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Old 04-27-2007, 08:57 PM
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Need cheap MIG TIG advice

OK, I've been looking at CHEAP welders. I have some experience with a MIG and stick but I've never TIG welded. I'm under the impression that TIG is superior but like I said I've never used one.
Anyway, here are the 2 welders. MIG and TIG

Anyone have any suggestions??

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Old 04-27-2007, 09:51 PM
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I am a firm believer in buying the best tools you can afford however sometimes the cheaper outfits may be a viable choice. Some time back in the tool forum there was quite a bit of discussion on that TIG about it's pros and cons. A buddy of mine bought both of those machines well over a year ago and he is happy with both of them, uses them quite often. He bought the TIG outfit first then had me come over and check it out and give him some pointers on getting started. I found this thing works darn good for what it is BUT the key words here are "for what it is", first it is NOT for welding Aluminum, it is scratch start (no high frequency), no remote control, in short it is as bare bones as a TIG can be but it is surprisingly useful and that thing is almost always on sale for only $199.99 which is FAR cheaper than any TIG you will find. For learning the basics of TIG without spending a bunch of money this thing may work just fine. Shortly after buying the TIG he went back and got the MIG also on sale (usually is) for $199.99 and he has been quite happy with it also, like the TIG outfit it works suprisingly good for what it is. Like about any cheap tool these two may have held up better than two more just like them and someone else may not be so impressed but he has less than $400 in BOTH outfits and they have more than paid for themselves.

Before someone clobbers me for saying something good about a cheap welder let me say clearly that I do NOT mean these things are a good substitute for a good name brand machine but they do seem to hold up ok, at least these did, and work better than someone might expect for the price. If it comes down to the price making the difference between a cheap outfit or none at all then these things may very well be a viable option just don't expect anything heavy duty about either of them. If you can afford a better outfit, even if it means saving for it, then that would probably be a better idea however if you truly are limited by budget then they may be worth a try, heck for only 200 bucks you are not taking much of a chance anyway!
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Old 04-28-2007, 08:17 PM
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Thanks for the info. I feel more confident about it now. I guess I'll wait till the MIG goes on sale and get it.
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Old 04-28-2007, 08:42 PM
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just don't buy the MIG 100, I made that mistake, even if it was only $160. mine, the wheel got so worn that pulls the wire, it will not pull it anymore. I still got it under warranty, going to take it back for repair. thing that gets me, I bought an extended 1 year warranty for it, because they offered it for $20 I figured it was a deal, as it was a full warranty ( for cables and all ) BUT, they did not say it had a 2 year warranty on the cables and gun itself, and a 5 year warranty on everything else. the way the extended warranty is written, it goes in effect after the last listed warranty runs out ( 5 year ), so I can't get my cables/ gun replaced for free until after 5 ( now 3 ) years, but like right now, that warranty is not active, so I cannot. HF did used to run a great deal on 14" chop saws, for $49.99, I bought into the deal and got 1 for that price, and it has been great, bogs just a little on heavy cuts, but gets through anything, I went to lowes and got a good blade for it, not the burn outs that HF sells. they now put them on sale for $89.99, only $10 less than the regular price.
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Old 04-28-2007, 08:49 PM
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I noticed the mig states weld up to 18 ga. I don't know anything about that welder itself but 18 ga. isn't much. You would be limited to sheet metal only.
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Old 04-28-2007, 09:37 PM
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Clarkes are good
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Old 04-29-2007, 11:30 AM
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FWIW I just bought a Lincoln Weld-Pak 3200HD from Home Depot for $439. I've never welded before and after burning up an old fender practicing I got confident enough to shave the marker lights on my 71 C10. Turned out pretty good. The Lincoln 100Hd was only $329 but the gas reg was another $100. The 3200HD came with the regulator.
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Old 04-29-2007, 08:29 PM
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Just a note I checked with my local supply store and the flow regulators were over $80. On Harbor Freight they are $34.
For my needs I think that welder is sufficient. I just need it for a couple of patch panels and some work around the rear window. I have access to (can borrow) an arc welder if I need to do something more substantial.

Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 04-30-2007, 08:46 AM
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That is exactly my point, if someone really will not be using a welder for more than couple of jobs then these things can make more sense than a $600 machine. One could argue that it would be better to hire it done rather than buy a cheap welder but even a small welding job can run 200 bucks or more.
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:05 PM
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The other option here is to rent a MIG unit. My local rental center has one available for rent.

It's the best of both worlds: low cost & a decent MIG unit.

I ended up buying a decent unit because I have been welding a lot lately, but if all I had to do was a couple small jobs, I would be renting...
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