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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 02-14-2008, 10:56 PM
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I guess I should clarify a few things that I should have said to begin with: I don't plan to do bodywork with the welder. Possible uses for me include A) frame work B) repairing a go-kart frame I have, and maybe building one if all goes well. I might have some other projects for it too. The idea of a stick is starting to appeal to me more now; I have maybe $1200 in the bank, and don't want to spend half of that on a welder when it doesn't matter too much how the welds look so much as if they are structural- I can get a powerful stick welder for $400-500, save $150+ over a high powered mig + additional gas costs... It just sounds better to my wallet.

Also, would buying used be an option? I've checked the bargain news and ebay. I will look in Craigslist tomorrow. So far I have found depressingly little except for a couple of pick up only items on the wrong side of the US.

Thanks for your help,
'paul

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 02-15-2008, 04:54 AM
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Good luck!!!
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Old 02-15-2008, 05:13 AM
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Very simply, and I think most here will agree, a MIG would be far better for the tasks you have listed. A stick welder certainly can be used to do frame work and even the thin tube of that go-kart frame but be prepared for a much longer learning curve with the stick as opposed to the MIG. A stick welder is a very versatile piece of equipment which will allow you to weld just about anything however there is a great deal to learn about the process in order to achieve structurally sound welds. A MIG is a LOT easier to use especially on thin stock like that go-kart, a heck of a lot easier to learn how to use and makes a much better looking weld. Teaching yourself to MIG weld is simple enough and you should get the hang of it quickly by simply asking a few questions and practicing on some scrap, however stick is nearly impossible to learn (if you want to do it right) without hands on instruction so if you go that route you might want to look into some welding classes. If you do go with stick don't even consider one of those little 110 volt "buzz boxes" because they are useless, you will need a real welder for stick and this means 220 volt and a rating of 220 AMPs minimum. Probably the most well known stick welder for home use is the red Lincoln "buzz box" that runs on 220 and is rated at 225 AMPs, they have been around just about forever and even the local Wal-Mart here has them, but even these are a poor choice because they are AC only. You will need to find a good DC welder in order to get decent welds with stick and you will find there is little use for an AC only machine which is what almost all of the cheap stick welders are. Unless you can find a good deal on a used DC machine you will probably end up spending more for a GOOD stick welder than you will for a MIG, when stick welding the equipment you use makes all the difference in the world. It might seem at first that stick welding is the simplest and cheapest way to go but when you consider the cost of the right equipment and the learning curve then MIG becomes quite attractive, either way you go will work for what you have mentioned once you learn to use the machine you choose.

BTW have you thought of using an Oxy/Acetylene welding torch to gas weld that go-kart frame? It would be ideal for that and would produce a weld that would rival a much more expensive TIG outfit in both strength and appearance.

Last edited by oldred; 02-15-2008 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 02-15-2008, 07:41 AM
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Here's what I have:
http://cgi.ebay.com/MILLERMATIC-140-...QQcmdZViewItem

It operates on 110v and I'll be honest, I got it after I got married so I haven't had that much chance to use it or do any welding in a long time, but I did use it for one project and it was like riding a bicycle.

When I did welding a lot, I was either in a body shop class at a community college where I could use a big ole 250 amp Miller or Lincoln MIG which was just unbeatable or it was on a Lincoln TIG welder that was also great, and I got pretty good at TIG but that takes more skill.

Before that I used a small 110 V Clarke MIG my dad had which was okay, but I've used flux wire on it and my dad uses it on occasion because he welds infrequently enough that often, the gas cylinders have leaked out and he'd have to buy more. I don't care for flux at all really.

Here's the problems with flux wire: you'll tend to get more splatter, messy brown crap on your work (which will reduce the quality of your weld) it's easier to get gas porosity which means weak welds, and you just don't get good penetration - although that may be more a product of the poor quality of cheap gasless MIG welders than the flux core wire.

I don't think I'd get anything less than what I linked above for MIG, Lincoln and Hobart are about as good in quality and they have comparable products, but they'll be in the same price range too.

If you really don't want to spend that much, a stick welder might be the way to go. My dad started in the hobby around '70 and didn't get a MIG until some time in the late '80's, in that time he used a Sears stick welder for everything including bodywork. He mostly worked on V-8 era Fords, so the sheet metal was thicker than the '50's stuff I work with, and stick would cause too much warpage for me on body work.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 02-15-2008, 08:25 AM
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Red is right on...it takes a lot longer to learn how to stick weld , and you really have to have a talent for it. A good 220 AC/DC stick welder will cost more than you think. Any money spent on a cheap welder will be wasted as down the line you will wish for a better welder. As the old saying goes " a cheap tool is a expensive tool"



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Old 02-15-2008, 09:33 AM
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Hi all first post here looks to be a great forum!

I welded professionally for 18 years and my advise to you is buy the most welder that you budget allows. 220v over 110v anytime. Gas over flux core is much better. If you have never welded, go with a mig instead of stick unless you have someone with experience who can guide you, or you plan on taking some welding classes somewhere. I suppose you can teach yourself to weld with mig but remember there is a big difference between welding something or sticking something together.

If you buy a Lincoln,Hobart or Miller machine you are getting something that is of good quality. Parts and service are also available and you can walk into your local dealer if you have any questions or problems. I doubt that Harbor Freight or Home Depot offer any of that.

Good luck with what you do. Just remember with welding equipment you get what you pay for.

jhn9840
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Old 02-16-2008, 11:14 AM
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I don't mind spending time learning to weld, but I don't plan on taking classes. I have a neighbor who could help me- he's in his mid 70s and was a hot rodder in the early fifties. I know he did a lot of welding in his shop class, but I never thought to ask him what type. He might be willing to teach to me basics of welding. He's in Florida for another month on vacation, so I'll shoot him an e-mail.

To sum up what you have all told me:
Get a 220v welder
If a stick welder, make sure it uses DC and is rated at 220+ amps
Avoid flux core, as it is not as structural and the welds don't look as good
If a MIG welder, it should be capable of 180+ amps
buy from a well established name (Lincoln, Hobart, Clarke)
Stick takes a lot longer to learn than MIG
MIG is a better all around welder

If budgeting is really an issue:
110v MIG is ok, as long as it is rated at 130+ amps
gas leaks out of tanks over time, flux core eliminates this problem/expense

Would something like this Lincoln be a decent MIG set up? It is a 208/230v 175A welder, with a welding mask and gauges for the tanks.

Also, how much would I be looking to spend on a shielding gas tank? I will probably not be using a welder very often, so a smaller size tank would minimize leakage (I'm assuming).

'paul
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2008, 11:24 AM
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If you can get it for that price get it,That's the one I have,You won't be sorry!!!

Ps just be-careful he only has 107 feed back.The price sound's to good to be true.I paid $600.00 for mine at Lowe's.But sometimes you can make a very good deal on e-bay.

Last edited by NEW INTERIORS; 02-16-2008 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 02-16-2008, 11:35 AM
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[QUOTE=my_wayward_son]
gas leaks out of tanks over time,

ONLY if you don't turn off the tanks when you finish welding!




Would something like this Lincoln be a decent MIG set up?

You bet that's a good set-up!


I will probably not be using a welder very often, so a smaller size tank would minimize leakage (I'm assuming).

Get the largest tank you feel can physically handle because the refill cost for a small one is nearly as much as for the big ones, so the bigger the tank the cheaper your gas will be- by a LOT! It will not leak out if you don't forget to shut off the tank when you finish welding. Also don't set your gas flow higher than needed because this too can waste a lot of gas. This subject on setting gas flow has been covered a bunch of times, even in the last few days.
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Old 02-16-2008, 11:41 AM
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I turn mine off after each time I use mine.But most of the time they will not leak,Every now and then I get one that you just can't stop it from leaking.
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Old 02-16-2008, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEW INTERIORS
I turn mine off after each time I use mine.But most of the time they will not leak,Every now and then I get one that you just can't stop it from leaking.
I have never had a problem with the tanks leaking but I suppose it's possible, if so I would complain to my supplier. I have a tank of pure Argon that I rarely use that I have had for over 10 years.
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Old 02-16-2008, 12:28 PM
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You listed Lincoln Electric, Hobart and Clarke. Clarke is not as good as Lincoln or Hobart in my opinion, and the welder my dad has that is a Clarke is what I'm basing this on. Probably better than Harbor Freight. The third top tier brand would be Miller.

It probably was a combination of infrequent use and valves left open (plus maybe the low buck gas setup) that resulted in gas tanks not staying full for us.

The one you linked should be a good choice.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2008, 12:28 PM
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Maybe just a worn out valve. If you turn off your gas And you see your gage bleed down.You have a ''LEAK''
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2008, 12:33 PM
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I don't fine you can fine tune the Clarke's as good as the Lincoln's.For the $100.00 are so $$$ you will save ,It is not worth it to me.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2008, 10:15 AM
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Well, I was outbid on the Lincoln, so I have decided I will probably end up getting either a nice 110v MIG or maybe a 220v stick welder. I'm going to shop around some, and maybe another ebay deal will pop up . Thank you all for your great help; I'll post anything I am considering buying here.

'Paul

*edit: bad spelling
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