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  • Getting about ready to buy a welder, want some recommendations

    OK.... Just for a starting point, I have done stick, mig, flux core, and tig welding (no gas torch welding). I have actually taken a semester welding class, so I only have the bad habits I developed since. Have welded steel, mostly, I am not terribly fond of aluminum welding, and am not good at it.

    I am not going to buy a tig welder. I like tig a LOT, but not going there.

    What I am looking for is a decent fairly low cost mig setup that does flux core, I am not going to be doing any welding that needs shield gas for the foreseeable. The option would be fine, but not essential, and not worth much up-charge to me. I have used the lowest end 120V, and do not want one, I do not want something that needs 6 extra torches to weld 1/4" material, been there. A 230V is fine, a 120/230 would be OK too.

    I am not really looking for a stick welder at the moment, I expect to do mostly thin enough material that it would be just "too big a hammer". I'd consider it, though. If I did, I would probably buy a used "tombstone", preferably AC/DC.

    I am not opposed to used equipment.

    So.... Any recommendations on specific new or used units (brand/model) of decent quality that are capable to at least 1/4" with no preheat and no BS?
    2801 3147 6749 8779 4900 4900 4900

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan


    It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

  • #2
    I used to have a Lincoln weldpak 100 amp mig, it was a nice machine but I always wished for more amp capability. A few years ago a Miller 180 amp machine with the spoolgun came along at a deal I just couldn't pass up (($300). That miller has been fantastic ! My thoughts in the past were if I got a 180 amp class machine there would be no need for a stick welder, so far its worked out. Earlier this year, I bought a AHP tig 200 amp machine, $700 delivered thanks to the covid check ! The tig can do stick if I ever desire but cannot imagine any circumstances where I would.

    So, no real brand/model recommendations but I would recommend a 180amp if you can find the right deal. I never regretted it. 3/8 will need all of the 180amps, 1/4 would "like" a 140 amp class machine.! Of course the duty cycle varies between home and commercial class machines but that will probably not be a issue. I never used flux core, only gas but that shouldn't change things. Rated thickness is slightly more using flux core for a given machine.
    Last edited by Sparky_NY; 12-21-2020, 01:25 PM.

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    • #3
      Obviously the best is called for. Miller makes some wonderful equipment that's quite affordable for those who need the very best.

      The https://www.millerwelds.com/equipmen...-welder-m30190 MultiMatic will do everything you might ever want to do. A big plus is that it's mostly made or assembled in the USA.

      Dan
      P.S. This is obviously a joke, since there are dozens of "recommend a welder" threads already on this site. The state of the art has not changed much in recent years, especially for hobby grade equipment.
      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

      Location: SF East Bay.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
        ....capable to at least 1/4" with no preheat and no BS?
        The 1 amp per thou rule of thumb says you need 250 amp for that, but i'd be comfortable doing 1/4" with my Lincoln 180c with multi passes if needed (depending on joint prep, and what it is, etc....). Any machine in the 180-200 class would probably suit your needs to be honest. If you have 240v, go with that. You can always weld thinner with a bigger machine but going the other way is not a great choice. There's a ton of decent machines in that market so pick whatever colour matches your wallpaper.

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        • #5
          I figured a 180 was about right. The 0.001 per amp deal has some "give" at higher ratings, but I found 150A to be a little light for thicker sections.

          Not quite asking the same question as others. Probably should have made it clearer.

          The real issue is that I want, if possible, to avoid any welders that have nice new ever-so-much-better $800 electronics boards in them. Miller has been complained about due to their "throw away" machines (replacing a board is 25% more expensive than buying a new welder), for example. And, anything specialized lke the PCB on an import may be NLA the week after the machine is bought, if it was ever available.

          Looking for something simple and if possible non-electronic, but for which the consumables are still easily available.

          NOT stuck on buying new. Used comes up fairly regularly around here, but there are a wide variety of items and I do not know them all, nor how available consumables are (an issue for mig) for them.
          Last edited by J Tiers; 12-22-2020, 10:45 AM.
          2801 3147 6749 8779 4900 4900 4900

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan


          It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

          Comment


          • #6
            My 180c is almost perfect for my needs (which are probably aligned with most home shops guys needs). I have a tig, and still have an AC buzz box I can burn rod with if I really get into some heavy stuff, but for most tubing construction (carts, tables etc) the 180 is fine and is certainly faster and cleaner than stick welding. I picked up a spool gun for mine, but have yet to use it. I'm sure it's limited in the thickness it can do also, but will be fine to run most stuff I bought it for (marine aluminum). Keep that in mind when you go to select a machine. Not all can use a spool gun as plug and play. I'm sure you could figure it out electrically.....but some box store specials don't come equipped from the factory for plug and play. The reason why they are cheaper than others.

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            • #7
              One of the most well loved machines out there is the Hobart Handler 140. Its been produced for years and its very reliable and its gas capable if you want to go that route down the road. I have its big brother the Handler 210 (old style before the MVP). They're just nice running machines. If you want to run 1/4" all the time then you really want more welder. You can get more heat and better duty cycle you by stepping up to the Handler 190. Hobart is owned by Illinois Tool Works which also owns Miller. The Hobarts are commonly available at Tractor Supply, Rural King and other farm supply and hardware stores.
              Mike
              Central Ohio, USA

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              • #8
                I have a Hobart autoarc 140 (which was a short lived rebrand of the miller autoarc 140), and it's pretty comparable to the handler 140. The thing most don't realize with a 120v machine, is that yeah it's convenient to be able to plug it in anywhere, but it really needs to be on a separate 20amp 120v breaker. Most home garages have either one, or 2 shared 15amp circuits, so if you like tripping breakers all the time then that's great.... I figured mine out and I could get about ~3/4-1" of weld (no matter the heat setting) before I had to stop and wait or I'd blow the breaker for my garage.

                The point of that story is, that most people get sucked into the smaller machine because they can use it anywhere and don't have to run a 240v circuit for a bigger one. But to be able to use a 140 machine to near it's capacity you need a dedicated 20 amp circuit anyway. Might as well just run the big wire at that point. In for a penny in for a pound IMO.
                Last edited by Dan Dubeau; 12-22-2020, 12:03 PM.

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                • #9
                  I can recommend the Hobart Handler 210. Small transformer machine, inexpensive and very capable. Board is around $300

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                  • #10
                    I nearly bought a 140 (used) a couple years ago, but the thing would not work right, so I passed. Gave a weak spark, but no heat. Wasn't going there, although I probably could have got it cheap and fixed it.

                    Glad I did not, it was probably too light.

                    I have no issue with a 230V machine, I'm fine with that. Rather have the power when needed. All my welding will be outside, which is why no gas.
                    2801 3147 6749 8779 4900 4900 4900

                    Keep eye on ball.
                    Hashim Khan


                    It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No complaints with the Lincoln 180 here.... I have a bottle for it but mainly use it with flux core.

                      The bottle has argon in it now which gets used as purge gas for welding up stainless headers with the Tig. The little bottle also gets used for purging cans of paint,and also use it for firearm scopes(larger molecules than nitrogen).

                      I like flux core on it. This welder came from a welding supply dealer years ago,vs buying from a home store. It's very nice. All things considered,would buy it again so that's about as good a recommendation as any?

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                      • #12
                        Good info, keep it coming.... Thanks
                        2801 3147 6749 8779 4900 4900 4900

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan


                        It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just fired up the Handler 210 this evening to do a project. If you have the extra funds you may consider the Lincoln 210MP which is dual voltage and can Mig (Gas or Flux core), DC stick and DC Tig. You can also get a spool gun for it if you wanted to Mig aluminum.
                          Mike
                          Central Ohio, USA

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                          • #14
                            Dual voltage would be an advantage, even with the low available power at 120V. Not looking to drain the shop account too much. It needs to earn more money first, I'm buying some parts to fix one of the lathes at the moment.
                            2801 3147 6749 8779 4900 4900 4900

                            Keep eye on ball.
                            Hashim Khan


                            It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              be sure to look at the duty cycle. lf you see 20% or 15% run.

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