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  #1  
Old 05-25-2009, 05:34 PM
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Which welder...

I'm thinking about purchasing a welder. Would like to stay under $400. My car has one bad spot of rust on the quarter panel that needs to be welded in. My dad's Toyota needs an exhaust pipe welded back together. Besides that, I'm going to use it on my BioDiesel project and for other small welding jobs around the house/garden.

Right now, with my limited knowledge, I'm thinking about a small MIG welder - like this one:

http://denver.craigslist.org/tls/1187217571.html

Not sure what the limitations are of a small machine like that - for example, it would be nice if the machine was capable of welding aluminum as well.

Any other recommendations of a good welder in my price range?!

Thanks,
James
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  #2  
Old 05-25-2009, 05:45 PM
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Small welders for body work and exhaust work can be bought cheaply. Don't buy a welder using flux cored wire for bodywork because sheet metal is too thin for the amperage needed to burn the cored wire.
The ability to weld aluminum increases the cost greatly, starting with another type of shielding gas and a 220V power source.
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  #3  
Old 05-25-2009, 06:24 PM
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i would try to find one of these brands. miller,lincoln,hobart. stay away from the cheap machines and as mentioned stay away from flux core. you can weld sheet metal with it if you know what you are doing but its much harder to do and looks terrible. if you want the ability to do aluminum you need atleast a 220v machine and a spool gun. the aluminum wire has a hard time running through the liner and usually breaks inside.
for under 400 you will have to find a used one. if you want anything quality. most of the cheap ones will only run fluxcore. if you find a good lincoln or miller you can run both flux core and solid wire.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:03 PM
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I found a new Lincoln, forget the model number, but it was the smallest one that has 220, if I'm not mistaken. Works well. I heard from several guys who'd been through it to avoid the 110 models.

I lucked out and got mine new for $400 from a guy on Craigslist who buys odd pallets of unsold goods. At least, that's what he said, and his inventory is rather large so I'm guessing that's the true story.

Now I just need to find out how to break into that racket as it might be a nice way to make some extra $$ w/o busting my back.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
I found a new Lincoln, forget the model number, but it was the smallest one that has 220, if I'm not mistaken. Works well. I heard from several guys who'd been through it to avoid the 110 models.

I lucked out and got mine new for $400 from a guy on Craigslist who buys odd pallets of unsold goods. At least, that's what he said, and his inventory is rather large so I'm guessing that's the true story.

Now I just need to find out how to break into that racket as it might be a nice way to make some extra $$ w/o busting my back.
Think GREEN.............Lots of dough with the GREEN agenda....they dont call it "GREEN" for nothing...............aka...all about... MONEY!!
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  #6  
Old 05-25-2009, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt SD300 View Post
Think GREEN.............Lots of dough with the GREEN agenda....they dont call it "GREEN" for nothing...............aka...all about... MONEY!!
No, I've transcended all of that. I need only oxygen and wheat grass to survive.
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  #7  
Old 05-25-2009, 08:41 PM
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I've got the Lincoln 135, which is a mig, 110v. I use it for my artwork, and furniture, as well as any random repairs (like my parents' grill, which has a hard time staying on the patio on windy days).
It can weld aluminum, only it needs different wire and straight argon instead of 75/25 Ar/CO. I've welded leaf spring steel with it, truck rotors, and plate up to 1/4. I've also welded stainless and mild steel sheet with it. I've had it 4 years without issue.

I agree about not using flux core, but not because it doesn't look good. It is hard to get a good bead with it. Looks don't matter, especially for sheet metal since you are going to grind and pound the weld smooth anyway.

I don't know what the current number is for the Lincoln 110v gas mig. Maybe it's still the 135. Anyway, I highly recommend it if you want to spend the money. New it was $750 when I bought it, and ~$120 for the cylinder if you don't want to rent.


All that said, to be honest, I don't think you're going to get the value out of it if all you're going to do is weld a patch panel, an exhaust, and then look for things around the house you could weld. Take a welding class at the comm college or vocational school. Take the car there and take the exhaust. They can be your projects, or you can do them after class.
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  #8  
Old 05-25-2009, 08:52 PM
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I have the Lincoln 135A also. I use the flux core wire since I never got a gas tank yet. What I learned is that I have to cut a fresh edge on the wire every time. So I just snip off the tip of the wire each time. I have been able to do some very thin stuff with it actually. You can visit www.weldingweb.com also for too much information...
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  #9  
Old 05-25-2009, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by tankdriver View Post
I've got the Lincoln 135, which is a mig, 110v. I use it for my artwork, and furniture, as well as any random repairs (like my parents' grill, which has a hard time staying on the patio on windy days).
It can weld aluminum, only it needs different wire and straight argon instead of 75/25 Ar/CO. I've welded leaf spring steel with it, truck rotors, and plate up to 1/4. I've also welded stainless and mild steel sheet with it. I've had it 4 years without issue.

I agree about not using flux core, but not because it doesn't look good. It is hard to get a good bead with it. Looks don't matter, especially for sheet metal since you are going to grind and pound the weld smooth anyway.

I don't know what the current number is for the Lincoln 110v gas mig. Maybe it's still the 135. Anyway, I highly recommend it if you want to spend the money. New it was $750 when I bought it, and ~$120 for the cylinder if you don't want to rent.


All that said, to be honest, I don't think you're going to get the value out of it if all you're going to do is weld a patch panel, an exhaust, and then look for things around the house you could weld. Take a welding class at the comm college or vocational school. Take the car there and take the exhaust. They can be your projects, or you can do them after class.
So do you mean to use the shielding gas instead? I've not done that yet, I've just used the flux core and I understand the gases from that are NOT good for children and other living things. Getting a gas cannister wouldn't be that hard. Might be worth it. I've had some trouble with the flux core stuff.

Agreed on the welding class. I did that and would like to take more classes.
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  #10  
Old 05-25-2009, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mpolli View Post
I have the Lincoln 135A also. I use the flux core wire since I never got a gas tank yet. What I learned is that I have to cut a fresh edge on the wire every time. So I just snip off the tip of the wire each time. I have been able to do some very thin stuff with it actually. You can visit www.weldingweb.org also for too much information...
it's great for thin stuff. It's not going to weld aluminum foil like tig can, but it can get pretty thin. It can weld window screens. Thinnest sheet I've welded with it is 22ga. Car steel is 19ga.
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  #11  
Old 05-26-2009, 03:38 PM
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I am exceedingly happy with my Clark 130EN. I have repaired exhaust sections that should have been replaced, welded rocker panal parts together, and repaired DSM strut towers.
I bought the WE6000 model... Comes with a cart, gas conversion kit, cheap helmet, cheap face/shield for onlookers...
Needs a 20 amp circut to weld on the highest setting though, not many garages have that, but not many times will you need to weld more then 1/4" in a home setting either...
~Nate
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  #12  
Old 05-26-2009, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
So do you mean to use the shielding gas instead? I've not done that yet, I've just used the flux core and I understand the gases from that are NOT good for children and other living things. Getting a gas cannister wouldn't be that hard. Might be worth it. I've had some trouble with the flux core stuff.
Yeah, shielding gas. It's 75% argon, 25% CO2. The gas is inert, it is a)not harmful, and b) is only discharged near the tip, to provide an inert atmosphere for the weld so it doesn't oxidize.
If you left the bottle open, the trigger depressed in a closed environment, and the room was very small, I suppose it is possible a child could suffocate.



What you probably heard is about the fumes released from welding, which occurs no matter what welder or system you use. And a lot of that is dependent on how clean the metal is. Welding galvanized for example is very bad for you. If you had to do it, you should go outside, grind the zinc or whatever it is off, and hold your breath while welding.



Quote:
Agreed on the welding class. I did that and would like to take more classes.
I've been working on tig welding lately. Requires much more patience.

For such a limited amount of stuff to do with a welder, I think the class is the best bet for MercFan to just get his hands on one and do his projects without spending too much money.
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  #13  
Old 05-26-2009, 09:34 PM
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I keep toying with the idea of buying a welder. I know that it's not as fast as a MIG, but I really think that I'd be happier with a TIG. But I've never used a TIG. Is it possible to get a TIG setup for less than $1500 that's actually worth anything?
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  #14  
Old 05-26-2009, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt L View Post
I keep toying with the idea of buying a welder. I know that it's not as fast as a MIG, but I really think that I'd be happier with a TIG. But I've never used a TIG. Is it possible to get a TIG setup for less than $1500 that's actually worth anything?
Yes and no. $1500 would be a very bare bones Tig, which makes it all the harder to learn, which is hard enough as it is. The unit I've been using is a dual machine, arc and tig. I share my shop with another guy who has this machine. It was ~1200 he said. The torch is another $200. Then you have to buy your tungsten sticks. The machine has no heat control, and neither does the torch. This means I have to control the heat by how much time I spend in a spot. It doesn't have the high frequency start, it has a lift arc start (touch the tungsten to the metal and lift to start the arc).
If one knows how to tig, it's not much slower than mig, but it takes a long time to get good. It's a two hand+one foot operation. One hand you hold the torch, the other your filler material, and use your foot to control heat (unless you have the torch mounted heat control). The metal has to be squeaky clean, as do the tungsten tips. If you touch the filler rod or the metal with the tungsten, you have to stop immediately and regrind the tungsten tip or you'll get contamination.

If you want a tig, I'd suggest one with the high frequency start, and the heat control, which puts you over $2K.

What are you going to use it for?

Probably the most versatile/best tool would be an oxyactylene torch. You can weld with it, cut with it, and you don't need electricity to run it. More of a fire hazard though.
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  #15  
Old 05-27-2009, 10:00 AM
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I have a 220v Hobart mig that I'm happy with. Sheetmetal guys seem to prefer Miller, something about a softer arc, and if I recall the 110v was preferred for sheet metal. For anything other than sheet metal it's best to go 220v. In retrospect I should have bought a 110v Miller mig for sheet metal and a used 220v stick for the heavier stuff.
Jorg

Last edited by 89-300ce; 05-27-2009 at 02:31 PM.
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