to keep in mind. The smaller welders are nice, because they are more portable.

    I would get a MIG welder, but also make sure you can do flux core also.

    The nice thing about the 120v ones on that you can take it to 'almost' anoyones place and use it. Where as with a 220v, a lot of places dont have a 220 hook up.

    Ken H.
     
  9. jcg

    jcg 1/2 ton status

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    I've got an industrial size Miller TIG welder and it's great since I can weld ANY type of metal with it and it only takes about 30 seconds to change over. It is however very difficult to learn and it's slow compared to MIG sometimes. Like the other guys said, get a 220V MIG and you'll be all set. I got the TIG because I already knew how to do it and I weld aluminum and chrome-moly enough to justify it (and the extra cost!! /forums/images/icons/shocked.gif) I've been thinking about picking up a medium sized MIG welder for doing quick stuff but I've gotta see how the checking account likes the idea! hehe That TIG and all the goodies to go with it already set me back over $2k!

    I'd recommend finding a welding class in your area too. I took one at our local BOCES (vocational training) one night a week for 10 weeks and it only cost me around $160. I learned a LOT at that class and ended up taking the second advanced class afterwards. You'll feel alot better (safer) about your welding abilities after you've had some training. We've got a guy in our club that went out and picked up a Sears special buzzbox and started welding a hardcore rig together with it, with no training, and it's really scary to look at. We're still trying to figure out how to politely tell him that it's a deathtrap. /forums/images/icons/frown.gif

    BTW, Miller and Lincoln both make excellent welders so you can't go wrong with either one. Hobart is made by Miller and is also a great welder for a bit less cash but if your planning on doing a LOT of heavy fabrication I'd just get the Miller to start with cause the Hobart has some parts that will wear out with extremely heavy use.
     
  10. 78Jimmyish

    78Jimmyish 1/2 ton status

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    Ultimately, I think I boils down to 2 things - what are you going to do with it, and how much do you want to spend. Put those two things together and they'll tell you what kind of welder to get.
    Each machine has it's perks and it's drawbacks. If you want to build a bumper or a skid plate, go with a MIG welder. If you're planning on welding a lot around a questionable gas tank or fuel source, or you're building a rollcage out of CrMo that costs god-knows-how-much per foot, get yourself a TIG welder and take yourself a class. And if you're going to weld up a lot of thick material that's holding a lot of weight, nothing beats a good stick for penetration.

    The easiest to learn BY FAR is MIG welding. Anybody can pick up a MIG gun and with a little bit of practice run a pretty good looking bead. Stick welding isn't a great deal harder, but it'll take some practice before your welds start looking good. TIG welding is much more difficult to get good at.

    Personally, for working on a truck, I'd take a MIG welder over anything else any day of the week. 9 out of 10 things you're going to weld on your rig can be MIG welded. I TIG weld most of the things that I build at work (I fab for a boat maker - everything has to look GOOD) but for my truck, MIG is the way to go. I personally don't like flux-cored and everyone that I know that has used both will agree that MIG is superior. IMO if you're going that way, shell out the extra couple of beans and get yourself some gas.

    Oh, and in case it hasn't been said (and in case you care)

    MIG - Metal Inert Gas (aka GMAW - Gas Metal Arc Welding)
    TIG - Tungsten Inert Gas (GTAW - Gas Tungsten Arc Welding)
    Stick - aka SMAW - Shielded Metal Arc Welding
     
  11. Burt4x4

    Burt4x4 3/4 ton status

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    Sure wish you were my next door neighbor!!!!/forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  12. solowookie

    solowookie 1/2 ton status

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    yea no kiddin...
     
  13. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Well If you have 220v available by all means go for a 220 machine. The 110 machines get taxed quick for stuff like bumpers and skid plates. For what it cost for a 110 machine with regulator you not far from a 220 machine.
    If all your planning on doing is Bumpers and skids...Can't beat the old Lincoln 225 stick. Cheap to run. You can't do thin stuff like body work with it.
    I have the Hobart Handler 175 and for the price and features I think it's the best machine for the DYI person tinkering on their own junk. If your planning on doing a lot of stuff then step up to the Miller 175. little better drive in it and infinatly variable power settings (the Hobart is in steps). Both will do thin gage sheet as well as 1/4 plate. Both can be converted to do Aluminum and stainless steel.
    Cyberweld.com has some pretty good prices.
    Expect to pay about $550 for the machine. Bottle you will have to get from a welding supply place. Expect about $150 for the big bottle that they will sell to DYI people. To get the real big bottle the pro's use you would have to set up an account. Once you get the bottle refills are about $20-25. THe gas goes quick so the bigger the bottle the better cause those places are usualy closed on the weekend.
     
  14. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Just a tip for the gas. Watch the flow meter and set it at about 30 to 35 CFH and no more. Even at work there are guys that set the gas flow too high and it just wastes the gas...

    If you're outside and have a slight breeze then set it a little higher...anything more than a slight breeze and you should consider some sort of wind break, the wind will blow all the shield gas away if you don't.

    Rene
     
  15. CooknwithGas

    CooknwithGas 1/2 ton status

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    If you are new to welding, you shouldn't go with a stick welder. I have had both (MIG and stick). MIG is much easier. You can get into really small places and do thin metal with a MIG. These things are difficult with a stick and takes some technique. A bumper is an ambitious project if you are new to welding. You need to be able to cut your metal too if you are going to tackle a bumper. A chop saw with a metal cutting blade will work on small stuff, but you may need a torch or plasma cutter for bumper sized material. (For long cuts).

    Once you try a MIG, you won't want to go with a stick welder. Unless someone gives it to you for free /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  16. four_by_ken

    four_by_ken 1/2 ton status

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    I still say go with a 120v one. The best you can get. Everything on my truck has/will be built using a 120v.

    The main reason I say this... protable. Can take it to other places when needed.

    Ken H.
     
  17. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    That's what I went with...being able to easily carry it from place to place and just plug it in is a big deal to me. Plenty of times I've gone to friends houses and brought my welder to do some quick repairs...

    Rene
     
  18. four_by_ken

    four_by_ken 1/2 ton status

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    That is exactly what I am getting at. Except, I am the guy that is having the welder brought to MY house. Until I buy my own.

    Ken H.
     
  19. mudrunner78

    mudrunner78 1/2 ton status

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    this has been my question? I have a tiny stick welder(cambell hausfield/sp?) its supposed to be 70 amps, I want a nice universal welder so I was thinking of going with a Lincoln Weld pac 155 from sears for $569.99 then I found out you have to by a conversion kit to run gas, thats $119.99 I then figured about $150.00 for the bottles. Thats over $800 dollars. I figured I could buy a stick welder Lincoln 225ac/125dc for $440.00 and a smaller lincoln mig welder with flux core wire like there weld pack 100 for $350.00 and I am spending the same amount of money. And wouldn't this give me a wider range of things to do. I don't know to much about welding and plan on classes to help me, but I want cost effective, and I would like to build my own bumpers, shock mounts, etc.... Jesse
     
  20. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Well if you have $800 to spend you'd get more bang for the buck just buying the "Weldpack 155" than a smaller MIG and a smaller stick machine. The weldpack 155 will do everything a small stick welder will do and it will also do thin bodywork. Truly a versatile machine!

    I'm curious if anyone has run a dual shield flux core wire with a home machine? It uses CO2 for shield plus a flux that needs chipping after you weld. Lincoln makes an all position dual shield wire called 71M that runs beautifully but digs harder than microwire does and looks better too. It would be ideal for the thicker materials like bumpers and stuff.

    Rene
     

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