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Old 07-06-2009, 06:25 PM
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i need a cheap beginner welder and air compressor. harbor freight?

the old free welder i had is broken beyond repair so i need to actually buy one now.

problem...im a full time college student with low income. i heard harbor freight had cheap welders that work fairly well. i dont know if i need a mig or i could get away with an arc stick welder. i'll be using it mostly for body work patching, making a aluminum dash and door panels. dealing with rust. what specs should the welder have?

i know hobart lincoln miller are all great but their expensive as hell and im not a pro just a young guy trying to keep his daily driver looking good and running good.

i also need an air compressor. what is minimum air comp i can use as far as gallon size and psi?

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Old 07-06-2009, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagarcia05
the old free welder i had is broken beyond repair so i need to actually buy one now.

problem...im a full time college student with low income. i heard harbor freight had cheap welders that work fairly well. i dont know if i need a mig or i could get away with an arc stick welder. i'll be using it mostly for body work patching, making a aluminum dash and door panels. dealing with rust. what specs should the welder have?

i know hobart lincoln miller are all great but their expensive as hell and im not a pro just a young guy trying to keep his daily driver looking good and running good.

i also need an air compressor. what is minimum air comp i can use as far as gallon size and psi?
Sorry I would only say to buy a Lincoln or a Miller....Some here will tell you to buy a Clarke..Not me.. I only Paid around $600.00 for my Lincoln..
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:35 PM
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don't belive you can weld aluminum with anything but a Tig... as far as HF welders, a stick maby but flux core or Mig, deff not.. I have there Mig 100 which is a flux core 90 amp welder.. worked like a POS and couldn't barely do anything with it, after the feeder wore out, I got a new redesigned 1 on warranty and it works a little better.. I say little for a reason.. it's to the point, I can deal with it, but a pro would throw it out the window within minuites.. the stinger is always hot, so theres no point and shoot with HF welders.. Used to use my dads Century electric arc 110. learned to weld with that welder.. never welded good turned down, but at 110 amps, I can weld with it pretty good.. and it was in the $150 range when my dad bought it in 1992.. still works like new
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:41 PM
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i would save your penny's and buy a miller. Don't buy some cheap piece of junk that if it gets a little moisture it is junk or has a duty cycle so low that you can only run it for five minutes on a hot summer day before it kicks off. Go to a welding supply to buy a welder try to stay away from the home depots and tsc and places like that. Just because it says miller or lincoln or hobart doesn't mean that it is made by them, it is probably some buying the rights to use lincolns name to sell the product. For just body work you could pick up a millermatic 140 for around 650-700.00 and weld up to 1/4 in. thick (non structure). But if you wanna weld aluminum you need to be around a 200+ amp welder so it has enough *** to weld aluminum. You are not going to find a cheap way around the aluminum welding though by the time you buy the welder, spool gun, wire, and gas. So save your pennys and keep your eye out on ebay and check the local fab shops in your area they may have something that they have retired and is just sitting around and they may sell it cheap.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:46 PM
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Matt167 you can weld aluminum with tig, mig, or arc. you use a spool gun for the mig and they do make an aluminum welding rod but you gotta be a frickin pro to run the damned thing. If he is going to build a dash the tig would be the way to go though because if he can run it right because it would look the best
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:58 PM
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If you plan to do body work don't even think about trying to use a stick welder for that , MIG is by far the most popular choice for body work although some use TIG (generally expensive) and even Oxy/Acetylene (requires a lot of skill). When you look for that MIG make sure it is actually a MIG and not just a flux core welder, they are not the same and a flux core welder is not a MIG -ALL MIGs use gas! If it does not have gas capability it is not a MIG. Body work can be and is done with flux core but it is a lot harder to use and is quite messy making a lot of spatter and requiring a lot more grinding plus it is far more likely to burn through. While a decent MIG machine will cost a bit more, plus the added cost of the gas, the results you get will be well worth the extra cost and besides a lot of the cost will be offset by the extra expense of the flux core wire. As far as the Clarke welder that is a moot issue now because they are not available, new anyway, and Harbor Freight machines are a crap shoot-or maybe not since some of them are certain to fail. The little Lincoln and Hobart 110 volt welders (the MIG versions) are really good dependable outfits and they are not all that expensive, but of course that would depend on your budget. You can do a lot more with a 110 machine than most people generally think and if your budget is really tight you can get by with one if you can accept it's limitations. By limitations I mostly mean the duty cycle which is the amount of time you can weld vs the amount of time spent letting the welder cool down. By pre-heating heavier parts with a torch prior to welding and taking the time to weld in very short sessions and giving the machine time to cool there really is no limit to what thickness metal you could weld with a 110 welder, within reason of course.



The HF air compressors are kind of a mixed bag, the really cheap ones are junk but they actually do have some good ones, for the price anyway. The US General line from the 3 HP 60 gallon on up is a decent buy and some of them are actually USA built like the 80 gallon two stage except for the pump which is Italian, even the tank is made in Virginia. They also have the Puma compressors listed online and in their catalogs although I have never seen one of these in the store. The small direct drive compressors or any of their "Central Pneumatic" line are pretty much worthless but the others mentioned can be a real bargain when on sale which they often are.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:05 PM
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I have a central pneumatic 10 gallon 3hp direct drive.. put on a steel handle, paint it blue, go to lowes and add $100 to the pricetag and you'v got a Campbell hausfeild.. there is 1 identical to mine except color and mine has a plastic handle... mine while isn't the best, does what I need of it... on sale for $119
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crussell85
Matt167 you can weld aluminum with tig, mig, or arc. you use a spool gun for the mig and they do make an aluminum welding rod but you gotta be a frickin pro to run the damned thing. If he is going to build a dash the tig would be the way to go though because if he can run it right because it would look the best


You certainly can weld Aluminum with a MIG, TIG, stick or an Oxy/Acetylene torch! Oxy/Acetylene was used to weld Aluminum long before MIG and TIG came on the scene and with a bit of practice it is not hard to do, it does however seem to be a dying art. The last Aluminum welding I did with a torch was a dash panel, a custom 6 gauge panel for a 65 Mustang made from 1/8" Aluminum.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crussell85
Go to a welding supply to buy a welder try to stay away from the home depots and tsc and places like that. Just because it says miller or lincoln or hobart doesn't mean that it is made by them, it is probably some buying the rights to use lincolns name to sell the product.

While there is some good reasons to buy from a welding supply the little Lincolns, Millers and Hobarts sold at Lowes, Home Depot and Tractor Supply are the real Mcoys and are same ones you would get from the welding supply but they are usually cheaper. The welding supply usually has better service if you need it however but for the best deal on the machine from the standpoint of base price the "McHome" stores are hard to beat!
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:34 PM
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Bought mine at Lowe's..Right at $600.00...And believe me!!!!!! it's as real as they come...

And don't play around..Buy the 220 unit..It is much better to use when welding Panels,You have better heat control.Plus when you want to weld something more heavier,You have the machine to do it.And you don't have to worry about pre heating anything. You won't be sorry you did..

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Old 07-06-2009, 08:46 PM
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if you go to a welding supply you can talk to someone that is trained to sell the machines and know everything about them and actually know how to weld. If you go to the home stores you are going to ask them a question and they are going to call thirty different people in and the only person that will even be close to answering your question will be a farmers son that runs his dads fifty year old lincoln ac arc welder (damned good welders) and now know everything about the welder. IMO, go to a welding supply for a good machine.

Miller is my way THE POWER OF BLUE
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crussell85
if you go to a welding supply you can talk to someone that is trained to sell the machines and know everything about them and actually know how to weld. If you go to the home stores you are going to ask them a question and they are going to call thirty different people in and the only person that will even be close to answering your question will be a farmers son that runs his dads fifty year old lincoln ac arc welder (damned good welders) and now know everything about the welder. IMO, go to a welding supply for a good machine.

Miller is my way THE POWER OF BLUE

Sorry..But there's a lot of people at the welding supply store's that have never welded a day in there life.. Just because they work there,Don't mean jack...They may know about the machine,But sometimes that's all..
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by NEW INTERIORS
Sorry..But there's a lot of people at the welding supply store's that have never welded a day in there life.. Just because they work there,Don't mean jack...They may know about the machine,But sometimes that's all..

You got that right! Sometimes you can run into some really knowledgeable people working at a welding supply but just the opposite has been mostly what I have seen. Usually these guys are just sales people behind a counter and don't know any more about what they sell than the parts guys at an auto parts know about mechanics! Sorry but going to most welding supply stores and asking welding advice is too much like going to the auto parts and asking whats wrong with your car, some know but a heck of a lot of them don't know squat. There are however some very valid reasons for going to a welding supply and if you do a lot of the time you can negotiate a better price from them, sometimes close to or maybe even beating the chain stores. The welding supply stores are geared to the professional and industrial customers and although most do carry these small machines and consumables for them they are a very small part of their business. If they had to rely on the type of customer that is apt to buy from Lowes, etc they would not be around very long.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:22 PM
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Go to several welding supplies stores and have them determine the best fit welder for your needs then go buy that welder at the home stores..doesnt that solve the problem? Get the best advise at the best price
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by oldred
You got that right! Sometimes you can run into some really knowledgeable people working at a welding supply but just the opposite has been mostly what I have seen. Usually these guys are just sales people behind a counter and don't know any more about what they sell than the parts guys at an auto parts know about mechanics! Sorry but going to most welding supply stores and asking welding advice is too much like going to the auto parts and asking whats wrong with your car, some know but a heck of a lot of them don't know squat. There are however some very valid reasons for going to a welding supply and if you do a lot of the time you can negotiate a better price from them, sometimes close to or maybe even beating the chain stores. The welding supply stores are geared to the professional and industrial customers and although most do carry these small machines and consumables for them they are a very small part of their business. If they had to rely on the type of customer that is apt to buy from Lowes, etc they would not be around very long.
Well said Oldred.. The welding store,Will charge you about $400.00 more then Lowe's.For the same machine..And ''IF'' you have to send it for repairs,They will ship it off..So that's not a plus at either store's..But I have never had to send a Lincoln in for a repair..''NEVER''
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