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JohnD1956

MIG welders for Hobbiests

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Can anyone recommend a decent MIG welder for a hobbiest? Plans are to work on a 69 Buick with rusted floor pans and trunk floor. I don't need a professional machine and who knows, if this does not work out well, I may even be looking to sell the unit in a year or so, so I am looking for the best machine to buy considering 110 volt supply and welding body sheet metal up to 1/4 " steel plate.

Can anyone make a recommendation based on their experiences here?

Thanks in advance

JD

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I use the Lincoln SP-175 which is a 220V unit. My suggestion is make the investment into a 220V line for both the welder and the compressor. You'll never look back!

Chris

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I agree with the 220V line opinion. But if you are committed to 110V I Think you will find a Miller "MillerMatic 130" will do a good job for you. I've used one for years and it will weld sheet metal or plate up to 1/4" just fine. At max output (90 amps) it has only a 20% duty cycle but I've never bumped up against that limitation. If I was to do it over I would buy the next size or two up but that's just the old bigger is better syndrome. The one thing you absolutely do need though is a machine set up for gas shielding. Don't try to save a few bucks by useing flux core wire.........Bob

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I have been using the Lincoln mig pack 100 for about 6 years now, and it works great for doing body work, but frame work you would need the 220V unit.. and have to go with the gas..fot the heaverer stiff i have the stick or the tig 260A unit..

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Thanks for the information Gents. The next thing is what, if anything, in terms of options are a real necessity?

I know I want a cart, I also know I need to be able to weld outdoors, so a extension to the power supply will be needed. I do intend to use the gas, not flux wire.

What else should I be looking for?

I just don't want a salesman making his next car payment while I'm juggleing a lot of stuff I don't need.

Thanks again for all your help so far.

JD

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Yes, a cart. The bigger the wheels the better. That was my first project with my rig. I would really urge you to get an auto darkening helmet, not necessary but totally useful. Also opt for the largest size gas cylinder you can handle. I think mine is something like 90 cubic feet. I started with a little hobby cylinder and ended up giving it away. It costs very little more to fill a bigger cylinder. If you buy the cylinder and it's not brand new check the certification mark and date. Your gas supplier will explain. BTW, you say you want to weld outdoors. MIG performs very poorly in any wind because the wind blows the shielding gas envelope away from the arc. You will know if this happens........Bob

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Friartuck</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I use the Lincoln SP-175 which is a 220V unit. My suggestion is make the investment into a 220V line for both the welder and the compressor. You'll never look back!

Chris</div></div>

I have the exact same welder and have had NO complaints! However this model is no longer in production......

I use mine for everything from sheetmetal to welding some structural steel...

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Hey JD,

I have a Millermatic 130 (110 volts) it works great on sheet metal, but most of the other uses you will want more voltage. I would definitely agree with the above post about an auto darkening helmet. I would also recommend going to a semester or two at a community college for welding. I thought I was going to feel either intimidated or old. I was the youngest at 39 years old and since I was (unfortunately) really experienced with a caulk gun, I was great with a mig welder.

Mike

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Good ideas Mike. As it stands right now, I have a neighbor who very generously is lending me his HTP 110 volt welder. He also showed me how to use the machine and let me practice on some scrap metal.

I'll be doing some extension panel replacement with a factory part and the assistance of a fellow who has been welding for over 10 years comercially. Then I'll be cobbing in some floorboards on the Electra, just intending to patch holes, and learn about how to form panels and how to put stuff together.

It doesn't seem too difficult and mostly requires a steady hand and a good concept of what one wants to do. And since I am really just learning, I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity.

I have priced the models recommended here and can see that I need several more months to accumulate the bucks to purchase my own machine because I don't want to just buy anything. But I did find the auto darkeneing helmet second hand locally and it works great.

Thanks so much everyone, for all your assistance. It really helps to have this type of basic information when you're a novice like me.

JD

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John:

For my $.02: If you will never weld another thing else after the floors of your '69, I'd just get the small 110 unit. Maybe you could rent one. Any Miller or Lincoln will do. But, if you ever plan to weld anything else, I think it would be a waste of money to consider a 220 machine. But, that's my opinion. Miller has a bunch of ads in the custom hot rod magazines featuring there hobbyist 110 stuff.

I have a Millermatic 210. It was a little expensive ($1250) on the internet new. But I love the machine, and since I have 220 in the garage, it wasn't hard to make the decision. And I can work on just about anything with it.

Like Bob said, get an auto darkening helmet. But look around. There are tons of prices for the same stuff. Like a dope, I paid almost $300 for my helmet. You can buy them for $59. But, I value my eyes. You should be able to find a good helmet for about $200.

The only kind of welding you can do outside (unless you're well versed with Oxy-Accet., is stick welding. Neither of these are any good for doing floor pans.

I took a welding course at the local community college. If you aren't experienced, it's WORTH it.

Gary

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I just bought the Miller MM-140 Auto Set. Welds 3/16" easily, will do 1/4" with a few passes. A buddy is a regional rep. and let me try a few different welders, and I was sold on this one!

The Auto Set feature is great! Just set wire size, metal thickness, and weld! Adjusts wire speed and heat automatically, and takes away the guesswork- ideal for the beginner!

Got mine new for less than $600; YMMV.

Forgot to add: There's a $50 rebate till 10/15/07 on this welder.

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I would also suggest the largest Miller that can operate on 110V and get a good cart. That is what I have and it has been great for everything I have needed over the last 10 years.

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