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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-29-2005, 03:31 PM
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Need a welder

Im looking for an entry level welder.

What is a good first welder for me?

What type of welder should I get? (MIG, TIG, Stick)

Can I use the same welder for body panels and chassis?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you

Joe

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Old 12-29-2005, 03:34 PM
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Well I use my MIG for body panels and I use Stick for chassis work. You can't hardly beat a Miller or a Hobart.
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Old 12-29-2005, 04:09 PM
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get a 220 v only if you have a 220- 60 amp service that you could use, otherwise, a Miller, Hobart or linclion would do. Harbor Freight has good welders for non comercial use, I have a HF 110v 90A flux wire welder ( ok for body panals, not much else but shurly cheaper than mig (no gas ), and I have no complaints with it, I'm shure there 110v MIG would work just as good.
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Old 12-29-2005, 04:25 PM
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I have a Sp100 Lincoln (110 volt) which has served me well for years now..If you are going to be doing some thicker stuff..then I would reccomend the SP 175 which is a 220 volt machine..

Definately get a good one as they work better have better finer adjustments so you can adjust the heat just a wee bit say if you are doing body panels..

Most of the regualtion welding supply stores will match online prices and if you do get the good one you will be using it long after you forgot just how much you paid for it in the first place..

MIG will do 90% of what is done in a shop..we go to TIG only when it is desirable for race chassis pr welding exotic materials..

It is a goos idea to learn O/A and see if there is a note welding class in your area or find a good welder who may be willing to "show you the ropes"

there have been a lotof discussions on welding here so do a search on "welding" ans a pile of info will come up..

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Old 12-29-2005, 04:35 PM
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If you are going to weld body panels and are limited to one welder then forget the stick welder since it is next to impossible to weld body panels with. A 220 volt MIG would be ideal since it is easy(relatively) to use and can be used on both frames and thin sheet. This can also be done with a 110 volt but although they will handle body panels just fine it gets a bit more complicated with frame work due to the low current capabilities and short duty cycle but it can be done. A lot will depend on your budget and how much you intend to use whatever you decide to buy but I would recommend a MIG welder as the best over-all choice since it is the most versatile. A MIG welder with C/25 gas and Harris "Twenty Gauge" cored gas shielded .030 wire is the easiest to use of anything I have ever used for welding body panels if that is your main goal.
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Old 12-29-2005, 06:23 PM
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One of the best tools I have purchased was my Millermatic 175 MIG. I honestly do not know how I got along without it before. I hardly ever use my stick rod machine any more. It will run on a 220v 30a service which is what my compressor runs on so I didn't even have to add additional service.

Vince
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Old 12-31-2005, 12:26 PM
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I agree with Oldred. the only hitch here is the cost. Setting yourself up with a welder is exspensive, so you gotta get a good one the first time. If you buy a little hobby machine, then building a Hot Rod is out of the question. Make sure that you also buy a torch set-up as well, becasue the torch and welder go hand in hand when building.
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Old 12-31-2005, 12:39 PM
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no question a MILLER
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Old 12-31-2005, 05:30 PM
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i've got an HTP MIG 200 and it works great. Jeff also has some lower output welders (migs) for really good prices. i wouldn't trade it for anything. just put my htp Tig 201 on layaway too, can't wait to get it. www.htpweld.com
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Old 12-31-2005, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302/Z28
One of the best tools I have purchased was my Millermatic 175 MIG. I honestly do not know how I got along without it before. I hardly ever use my stick rod machine any more. It will run on a 220v 30a service which is what my compressor runs on so I didn't even have to add additional service.

Vince
I agree with this entirely. I have the same millermatic I bought last summer. Its the nicest "little" mig that I have used EVER. Welds through some thick metal with great penitration in a single pass. The diagram inside the cover is a great guidline for getting near perfect welds. Also you have the option of running flux core and even a spool gun (with an adapter of course) I would have really liked to get the miller mig one level higher but it was twice the price.

In any case no question about it, you cannot go wrong with a miller. They set the standard and are popular. You should be able to buy parts for them for a long time unlike some of the cheaper brands.

Oh yeah and I believer hobart is the same thing as miller. I even got a spool of hobart mig wire with my miller.
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Old 12-31-2005, 07:22 PM
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I went to doityourself.com to read up on welders. A very well educated man in welding contact me via PM and gave me some info. He is a welder by trade and welds all kinds of exotic metals. This is exactly what he said to me:

you are a self proclaimed beginner, thin metal most of the time but some thick stuff too, both steel and aluminum.

i am thinking a 230 volt wire machine would be the best. when buying a machine like this make sure the company makes an aluminum conversion kit. This link from Lincoln Electric can explain alot, plus they sell good stuff:

http://www.lincolnelectric.com/know.../compactmig.asp

Steel will resist electrical current. that is why when welding steel machines can be in the 100 to 250 range for general people. Aluminum is very good at conducting electricity. So when you add electricity to melt aluminum you need to get over that curve of it transporting it back. only after getting over that curve will it melt. so what i am getting at is the same amount of power could melt 1/4 inch steel can only melt 1/8 inch or less aluminum. hense the advice for you to get a 230 volt machine.

a wire machine is a Constant Voltage (CV) machine where as a TIG machine is a Constant Current (CC). some very expensive machines are both. this is a trade off area if cost is a problem (which it always is). also for TIG welders to do aluminum it needs to have AC output or some kind of modified AC wave (squarewave). AC = money! also TIG requires alot of skill. i would recommend against tig unless you have previous brazing/oxyfuel torch experience. AC only applies to TIG welding aluminum and not wire welding aluminum.

if going with the wire machine, make sure that you can reverse the polarity easily. some cheaper models (Harbor Frieght)are "set one way" or are not easily converted as you have to get into the guts of the them. you will need one bottle of shielding gas for aluminum for sure. steel can be welded without shielding gas if using some types of flux cored wires. but, if using a solid steel wire you will need another bottle filled with a different shielding gas. the only other thing that i can think of to tell you is to keep the gun lead as straight as possible when wire feeding aluminum. good ground connections. Good luck and let me know how things go.

later.
rob "redlight"
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Old 12-31-2005, 07:41 PM
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With a welder, it isn't usually something that you want to buy often. If you buy a 110V mig machine, it will carry you a long way. I would recommend either a Miller (my first choice) or Lincoln. I would look for the model that has the infinate power adjustment. The ones with the 4 or 5 hard clicks on the power switch can get you by, but there will be times when you may want 3.5 instead of 3 or 4.

I have used some of the 220V mig machines that are harder to weld the lighter sheetmetal. You may have some times when you feel that you need something larger than the 110V machine. That is actually fairly rare when working on a vehicle.

JMO

Aaron
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Old 01-01-2006, 05:44 AM
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My millermatic 175 welds like a dream on the thinnest of all sheetmetal ( I was playing around with some cut out rusted peices) It is again though infinatly adjustable on both wire feed and voltage. Also I have seen many units where the tips like to jam up with slag and you have to replace the sheild for the gas. As far as tips and the gas sheild go, the sheild is coated with copper so slag builds up but comes off no problem. Also the only time I have had any problems with tips jamming up is when I was welding upside down (not very good at it). Also unlike many of the cheaper brands the hose to the regulator is rubber (which you can replace) not plastic that gets wrecked if you are not careful. Also it has a electric gas valve, other migs that I have used if you push lightly on the trigger when lining up the welder (i'm bad for it) you waste gas. The feed mechanism is also a nice setup. Its easy to change tension and wire spools. Also (although you do have to buy them) the drive wheels for different sizes of wire are easy to swap.

I know I make the machine sound like it is perfect, but as far as ANY small mig I have used it is the best. After welding quarter panels with a buddys 110V mig and having some days where the breaker goes every 2 welds, and other days where the breaker doesn't flip what so ever. I am convinced that if you can run it 220 is the ONLY way to go. 220 mig I have has a decent duty cycle too. I forget the exact specs but it can be found on the miller site. For automotive sheet metal it seems happy running 100% of the time (even though you shouldn't be welding one constant bead on sheet metal)
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Old 01-01-2006, 08:06 PM
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do yourself a big favor and learn to stick weld 1st
i learned on a miller mig and I can't do anything but make mud daubers with a stick ... sad really sad

i have a old miller 200 and does just fine from little stuff to heavy metal got a good deal on it too

Mine has NO COMPUTERIZED CRAP in it


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Old 01-01-2006, 08:19 PM
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Rob, I have done some O/A, but your right I should practice more with that.

Im having trouble deciding on what welder to get. Should I get the Lincoln SP-135 or save up more and get the Millermatic 175? Where is a good place to buy from?

And a mask. What should I be looking for. I want a very nice one to protect my eyes since Im still young, so im willing to pay a bit more for a nice one. Is there really a big difference between the $150 ones and the $300?

Thanks for all the help guys! This forum is a huge help!

Joe
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