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Old 01-26-2006, 01:19 PM
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Your honest opinion on this welder please

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...71&R=200312171

I am going to buy a welder soon and I thought I would run this one by you all that know a lot more than I do about then, the biggest down fall I see on this one is it seems to me it may be hard on the wrist to do a lot of welding with this spool gun in hand all the time and that it will be harder to get into tight places, I plan on doing a lot of welding on aluminum is the reason for the need of spool gun, I have asked some questions about this before and got back a lot of great info, I just seen this welder and thought it is a great price and it has a good warrenty also , Thanks
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Old 01-26-2006, 02:13 PM
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Is there a reason you are looking at a spool gun model rather than a typical mig? I am wondering if the weight of the spool makes it awkward.

I got my Lincoln175 for about the same money, which is the smallest and cheapest 220V machine Lincoln sells.
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Old 01-26-2006, 03:03 PM
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I have only used spool guns for aluminum, but they get really heavy after a while. That 2 pound spool (the aluminum one) and gun (? lb.) weighs a ton after an hour or so. I prefer the normal mig gun myself for that reason. One thing to consider with a relitively large investment is replacement parts. Are they available for years to come and easy to get?

Also think about your uses for it. Will it be a hobby welder used occasionally or see long hours of continuous use? Then you need to look at the duty cycle as well as changing spools all the time (gets annoying).

I am not familiar with clarke.


I have a 220V lincoln MIG (w/gas!) at home. I am totally happy with it. I can use thinner guage wire and weld paper thin up to 1/2" plate with heavier guage. With a lincoln, miller, etc. (name brands) you know you can get parts too.

Just my opinion....take it for what its worth.

Quick edit: Also consider where you are going to be welding with the spool gun. Its pretty big and would be awkward to get into small areas around a frame or exhaust pipe/headers. I guess it comes back to your usage again.
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Old 01-26-2006, 04:04 PM
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Spool guns

I am not familiar with that particular machine...What I have found is that aluminum wire is so soft that it does not feed well in a conventional mig welder. In the marine industry where a lot of aluminum is used one will find lots of spool guns in use..This because of the reliablity of wire feed in a spool gun..

Like everything the spool gun has its place..

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Old 01-26-2006, 04:08 PM
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I guess I should have worded that better. I was not trying to imply that welding aluminum with the normal gun was the way to go. I was just saying that they get really heavy after a while and are awkward to get into tight places. For steel and stainless, I use a normal mig.
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Old 01-26-2006, 04:41 PM
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G'day all !. Here's my two cents.

That Clarke Mig looks like the BOC brand sold in Australia. I'm fairly sure they are made in Italy. Go for a regular Mig, with gas, (not spool gun type) if it's for Home Workshop use or even Light/Medium Duty Tradesman use. 170-180 amps is a good amount of power, but as previously mentioned, check the duty cycle. Make sure it'll take the large spools (15Kg about 33lbs) of wire. That'll save you dollars...........well it does in Australia !.

I guess it'll be the same outcome in your neck of the woods.

That spool gun you're looking at would get real heavy after a while and also arkward I would think. There's plenty of spots on a car or truck were welding with a regular Mig gun is difficult, let alone one with that contraption attached to it !.

An Arc (stick) welder is always a good backup.

Buy as Good as you can afford. A Good Welder will last a long long time, 25-30 years. A top quality welder will last a lifetime, it's the technology that out dates them.
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Old 01-26-2006, 04:45 PM
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I own a Miller 250X that's spool gun ready but I've yet to get the gun. My aluminum welding experience is limited but I know enough about it to say that it's really not a good idea to run aluminum wire through the same liner that's had miles and miles of steel hardwire through it. For smaller MIG aluminum jobs a spool gun makes more sence, especially when you figure how many different alloys of aluminum there are out there. Most of the alum. welding I've ever done needs to be finished off real pretty so I take my stuff to work and use the Lincoln high freq. TIG machine. It's hard to beat the finished look of a good TIG aluminum weld.

One of these days (before I retire) I'll own a spool gun for my 250X and a high freq. TIG for the finer welds in life. Then all I'll need to do is get rid of those dang shakes! <<<< >>>>
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Old 01-27-2006, 05:11 AM
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Welder

I do a lot of fabricdation and I use a miller dynasty 200 tig unit. You can carry the power unit around the shop if necessary and the welder does the best of any I have used and owned in forty years of hotrodding. they are cleaner that spool gun welds and I really don't see a place for aluminum spool gun welds in hot rod building. The spool gun would be my choice for building aluminum tool boxes but not a oil pan or radiator mount.
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Old 01-27-2006, 09:17 AM
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No spool gun it is

Thank you all very much for your thoughts on this, That is what I was thinking to about the spool gun getting heavy ,,real fast, I already have a messed up wrist/elbow for swinging a 28oz. Estwing hammer for a lot of years so I guess I will pass on this the spool gun and this welder, my son was dead set against it from the start just because of the brand name, can't say as I blame him as what ever I buy will be his one day and he wants the best The only tool I have that is made by this company is a metal cutting skil saw, I like it alright, it does what they claim it will but it came with a spare set of brushes,,,not a good sign

90% of the aluminum welding I will be doing will be on 1 inch and 1-1/4 inch tubing as I am getting set up to build T-tops and Poleing Platforms to go on boats so I hope it will work into a lot of welding ,so the duty cycle is something I have to watch like you all said, also there will be some tight places that I will have to get into, that is why I asked you all before I went and bought this one, I know now it will be best to put a couple of hundered more with it and get the better welder, so straight mig and tig is what I will do and knock out all the guess work, Thanks guys,

Bugs
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Old 01-27-2006, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garyroushkolb
I do a lot of fabricdation and I use a miller dynasty 200 tig unit. You can carry the power unit around the shop if necessary and the welder does the best of any I have used and owned in forty years of hotrodding. they are cleaner that spool gun welds and I really don't see a place for aluminum spool gun welds in hot rod building. The spool gun would be my choice for building aluminum tool boxes but not a oil pan or radiator mount.
Your right about that. Aluminum wire welding is more for production work like building boats and things like that. Even at best, Wire-fed aluminum welds can't measure up to the finished look of Tungsten-inert gas welds. With wire, you don't have the ability to work a puddle till it flattens down - the material just keeps coming. With tig, it's like brazing. You only ad filler where it's needed. I've got a Pro Tek took box on my pickup, the whole thing is TIG'ed togther and none of the welds have even been touched with a sander or grinder, they've just been lightly polished. I'd like to see someone run a wire drive like that.

Your'e welcome, Bugs
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Old 01-27-2006, 09:50 AM
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I've done lots of both Mig and Tig, Mig spool guns can get heavy but I found the ones that I used were balanced nicely so they were not overly taxing on your wrists or shoulders and for mig guns I think spools are the way to go.
Now if you are going to get into manufacturing and welding aluminium or stainless tubes definately go with the Tig like was said earlier they are much nicer welds .And if you are starting a business doing it I would go to my local welding supply company and see what kind of a deal they will give you on one of their machines .It may cost you a few dollars more but you will also get the service that will come from buying from them . And if you have 5 people who want boat tents and your welder parts are on a slow boat from china that can kill a business real quick ! I like Miller stuff and your dealer can set you up with the perfect machine .
Good Luck !
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Old 01-27-2006, 11:30 AM
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Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention. If you really plan on getting into aluminum fab whole hog, don't forget the Plasma Arc. They'll precision cut anything ferrous or non-ferrous.

I've got one on my shopping list.
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Old 01-29-2006, 10:13 AM
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Yeap , I have one on my list also PrimeMover, maybe as soon as I see this venture is going to be a good one Plasma cutter amaze me,,,,, so does the price for them
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Old 02-05-2006, 08:06 AM
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Don't know who your welding supplier is but see if they sell remanufactured units. You'd be amazed at the cost savings for top drawer stuff.
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