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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Welding opinions wanted

I'm tired of taking my projects somewhere for completion, and paying someone to do it. so, I would like feedback on if I am someone with garage space at home and looking to get into beginning welding, with the aim being able to manage my own welds on steel such as angle iron, flat bar, etc. nothing real heavy duty, what might I want to buy, and what kind of beginner cost am I looking at?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 02:04 PM
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Re: Welding opinions wanted

Don't be Mr. Incrementalism here Juice.

At the very least you want a 175 machine. The Hobart 175 is a popular choice for good reason.

The 110V machines just don't have what it takes; most are good up to 3/16" but struggle with 1/4". You can spend more time prepping to make a smaller machine weld 1/4" or even bigger but I'm not that patient.

I started with a Hobart 135 but soon outgrew it. You will find VERY FEW people who fab stuff for trucks running 110V machines. If they've got a 110, they want a 220. If they have a 220, chances are good they started with a 110. Save yourself some cash, buy the better machine now.

I just got a Hobart 210 and love it.

If you want a Hobart 175 plan on $625ish, look for one with a free cart included (no cart is a beeyotch IMO), or plan to build a cart as your first project. Once you step up to 210 and beyond they're on their own wheels. 80cu bottle filled from Cyberweld ran me around $150ish delivered.

Plan on another $100 for gloves, helmet (auto dark is nicer but not required) and wire.

Don't get caught up in pissing matches of Miller/Hobart vs Lincoln, they're all good machines. It's Chevy vs Ford and neither side is right or wrong. Do avoid off-brand machines.

Of course this is all ass-uming you want MIG.

And don't overanalyze "how often will I need to weld more than 3/16....." Trust me, buy the bigger machine.

Again, once up in the 210 range they're ready to accept spool guns for welding Al. Maybe not a priority for you now, but a NICE option to have available to you (cost of the spool gun notwithstanding)
post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 04:10 PM
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Re: Welding opinions wanted

So, the 175 handles big stuff, but what about sheet metal repairs?
Specifically, repairs to something like this.

Dang, <font color="blue">TheJuice</font color>.
I envy you in having your own welder soon.
Just not in the cards for me.....yet, anyway.

Hobart Handler 175 seems to get several thumbs up in this part of the country too.
Yes, I have been checking for when the time and $$ shows up. [img]images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
Links:
Harbor Freight(Hobart Handler 175)
Lincoln Electric
Welders Direct (Hobart Handler 175). Hey, includes cart for $615. [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 04:16 PM
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Re: Welding opinions wanted

I hope others will chime in. I honestly don't know and am by no means an experienced welder. Most units are adjustable to 30 amps output. Crank it down, load up some .023 wire and turn down the wire speed.

Sheetmetal repairs are not a concern for me LOL. I want to be able to build brackets, etc that will support the truck (or whatever).
post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 05:33 PM
 
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Re: Welding opinions wanted

I bought a very nice Cratsman 110 gas/gasless Mig type. It sucks at thin metal such as butt welding two pices of sheet together and trying to weld anything over 1/8 to something else is not very pretty nor strong. I feel it fits what I need but long for a true variable heat range mig like the 220 miller. The 110 jobs have preset volt ranges for heat. The slightly higher 220 jobs are true variable. Look at the welders and put the weld jobs you plan to do in the middle of the range of the welders options and you will not go wrong. don't buy and begin to instantly push the capacity of the welder.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 05:44 PM
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Re: Welding opinions wanted

Nah, the Hobarts just have 5-6 power settings, this is what helps keep the cost down over their near-identical counterpart Millers (this and the plastic drive assys).

But for what I do I have NO complaints with the 6 settings on my H210. MIG is pretty damn forgiving about heat (unlike TIG) and you can vary wire speed and technique to make up for any difference.

I'm still getting used to the power of my 210, I was nearly burning thru 1/4" plate the other nite, while my old 135 could barely dent 1/4"

But any nice 110V unit will also have full variable power, the Miller 135 is an example.

Juice, think of it this way ('cause I know the wheels are turning in your head, trying to justify a less expensive unit): you want something that can obtain decent penetration on any axlehousing. What if you want to move shock mounts again? What if you do an SAS and need to weld on the housing? Any axle is gonna have at least 1/4" wall thickness on the tubes, usually 3/8" or 1/2" (depending upon application and GAWR).

Talk to Berne; you'll outgrow a small machine in a couple month's time.

Or consider a stick welder?
post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Welding opinions wanted

Thanks guys. Well, I think you're right on this Shilo. As Havack mentioned I would not work the limits on the machine right away, but I think if I'm going to do this, it would be a one-time purchase of a machine capable of handling steel that I would like to be able to weld...from light body panel to maybe 1/4", 5/16"? without difficulty.

I glad you chucked in cost as well. I was not anticipating that. I was thinking less. Actually I'm sitting here thinking, ok, welder or winch because they will both be about the same.

Edit:

no stick welder, don't know how much of a difference they provide, but they are cost prohibitive. These Hobart 175's, in the pic it looks like they are just 110V standard outlet plugin? wonder if I would have trouble popping the circuit breaker in the garage? The garage does have a seperate 220V outlet as well.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 06:27 PM
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Re: Welding opinions wanted

i have a earlier miller 180 stick welder, heavy as (censored) and it normally requires a 50 amp-220V service, but i changed the plug on it and im using it on the 30 amp drier outlet, i can weld 1/4" steel continuously without it tripping the breaker.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 08:01 PM
 
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Re: Welding opinions wanted

a buddy of mine bought the millermatic 251, which is a 220v Mig, and it rocks. Weve welded everything from 1/16" to 1/4" with no problem, and neither of us are exactly experienced welders. [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
Definitely get a 220 if you can. Sure, you might need to upgrade your electric, but then you can get a 220v air compressor, too [img]images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 08:04 PM
 
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Re: Welding opinions wanted

by no means even remotely an expert but i recently started welding self taught and shopped around for over a year till miller ran a sale on their 251 mig and threw in a free autodarkening helmet. let me tell ya WOW try and learn to weld thenswitch from an auto to an old helmet sheesh im-fricken-possible. anyhow just to take a look at it the miller 251 has infinite control, as in digital display for voltage and wire speed. allows for better fine tuning. its a 220 unit and yeah you can crank it up and go thick. well ill stop sounding like an ad go to millers site check em out lincoln too. at the very least both sites have a ton of tips and stuff.
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