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k.c. said:
What would be smallest amperage Mig welder for the garage? Boxing frames, brackets, etc. I don't wanna spend a lot a $$$, but I only wanna buy one.

I have the 175 Lincoln 220..Cost me around $600.00 at Lowe's..I wouldn't get anything smaller then that to do frames.. :)
 

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1meancuda said:
Doesn't it really depend on the thickness of the material? I think the frame on my truck is 7ga, which a 110v machine would handle just fine.

I can only put Information out there...If you want to use it,That up to you. :drunk: I would never weld any of ''my'' frame's with a 110 unit..Sorry !!!

But that how I do it,I have welded with a lot of 110 unit's, And ''NEVER'' seen one that I would weld a frame with.. :pain: My frames usually have over 400+ hp in them..And I don't recommend it..Like the old saying goes..''You can lead a horse to water,But you can't make him drink''... :D
 

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You could safely weld a frame with a 110 machine BUT it would require some special attention and a lot of patience. First the joint would require pre-heating with a torch in order to avoid "cold starting" of the low amperage weld which would cause thermal shock to both the weld bead and the base metal, this heating of the weld area to around 400 deg. would be required before starting the weld and would have to be maintained during the welding. An even bigger problem is the short duty cycle of these machines, you are going to spend more time waiting for the welder to cool down than you will spend actually welding which can be a royal PITA both from a time standpoint and maintaining the proper base metal temperature. As I said it can be done if you are truly limited to a 110 volt welder but there is a lot more to consider than if using a bigger machine so unless you plan to limit your welding to tack welds and body sheetmetal a good higher amp 220 volt machine will work a heck of a lot better!
 

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Yes!!! Your right, it can be done...But who want's to be pre-heating a frame butt to 400* ... :pain:That will sure do a frame some good... :pain: If you do pre-heat,''make sure you weld the frame to a very good jig''... :mwink:
 

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k.c. said:
What would be smallest amperage Mig welder for the garage? Boxing frames, brackets, etc. I don't wanna spend a lot a $$$, but I only wanna buy one.
get a used one at a pawn shop the biggest one you can get as long as it looks like new and its a miller or lincoln 110's are fine but a 220v will last longer and do anything you'll ever need out of it... a good used one runs 800.00 and a 110 ,400.00 with every thing plus gas in the tank......no gas no buy ....just saw one the other day looked brand new... plug it in and weld ...complete...400.00 listen to these guys and dont ever weld a frame with a 110v welder it'll even give a pro trouble no pros will waste thier time doing it ...yes ...it can be done ...but they wont.. they know...better
 

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A good welder will last a lifetime and will be used for many different things after you get one, so it seems rather silly to me to even think about getting a smaller machine and then be limited to what you can do.
 

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Henry Highrise said:
A good welder will last a lifetime and will be used for many different things after you get one, so it seems rather silly to me to even think about getting a smaller machine and then be limited to what you can do.

Very well said Mr.Henry... :thumbup:
 

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I have had a Millermatic 160 for about 15 years now and a Solar 295 amp stick welder for 30 years. Never had a problem with either one and I have been able to do anything that I wanted to do. I always say the two most important things in your shop or garage is your welder and your air compressor...don't cheap out on either of those.
 

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I'm sorry !!!! But the people that say they have a great 110, Must have never used a 220 machine.. Because if you ever did use a 220 machine, you will sell that 110 as fast as you can..There's a night and day difference... And the people that are true welder's by trade, know what I'm saying,I have been doing this for a little over 26 years, And I know some of you have been doing it longer. And to tell a man to weld a frame with a 110 is just wrong..I'm sorry.. :nono: Like Mr.henry said..This is a tool that will last a long time,if you buy the right one... I know sometime's you can't put out the $$$,,,, But just wait a little longer, And you will be much better off,And a lot Happier.. I will never tell someone to buy a 110 machine...SORRY !!!!
 

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Henry Highrise said:
I always say the two most important things in your shop or garage is your welder and your air compressor...don't cheap out on either of those.
This is as true, as it get's guy's !!!!! :thumbup:
 

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NEW INTERIORS said:
Yes!!! Your right, it can be done...But who want's to be pre-heating a frame butt to 400* ... :pain:That will sure do a frame some good... :pain: If you do pre-heat,''make sure you weld the frame to a very good jig''... :mwink:


Exactly my point, it can be done BUT is it worth the effort? If all someone has is a 110, and this does happen occasionally, then there really is no limit to how thick a weld can be made with a 110 but the question is how practical would it be? With proper preheat there is no real problem with the actual weld made by the 110 machine but as was pointed out just how practical is it to preheat and maintain heat when welding a frame? The problem only gets worse as the metal gets thicker. Add to that the time spent waiting on the machine to cool to prevent exceeding the duty cycle and the advantage of the 220 is all too clear. For the occasional heavy (comparatively heavy anyway) weld then a 110 machine can be used but the extra procedure required makes it impractical for anything major.
 

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oldred said:
Exactly my point, it can be done BUT is it worth the effort? If all someone has is a 110, and this does happen occasionally, then there really is no limit to how thick a weld can be made with a 110 but the question is how practical would it be? With proper preheat there is no real problem with the actual weld made by the 110 machine but as was pointed out just how practical is it to preheat and maintain heat when welding a frame? The problem only gets worse as the metal gets thicker. Add to that the time spent waiting on the machine to cool to prevent exceeding the duty cycle and the advantage of the 220 is all too clear. For the occasional heavy (comparatively heavy anyway) weld then a 110 machine can be used but the extra procedure required makes it impractical for anything major.
So if they go out in buy a 110 unit,They also need to by a torch to go with it.. :D
 

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I have a 110v unit for sheetmetal and a 220v arc for anything 1/4" and up. My point was simply this. If you can use the 110v unit and get good penetration on 7ga, then why can't you use it on a frame that is 7ga? Does the metal care what it's being welded with? Please don't take my initial post as advocating using the wrong tool, I am simply asking a question as a beginning welder.
 

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1meancuda said:
I have a 110v unit for sheetmetal and a 220v arc for anything 1/4" and up. My point was simply this. If you can use the 110v unit and get good penetration on 7ga, then why can't you use it on a frame that is 7ga? Does the metal care what it's being welded with? Please don't take my initial post as advocating using the wrong tool, I am simply asking a question as a beginning welder.
Ahhhh....penitration, the more the better i say :mwink: but I'm listining to what the big red one has to say he's the pimp here.you need a hot rod for good penitration. not a quick lick. :p
 

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Cuda, the problem with the 110 units is the low amperage that is why the preheat on heavier parts is necessary. On that frame for instance you mention "getting good penetration" but what is going to happen, at least at first until the part heats up enough, is that the mass of the thicker metal will sink off the heat too fast causing a "chilled" weld that will be brittle and most likely riddled with microscopic cracks. You are right the weld don't care what it is being welded with and if you were to attempt to weld that frame with a 220 machine using the same wire and current setting as the 110 at max then you would run into the same problem. Another problem is the short duty cycle of the 110 machine, at max current setting that thing will run for only a very short time before it will overheat and you will have to stop and wait for it to cool down. I have used my little Lincoln to weld some really thick stuff in the past, this was done only because it was so much easier to get the small welder to the site and then only for small jobs. The trick to making this work, as was pointed out before and what I did on those parts, is to preheat the parts with a torch first to prevent thermal shock to the weld bead and base metal.

Try this little trick, take some 1/4" plate (or even some 1/8") about 6"x6" and join them with a short weld from a 110 machine without any preheat. Then try the same thing again but this time heat the area to be welded to about 400 to 450 deg, just to hot to touch with your bare hand, and you will see a huge difference in the way it welds. You will get much better penetration and the weld will flow out a heck of a lot better but it is what is not happening that you can't see that really matters. The weld will not chill nearly as fast and the weld bead and base metal will not be subjected to the thermal shock that it would be if the base metal was cold. With the larger welder the current input will be higher (if the machine is set properly) so the weld will not have the heat sink problem that it would with the lower amperage. Basically it is not a matter of whether the machine is a 110 outfit or a 220 it is a matter of the upper limits of the 110 machine.
 
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