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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I did a search here and on the HAMB but it brought up so many posts I thought I would just come out and ask. I'm looking for a good entry level welder capable of doing frame work (Car and Bike) any suggestions? Stuff like these I did in class.



Thanks,
Primo
 

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I was actually thinking of bringing this up. I've been using an old Century Mig for awhile and know it's not going to hang with what I have in store for the next couple years. Frame work for a hotrod, general sheet metal work for the bike and coupe, nothing ever bigger than 3/16 or 1/4 steel. I was thinking a Miller 135 might be enough with a 75/25 gas mix. Plus, since it's still 115 VAC I can still help my friends out and throw it in the truck and go to them. Not required though... should I bump up to the 175 that's a 220 VAC? Does anyone use anything else in the $450 to $700 range? Hobart? Lincoln? Esab? Etc.
 

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This is purely a $$$$ question to me, as in : how much will you/can you spend? If I had to own one welder, I would buy a lincoln, miller or Thermal Arc TIG setup with a minimum of 180 amps (especially if you are doing structural/frame work). This will run you $1200-$1600.

Irish Rich does all of his fabrication with a wire feed, including sheetmetal work, so it obviously can be done, and done well.

In an ideal world, you should also have at least a 180 amp wire feed from Miller or Lincoln or Hobart, they run between $800--$1200.

I have a Miller 180 wirefeed and a Thermalarc 180 TIG setup, and use both of them all the time (although I definitely use the wire feed less these days). I started off with just a wirefeed, but in retrospect, I would start with the TIG.

Oh, and get a 220V, not a 110.
 

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I have the Miller 210, great machine, but i use it for a lot of heavy duty offroad stuff. Has worked wonderful on my CB750 chop though. I also have a lincoln 100 that is converted to gas for on site welding for my business. Its ok but anything over .120 is really pushing the machine. Miller has a new machine that is both 110 and 220 compatable with a built in bottle. So if you do happen to use it on job sites this is super cool. http://www.millerwelds.com/products/mig/millermatic_passport/For a auto frame job i wouldn't use anything less than a Miller 175, a 110volt just won't cut it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So the general consensus for a good all around starter welder is the millermatic 175? I can't go 12-1800 right now something like that will be down the road.

Thanks,
Primo
 

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Millermatic 175.... check around on pricing this time of year, you can save some money on one if you do.
 

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Miller. Don't go smaller then the Millermatic 210 for a wire feed machine. Fuck that flux core wire. Use MIG mix, 75% Argon/25% CO2. Ideally though I would recommend a Millermatic 250. You could do a few side jobs and make your money back quick. All our machines at work are Millers.
 

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Anyone ever do a watercool retrofit to a tig machine?.
I'm not sure what the amperage, or duty cycle is of that machine but if you had to watercool it you're probably looking to spend at least 900-1000 bucks. The Bernard watercooler is about 700 and the torch is gonna be around 200. Add the coolant and misc fittings also.

I just bought a dual voltage Miller 210, Lincoln mini flex fume extractor and a Thermal Dragster tig machine (85 amp sratch start) for fuckin' around.
 

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scootermcrad said:
Not required though... should I bump up to the 175 that's a 220 VAC? Does anyone use anything else in the $450 to $700 range? Hobart? Lincoln? Esab? Etc.
I've got some direct experience with this, so I know I'm not theorizing. I had a 110V little Lincoln mig for a few years that I liked a lot for doing beginning bodywork and small frame stuff, sold it to get my new 185 precision tig. My shopmate has pretty much the same mig that I did, but its 220V. I will say that if you have the power capabilities of 220 and the extra dough to upgrade to that from the 110, DO IT. Do not even think twice. Oh, and ditch the flux cored crap, its shit, seriously.

His mig will weld thick plate like frames night and day better than my 110v unit ever would. The 110v guy was VERY sensitive to shit power too. Shitty power as in 110V at lower amps (20 or so) that was on a shared circuit with say, the fridge or freezer. Lose a few amps while you were welding and the puddle goes to crap and so does your weld. Go with the 200V, you'll like it.

That said, if you plan to do a lot of bodywork I'd think about the tig down the road. I chopped my '51 ford sedan with my 110v lincoln mig. I spent weeks, literally weeks grinding the welds down. With my new tig bodywork kicks major ass, metal stays workable and hardly any welding to do when you are finished. The mig was such a hard weld it took forever to grind down, even with "EZ Grind" wire, and if you bumped the weld too much afterwards it would crack out. The learning curve is steep on the tig and I still totally suck, but love it to death over the mig. But, it does have its place....I'd much rather do a frame with a mig because its fast and a rock hard weld. But, its my tig on the bodywork and not the mig.....so I want both now.

I'm partial to Lincoln because I can get parts and service for them here in town and had very good luck with them in the past. I've heard just as good about Miller too, so its just preference I guess. That is all. Just my $.02
 

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What do you mean by a "hard" weld? A tig and wire feed weld have the same strength (assuming equal penetration), the difference is that you will typically have a bigger bead buildup on the wirefeed.

DrDano said:
I've got some direct experience with this, so I know I'm not theorizing. I had a 110V little Lincoln mig for a few years that I liked a lot for doing beginning bodywork and small frame stuff, sold it to get my new 185 precision tig. My shopmate has pretty much the same mig that I did, but its 220V. I will say that if you have the power capabilities of 220 and the extra dough to upgrade to that from the 110, DO IT. Do not even think twice. Oh, and ditch the flux cored crap, its shit, seriously.

His mig will weld thick plate like frames night and day better than my 110v unit ever would. The 110v guy was VERY sensitive to shit power too. Shitty power as in 110V at lower amps (20 or so) that was on a shared circuit with say, the fridge or freezer. Lose a few amps while you were welding and the puddle goes to crap and so does your weld. Go with the 200V, you'll like it.

That said, if you plan to do a lot of bodywork I'd think about the tig down the road. I chopped my '51 ford sedan with my 110v lincoln mig. I spent weeks, literally weeks grinding the welds down. With my new tig bodywork kicks major ass, metal stays workable and hardly any welding to do when you are finished. The mig was such a hard weld it took forever to grind down, even with "EZ Grind" wire, and if you bumped the weld too much afterwards it would crack out. The learning curve is steep on the tig and I still totally suck, but love it to death over the mig. But, it does have its place....I'd much rather do a frame with a mig because its fast and a rock hard weld. But, its my tig on the bodywork and not the mig.....so I want both now.

I'm partial to Lincoln because I can get parts and service for them here in town and had very good luck with them in the past. I've heard just as good about Miller too, so its just preference I guess. That is all. Just my $.02
 

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Tha Nutz said:
What do you mean by a "hard" weld? A tig and wire feed weld have the same strength (assuming equal penetration), the difference is that you will typically have a bigger bead buildup on the wirefeed.
If you've ever used a mig and then a tig on the same panel, same thickness and tried to metalwork both areas you did with each different welding process, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Yea, the two are most likely the same physical strength, makes sense, but I'm just an amateur and not a pro welder. My own personal experience is that the mig takes longer to grind and wont put up with a lot of metalworking abuse like the tig will on sheetmetal. YMMV.
 

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The mig was such a hard weld it took forever to grind down, even with "EZ Grind" wire,.
Perhaps the mig is a "hard" weld, or seems to be a hard because of the amount of grinding do to because of the migs greater deposition rate of filler metal than the tig.

Clearly when migging your laying down a greater amount of filler than with a tig.

Also Easy Grind wire is just a softer filler. 70S-2 rather than a standard 70S-6. I think it may not be as stronger either.
 

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StraightPipez said:
if you had to watercool it you're probably looking to spend at least 900-1000 bucks. The Bernard watercooler is about 700 and the torch is gonna be around 200. Add the coolant and misc fittings also.
no shit? Fuck it, I'll deal with it. Thanks
 

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tom said:
is that the Miller DVI or passport? how do you like it>?
It's the DVI. The machine is great. I used it for a while at home and ran it on 110. When the shop was completed I switched it 220. Easy as shit, just switch plugs. It works great just like a typical Miller mig.
 
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