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Old 11-06-2005, 09:21 AM
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mig welder - ist the current important?

hi there, i want to buy a mig welder soon, can you tell me if the current is extremely important? the most of the halfway cheap welders have 170amps, but only 20% workingtime. i think that the workingtime is the biggest problem?

please tell me what is right...

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Old 11-06-2005, 09:46 AM
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the 20% you are refering to is the duty cycle..I have had one of those welders for many years now and it has not been a problem..when you need 100% duty cycle is when one is doing production welding and is welding all day steady at it..for most auto work we don't do that sort of thing..Main thing is to have a good electrical supply so you get full voltage and amps to the welder..

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Old 11-06-2005, 10:19 AM
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Most of the name brand compact welders 220 volt 170-180 amps are 30% duty cycle at 130 amps. As you go down the scale to lower settings the duty cycle goes up. I use a Century GS170 220 volt and have never tripped the thermo coupler on it and there are days I do a lot of welding. I think most people would be surprised how little actual welding they do at times when you think you been welding all day. You know weld, hammer, straighten, weld some more and straighten some more etc. on body panels or floor boards. so most hotrodders or hobby welders at home can get by with the compact 110-220 volt welders with a 20-30% duty cycle.

gcrmcc
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Old 11-06-2005, 02:49 PM
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ah ok it is called "duty cycle". i am sorry about that but how you can read in the "introduce yourself" forum - i am from germany.

when it was too small duty cycle for me i will put a fan at the inverter to cool it down a little.

the cheapest welders at mig technology starts at 150euros + bottles
then it gave some mig welders where the argon and so on is located IN the weldingwire that is put into the welding gun (you know what i wants to say?). is it a good thing or did i throw that sort away?

what can be the bad things at such very cheap welding machines?
and is the current important? can you told me how much current i need for a type and thickness of metall or did i have to locate the nedded current via testing it on the object itself?
is e.g. 150amperes enough for normal use or will it be better to have 200 amperes or more...?
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Old 11-06-2005, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tauruz
ah ok it is called "duty cycle". i am sorry about that but how you can read in the "introduce yourself" forum - i am from germany.




then it gave some mig welders where the argon and so on is located IN the welding wire that is put into the welding gun (you know what i wants to say?). is it a good thing or did i throw that sort away?

what can be the bad things at such very cheap welding machines?
and is the current important? can you told me how much current i need for a type and thickness of metall or did i have to locate the nedded current via testing it on the object itself?
is e.g. 150amperes enough for normal use or will it be better to have 200 amperes or more...?
Part of the problem with very cheap machines is getting the consumables easily, i.e. contact tips, gun nozzles etc. The other problem is low amp ratings and short duty cycles.

I think the wire you are talking about is actually flux-core wire. It does not have argon or gas inside the wire. It has what is called flux, very much like the flux on the outside of arc welding rods. Flux core is good outside with windy conditions but the flux should be chipped of and cleaned up just as you would with an stick arc welder after the weld cools down some. If the welder only uses flux core wire it is a wire feed welder, not MIG. The MIG welder is also a wire feed but inert gas is used to shield the weld. MIG is so much better on thin materials than flux core. I would go for a MIG with at 170 amps of power and 220 volt input. I hope this helps and I explained it right.

gcrmcc
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Old 11-07-2005, 08:10 AM
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ok it is called wire feed, now im much more intelligent
then i will look for a normal mig welder that is ok for my little budget, i think i will look @eBay for any good but not new welder... most o the cheap welders are that wirefeed ones...
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Old 11-07-2005, 08:20 AM
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tauruz, The flux core is not as good as MIG wire that uses gas and should be used only if it is not practical to use gas. Using a fan on the smaller welder helps a lot and is a good idea I have seen this done and it works.
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Old 11-07-2005, 10:41 AM
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yes i have recognized that now. i will sarch for an mig welder with bottles for some days. if there is no good one @ eBay, i will go to an toolstore and look what i can find there... the problem with the ebay thing is, that the transport costs much money.

but till now we have not raely cleared how much the current is important. is in example a welder with 130amperes enough for usual roddin/car stuff. are there any lists that shows at what thickness we usual need which current?

i think i will buy a welder from einhell, that is a brand that produces some sort of tools. cheaper ones for home use and ones that are more expensive above 600euros and more for some kind of industrial use. therefor it gives many parts to repair it but the welding gun is installed hard, i mean not with a plug and the current can ony be chosen at 4 stages

Last edited by tauruz; 11-07-2005 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 11-15-2005, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tauruz
when it was too small duty cycle for me i will put a fan at the inverter to cool it down a little.
Most (if not all) welding machines already have a fan inside, and pulling the sheet metal off will probably void your warranty. I'm sure that if it was a trivial matter of increasing the size of the fan, the manufacturer would have already done so to increase the duty cycle for more impressive numbers at a minimal increase in cost.

Quote:
the cheapest welders at mig technology starts at 150euros + bottles
then it gave some mig welders where the argon and so on is located IN the weldingwire that is put into the welding gun (you know what i wants to say?). is it a good thing or did i throw that sort away?
You haven't said yet what you're planning on doing with your welding machine, but if you're doing bodywork then flux-core or "innershield" (lincoln's brand) of wire then you'll want to use argon-shielded solid-core wire as it will make much cleaner welds. Flux-core also penetrates deeper into the metal and is much hotter (neither of which is desireable when doing bodywork).

Flux-core is better for outside in windy conditions, and for doing thicker metal work and fab with a smaller machine, but as noted above it leaves a dirty weld that needs slag chipped off before finishing and is too hot for doing bodywork.

Quote:
what can be the bad things at such very cheap welding machines?
and is the current important?
Bad things:
1) low duty cycle means you can only weld for so long before hitting the thermo switch and taking a "time-out" from welding
2) consumables, tips, parts are hard or impossible to get
3) qualified servicepeople probably won't work on them if something breaks that you can't fix
4) most cheaper migs only have 4 heat ranges, hard to "dial in" for laying the perfect weld bead
5) most cheaper migs don't have the same stabilization circuitry for a "smooth" arc and nice bead that higher quality ones would lay

Current is important because it dictates how much heat you can put to a weld joint, and thus the thickness of metal you can properly join.


Quote:
can you told me how much current i need for a type and thickness of metall or did i have to locate the nedded current via testing it on the object itself?
is e.g. 150amperes enough for normal use or will it be better to have 200 amperes or more...?
I'm a big fan of the millermatic 251 (MM251)
Figure that you can't do more than about 3/16" thick with most 100A machines, but you have diminishing returns to scale for every amp - my 250A lincoln ranger can only handle about 1/2" tops at the highest setting.

Also most machines you can't use at the end of an extension cord without tripping the breaker, so you'll need a huge drop cord and probably a dedicated garage circuit for doing heavy stuff.

I'm a big fan of engine-driven models (my lincoln ranger 10-lx has a 22.5 hp kubota diesel) but then again, I'm a big fan of overkill too

My welder:
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Old 11-16-2005, 09:59 AM
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Bite the Bullet

A MIG welder is a once in a lifetime purchase...if you buy a good one.

Bite the bullet and spend what you have to. Years down the road you will
not regret your decision. Lincoln, Miller, ESAB and Hobart all make nice ones.
I love my Hobart Handler 120. You can plug it in to any outlet in the garage.
I have even used a heavy extension cord to weld on projects that are too
large to fit in the garage.

Northern Tool has the Hobart Handler 140 on sale for $479.99 with free shipping.
http://www2.northerntool.com/product-1/200310071.htm

You will need to lease a cylinder of C25 (Argon/CO2 mix) or CO2. I would
visit your local welding supplier and see if they will meet Northern Tool's
price if you buy a bottle lease and supplies from them. Most of them will
let you try a welder in their shop before you buy.
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Old 11-22-2005, 03:39 AM
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Many people here will automatically recommend a 220v mig welder for anyone shopping for a welder. Actually, it is my experience that a 110V unti will tale care of the needs of most hobbiests. The better ones will handle 3/16" metal with no problems. Most people rarely, if ever need more than that. Actually, most body shops in this area don't have anything larger than that. If you are going to be welding heavier metal than that, you will need a 220V machine.

Aaron
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Old 11-22-2005, 07:35 AM
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Adtkart,You would be surprised at how many people would insist that it is impossible to get a good weld on metal thicker than body panels with a 110 machine but if you first heat the weld area with a torch to about 400 deg or so then about the only limit is the duty cycle. Occasional welding of 1/4" and thicker is very much possible with a 110 outfit if one just takes his time and follows a few simple rules. While a 220 volt machine is better it is not always absolutely necessary.
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Old 11-23-2005, 03:48 AM
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Red.. I am not a professional welder, so I was wondering. Is the heating with a torch so that the welder doesn't need as much current to heat the metal when welding? I have welded 3/16 with no problem with my 15 year old 110V Craftsman unit, but have not tried anything thicker. I use an old Lincoln stick welder for that stuff, when I do need to.

Aaron
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Old 11-23-2005, 07:30 AM
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Adtkart, The main purpose of heating a heavy piece of metal is because it acts as a heat sink and will chill the weld puddle too fast. This can lead to a brittle weld and under-bead cracking along with a highly stressed weld. When using small diameter wire at low currents even 1/4" can cause problems and with high alloy steels this can sometimes be a major problem. On thin metal of 1/16" or less this is usually of no concern but as the thickness of the base metal vs the wire size/current increases it becomes more important. Even when using 1/16" and larger diameter wire in industrial welding it becomes necessary to preheat on large parts with a lot of mass for the same reasons along with hydrogen control. When using a small welder on 3/8" or less you really don't have to be all that precise as to heat control just warm it up to a surface temperature that is just too hot to touch with bare hands and you should notice a big improvement in weld quality on thicker stuff.
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