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post #1 of (permalink) Old 11-04-2002, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Question for any one who welds

I am not a welder, nor have i ever welded. I am interested in starting it as a hobbie however. Can you recommend a good starter welder (<500$) and what kind of welder to get (TIG, MIG, Stick, Wire...) I am looking to fabricate parts for my jeep.

I do know that the less expensive welders have a lower duty time. I guess that means you can weld for a short time, then you have to let the unit cool. something like that. any information or website would be useful.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 11-04-2002, 01:48 PM
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Re: Question for any one who welds

I'm by no means an expert, in fact I am a beggining welder like you. I picked up a Lincoln Pro-Mig 135 for $427 and couldn't be happier with it. It runs on 115 volts, and can be used with or without shielding gas depending on what wire you use. It has been easy to re-learn (haven't welded since high school) with. I also bought an auto darkening SpeedGlas welding helmet and it has made welding a much more enjoyable experince.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 11-04-2002, 02:20 PM
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Re: Question for any one who welds

Dan, have you used it for any body work? I'm also looking...
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 11-04-2002, 02:57 PM
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Re: Question for any one who welds

Hey, I hope we get some informed opinions on this thread! I'm in the same boat your in, and keep getting a lot of conflicting info. I'm looking for a small 110 welder, and have looked into the 110 ARC welders. Have heard that they don't have the juice to penetrate properly, etc. Mig is also a good choice, but I have heard similar stories about the 110 Migs.

Some say their 110 ARC/Mig is great. Others say it isn't worth a [email protected]#$. 220 seems to be the prefered flavor for either but I personally don't have access to a 220 source in my garage, and it's a rental so I'm not paying someone to put one it!

I have also heard that Mig is definetly the easiest to learn, and makes very attractive welds when using the gas. The flux wire (used without gas) for Mig is evidently not as good, and tends to bead up quite a bit, making the weld weak, and ugly.

Stick is good for heavy duty stuff (up to 1/4 inch), but is a sloppier weld. I'd personally really like to get a stick since they are cheap, don't require gas, and I've got a grinder to make things more attractive. The drawback for me would be the 110 limitation. Hope we get some feedback!

post #5 of (permalink) Old 11-04-2002, 03:33 PM
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Re: Question for any one who welds

If your not going to do body work with it I recommend a stick welder. You can get a large assortment of rods for differant purposes. With care you will be able to even weld exhaust with a stick. A MIG will not be able to weld heavy metal like shackles, frames, or axle housings as good as a stick. Also, you don't have to worry about running out of gas either. If you don't have torches you can cut metal with a stick. Not pretty, but it will cut. I have a Lincoln and I love it.
post #6 of (permalink) Old 11-04-2002, 03:34 PM
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Re: Question for any one who welds

I bought a 115VAC Century Model 80 wirefeed welder and rebult my tub and frame with it. I'm not a good welder, and my welds prove it... but it worked just fine for me and fit my budget ($154).

Though I replaced the tub 18 months later for a 4WD Hardware Fiberglass tub, I still value the welder and use it all the time.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 11-04-2002, 05:35 PM
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Re: Question for any one who welds

I'm not a welder by trade, but I've done a fair bit of welding.
I personally have a millermatic 210 which can weld 3/8" thick steel in a single pass.
Since you are limited to 110v and have never welded, a mig
unit is your best choice. Get one that is capable of using
either flux core or shielded gas wire. They each have their own advantages.
A 110v mig unit is very versatile unit, being able to weld thin gauge sheet metal up to about 1/4"
with a single pass, depending on the welder. Granted they don't have much of a duty cycle.
Do buy a brand name unit such as Lincoln or Miller. Century is also a good choice.
Also as mentioned, get a auto-dimming helmet, it makes welding a lot easier.
Here's a couple of places to visit.

Joint preperation is the most important thing for a good weld.
Clean the surfaces of oil, paint, rust etc. before welding. When you do start to weld,
don't get discouraged by what your welds look like, just keep practicing.
post #8 of (permalink) Old 11-04-2002, 06:16 PM
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Re: Question for any one who welds

When I was in the market for a 110v mig the way I made up my mind on which welder to by was go to a good welding supplier and ask for a demo. I was looking for a higher quality welder that would last me a life time and if I was going to spend $500-$1500 I wanted a test drive. I tryed about 4 differant brands and picked the one that "fit" and "felt" the best to me. Not all welders are alike and are uniqe and some are easier to get along with then others just like a women and you need to find one you get along with.

I ended up get a Snap-On FM140-A it welds great and I love it! Its 110v 140 amp, you can reverse polarity, has stitch &amp; spot weld all with a 100% duty cycle it has built a VW rail, swamp buggy, done body work and 1000s of other things. I've owned it 10+ years and have never had a birds nest of wire yet! The only problem I ever had with it was the gas valve that was plastic cracked but the replacment was all brass. Now I've welded with other Snap-On models and they are junk as far as I'm concerned so don't take this as an add.

So my point is stay away from the cheap ones and get a demo and find one that welds good for you.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 11-06-2002, 07:53 AM
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Re: Question for any one who welds

Right on!

And another thing, evaluate how the dealer works with you. Jim's Soapbox #17: A good supplier will be available and happy to help you with problems, show you how it works, give advice when you try something new, stock the parts to keep your machine welding. Those are especially important for a novice - much more than for a veteran pro who already knows everything. But you'll seldom see a pro buying a welder at Home De-pot.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 11-06-2002, 08:36 AM
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Re: Question for any one who welds

i don't consider myself a professional, but i did work in a welding shop for a few years so i have welded a bit. in my opinion, the ideal welder is a 220v mig, (my preference is MIller) but they are about $2500. i was also on a budget when i bought my welder, so i bought a lincoln 110v mig, used for $300. best investment i ever made. i have used it to weld 1/4 stuff and it did i good job. the important thing is that you have enough current on the circuit it is plugged into.

Big_B, you said: 'A MIG will not be able to weld heavy metal like shackles, frames, or axle housings as good as a stick. '

can you explain that please?

thanks all
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