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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-23-2002, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Welder: Stick vs. Mig

Harbor Freight has a cheap MIG on sale right now for $120. 115 volt, 2 settings (low/high), self regulating feed control, comes with wire, tips & mask. Would I be better off buying a stick welder for that kind of money? I know MIG is easier for a beginner, but would I be better off spending $120 on a stick machine?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-23-2002, 10:46 AM
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Re: Welder: Stick vs. Mig

Depends on what you are going to use if for. In that price range stick will let you do thicker metals with better penetration. The wire feed will do thiner stuff okay, and if you can add gas you will be able to do sheetmetal work with that as well.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 10-23-2002, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Welder: Stick vs. Mig

The mig is 90 amp & gasless. I won't be doing anything thicker than 3/16.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 10-23-2002, 11:20 AM
 
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Re: Welder: Stick vs. Mig

A cheap MIG welder is just that, a CHEAP welder. With only a high and low setting you will most likely have some trouble dialing in the right settings for welding a variety of thicknesses. When I researched for my welder I also found that it wasn't always easy to add gas to lower end MIG welders. By the time you upgrade the parts you'll need you would be better off buying a better welder to begin with.

I've never stick welded, but people I know who do swear by it. They also spent a lot of time learning to weld well and after just an hour of practice with my MIG I was laying a good bead. I don't remember exactly what I paid, but it was about $300 and could go gas or gasless. MIG welding without gas isn't easy when you're first learning.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-23-2002, 11:37 AM
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Re: Welder: Stick vs. Mig

You can't get a decent welder of any kind for $120. Save up some more money and buy a 220V stick machine. That is what most people learn on. If you get good with that, you can weld anything. The mig will make much nicer beads. I have a $650 mig machine with gas and I wish I had spent $1000 for the next better machine. I you get a good stick machine for around $250 it will last your lifetime. If you only need to do a few welds, rent a good mig machine from a local rental yard. If you have all of your cuts done you can probably complete several small projects in a day. I rented a mig twice before I took the plunge. Good luck.

Later,
Tom
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 10-23-2002, 02:26 PM
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Re: Welder: Stick vs. Mig

This brings up and interesting point. I've can get an stick welder for just about free from a friend. It can weld up to 1/8". It has an adjustable amperage and works with 1/16" or 5/64" diameter electrodes. About the biggest thing I can see myself making is a swing out tire carrier. Is this worth the trouble?
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 10-24-2002, 12:20 AM
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Re: Welder: Stick vs. Mig

He!! yes a free stick welder is worth getting even if it costs you a case or two of beer. Personally I think stick welding is prefurable to mig for every thing excep sheet metal. Stick is not that hard to learn, yes your welds many not look as good as a mig weld but that does not nessisarally mean they are not as strong. With mig you can make a weld that looks great and has very low strength. While good looking but low stringth welds are posibler with stick I feel they are much less comen. For a stick machine I would recoment 6010 rod run in reverse polarity. this will give very good penitration and good stringth with this rod you can taper the ends of two grade 8 bolts and weld them together end to end with the same thickness as the original bolt. when pulled apart the bolts will brake some where other then the weld showing that the weld is stronger then the base metal.
Another nice thing about 6010 rod is that it will burn through alot of rust, dirt and greese and still make very good weld. 6010 should be welded in a "wip and pause" motion: the rod is moved forward about a rod width then back about half a rod width, and paused till the puddle catches up, then repeted. The resulting weld should look like a roll of dimes leaned over ((((((((((. Useing this procedure and 1/8 inch rod: 1/4 in plate many be welded with 90 to 100 amps.

The other Rod I would recomend is 7018 this does not give as good of penitration but is a better filler metal. It requirers a cleaner surface but the slag cleans much easier. Motion should be a simple draging method, amperage is higher at about 110 to 120 amps for 1/8 inch rod on 1/4 inch plate. One of the major down sides to 7018 rod is that it is a low hydrogen electrod. This means (amoung other things) that the rod must be keep dry and the weld material must be dry. It will still weld if wet but the resulting weld will have porosity (filled with tiney bubbles) the weld will then absorbe water and rust from within. 6010 Rod can be used in about any conditions and will (given sufficient skill of the welder) give good welds even if missing its flux coating. 7018 Rods (and all low hydrogen electrods) should not be used with out: there flux attached, rods stored dry or baked dry, welding surface cleaned and dry, and the weld completely surounded by slag when weld compleate. For these resons I like 6010 it may require a more complex welding procedure but it will weld anywhere anytime and give good results.
If you are the least bit serious about doing your own welding I would highly recoment Takeing a beginers class at you local community college. It is very posible to make a weld that looks good but is weak, it is also posible to make a weld that looks rather bad but is relatively strong. The only way to learn the difference is by showing your welds to someone who knows the difference and who will show you what to look for. Welding is kind of like shooting, the instent an good rifleman breaks a shot he can tell you in what dirrection he was off. The same is true for a good welder ( I make no claim to be any average welder He!! I am not even and poor welder, just watch ask qusetions and try to learn) but a good welder will always be his or her worst critic. I have seen professional welders look a welds they have made that passed x-ray, magnetic, and ultrasonicly testing well with in specs; with discust, why because they know the weld would pass but knew they could have done far better. A truely professional welder knows the quality of the weld as they weld. (there is no substitute for experiance)

bandhmo
post #8 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2002, 05:52 AM
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Re: Welder: Stick vs. Mig

[img]images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] This question has come up so often on this board that it amazes me. [img]images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Here is the question for you to ask yourself: "Where am I going to go with this welding thing?" If you have ANY PLANS whatsoever of ever getting to be an "all-around" welder, than a teeny tiny wire machine is too limited. You cannot weld up thick stuff and get the penetration that is needed with a 120V welder. The reason that they have two settings is because if they didn't, you would continually trip the measly 20 AMP household circuit breaker if you didn't fry the wall plug first. [img]images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] So the "low" setting just limits the machine, it isn't a matter of "selection" for welding. I recently used a Craftsman wire feed welder on 120V to weld a new bottom in a grain wagon. The welder had some problems with the way it was assembled and took a little TLC to really get it working right, but once it was set up correctly it welded fine.......IF.....I could keep it in current. I had to set up a dedicated circuit in the building so it could deliver 25 honest AMPs to the welder and I had to have a #12 extension cord. How many households have that? On the plus side, the Craftsman uses the TWECO gun, a superb gun in every way, and that particular gun was very small and lightweight. We were using .030 wire and mixed gas. [img]images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] Right now I don't have a stick machine, so I use my big Miller 35 wire feed for everything. I'm looking to buy a stick welder, maybe a portable engine-drive welder-generator combo. [img]images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2002, 06:58 AM
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Re: Welder: Stick vs. Mig

I've been looking into Welding classes at the local Tech College. classes run $32/semester hour. nnot tooo bad I thought. they have a wide variety of welding courses. starting with Oxy and Plasma cutting, then Oxy welding (brazing), followed by Stick, Mig, Tig. then they go into Fabrication courses. I'm thinking about starting them next semester in the evenings. Look into your local schools. I was amazed to find the so cheap.

brent
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2002, 10:11 PM
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Re: Welder: Stick vs. Mig

Oxy welding isn't just brazing (which is more like soldering). Fusion welding with gas is in my humble opinion very enjoyable if not time consuming.

Fritz
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