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Discussion Starter #1
So, I'm finally about ready to get a MIG welder of my own.. For my latest projects, I've had to go over to my dad's house and use his little Clarke MIG. After having had the opportunity to use some of the larger Lincoln and Miller welders at community college, plus the Lincoln 135 TIG unit, I'd been hoping to at least get a name brand welder with continuously adjustable voltage rather than 4 settings to chose from...

So, here I am today.. I think ideally I'd like to get either the Lincoln SP135-Plus or the Millermatic 135, but my budget falls a little short...

I could try to save a little further, but if I can get something with what I have now that would be okay, I would prefer to do that before my wife forgets that I'm trying to get a welder and spends my budget on clothes, and once again resumes the 'We don't have the money' mantra...

So, I looked in Eastwood's catalogue, and saw the Clarke 130 system
http://www.eastwoodco.com/shopping/...DUCT&iMainCat=483&iSubCat=484&iProductID=1287

Regardless of what turns out as satisfactory to my needs, I'm still going to shop around for the best price.

So, my questions would be:

How satisfactory is the Clarke 130 welder?

Should I just accept the 4 heat settings, how much of a difference is there in what you can do between the 4 heat settings welders and welders with continuous variability in voltage settings?
 

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I'm not a professional welder but I think the infinitely adjustable voltage/amperage thing is a good thing for stick welding, but not absolutely necessary for MIG, especially if you're using it for a home shop. I've used a lincoln (don't remember the model) with a computer control that allows the user to select the gas, steel thickness, wire thickness, and gives you the ideal settings based on that. You then have the option of going up or down on voltage +/- 4-5V. There was some change in the weld quality, but not enough to warrant the price tag (at least for a home shop).
Can't help you with the Clarke. The 30% duty cycle and the 120V are two things I'm weary of. I'd personally go with a 220V machine and maybe a little more duty cycle. I have a 220V Lincoln MIG (I don't remember the model, but it's the four setting type) and absolutely love it. I only use it gas fluxed, and hate the fluxcore. It welds up to 1/4" and the stick welder rarely gets used anymore. IMO all the big name welding machines are about the same.
 

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or Jeff, or Doc, or...
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The cheapest way to buy any tool, is this.

Save until you get the one you WANT. Otherwise, you won't be happy, and replace it with what you want further down the road. It will take 2x as long to get what you should have bought the first time. Don't EVER buy junk, just so you "have something to work with". That type of thinking will just get you a garage full of sub par tools.
 

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i use a thermal arc fabricator 180 this is a good welder but it dose cost a few dollars,but then you only want to buy it once? alot of mig welder now use ali coils in them and you want the copper coil,s it give a more stable weld if you are doing long runs ect i have welded up dust cart packer plates ect with this.after using it at one company i worked for i got one
they are good
and it dose have all the settings you would need you can find them on the web
 

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I have a little MIG with the 4 step voltage control and that is the one thing I dislike about it. For me, the two minimum requirements are that it be fully set up to use gas and that it have a continuously variable voltage control. I may be a litle stiff-necked but if it doesn't say Lincoln, Hobart, or Miller on the front, it won't live in my shop.
eBay sometimes has good buys on welders.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What I really want is a TIG welder, and I pretty well know the exact one that I want.. It probably leads to another question, I've used and had good experience with a Lincoln Square Wave TIG, but IIRC it was similar to the Miller EconoTig, and doesn't appear to be available any more.

But I'll always want a decent MIG, I've managed with 4 power settings, but while the variability would be preferable, it's not a show-stopper. Sticking to 110 voltage is a strong preference at this time, though, because wiring the garage for 220 is further down the road.

I have a few options on my Ebay watch list, and I'll likely make my purchase by the end of this week.
 

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You can weld a lot with a 110 MIG, they are just a bit limiting. I'd bump the 220 in the shop up to a priority project. It gives you so many more choices in equipment. Compressors and welders especially.
I love one of those nifty inverter TIG units but budget won't allow that. Insted, I bought an old transformer-type. It's big and heavy but I have a complete setup - cooler, couple of torches, remote control, and the capability of over 500 amps on AC TIG for about $600 total. I can't do some of the tricks others can with the inverter units but I do have a TIG in my garage
 
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