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Recommend Small Wire Feed Welder...

 
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:17 PM   #21
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Re: Recommend Small Wire Feed Welder...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven-Delta-FortyOne View Post
Have you thought about going with a stick welder instead of wire feed?



Little easier to use, and a little cheaper.


I believe the AL rods are expensive to purchase plus you need a DC machine....might look into that before you make a decision


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Old 01-10-2019, 08:10 PM   #22
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Re: Recommend Small Wire Feed Welder...


I have two, a Miller-matic 140 that runs on 110, it's a great welder for a lot of things, 1/4" ain't one of them. I also have a Hobart Handler 180 that has run a mile of wire through it and done some stuff it shouldn't have. I like them both, they both have gas bottles attached.
The new HF welders actually get some good reviews.
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:06 PM   #23
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Re: Recommend Small Wire Feed Welder...


I picked up a Hobart 180 (or 190)amp at Tractor Supply and learned what little I know. Everything from welding repair panels in a 72 K10 and a 66 Charger to 1/4" on a tractor and trailer.

Messed around with welding aluminum and 'managed', but there's a learning curve and I didn't do a great job. As others said, Argon is the shielding gas for aluminum and CO2 for steel.

In Delaware, we were permitted to buy our tanks then refill (exchange) them when necessary. Other states different regulations regarding gas bottles. Having a background in diving (US Navy), they taught us the power of a steel bottle filled to 3500psi and take transportation seriously. I'm guessing DOT would ding you if you're moving compressed air improperly.

I would have gotten a Miller if I had the $$ back then, but the Hobart's duty cycle was ok when welding thick metal, I just had to give it a chance to catch up b/c it wouldn't weld continuously at a high amperage. Not a problem for this hobbyist.

Last edited by AustinDB; 01-10-2019 at 10:09 PM. Reason: updated welder size
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:16 PM   #24
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Re: Recommend Small Wire Feed Welder...


well, i certainly appreciate all the info from you guys....

if i listen to you guys i'll drop, an easy 2 grand and be able to compete with the fab guys....

friend who is a genius, pro fab guy told me to get a little wire feed job...

seems to be a bit more to it than making a spark and lo & behold steel sticks together...

i've been looking and reading but central purchasing is questioning the acquisition, especially since i do not have her pantry/laundry room addition done yet....
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:40 PM   #25
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Re: Recommend Small Wire Feed Welder...


if you just want to do 1/4 steel, a 115V will be a bit of a struggle. Sure you can bevel it, and it will probably be ok. As far as "Storage" you only really have to worry is if you have a lot of moisture, as the outside of the mig wire will develop surface rust. If not, its usually fine. Usually the small 115 units will be 1lb spools.

As far as brand goes, Yes, Miller is great, and so is lincoln. I have a Lincoln 220v mig runnin on 75/25, but I can't bring it outside very far, and a Miller Synchrowave (transformer based). THey aint making much transformer units nowadays, and is mostly inverter.

I ended up picking up a harbor freight 115V mig- I've used it for a bunch of things, and there's a lot not to like about it, even if it gets the job done. Heck I found one of these being used for some sidewalk curb guys (the metal edging).

1. no gas option, only use flux cored.
2. only a "high" or "low"setting
3. drive mechanism is... "eh". not the smoothest wirefeeding, so you kinda have to keep the tip very close otherwise you get a lot of "ta ta ta" as the connection gets broken up...

But it gets used all the time! Its portability is excellent, you find all sorts of uses for it, even if its not the best unit. For about 100 bucks or so, its hard to beat.

For some more money, some of these inverter tig machines are also awesome. I got a little amico 225 tig with HF start. I didn't really care too much about the tig portability at the moment, (and its DC only, so unless I can find some 100%helium, its not doing aluminum), but I did want an inverter stick with 120/220v capability. I burned through 20 6011's rods in a row on 220 without an issue.


If you can find an older miller passport, that would probably also be good, but I doubt they would go for cheap.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:41 PM   #26
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Re: Recommend Small Wire Feed Welder...


Yes, and welding aluminum really requires a lot more power.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:36 AM   #27
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Re: Recommend Small Wire Feed Welder...


Quote:
Originally Posted by griz View Post
well, i certainly appreciate all the info from you guys....

if i listen to you guys i'll drop, an easy 2 grand and be able to compete with the fab guys....

friend who is a genius, pro fab guy told me to get a little wire feed job...

seems to be a bit more to it than making a spark and lo & behold steel sticks together...

i've been looking and reading but central purchasing is questioning the acquisition, especially since i do not have her pantry/laundry room addition done yet....
I have the Lincoln 140HD I stole from HD's "open box/returns" rack. Was missing the spool of wire, and apparently had been sent back to Lincoln for warranty or something. Out the door was under $200 IIRC. For just welding up random project stuff, making steel tables/benches etca 110v welder and flux core wire are perfectly fine. Gas is expensive, and when you run out it can be a real PITA to get a refill, especially on weekends when most welding supply shops are closed. If you need to weld up thicker steel, you an always grind a small bevel, run a root pass then cap it with 1 or 2 more passes. I have the 180 220v as well and as others have said, it welds a LOT better thick or thin metal. Running at 30-40% capacity vs 80%+ on the 110 makes a huge difference BUT 110 is far more convenient to take to the work and it runs good enough on a 25' 12g extension cord.

Those Forney welders get good reviews and are priced pretty affordably. A lot of people say the Harbor Freight welders work well. Personally I'd go for a used Lincoln or Miller before a HF deal but to each his own.

Few things you need to add into your expense report are: Gloves, welding hood (you don't NEED an auto dark, I prefer the old fashioned "flip down" style), tip cleaner, anti splatter lube (keeps slag from sticking to the tip, chipping hammer, wire brush to get started. Good idea to have a spool or 3 of wire on hand. And I've never had or heard of wire going bad flux core or solid.
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Old Yesterday, 05:30 PM   #28
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Re: Recommend Small Wire Feed Welder...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo G View Post
Harbor Freight.
Along with Eastwood Co, may be just rent something to see if its something you even want to fool with, mig and tig work much better with a gas shield, Home Crepo sells welders I see them all the time on the clearance rack , Any thing above 3/16 is best on 240v, now if you want to weld on sparks a Miller 250 syncrowave with cool running and a foot control .

All my life I have never met a welder that did not need glasses .

one other thought if you obtain a mig rig get a spray can of splatter guard, you spray in on the tip and shield and it stops the slag from building up.
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Old Yesterday, 11:32 PM   #29
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Re: Recommend Small Wire Feed Welder...


Quote:
Originally Posted by sunkist View Post
Along with Eastwood Co, may be just rent something to see if its something you even want to fool with, mig and tig work much better with a gas shield, Home Crepo sells welders I see them all the time on the clearance rack , Any thing above 3/16 is best on 240v, now if you want to weld on sparks a Miller 250 syncrowave with cool running and a foot control .

All my life I have never met a welder that did not need glasses .

one other thought if you obtain a mig rig get a spray can of splatter guard, you spray in on the tip and shield and it stops the slag from building up.
HD clearance rack is the best place to get a cheap, new (or new enough) welder. I agree MIG welding is much cleaner with gas. If you're welding indoors in a shop setting only then gas is a better choice. Anything outdoors you will want flux core, a slight breeze and however well your welds looked before suddenly look horrendous. TIG as far as I know can only be done with gas unless there is some kind of paste flux you can apply beforehand. And, if you're planning on MIG and TIG you will need separate gasses for each as they use different shielding gas.

I've seen that splatter spray, never used it. Always kept a small can of the paste on me, you just press the end of the welding gun in periodically, and when it heats up it flows into the gun and coats everything. The spray may be better though, but I have no experience with it.

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