Re: Welder buying help needed!
I learned to weld on our old Forney buzzbox...and then learned how to Mig when we got the Millermatic Challenger. Both are 220. The buzzbox will weld down to tissue paper if you are careful (although I can't make pretty welds on thin stuff with it). On the other hand, it will also weld 3/4" steel without a problem...and the duty cycle is much higher. With a little practice, you can stick weld very nice welds. Moreover, controlling penetration, crown, and all of those other things is as easy as adjusting your position and speed with your wrist...you don't have to stop and adjust the welder. Another positive is that you don't have to worry about kinking the cable. If you bend a mig cable too far, the wire stops feeding. Stick means no worries about birdnesting, and you always know how much wire you've got. Often, you can use the stick welder to power other metalworking implements, as well. On the other hand, mig welding means that you don't have to stop your weld every ___ inches to put in a new rod, and making pretty welds is easier to learn...but I wouldn't say that making strong welds is any easier with Mig than with stick. If I had to make your choice, I'd get the stick. If you were going to do a lot of body work, then I'd say you should get the mig. You'd be surprised how much of the stuff you'll end up welding (especially if you're repairing equipment) will be thicker than 1/4 inch. I don't know what else you have for equipment, but I'd get the stick and then save up for an oxy/acetylene torch/welder. Then you'll be ready to go.
Evolution of tools: stone, hammer, wrench, socket, impact, really big hammer, blue wrench.