What to look for in a welder for Beginners

Tombsycles

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Spa Springs
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Miller
I cheaped-out on buying welders and air compressors for decades. When I retired, I purchased my first "brand-name" 250 amp Mig welder. Costly? Yes. Problems? None. Since, also purchased a brand-new "brand name", gasoline-powered arc welder, (Gasoline, because diesel engined models cost double the price) that powers my home during electrical power outages, and my MIG and TIG when mobile. Best investment I ever made. Welding is a professional trade.
 

panamaguy

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Panama
Welder
Many
I’m teaching myself on stick. I like it a lot. Don’t have a lot to think about other than striking an arc. Lots of arguments for how easy MIG is to learn in but I figure the better arguments are you get a lot more technique with stick. Someday I hope to do aluminum boats so going to TIG more than likely and stick seems to build a lot of that skill.
If you are going to build a alum boat get a spool gun for you mig. TIG is great but not for something as big a a boat. TIG is real slow so you would take forever to make the boat
 

harleyron74

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Why do you think it is such a poor welder? Is it because it is 110v?
I figure it's just underpowered because of the 110 voltage. I saw one like it at an auction but it was a 220 volt version and the old farmer that was selling his stuff and moving into town was sad to get rid of it but didn't need it at the assisted living apt. he was moving to.
When I bought this thing duel voltage machines at hobby prices didn't exist so I bought this to do maintenance welding at work at locations 220V wasn't available. I also had no 220V run to my garage at my old house at the time.
 

kayco53

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Location
Shnook
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systematics
If you get a stick machine try to get it running on 220/230. They run better. Get a brand name if you can afford it. AC/DC is very useful but a buzzbox type machine works fine most are ac but some are ac/dc. Buy a good auto darking helmet. Brand name. Check the prices or replacement lens. Big difference it adds up. If you have less money a regular cheap old school helmet with a good lens works great. Used one most of 40plus years I was welder fabricator. Got the new style the last couple years. What you get in the more expensive auto darking over the harbour freight stuff is a faster response time and better quality lens.Old school and the new type are both good but don't get a cheap auto darking one if you weld much. You only get one set of eyes.
 

Old Irish

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82
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Location
The River Sticks
Welder
Lincoln SW200,PowerMig 180, A/C225 with rectifier, 2 Chinese plasma, stick, tig- 1-Chinese stick w/hot start&arc force and 1 Chinese 205A mig
this thread has had staying power it seems so I don't feel so bad adding to it.
I am retired now but before I left I bought a weldpro mig, tig, stick welder for the shop, don't remember the amperage but it was the higher amperage range model.
Long story short it worked very well in all modes, the lift tig function worked surprisingly well. I think the cost was around 700 bucks.
For around 400 bucks the YesWelder mig 205 performs just as well. I bought the Yeswelder tig rig for 50 bucks so all in it was less than 450.( I already had bottles and regulators ) There is a spool gun available for the weldpro, I don't know about the yeswelder but I would suspect there is. I have a spool gun for one of the Lincolns so I didn't check to see if there was one for the yeswelder.
 

efred

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Location
Edmore, MI
Welder
Millermatic 250
I'm looking for a multi-process welder to supplement my older, big Millermatic 250. The MIG will be set up for welding stainless (have some projects waiting), and the TIG for welding aluminum irrigation pipe, primarily. I was told that to weld thin wall aluminum, you to have to use AC TIG. I've heard the opposite here, so now I'm confused.

Any suggestions, advice?
 

Old Irish

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Location
The River Sticks
Welder
Lincoln SW200,PowerMig 180, A/C225 with rectifier, 2 Chinese plasma, stick, tig- 1-Chinese stick w/hot start&arc force and 1 Chinese 205A mig
you can use tig or mig for your aluminum or stainless, a spool gun would work best for aluminum wire, sorry if I am telling you something you know but I don't know how much experience you have.
Welding Tips and Tricks is a great source for info.
 

welding seabee

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Responding to the previous two posts:

MIG and TIG gas shielding is tricky outdoors. Any stray air currents can blow away the shield gas. We always built an enclosure of some sort around the weld area for insurance. MIG flux core works same as SMAW on that score.

Welding aluminum requires another learning curve.

Welding aluminum requires a spool gun and a high frequency power supply. Several more parameters you need to incorporate.

TIG welding is a lot like O/A torch welding; same principle, you are using the arc to create the molten puddle in the base material and then adding the filler rod. Thin materials like tubing can be butted tight and welded w/o filler rod. I have done that on schedule 40 steel pipe using an O/A torch.

Save money on shield gas when welding SS or mild steel by using CO2 for shield gas. An adapter is available for the tank connection to the argon regulator. Around $20 on Amazon.

As has been said before: MIG and TIG are considered fabrication methods and work best when in the flat position. Repair work, especially in the field, requires expertise in all positions.

Even in the late 1990s we were still stick-welding (SMAW) pipe in the field. Most pipe fabrications were done in a shop setting using MIG. We still SMAW welded schedule 10 and thicker wall SS pipe still.

Both MIG and TIG require multiple passes on material other than sheet metal (12 ga and lighter) due to minimal penetration. We did O/A butt welds on schedule 80 and less in one pass around the pipe. think of the labor saving there. Today that is all done with socket weld fittings and SMAW or MIG. the pipefitters union no longer teaches O/A welding and O/A steel cutting is fast giving way to plasma arc cutting. Next generation is going to be laser welding and cutting. Still pretty expensive.
 

SidecarFlip

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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....
The only difference between OA welding and TIG is you must keep the filler rod in the gas envelope of the weld will become porous and if you touch the tung with the filler rod, it will foul the tung and you will need to regrind the tip. OA welding is a very good primer to TIG because both are 2 handed operations. I tend to use pure tung, not Thorated or Lanthinated as a rule.
 
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