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madman
05-03-2006, 01:34 PM
Guys im finally flush with enough money to buy a welder. I weld a lot of one quarter inch steel. Have a 30 amp 220 volt single phase circuit. what type do you recommend and how many amps. I had a guy try to sell me a 80 amp 120 volt model and i figured it wasnt quite right. Please give your opinions from the ones you have bought and had for a while., Thanx Mike

Ries
05-03-2006, 01:43 PM
If you are planning on living longer than a year or two, I would buy a Lincoln or a Miller.

Time tested, high quality, made in USA (well the millers are- some of the Lincolns are made in Lincoln owned offshore factories)
Good resale value.
They almost never break, and when they do, you can get parts at most welding supply stores anywhere in the USA.

I still have my first Miller, an AC/DC Thunderbolt Stick welder, bought it in about 1979, it still works great.

As far as which one to buy- well there are stick, mig, and tig welders- it depends on how much money you got, and what you want to do.

Personally, my favorite welders are my tig welders- I can weld any metal, any size, clean and neat, no slag. But they cost big bucks.

So tell us what you want to weld, and what you have in the way of dinero, and we can give better advice.

PTSideshow
05-03-2006, 02:32 PM
Miller thunderbolt 225 is the one I have had for about 9 years don't do hours on end of welding on a daily bais but it is easy to use, is forgiving when ya screw up and was a bargin. As far as I'm concerned. had linc stick welders along with millers in the schools I worked in they all took alot of abuse on purpose and other wise. An old fart once told me "when buying tools, machines or cars buy the biggest and best you can afford, as so you don't lose out on trading up to soon".:D

Cecil Walker
05-03-2006, 03:33 PM
Mike: Another thing that is very important to me (in addition to buying Miller or Lincoln) is where you buy your welder. Go with a local dealer if at all possible, Demo's, assistance, warranty, and consumables (wire, rods, gas, parts, etc). If you do much welding at all, you need a good relationship with a local dealer. Just another point to consider in your selection process.

pkastagehand
05-03-2006, 03:56 PM
I run the scene shop for a college theatre department. We have a Miller MIG machine and TIG/stick unit. Dealer is close, knows us and delivers stuff every thursday if I want/need it. (Of course having a net-thirty charge account makes it nice too. :) )

The MIG I bought about 1987. It has has zero repairs and zero maintenance to the powersupply since new. I've replaced the wearing parts in the mig gun (we have the bulky spoolmatic gun rather than pushing the wire through the hose; at the time it gave us more reach) and the gas hose (started getting too many holes in it.) For an all around welder for semi production work and repair work it probably can't be beat for steel and aluminum. I've not tried welding anything else with it and don't know what the limitations are. Stainless maybe but probably not too many other metals.

If you do a lot of small stuff or work with a wide variety of metals, or if you're not doing production/semi-production stuff (not a lotsa parts or short time limits) you might think TIG. Very fine control, less distortion due to a small HAZ (heat affected zone), clean and will work as Reis above said, with lots of materials. Our TIG supply is a Miller syncrowave 180-SD and does stick as well as TIG which gives you the power to weld the heavy stuff with stick and the finesse of TIG. It cost around $1500 in or around 1999 or 2000 I think. Don't know what they're up to now.

Mike P
05-03-2006, 04:41 PM
I have had really good luck with my Hobart 175 MIG welder. I got it on sale at TSC with a cart for $600. They've got the 180 with cart, auto darkening helmet, gloves and I think a few other doo-dads for around $650-$675 right now.

It runs on a 30 amp circuit and easily welds 1/4 steel.

Fasttrack
05-03-2006, 05:17 PM
Absolutely go with a miller of lincoln - but what kind of welding do you want to do? Are you looking at smaw or gmaw (read stick or mig) ? I assume if you're welding 1/4 plate you won't be wanting a TIG.

LastOldDog
05-03-2006, 06:29 PM
. . . I assume if you're welding 1/4 plate you won't be wanting a TIG.

Mr. Fasttrack. General information. On materials even up to 3/8, depending on application, we occassionally will TIG a root pass (usually with gas backup), back grind, make one more stringer passes, then follow up with MIG. Sometimes 'run-off' tabs can be your friend too as they move the end-of-weld crater off the finished weldment.

Lloyd

Chester
05-03-2006, 06:32 PM
Would probably go for a 220V. mig as has been already suggested. If you are wondering what you can do with a stick welder on a 30 Amp circuit............ That is what I have and with a Lincoln 225, no problem up to about 100 amp with 3/32" rods, but you must also use those "Slow Blo" 30 amp fuses if you have the screw in type or it will blow fuses almost immediately. It will weld 1/4" but it is pretty much at its limit. I have just lived with this situation for the past fifteen years, because to update means a panel upgrade and running the new wiring along outside the house out to the garage.

RayS
05-03-2006, 08:21 PM
ran a lincoln and a miller on 30 amp cir. for years. You can do it but it's a slow process. Now have 50 amp feed and its like having a new welder.

Fasttrack
05-03-2006, 09:41 PM
"Mr. Fasttrack. General information. On materials even up to 3/8, depending on application, we occassionally will TIG a root pass (usually with gas backup), back grind, make one more stringer passes, then follow up with MIG. Sometimes 'run-off' tabs can be your friend too as they move the end-of-weld crater off the finished weldment."


Thanks Lloyd - just to clarify, i assumed, the way madman was talking, he'd want something fairly quick and easy. Nice thing about stick or mig on 1/4 inch steel (especially for non-critical welds) is you only need one - two passes. For the time and ease to use on 1/4 plate i would guess he wants stick or mig and, if he really wants to go quick clean and easy, he'll probably go with mig. (Of course TIG would be very clean - hardly ever throws sparks)

CCWKen
05-03-2006, 09:54 PM
Don't rule out the Century models either. They're a good welder and just as U.S.A. as any Hobart/Miller. Plus, the price point is better. I've put my little 130 through hell over the last 10 years and it's still a favorite.

The 30A circuit is going to limit your upper end size. The bigger units need 50A but you should be able to find a nice mig or even tig that will work well with 30A. There shouldn't be any problem handling 1/4" stock. My little 115v unit does that.

Ries
05-03-2006, 10:13 PM
Hobart is owned by Miller, and is now sort of their "bargain" line.
Century is owned by Lincoln, similar setup.

But personally, I think the real Miller and Lincoln welders are usually better.

I second Cecil's suggestion of buying local.
With a welder, you are always needing supplies, and it helps to get on good terms with the local welding shop guys. They are sometimes a bit more expensive than the lowest cost online dealer, but you make it up in free advice, parts, service, consumables, and so on down the line.

CCWKen
05-03-2006, 10:36 PM
Personally, I think you're right but there's still many options in the various lines. The mid range Century line is cheaper than the Hobart/Miller lower end and will run circles around them in capabilities. If you're going to advise on equipment, I'd stick with facts and leave the personal preference out of the choices. It may be like the difference between a Cadillac and a Buick. Both are fine choices and have their own price benefit.

By the way, did you follow your own advise when you bought your last new car--Local dealer, parts & service?

All I'm saying is compare the units on capability and price before committing. Don't bother with any welder that's under 30% weld time. Many of those "fine name" units fall into that category. ;)

wierdscience
05-04-2006, 12:25 AM
For the house I would recommend a Lincoln 225 amp AC/DC buzz box(but you will need 50/amp 220 for full output) for stick.

Or a Lincoln 175 SP if you want wire feed(220vac 30/amp)

I have a 225 buzz box that has to be 20 years old or better,it lives outside under a plastic barrel and never fails to work.

We have a little 135sp mig gun at work that has been used and abused for five years at least,it finally quit the otherday.Only reason I recomend the 175 is the 135 gets a little winded over 3/16 steel.

Hope that helps.

Cecil Walker
05-04-2006, 08:57 AM
Ken: thanks for asking the question about car (and trucks). As a matter of fact I use the same rules for almost everything i buy. Personal vehicled are purchased fron local dealership, Company vehicles are purchased from local dealerships. Since i do business in a 3 county area i promote local purchasing, don't want to be selling a $250,000.00 piece of equip. to a local with me riding in a vehicle bought a 100 miles away, that does not look good. I also support local hardware and and other vendors, don't care if it cost a few $ more, I need those people and hopefully they will need me. I try, but am not always successful, to apply the same rules to imports. I made a rep. leave the premises one day when he brought a a chop saw in to demo made in Viet Nam, but that's a personal vendetta, and there's no need to elaborate there.