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Old 06-10-2009, 12:23 PM
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Best welder

I'm just looking for a welder to do some exhaust work and maybe a little body work, nothing to big or intense. Any suggestions? Would a mig with a range of 24-90 amps do the trick? Any specific model I should look for?

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Old 06-10-2009, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seandiddy
I'm just looking for a welder to do some exhaust work and maybe a little body work, nothing to big or intense. Any suggestions? Would a mig with a range of 24-90 amps do the trick? Any specific model I should look for?
My brother in law has a harbor freight that he paid about two hundred dollars for and I have used it on several occasions. Believe it or not it works good. When ever I am at his house and he needs something welded I use it and I have used it more then he has. But I still tend to put it in the category of a throw away or make do welder. It is a mig welder of the inverter type design and the arc doesn't seem to be as even or smooth. Even though you say you want to do exhaust and a little body work with it, what are you going to do when you want to weld a trailer hitch or a frame? What are you going to do if you want to weld aluminum? Usually when you start welding, you wind up welding everything and nothing is more frustrating then when your welder just isn't quite big enough. About five months ago I bought a Holbart Iron Man 210 for me to use at my house. It is 210 amp and it is already wired for the aluminum spool gun and by the way Holbart has the lowest price spool gun of all of the big three. I have been welding for over thirty years and I love it. So much so that I gave it a post of it's own. Check out these two post:
New Hobart MIG welder
Century dual feed welder
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:10 PM
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I am really fond of my Millermatic 175. I have yet to run past it's duty cycle.
Vince
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:44 PM
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As far as I am concerned nobody makes a welder besides MILLER. I work in the erection business and that is all we use is MILLER, and you can't beat them. I have used the other brands like Lincoln and Hobart, and the Hobart would be my second choice. Lincoln dresses there welders up pretty good putty nascar logos and auto sets and crap like that on them but all that is no good without performance. I have a millermatic 135, it is a 110 MIG welder that accepts gas of flux core and is good for what you are talking about. I wouldn't suggest it for highway use but I used this welder to weld snowplow brackets on my yard truck and also used it to build a dove tail on my car hauler. But for the price that they are now brand new you are better off going with a 220 power supply and making it more worth the money. I would choose a miller or Hobart if you want it to work for ever.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:38 PM
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I have a Lincoln 220 MIG,That is one very good machine.. I use mine ''EVERYDAY'' and never had any trouble with it... I had people that wanted to give me their 110 unit's,I told them to keep it.. I wouldn't waste my money on a 110 welder.There is a big difference.You will have better heat control with the 220 unit.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:08 AM
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I have been using a 110 mig for a number of years now and I find for most things automotive one of those is just fine..I originally bought mine for maintenance work so I did not have to drag around the generator and trailer every time I needed to weld something in the field..I do concur on the Miller as my old Lincoln was getting tired so it was replaced with a Miller 140 with the auto set..Still getting used to the autoset feature but then I do not have to use it as the welder can be set manually as well..

Soo bottom line is that I would reccommend one of the 110 units for the guy who needs an occasional machine..

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Old 06-11-2009, 08:11 AM
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Three years ago I picked up a Lincoln 215 that was on sale with a good discount at my local welding supply. I also have used a Miller 212 as well and in IMHO both of these welders 230 V welders are the right size for automotive garage work.

With .035 wire it has the power to get excellent penetration when welding frames. With .023 wire they can be turned down low enough to handle 22 ga sheet metal. Oh, and both can use a spool gun for welding aluminium with decent results.

I believe Hobart has a 230 welder similar to the Miller which offers good value as well.

Nothing beats knowing what you are doing and having good welding technique, but... a quality machine will help you get the best results. Oh, and I would recommend using C25 gas over CO2 as it gives much cleaner welds.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:15 PM
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I recently purchased a new welder. I read every thing I could find posted on HR.com, Lincoln, Miller and Hobart web sites before making my choice. I looked at Esaab and talked with a local welding repair shop owner that I respect his unbiased honesty. He had some interesting comments, particularly about TWI now owning Lincoln, Miller and Hobart and which machines that come in for repair the most frequently. He started me looking at Thermal Arc and after doing the research and side by side comparisons, I now have a Thermal Arc 251 Fabricator. I have never welded with any thing like it and will never have to purchase another one. You can quick change the polarity: you can have two different gases on board and you can have the regular gun and a spool gun installed at the same time and switch from one to the other with a flip of a switch and turning on the corresponding gas.

Trees
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:29 PM
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That's a bit pricey for what this fellow is looking for.

Vince
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:41 PM
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I like the small miller and Lincon 220 V machines for the price. I have a 135 miller that is 110 V that works good for small stuff and tacking header tubes together but I have a bigger 220 V 200 amp machine for bigger jobs. If I had to have one I would pick one of the 175 amp 220V name brand machines for the money and if you ever need to sell it you can get most of your money back.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:41 PM
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Miller and Hobart are both good but Lincoln is in no way inferior and IMHO they build one of the best machines on the market. Of the "big three brands" 110 machines, all of which are somewhat limited no matter what brand, the Lincoln is probably the best choice. My current Lincoln is a Kholer (gasoline) powered 20 HP 225 AMP that I have owned for about 10 years now and just like the big diesel units that served me so well for over 35 years this one has never let me down. My little Lincoln 110 volt MIG has been going for nearly 15 years now and was simply abused for most of that time, just like the others it was always there when I needed it. The 110 volt machine was used for very small jobs in "out-of-the-way" places that were impractical to reach with the big machines and so it spent a lot of it's time bouncing around the tool box on my service truck. This thing has been used in snow, rain, mud and dust been dropped, run laying on it's side and generally had far more asked from it than it was ever meant to do. It has just about all the paint beaten off of it and is almost comical to look at now but the darn thing STILL runs just fine!! IMO those little Lincolns are DARN good machines!
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:01 PM
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I like the red boxes too. If for no other reason than they're made here in Uh-Hiyuh. (Cleveland, Ohio)

I visit a local exhaust shop whose owner cusses his new Lincoln 140C... Switched back to his used up SP-135. Dunno why. The 140C is fine by me. I could see having a 110 machine for exhaust. The size of the stinger on the big machines would get bulky. Although you can get smaller stingers (guns) for the bigger machines. Or adapt a 100L like I did.

The choice was easy for me. Spent years in a fab shop running a Lincoln 255 with a magnum 250L stinger. One gets used to the feel and angle of the trigger. Miller is just uncomfortable to me. Dials are wobbly, small parts storage and ease of access is a pain. Currently have a 140C and a 255XT in the shop. Although the 140C is going bye bye.

If you foresee yourself doing chassis fab or any kind of structure steel, DO NOT expect a 110 machine to do the job. Duty cycle rares it's ugly head and usually if you are not welding sheetmetal, the voltage dial is always maxed. Just seems to end up that way.

Last edited by C-10; 06-11-2009 at 11:10 PM.
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