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WELDER SUGGESTIONS??

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BLUESMAN, Jul 4, 2002.

  1. BLUESMAN

    BLUESMAN 1/2 ton status

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    Location:
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    I'm looking for an affordable welder.I don't even know if I need an "arc" or an wire fed!I'm going to be welding up a roll cage....all the tubing is cut and now the welding must be done!The bottom plates are 1/4".What am I looking for to weld this baby up?Prices??? I've looked at Harbor Freight Tolls site and the prices I'm looking at are under $250...anything better?Thanks Guys, just one more tool that I haved to have!!Mike
     
  2. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    The only thing I feel that is reasonable penetration for something like tube in that price range would be a Stick welder. Lincoln AC225 is a pretty good machine for a home DYI. Any wire feed welder you can buy new for that price will be to week to weld with any sort of penetration needed for a solid weld on a roll cage.
    Stick welding takes a LOT of practice to make good solid decent looking welds. A roll cage should not be your first project that you learn on regardless of the type of welder your using, unless you have a practiced welder helping you. Get some help with this project or put it on the back burner till you do some other projects and get some welding time under your belt on stuff your not trusting your life too.
    Personnaly I would save up till you can afford a decent 220v Mig. The 110v units just don't have a lot of HP to them and will fall short on larger projects. For thin sheet and quick stuff they are ok. If you have a Stick welder then it's a good machine to complemnt the stick. The stick can handle the big stuff like 120 wall tube but the 110 mig can do smaller stuff like body work or not strcturaly critial work where you have to have full penetration on thicker metals. The fact of the matter is if you do the math then a Stick welder at $225 or so and a 110v mig with the regulator is about $400. So your looking at $650 investment not counting a bottle. Well you can get a 220v 175 amp rated mig for that price range also. I paid $600 plus tax on my Hobart.
    A welder is a lifetime tool if you buy a good one. Look at it as an invetment. I'm using a Hobart Handler 175. For a home use machine I'm Very happy with it. Very reasonable price for a machine with it's capability's. If I were a pro then I would have stepped up to a Miller in the 200 series.
     
  3. lizard

    lizard 1/2 ton status

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    I agree grim-reaper, a stick welder is the most affordable way to get GOOD PENETRATION. The last thing you want is crappy welds that break! The down side to stick is you will have to have more skill to do a proper job and stick welding pipe is ever harder than you can imagine. A low amperage 110v MIG will do a reasonable job if you backoff on the wire feed a little to obtain globular transfer (where the wire balls up slightly before transferring the metal to the weld).

    I use a slow wire technique with my 140A Mig and get reasonable results on 1/4 plate even though the manufacturer rates the welder to do single pass 3/16. I have done a roll cage with it and if you have the proper technique you can make a 110v mig work. If thiis is your first welding job then MIg is easiest but buy the highest amperage you can afford.

    The ultimate way to weld pipe is with a TIG but you have to have a steady hand and lots of practice before you'll get good results (unless you are a natural). Expect to drop $1500 on a complete 185A TIG setup but once you master it you'll never look back. THe bonus with a TIG is that it will do stick for thoes times you need serious penetation (frames and axles).

    So anyway, if the $200 buzz box is the only welder that fits your budget, run up the electricity bill practicing on some scrap tubing. Burn about 20 rods or so and you should be in business. Just remember to keep the angles the same as you go around the pipe (lots of mand/arm movement).
     
  4. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Nothing to add except I agree on every point made. I saved up for the 220V Miller 175...
     

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