Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
A good 120-volt MIG machine will do fine for 1/8" steel. A Miller, Lincoln or Hobart would be the order I'd recommend. Don't get a cheap one - they only use flux-core wire, which works fine but you don't want to be unable to use gas if you want.
There are 120 volt TIG machines too, but TIG welding is going to be more expensive to set up. You'll ned a gas bottle and flow meter, plus an air-cooled torch and foot pedal or thumb wheel. I recommend a foot pedal for beginners.
The nice thing about a TIG machine is that it also will be a very nice stick welder, although the 120-volt machines will probably limit you to 1/8" rods if not smaller.
I also recommend that you pay more attention to the store than the machine. Any name brand welder will do a good job and hold up well for you. You'll want to try out several machines, talk to guys about pros and cons of processes and techniques, and probably get some lessons. You won't get that from a big box store. Go to a real welding supplier. Better, go to several and buy from the one you're most comfortable with.