Type of welder

RonG

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Mims, Fl.
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Lincoln stick
Folks many moons ago I welded roll cages in race cars using a stick welder and an asbestos blanket to for protection.
I am 77 and would like to get into bending, welding and building my own go-carts and mini bikes.
From what I have seen from these wire feed welders I wouldn't trust the welds, now I am pretty sure it's the welder that doesn't know how to use one.
What type of welder would you nice folks recommend.
Thank you. RonG
 

Don_

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Kern county mountains
Welder
Hobart 187, Primeweld AC-DC TIG Stick, Powermax45, Lincoln 225
I,m about 7 years behind you If that means anything.

If your comfortable with Lincoln, then you should go down to your local dealer and let them sell you one of their MIG welders and a tank for your gas.
Otherwise I would buy a Prime Weld.
They make excellent welders.
Stay away from flux core, you won't like the splatter.
Get the largest tank you can handle. The bigger the better. My two 125 cu ft tanks will be traded in on the next refill.
Don
 

FRYEDADDY

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28080
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Miller 185, Miller 452
I worked for the railroad for over 30 years and we used MIG welders almost exclusively. The welds are just as strong or stronger depending on the wire and gas used. You will be amazed at the speed and there is very little waste. I have never used a Lincoln MIG. We only had Miller with a few Hobart and Lincolns. Migs are great on thinner material and filling in gaps.
 

cheetahpro

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Nova Scotia
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MILLER Millermatic® 141 MIG , and CANAWELD MIG TIG Stick Welder Multiprocess 110 V-220 V
Is MIG welding with gas better than flux core? If you are working indoors, MIG welds will have the advantage of being more visually appealing and will have no slag to chip off. However, if you are working outside, then flux core welding will be better as it can withstand windy conditions. if you are not sure about your endeavour then just buy a cheap flux core welder. The biggest problem with these, is they come wired incorrect from the factory and everyone hates them, they will all weld if the polarity is correct for flux core, negative on the stick side, one will have to check polarity after purchase regardless of manufacturer. Very easy to fix, just open the door where you supply the wire reel and look at the polarity of the leads. Here are a few recommendations. If you live in Canada. Canadian Tire Master Craft Brand have ones that work fine, but most of the time they are wired wrong from the factory they also have Lincoln and Miller being one one of the best. If you don't want any risk in your purchase go to a local supplier.

Easy Weld 261 140 Fc-I Mig Machine, 120V,​

YesWelder YWM-211P Double Pulse Aluminum MIG Welder​

Eastwood 180 Amp MIG Welder​

 

Fueler

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IL
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Miller Dynasty 350
Ron,
FWIW, 72 here.
If you are going mass production to compete with the chinese then MIG must be considered to shave off a few minutes.
Having welded a lot of tube chassis and other things, TIG would be my recommendation for those applications.
Not that it can't be done with wire but since it won't be thick wall tubing wire may be a detriment.
Items are small enough that it won't take that long to weld up.

Miller (my choice) and Lincoln will make your eyes glaze over on price. Prime weld or Everlast for the alternatives.
 

Don_

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39
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Location
Kern county mountains
Welder
Hobart 187, Primeweld AC-DC TIG Stick, Powermax45, Lincoln 225
Examples of welding thin steel.
Wear proper PPE!
Mig Welding Thin Steel
 
Messages
13
Good Post Points
6
Location
AUstralia
Welder
Lincoln TIG, 3 or so Arc and 180Amp MIG
cheetahpro said:
]if you are not sure about your endeavour then just buy a cheap flux core welder. The biggest problem with these, is they come wired incorrect from the factory and everyone hates them, they will all weld if the polarity is correct for flux core, negative on the stick side, one will have to check polarity after purchase regardless of manufacturer. Very easy to fix, just open the door where you supply the wire reel and look at the polarity of the leads.

What they said!
MIG is amazing for thin tube and I even like the flux core (except for the splatter which a good can of splatter guard can help prevent). When I first got my 2000 Amp MIG I was using gas but changed over to flux core to do some welding in the wind. I changed the polarity according to the owners manual but didn't like it. I didn't particularly like my welding with the gas either. It turns out after I got my son to check (see bad eyes) the polarity was wrong from the factory, it was already electrode negative which wasn't good for my particular gas welding and when I swapped it to positive at the gun it wasn't good for the flux core. I eventually changed the polarity correctly and went back to gas but I have some welding to do soon outside and we get strong winds right up till the end of October so it will be flux core wire in use.

I also have an AMAZING little inverter AC/DC TIG unit which is 200 Amp and so light. There's one problem with it though, I bought it to do alloy and haven't done any alloy in over 20 years and can't remember how to use the thing. I'll practice on mild steel soon though, I have to cut a rusty panel from my 31 year old Ford (my daily driver) and weld a new panel in and this is where TIG excels. I could use the MIG but it's heavy (non inverter type) but I'll probably take it to a friends farm and do it in a big shed out of the wind (as long as I get the repair panel out of another parts vehicle right).
 
Messages
13
Good Post Points
6
Location
AUstralia
Welder
Lincoln TIG, 3 or so Arc and 180Amp MIG
Examples of welding thin steel.
Wear proper PPE!
Mig Welding Thin Steel
Pardon my ignorance but at 18:20 and 22:20 (and probably numerous other parts I haven't watched yet) does anyone know what the shielding agent is being used in the MIG welding process?
It's clearly not gas and not anything I've seen elsewhere or was taught when I did the trade 20 plus years back, not that I'm any kind of expert.
Argon shield cylinder rental could be a thing of the past with a single bucket of corn?
 

Gary Fowler

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That isnt MIG welding. That is called sub-arc welding in the industry. It uses a flux compound similar to what is on a stick electrode. It is very effective for welding thicker materials also since is can use much larger wire diameters. The excess flux can be recycled for reuse.
 
Messages
13
Good Post Points
6
Location
AUstralia
Welder
Lincoln TIG, 3 or so Arc and 180Amp MIG
Thanks Gary, I did some research and found a lot about it.
I di my welding trade 20 plus years back (and don't weld) but there's certain things they just can't teach in a classroom.
 

RonG

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Mims, Fl.
Welder
Lincoln stick
Gentlemen, I appreciate all the replies, since I stated the question my wife was diagnosed with Alzcheimers and that took care of any ideas I had of my new hobby.
This was going to be a hobby not production.
When I was 15 I built a mini bike and go-cart and my dad took them away from me stating that I had to insure them to drive, he hated me.
I always wanted to build for myself these two items before I passed.
I haven't given up yet.
Thank you for all your generous replies.
Ron Gooden
 

RonG

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Location
Mims, Fl.
Welder
Lincoln stick
Ron,
FWIW, 72 here.
If you are going mass production to compete with the chinese then MIG must be considered to shave off a few minutes.
Having welded a lot of tube chassis and other things, TIG would be my recommendation for those applications.
Not that it can't be done with wire but since it won't be thick wall tubing wire may be a detriment.
Items are small enough that it won't take that long to weld up.

Miller (my choice) and Lincoln will make your eyes glaze over on price. Prime weld or Everlast for the alternatives.
Thanks fueler, sorry I didn't get back sooner, wife was diagnosed with Alzcheimers.
Miller is my choice also.
 

Gary Fowler

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Folks many moons ago I welded roll cages in race cars using a stick welder and an asbestos blanket to for protection.
I am 77 and would like to get into bending, welding and building my own go-carts and mini bikes.
From what I have seen from these wire feed welders I wouldn't trust the welds, now I am pretty sure it's the welder that doesn't know how to use one.
What type of welder would you nice folks recommend.
Thank you. RonG
Big name welding machines are good but not necessarily better welders. Recently Project Farm (check out his Youtube channel for other test also)tested several, Miller, Lincoln, Vulcan, Titanium and Arc Captain to name a few. Vulcan rivalled all the big name ones and did it at about 1/4 if the price. I have had my Vulcan Omni Pro for a couple years and have had no issues. It is set up for solid wire with 75/25 mixed gas. I have a Titanium Flux 125 that is also very good for using when 220v is not available. Anytime I need FCAW, I just roll out the Titanium Flux core rather than change my Vulcan. It makes a good solid weld but does make lots of spatter and smoke. I have 3 machines that can do TIG welding but rarely use it in my welding shop since I havent had a job for alloy welding nor anything thinner than what I can do with my Vulcan. TIG welding was my preferred welding 50 years ago when I was a certified pressure piping welder doing all kinds of exotic alloy welding.

I would like to purchase a TIG machine that is capable of aluminum welding. I do prefer that to using my spool gun when welding aluminum but in the 10 years I have operated my welding shop, I have only had one aluminum job and I did it with my spool gun and it worked OK, so it is hard to justify the expense of another TIG machine right now.

I think 35% of the bad press with off brand machines had to do with using 110v machines which dont normally provide enough current to weld anything thicker than 12 gauge metal. The other 65% is welder error.
 

56Captain

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Pea Ridge AR
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Miller, Dayton, Omni-Pro 220
I sold my Millermatic 1 year after buying and using a Vulcan from Harbor Freight.....hands down the much Better machine and tons easier to set up. It asks what steel you're welding, what gas, what size wire, what size steel....then sets the machine for welding automatically...Even "Forrest Gump" would turn out perfect welds.
 

Terry Swan

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97131
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XMT 304 CC/CV, millermatic 250x, 15A spoolmatic, esab victor S 22 P 12 wire feeder 10
Folks many moons ago I welded roll cages in race cars using a stick welder and an asbestos blanket to for protection.
I am 77 and would like to get into bending, welding and building my own go-carts and mini bikes.
From what I have seen from these wire feed welders I wouldn't trust the welds, now I am pretty sure it's the welder that doesn't know how to use one.
What type of welder would you nice folks recommend.
Thank you. RonG
Do a 100% weld with the wire feed say 1/4" plate let it cool then put it in a vise 1/2" from the weld sticking up and pound it over with a BFHammer the metal should break before the weld breaks! Been welding with wire for 50 years and if the machine is set correctly the steel will break, not the weld.
 

California

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Sonoma County
...put it in a vise ... and pound it over with a BFHammer. the metal should break before the weld breaks! if the machine is set correctly the steel will break, not the weld.
Ditto! Amateur here. Occasional farm repairs.

In this photo, what is now the outer ends, had been the welded joint that I destructively tested. As you said, the metal tore, not the weld.

More pix of the testing is in this post where I was trying out a new dual-voltage flux welder. $149 on Amazon. A great new toy. I've had it two years now and love it for the convenience of a small light welder that will do most of what I need to weld. (I have bigger welders for the occasional exception).

20220112_153059-jpg.1695
 

MrCreosote

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Location
near Pittsburgh
Welder
Oxy-Acetylene Aircraft Smiths Victor, Stick Miller Thunderbolt w/Rectifier box, MIG Power MIG, TIG KEMPPI
German aviation certified welder, car restorer, inventor and B25 bomber pilot in WWII was God with the oxy-acetylene torch. He o-a welded roll cages I believe out of 4340 - definitely not the common 4140.

He was a superb stick welder but back then in the 40's and 50's, critical welds were always o-a because he said, o-a leaves the weld annealed. He also said if the torch pops, you have to cut out the weld and surrounding material and start over.

He had an aircraft torch with opposed valves and a hexagonal tip nest in the handle with metal seats. This torch had a stable flame welding the inside vertex corner of a cube. In the 70's he tried to read the manufacturer of the torch but he had rubbed down the raised brass letters of the manufacturer. Have tried since to find that torch on the internet. Some years ago I came across and old Purox that had the hex but the metal seats and mixer/tips were different.

I know in 1990 @ P&W, fracture mechanics considered Titanium TIG welds to already have an initiated crack for fatigue life assessment.
 

SidecarFlip

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SE Michigan
Welder
Hobart Handler 210, Lincoln Square Wave TIG, Vulcan 205 stand alone TIG, Hyper Therm CIC Plasma cutter, Titanium 45 amp Plasma Cutter, Lincoln Ranger gas driven ac/dc welder, Harris oxy-acetelyne cutting torch and welding torch, varuous owned shielding gas bottles and a bunch of other stuff....
I have a Vulcan Pro-Tig 205 myself and others as well. I own and manage a short run fabrication and welding shop and I have 2 full time employees as well, plus I farm and agitate my wife once in a while...lol

Keep in mind that all the new machines are IGBT so no big transformer and no huge weight either. Actually, I prefer a transformer machine because the arc is smoother, especially when running TIG with exotic alloys and if you want to run aluminum, you need an ac-dc TIG machine so you can weld both ferrous metals and non ferrous. Intesestingly, one of my good friends is 1/2 owner of an outfit that does nothing but Nuclear refits in stainless process piping and exotic alloys. He's at Fermi in Monroe, Michigan presently (they are on shutdown for a refit), I'd love to go and observe but I don't have the required security clearance to get in, oh well. I do get to see pictures however. He's a world traveller as well because they are in great demand for Nuclear refits. He's been to every country that has an operating N plant. Most of the process piping they install is all machine TIG welded, multi pass, they do some really big stuff too. His second in command Nate, I know him as well. They are both AWS certified in Nuclear welding and my buddy happens to be the one that tests the welders and magnafluxes their welds to make sure they are welding at Nuclear code.

Interestingly My friend has a Miller TIG machine at home and after he used my Pro-Tig and found out what I paid for it and the warranty (I have the extended 3 year warranty on it), he told me he's selling his Miller and buying a Pro-Tig. he said (and I'm sure he meant it, that the Pro-Tig had a much smoother arc and it easier to establish the arc as well. When he found out what I paid for it, I knew he'd be buying one as well. I have a CK Worldwide water cooled torch on it with a stand alone water cooler and the Pro-Tig will stick weld (low hydrogen electrodes as well). Not something I'd do as I also own a Lincoln engine drive Ranger ac/dc stick machine. If I want to burn an electrode, I use that. Besides, it gives me a chance to exercise the engine so the gas don't get stale in it.

I also own a Hyper Therm 85 amp plasma cutter with a hand torch and a machine torch I use on my CNC plasma table but I'm selling it as well. Hyper Therm consumables, especially the Fine Cut consumables have gotten to be so expensive, it's time to change brands on that as well.

I already own a HF Titanium 45 amp plasma I use around the shop for free hand cutting, I'll probably buy another Titanium but the 65 amp edition and use that on my CNC plasma table instead.

The 65 amp Titanium already has the plasma table interface plug on the front so all I have to do is keep the HT interface cable and I'm good to go.

I own a Shop Saber 4 x 10 plasma table with a water bed on it. it's a fun machine to run, actually all I do is plot in what I want to cut and if the parts are smaller, use the nesting program to optimize the sheet. I rarely cut anything thicker than 3/4". Mostly light gage sheet aluminum or stainless. The machine basically thinks for itself. I can walk away and forget about it for the most part and I can (if I could afford it) change it over to water jet or laser cutting, neither of which I can afford to upgrade presently too.

The table alone was 37 grand. Lot of money for a part time dirt farmer but I have a steady workload on it all the time. I cut parts for 2nd and 3rd tier automotive suppliers and some stuff for Kubota tractor as well. Don't do artsy-fartsy stuff like a lot of people do with plasma tables, mine is all parts and often times those parts must be fitted up and welded together as well.

I retired from the steel industry so I have excellent relations with steel suppliers so procurement of raw materials isn't an issue, what is, is the constant price increases. My steel cost for HRPO, AKDQ sheet has increased 4 time this last year and aluminum and stainless has also went through the roof. Now, when I quote any job, the quoted price is entirely predicated on the materials cost, I never know until I place an order for materials, what it's going to cost me. I get my materials delivered in bulk, usually on a tractor trailer and I have a high-lo to unload it as well as a truck dock where they can back to if it's rear loaded.

We have had a good year despite the economy and have enough work presently to keep us busy until summer. I'm thankful for that.

I really like the Pro-Tig and the Titanium plasma cutter, especially the out the door pricing. HF is selling a quality machine at way below the cost of a Miller or Lincoln and plasma cutter wise, and the Titanium plasma cutters are also well below the price of say a Hyper Therm and more importantly, the cost of consumables is much, much less.

One thing i don't do is skimp on Tungsten. I (we) use only pure tungsten electrodes and I buy them all from Midwest Tungsten in Northbrook, Illinois. They might not be the cheapest but their quality is consistently high, besides, I know the owner...lol The other ting is, I own all my bottles, I don't lease any anbd I don't exchange any. I have mine filled when empty and I always have at least one full bottle on hand of whatever gas I need, pure Argon or 75-25 or oxygen or acetelyne.

I got into this stuff over 40 years ago, Started out gas welding stuff using metal coat hangers for filler / welding rod and some of the stuff I 'stuck' together is still around today. Too bad metal coat hangers aren't, you cannot use plastic coat hangers for filler-welding rod and starting out with OA was a good primer for TIG welding as both are 2 handed operations so TIG came naturally for me for the most part.

Nice thing about the Vulcan is it has a very nice digital control screen and it's easy to adjust everything and it 'remember' the last settings as well so unless I need to change any parameter, it will revert back to what I was welding at when I turn it on plus it has adjustable pulse settings and you can custom set the post flow and pre flow as well as AC and DC balance. The Lincoln don't have all those features so it's time to go. I don't forsee any issues with the HF welder or the plasma cutter and if I did, they both have 3 year warranties on them anyway. I understand that if either fail, HF just replaces the machines with new ones. I can do that.

Kind of reminds me of Stihl chainsaws versus Echo chainsaws. Stihls are stupid priced today (I have a couple) and the Echo's are basically 1/2 the price (I have a couple of them as well) and they all do the same thing, they cut logs and so long as the chains are sharp (I grind my own chains) both are good machines but the up front cost is the deciding factor for me. The Square Wave Weld Pack cot me 4 times what I paid for the Pro-Tig and the Hyper Therm was at least 3 times what I paid for the Titanium and the warranty on both the Vulcan and the Titanium is much better. I don' skimp on stuff like tungsten and I expect to receive full bottles when I have them filled (3000 pounds psi +). other than that and the materials I use (I don't like Hencho-Mexico steel), I prefer domestic made and far as stainless or aluminum, there is only one domestic stainless mill state side and I buy from them and I buy Alcoa sheet aluminum as well. I try to support domestic industry for the most part and I did cringe a bit when I bought the HF Pro-Tig and the Vulcan Plasma cutter as they are made in China (I presume) but I will say that HF must be doing strict oversight on their production because taking the covers off exposes a well made unit and not some haphazard crap inside, prone to an early failure and their warranty just enforces my belief in that.

I find it hard to fathom how HF can sell their welding machines and plasma cutters at such a low price compared to the competition, but I'm glad they do anyway because I'm inherently cheap, if I wasn't, I wouldn't stay in business very long. it's a very competitive world out there today.

Finally, if you remove the cover on any late model Lincoln welder, you'll be shocked at the amount of offshore sourced parts (China), that Lincoln uses in their machines even if they say 'Made in America; on the cabinet, They should say, 'Assembled in America from parts and assemblies sourced worldwide'. Least my old Ranger engine drive was made in Euclid, Ohio from domestic parts. That isn't how it plays today. and I believe (could be wrong and if I am correct me) that Miller / Hobart is a owned subsidiary of a Chinese company.

I grew up in Euclid, Ohio and my dad worked at Lincoln so I know them and the plant very well. Lincoln was good to my dad and I believe they still make their SMAW electrodes there and draw their wire as well, though I've found that Italian wire INE is much better than Lincoln so that is what we use in the MIG machines. It might be more expensive but like I said, I don't skimp on quality stuff if I can help it.
 

SidecarFlip

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25
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Location
SE Michigan
Welder
Hobart Handler 210, Lincoln Square Wave TIG, Vulcan 205 stand alone TIG, Hyper Therm CIC Plasma cutter, Titanium 45 amp Plasma Cutter, Lincoln Ranger gas driven ac/dc welder, Harris oxy-acetelyne cutting torch and welding torch, varuous owned shielding gas bottles and a bunch of other stuff....
Had to make it a 2 part post so here is the tail end....

I know this is long but now everyone knows what we do and what processes we use to accomplish that.

I probably should hire another employee but I'm a terrible boss as I demand perfection from my help so hiring another person would be a strain on me. Besides all the paper work associated with that, you know, drug testing and applications and work history and stuff and it's hard to find quality employees today. No one wants to actually work, especially at a skilled trade. and training someone, well I don't have the patience anyway. We just keep plugging along. I do the heavy fabrication myself and my employees run the machine tools. I have a pretty steady diet of wonky front end loader buckets, backhoe buckets and snow plow refits in the fall. Just got in a diesel powered Bandit commercial chipper on a low bed trailer (dropped in the side lot) that needs some chipper wheel work on it and an access door cut in the chute so the owner can unclog it easily and quickly when his 'help' plugs it up. Needs all new knife hold downs welded in and new Grade 8 knife securement bolts and insert nuts too as well as the knives sharpened and I bet the anvils are shot as well. I grind chipper knives too. Keeps my big auto feed surface grinder busy. 75 cents an inch x 2 for each knife and a buck an inch on the anvils x 4.

I'm on the other site as well because I own 2 large frame Kubota ag tractors and a bunch of implements, mostly hay tools as I'm a commercial hay grower amongst everything else.
 

jmaurais

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1
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Location
St. Louis
Welder
Hobart Ironman 230
If you're looking for a good MIG welder, I would recommend a Hobart Ironman 240. It's a beast of a welder and you can't beat it for $2100 from Amazon with free delivery. Good penetration for thick steel and you can dial it down for sheet metal. Two dials, one for voltage and one for wire speed. With an optional spool gun, you can weld aluminum as well. I have two large tanks, one with 75/25 argon/co2 for steel and another 100% argon for aluminum. I'd get a third for stainless but that would be a tri-mix with helium...I already spent enough money and if I need to weld stainless, I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

As for a plasma cutter, I went with the Hobart AirForce 27i. Another easy to use, no frills piece of equipment. If you look up who makes both Hobart and Miller you'll find out it's the same company.
 
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