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  #1  
Old 10-14-2004, 10:56 AM
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MIG welding machine

Can anyone reccomend a mig machine? Will primarily be used to restore 300D and all around use. I am looking for ease of use, value, and quality Thanks
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  #2  
Old 10-14-2004, 11:16 AM
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What is your budget ?
What are the " all around uses" which you have ?
Do you need to be able to weld stuff away from an electrical Socket ?
What kinds of welding have you done ?
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2004, 11:16 AM
R Leo's Avatar
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Don't cheap out. Buy the best Miller or Lincoln you can afford. And, be sure to budget for the welding gas option too; welding with flux cored wire is a mess. I can't imagine using it in a resto project.

Thankgawd I've never had to weld on my Benzos but I'll warn you, welding automotive sheet metal is no cake walk even with a MIG unit.
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  #4  
Old 10-14-2004, 11:17 AM
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That's what I asked the Lincoln-electric sales rep. I was interested in buying the $650 unit and he asked what I was going to do with it. I told him about the 65 Mustang restoration and the few things around the house, minor at that.
He thought the $650 unit was way to much and he was right.
He recommended the Weld Pak 100. I got it a Home depot for $309 plus I converted it to gas. $100. bought all the typical accessories, cart, gloves, tools etc and have about $650 total.
He was right, anything I have wanted to weld the weld pak 100 can handle.

I do recommend either Lincoln-Electric, Hobart or Miller. All the reserch and asking I did, told me to buy quality, you will never have a problem getting support and the unit will last forever.

I have been able to do all I want with the LE unit I have.

Convert to gas. It really does produce a better weld. Buy a autodimming helmet, It improves your welds, then practice, practice, practice. Bring your practice welds by the local High School Auto shop teacher for some critique and you will learn.

The unit I have has done everything in the Mustang plus created all the "tools" I wanted and work on the fence I have.

Dave

Go to Barnes and Noble and get a book on welding, read it first and then consicer which unit to buy.
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  #5  
Old 10-14-2004, 11:26 AM
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Do you already have an oxy-acet outfit ?
What kind of welding (sheet metal ? etc ?) are you looking at doing initially ?
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  #6  
Old 10-14-2004, 11:33 AM
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What Dave said...right on 100%

If you are new to welding, I'd also suggest taking a community college class or two. I took a couple of evening classes and they improved my skills significantly in addition to being exposed to all the major processes (oxy/acetylene, SMAW, MIG and TIG).

It's a cheap learn too: I KNOW I burned up at least $300 worth of rod, wire and gas and my tuition was only $130.
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  #7  
Old 10-14-2004, 11:47 AM
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Here is an interesting article on the Weld Pak 100 which Dave mentioned...

http://popularmechanics.com/home_improvement/tools/1997/8/lincoln_welder/

I was surprised at the 15 amp rating...

One thing to consider when looking at what sometimes are called " cracker boxes" is the duty cycle...

I have had my 250 amp Miller TIG machine for 35 years... and it had to have been 20 years old when I bought it... very heavy .... and 100 percent duty cycle....

But some small machines say to let them cool after welding a certain amount of time... I have heard of some with cycles of as little as 20 percent...

Which means you weld 2 minutes and are supposed to let it cool for 8 before welding more... however I also know people who say that they ignore the cooling period... since I have not had any experience with other than my 100 percent duty cycle machine I do not know if that is wise or not....

Notice also that the specs say up to 12 guage metal... this may mean lots of structural stuff can not be welded with this machine.

If you don't have an Oxy-acet outfit I suggest you get that first.... I find gas welding of sheet metal easier than stick. There are advantages in certain places and positions in which stick sheet metal welding reduces the amount of heat injected into the area... sometimes very important...

Another thing... get a CO2 fire extinguisher.... this will help a LOT... the seal on these works so that you can use a little at a time in the shop... and leaves no messy stuff like the powder ones....

Often times combinations of things are stronger than what one thinks of initially for fixing areas.... and this has been talked about before.... flanging, cutting holes, using rivets to keep in place, and plug welding into the holes ( which are only in one of the overlapped pieces of sheet metal ) have been proven ( where applicable ) for sheet metal repair.
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  #8  
Old 10-14-2004, 11:55 AM
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"Buy a autodimming helmet"
I was considering this last helmet replacement... ( mine was probably 40 years old ).... and after looking at it I found that I did not want to go that way....
They do not protect your eyes instantly.... there is a tiny lag at each strikeup.... over the course of a day or week... or years... you may be getting too much UV light hitting your eyes...
Like hearing loss... eye damage is cumulative.
I say find a good fitting helmet with as dark a lens as you can use... and let high tech improve you life in other areas...
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  #9  
Old 10-14-2004, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leathermang
I have had my 250 amp Miller TIG machine for 35 years... and it had to have been 20 years old when I bought it... very heavy ....
ROFLMAO!!! Very heavy doesn't begin to describe that beast! It's as big as a freight car. Seriously, that welder of Greg's is an industrial-strength machine.

I have a 20% duty cycle SMAW box and the short duty cycle never is a problem because with SMAW you simply cannot continuously weld that much rod. I could see where it might be a possibility with a MIG unit but, once again, you have to take it easy with the heat or you'll warp the snot out of what you are sticking together...don't ask how I know this minor fact.
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  #10  
Old 10-14-2004, 12:13 PM
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Ok, I will admit that my machine had built in water cooling for the welding head... and would weld 1 inch Aluminum....So I changed the head to ' gas cooled' ( argon ) so I could weld normal size things....

"warp the snot out of "
Randy was absent the day they went over ' tack welding' and ' segmented backup welding' ....
ALSO.... pick up that CO2 fire extinguisher... or have someone else running water over the metal near the welding....
LOL
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  #11  
Old 10-14-2004, 12:48 PM
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I think most autodimming helmets react in 100 microseconds or less, mine does and it's not a fancy one at all. After years of struggling trying to get somewhere under a car and then see where your wire is, I'm not giving up my autodimmer. I wear sunglasses and safety glasses religiously to protect my sight, but I figure with the response rate of these helmets I'd have to continue welding for many years to reach the UV exposure I'd get on one afternoon on the beach if I'd forgotten my sunglasses
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  #12  
Old 10-14-2004, 01:08 PM
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http://www.asashop.org/autoinc/jan2002/collision.cfm

This is an interesting article....
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  #13  
Old 10-14-2004, 02:06 PM
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I shopped for features. 230V makes for a much more flexible and less finicky welder. Gas welding is cleaner and more versatile but flux core is better for welding outside. Prep work and adjusting the welder are at the heart of good welding, get a welder that is very adjustable. Some have infinite controls for the heat and the wire feed. A welder that will take .023 to .045 wire is nice. If you want to weld aluminum there are a host of other concerns. Check the warranty and support. MIG welding is much easier than many people will make it out to be. Read the book.

Set the heat and choose the wire size by the metal thickness. Set the wire speed by the sound. It sounds like sizzling bacon or such. If you set it too fast you can feel the wire pushing your hand back. Start a test bead with it set too fast and back off of the adjustment until it sizzles.

Welding is all about making puddles. If you are joining two pieces of metal you make three puddles, your welding wire makes a puddle and two pieces of metal make two more puddles. When you turn the three puddles into one puddle you have a good weld. Look for heat blueing on the backside of the weld to check for adequate penetration.

Learn safety also, welding fumes are nasty. Rays from the arc are hazardous. Lead poisoning is well known, other metals are hazardous also.

One of my first welding projects was to build a pressure fed sandblaster, that is a subject for another thread.

Last edited by TwitchKitty; 10-14-2004 at 02:13 PM.
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  #14  
Old 10-14-2004, 02:49 PM
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had a weld pac 100. it was very nice. sold it and upgraded to a 220v lincoln
wire feed and it broke it feed unit in 10 seconds. replaced with a clarke 185
230v wire feed. works very well. it's an italian no name. have only used flux
core.

have a lincoln 225 ac/dc stick which is beautiful. went to wire feed because my welds were getting poor. fixed that with glasses, lighter shade lens and strong work light.

if you have no experience get a 115v wire feed and use flux core. they are very easy to use with a little practice and reading the manual. you can weld any steel from sheetmetal to about 3/16 with them.

don
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  #15  
Old 10-14-2004, 07:16 PM
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Lincoln SP135 is a nice unit like the basic Weldpak100 but it has much better infinite controls for the wire feed speed and heat. Its already setup for gas and it is the largest/best model that still works on 110volts. This is my next tool on the wishlist. Duty cycle is only 20% but this has never been a problem with the Weldpak100's I have used. Actually I have used them continously until the thermal protection shuts the machine down which was IIRC about a 1/2hour. Take lunch, let machine cool, etc. I like these welders for portability but if I was welding anthing heavier than 1/4" or operating for long periods of time I would get a 220volt model with a longer duty cycle. RT
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