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MIG Welders: What to buy?!

Old 02-12-2013, 10:53 PM
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MIG Welders: What to buy?!

So I've been seriously tempted in buying and try my hand at MIG welding for some time now. The problem is, I don't have the slightest idea on what welder to buy. My welder budget is about $350. I've read than getting anything below 20%-40% duty cycle is just useless. I'm not sure to take a risk and get a no name welder like this one, NEW MIG WELDER WITH GAS 195AMPS 220V $250.00
or get anything from CL at all. I've seen some pretty tempting welders like these

(Need to call to get specs)
Lincoln Weldpac mig welder

May buy new instead since new goes for around $40(?) more if I do decide to go with this one.
Craftsman MIG Welder

This one...
Lincoln 135 mig welder

Or just get the HB special... which I've heard terrible things about.
180 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Feed Welder - 24 volts @ 140 amps
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I will most likely use it for body work, but would probably end up doing something a bit more thicker than sheet metal in the long run.

So basically what I'm asking you welder folks is, what SHOULD I look for when purchasing/using a welder? Any other welder/welding tips & info. is greatly welcomed as well.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:11 PM
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Well you don't just buy a welder and learn on your own... You need to take some classes. I had a 2-3month welding section in my auto collision program that I had to complete before touching the welders. And it takes A LOT of practice.

Do not buy a welder that can only run flux wire. Especially not to learn on. They are crappy in every aspect and only good for Farmer Joe to tack up some temp fence posts.

The higher the amp, the better. The more control settings, the better. 220V is better than 110v, but not necessary unless you are welding thick gauge steel.

I picked up my Lincoln (150amp IIRC) with a tank and cart for $400 about 10 years ago. I've had to swap tanks once (about $50). I love it.

Name:  LincolnMig.jpg
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EDIT... here's a downpipe I fab'd and welded up a long time ago. A good weld should penetrate well and look like a roll of nickels / dimes.

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Last edited by NismoPick; 02-12-2013 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:06 AM
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+1 Nismo!!! Go with a Lincoln Milller or Hobart, stay far away from Habor frieght and other crap knock-offs. You need the 75-25 gas mix like Nismo said, or you are wasting your time, unless you have to weld in the wind. I have an associate of applied science for welding and let me tell you classes make a huge difference in how fast you'll learn. A welding 1 and 2 class should be enough for good hobby use. Or like Nismopick did auto body classes, usually you can work on your car with their tools and someone helping that knows what they are doing. Good luck!!!!
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:26 AM
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I've read through countless information on the interwebz, not that it counts for anything I suppose, but I figured with practicing on a pair of hundred dollar bills worth of scrap metal or there's a pretty local guy around here that's been a welder for most of his life (some 40+ years iirc) welding charging around $200-$300(?) for a couple of hours of his time so he can teach me how to work it or something, I can get some basic skills to start off with at least.

He teaches either with his tools and welders or I can use my own. I think it would be best to use ones own to really get the feel for ones equipment, that's what I think would be best at least.

OR with classes being so damn expensive (1 unit=$46, 1 classes 3-6 units depending on what class you enroll in), I can get a few and MAYBE learn a thing or two.. assuming I'll actually learn something from the instructor, which means I'm assuming he'll get into the subject in depth, which means he actually teaches something.. you'd be surpised.. lol

The problem is still there though, what welder should I purchase? haha
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:49 PM
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If you find someone willing to teach that knows what they are doing, great go for it. That will get you somewhere a lot faster than buying a welder and trying to teach your self. Now the welder itself, you need the gas, you are wasting your time with the flux core only.
Out of the ones you have on there the Lincoln weld pak or 135 is the best , I have one at home and at work. The Craftsman is probably fine too. But you still have to get the bottle regulator and hose kit for the gas.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:58 PM
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I'm trying to get in contact with the seller of the 135, but he's not responding atm. Blah! Anyway, is there anything I should look out for or things I should look for when purchasing a welder?
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:58 PM
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Function, have him run a bead for you so you know it works and that the cable inside the hose isn't kinked.
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