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which welder?

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  • #16
    I've got a Miller Challenger 172, 230 volt wire MIG and I love it!

    In spite of what people tell you, I've welded Alum using argon gas of course, without any problems. No spool gun ($500) and no special liner. It takes practice, lots of practice to do Alum using any MIG / TIG welder, and some luck.

    For the do-it-yourselfer who welds once a month or a couple times a year, flux core works fine either .030 or .035. And for someone using the welder as a hobby, a "real" flow meter with the ball will cost you more than you will spend for gas in the first 5 years you own the welder. The regulator works fine for the hobby HSM person.

    If you have a really good service in your house and have true 20 amp circuits with #12 wire a 120 volt welder might work ok for you. Don't expect to weld alum or heavy metal with it.
    If you have a 230 volt circuit, buy a 230 welder, works much better. B.G.

    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician


    • #17
      You animal you!. It is tough to switch back and forth (to steel) as there are contamination issues. We used a Miller Spoolmatic gun at first - crap. More trouble than they are worth. A machine set up permenately as you suggest works good for light stuff (up to 8AWG). TIG is far superior, and a far superior weld takes years of practice - unless you are a natural "tigger"! I will TIG steel. Stainless, or exotics, but hate Aluminum - the smell drives me nuts.

      I know an airframe welder that gas welds Aluminum - he is my hero.


      • #18
        Lynnl is right.
        My little lincoln wire feed is great.
        Just fired it up after about six months,
        no problem.
        Stick welders are a pain in the a--


        • #19

          Back before Nam we had to torch weld chrome moly engine mounts, aluminum, and stainless steel parts. Was amazed when I saw a "heli-arc".


          • #20
            Give me Gas any day!

            MIG's OK and TIG's cool(!?!), but as far as I see it Gas (Oxy/Acet) gives you so much more for the HSM.

            Want to free off a seized part? Want to silver solder? Want to braze? Want to Lead load some body panel, Want to weld aluminium, steel, ........ you name it ....Gas can do. OK it's not easy, it may not be cheap..... but it can do.

            Always remember when welding... 'Cleanliness comes before Godliness'; surface prep is the art that leads to a good finish ......(a steady hand and clear vision help as well though!)



            • #21
              One way to cut gas prices is to use Propane/Oxy. Hydrogen/Oxy is my gas heat of choice - although that 500,000 BTU Propane Tiger torch (I try to keep it under 30 lbs. of feed 'cuz I am conservative) has its charms. For light stuff I use a MAPP/Air Turbo torch (can braze steel with it).


              • #22
                I've got a Lincoln "buzz box" 220 volt machine that welds up to 160 amps(plenty for just about anything). If technique is and issue maybe try a 6013 rod. It's an all postion ac drag rod that makes a novice welder get good results. Mig machines tend to srew up in about 101 ways that can make you pull your hair out if you don't know what to look for. There's also sheilding gases, Flow meters, tips, liners, nozzles etc....
                Gas and tig are art forms all on their own and to get good results you've really got to know what your doing.


                • #23
                  MIGs are still easier to weld with than stick for the average person, common sense will solve most MIG problems.

                  I started working at a company making bridge plates. The morons had problems with the machines because they never touched them in ten years. Liners were worn out, dirt fell out of the cable, the tip had a slot - not a hole in it. They used half as much gas as they needed. The head welder took forever to do jobs (old stick guy, likes smoke) because he could not figure out why it would not work. The day they had me help with a rush job I told them I could not weld with it because it was FUBAR and I had to fix it first. It took me two hours to clean it up and tune it in. I finished two of the 3 pieces we were fabbing the same day. Took me a week to fix all the welders in the shop - production went up for some reason and the shop foreman was then allowed to hand out tips and such as needed.

                  Moral: PM - Preventative Maintenance. It is cheap in the long run and well worth the effort. True for your MIG, Lathe, Mill, Heart, Trucks, and machine guns.