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Welder Question

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by rustyk5, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. rustyk5

    rustyk5 Registered Member

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    I need to buy a welder. The biggest project that I would tackle is possibly a cage. Mostly for body work and bumpers, sliders etc. I'm looking at a Craftsman gasless wire feed. 120volt, welds 18-gauge to 3/16 inch steel single pass. Uses 0.030 flux core wire, 10% duty cycle at 80 amps(???) /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif. Cost $200. Will this cover my needs? I don't think I need a $1600 hobart /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif. I dont want any posts about dual batteries with jumper-cable rigs /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif Thanks
     
  2. gravdigr

    gravdigr 1/2 ton status

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    I wouldn't. First gasless wire feed just doesn't work well. I do not like the welds it makes. Plus you are limited to .030 wire which rules out using it for sheet metal for body repairs because you will have to use higher heat. I would suggest something that uses 220v and gas. Even the smallest 220v model will make you happy. I personally would not trust my safety to a cage made with the welder you describe as I don't think the penetration would be sufficient.
     
  3. Sidepipes

    Sidepipes 1/2 ton status

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    I'm not saying go for a $1600 welder but get something a little better.

    I have one very similar to you, Its ok for rough body work( ie floor pans) but lack adjustablitily for body panels... plus you are best to use gas when doing body panels. On the other side of the spectrum it isn't powerful enought to get good penetration on thick steel.
    I recently welded rollbar mount points on my vette's frame and it would barely do 1/4" thick material in one pass. To make things worse...I have found that trying to do mulitple beads usually ends up with a horrible mess instead of a stronger weld. The welder does not have the power to penetrate into the previous weld so the next bead has virtually no penetration.
    The duty cycle also sucks. I have put cooling fans on mine just to extend it a little bit longer. Just think you can run around a 6" bead in 1/4" material in about a minute..... then you have to wait 9 minutes until you are supposed to weld again..... If you have a lot of welding to do, you are going to be there for a long time.

    My next welder is going to be a 220V, 40-50% duty cycle, around 130-150 amps. You should be able to pick one of these up for around $1000 CA
     
  4. 74beater

    74beater 1/2 ton status

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    BUY THE BIGGEST WELDER YOU CAN BUY..I HAVE BOTH AND WISH I HAD NOT CHEAP OUT, AND GOT THE BIG WELDER FIRST....
     
  5. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    110v welders are a nice addition to a stick welder or thin metal projects. They just don't have the duty cycle and heat for thick stuff like bumpers.

    On the low end I have a Hobart Handler 175 (around $600). I have yet to find it's limit tinkering around. I have built a 5x10 trailer with it and it didn't break a sweat. I have done body work with it no problem.

    It is 220v. It comes with regulator. out of the box it will do flux core. Once you have used true mig you will not want to use flux. Get the biggest tank they will let you have. Machine will run you about $600. $200 for tank and 10lb spool of wire and the cheapo welding kit from Northern that includes helmet, gloves and slag hammer.
     
  6. Resurrection_Joe

    Resurrection_Joe 1 ton status

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    Well I just wanna jump in here and defend flux core for a moment

    I have 2 welders - Lincoln SP135T Mig and Lincoln AC 225 Stick Electrode Welder

    The Mig Cost Me $425 shipped off ebay with gas kit

    Its 135 Amps. With gas and .025 wire, it would just tax out at .120 wall tubing on the tube doors. That was all fine and good, but last night I started welding in a reciever hitch for my new flatbed, and I was going to the frame.

    I dreaded doing it with a stick welder, so I set up my MIG with .035 flux core wire. At first I used the wrong tip and I was pissed off with the weld quality, but when I had it set up correctly and started welding, it was great.

    Here's what I found -

    1. Flux core is not nearly as hard slag and spatterwise as stick electrode

    2. Once you get it adjusted properly, it weld some MIGHTY fine beads

    3. On B heat setting of A-D at 2.5 wire speed, I could barely keep from burning through .120 practice pieces

    4. On D setting and 3 wire speed, it does .25 fine. I can see the weld sink through to the bottom

    5. If you keep everything CLEAN it makes a world of difference. Keeping a clean tip on it helps too.

    6. I was layering beads in on the end of the frame rails, and the level of the beads never rose, it would sink in and sink in but not layer up.

    So anyway, I may never hook up the gas again unless I need to do sheetmetal work. The biggest thing is keeping the steel clean. Keep a cheap grinder with a woire brush around at all time.

    I'll have pictures up on my site sometime soon if anyone is interested. I'm not captain weldercock, but I think I did ok.

    Anyway, yeah, a 220 Mig as a main machine would rock, but a GOOD 120 Mig with flux can do some surprising things. Dealing witht he slag is not that big of deal.

    Anyway, that's my opinion, I could be wrong


    EDIT


    Another thing I thought of. I have it hooked up to a mystery outlet on my shop wall. I used the heaviest extension cord I could find at my local hardware store. I would guess the duty cycle on full power of my mig is around 30% in all reality (rated at 20%). Of course I had a lot of fitting cutting and grinding to do in th between time, and I doled out that work to be done in stages to let the welder cool off.

    Also I could weld for maybe 30 seconds, brush it up, smack [I love Jeeps] around, whatnot, for a minute, and go back to welding. If I welded continuously for over a minute, it would blow a breaker.
     
  7. wild-will

    wild-will 1/2 ton status

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    Iam gonna say just go find an arc welder online or at a garage sale cause arc welders are really sweet you can pick the size you want and its so much easier
     
  8. Resurrection_Joe

    Resurrection_Joe 1 ton status

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    Yeah... /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
     
  9. gravdigr

    gravdigr 1/2 ton status

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    Your welder is 135a and is using .035 wire so it will penetrate more. The welder he is looking at will not get the penetration to warrant flux core wire and since it is gassless he is stuck with .030 wire and the heat necessary to use that wire will burn through body panels. So I stand by my recommendation to get a bigger welder, and if you want to do thin body panels you need a MIG.

    I personally use a stick and mig combo. I have an ancient craftsman 180a stick welder that is so old it runs on steam. It is very handy for heavy welds, especially in the cemetery when the equipment I work on isn't the cleanest in the world. It also will weld cast iron with a quick change of welding rod. Then I have a small craftsman 110v mig welder I use for body work. Both of these welders were bought by the cemetery owner for me so I didn't have much say in the matter and I can use em whenever I need. When I do get enough green saved up I want to get a nice 220v mig welder so I can send the arc welder to a museaum where it belongs. Until then my bumpers, armor, sliders, and possibly a cage will probably be built with the arc welder.
     
  10. wrathORC

    wrathORC 1/2 ton status

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    For what you're doing you can get by with a 20% duty cycle 120v 80-85amp MIG or even plain-jane flux core welder. It'll run you about $130.

    However, I always recommend getting a genuine MIG welder so you have the opportunity to run gas. It be bitchin' to be able to weld aluminum, mon. Kind of hard to find the wire but the opportunity is there.

    If you choose to go the fluxcore route don't be afraid to try different wire sizes. .035" will do everything but it isn't the best for everything.

    I recommend shopping around and seeing if you can find one that comes capable to run gas (if not already has the regulator and everything but the bottle) and has a duty cycle of 20% bare minimum. If you find a deal, post it here.

    Next, don't rule out stick welding. If you can find someone that'll let you try out their TIG or old-fashioned stick welder I suggest you give it a whirl. Every time I weld I have to relearn because I pretty much suck at it. Someone here at CK5 can be quoted as saying something like "those welds look like someone stitched up a cow's ass with a grapvine" and my welds usually look about the same. About the time I get done with the project is when my welds look good. I usually relearn a stick welder much faster than a wire welder though. But I'm also the same guy that owns no welder and can be found welding on the kitchen sink using the receptacle for the range as a power source. /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif



    Finally, power source. If your service is 100' away from the pole which is 800' away from the nearest transformer then you'd best better use your welder right next to your panel. If you have your workshop 150' away from your panel in the house then you'll have severe voltage drop and you'll see lights flicker.

    IE: if you choose to plug in your 115v/20amp welder to a 15amp receptacle that is powered by a 20amp breaker through 14 gauge wire that is a long ways away from your circuit breaker panel you will have a hard time welding. As many of you know, this wiring scheme is illegal but a lot of houses are wired this way.
     
  11. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    the Hobart 175 is the one i just bought for myself. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif after 20 yrs of using shop welders, it's the one i chose for my own personal welder. ya really need the 220.
     
  12. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

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    I recently purchased a 110v welder. It is the miller 135. So far I really like it. It came with .024 wire but I quickly loaded a roll of .030 and have been enjoying it ever since. I can use .017 wire all the way up to .035. I would trust welding a cage using the .030 or .035 wire in this thing. Most cages are .120 thick tubing and I have welded .125" steel with it and had very good success. I agree with the other guys don't get it if you can't use gas. Also the ability to use different size wire is nice. Next body panel welding I do I plan to have a roll of .017 on hand. just my .02
     
  13. gravdigr

    gravdigr 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Finally, power source. If your service is 100' away from the pole which is 800' away from the nearest transformer then you'd best better use your welder right next to your panel. If you have your workshop 150' away from your panel in the house then you'll have severe voltage drop and you'll see lights flicker.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    This is no joke I think I have about a 40' run of 50a 220v wire running from my service box to my welder plug. Then my stick welder has a 20' long power cord. Our area is wired on the pole for 440v 3 phase since we used to use a 50hp electric motor on out air compressor. So I figured we have plenty of juice. But because my run is so long every time I fire up "sparky", my 180a stick welder, my neighbors know about it because their lights flicker slightly. Luckily they are all relatives and don't complain too much.
     
  14. jjlaughner

    jjlaughner 3/4 ton status

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    I have a 120v Century 85amp with argon and .030. I haven't welded any cages yet (YET). I've done sheet metal, exhaust work, and alot of playing. It does take alot of practice and I got plunty of good tips from the great CK5 users (Rene specifically). I found myself going back to some of my bad habits on the last welding spree but then changed back because my welds where starting to look bad again. We dont have the Juice in our garage to run any of the stick welders (220v) so this one has to do.

    front closeup
    welder pic
    big under lid pic for settings
    An autotinting mask is a MUST!

    I need to add, I just bought a 10lb spool of .035 and run at 3 or 4 heat and 6 wire speed and I can get some damn good beads going now on clean metal. I've welded NUTS to angle (for practice) and have totally melted the nut on #4 heat setting and done a good job on 3. After I welded one at 3 I tryed to twist it off and then took to it with a 2lb hammer trying to knock it off. After some practice there I welded my 14bolt bracket spaces to the bracket (mainly because I got tired of them rolling around in the box /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif)

    I think the .030 and .035 with argon will do about anything you will need with practice. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     

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