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What's decent welder for the enthusiast

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  • fatbillybob
    replied
    Tanks are heavy. I have the 5ft bottles for TIG and 3ft bottles for MIG. You guys want the 3ft bottles because you are sharing and moving all that equipment among you. Another thing you can do is have 220 plugs of different types that you can use at the racetrack. Set the miller up for fluxcore when you go to the track then you won't have to bring bottles. I broke my steering rack at CoTA 2 weeks ago in a corvette and could not find a rack available instantly within 100miles in TEXAS! Amazing. So I just fluxcored the steel ears on the rack and it got me through 2 races and is still holding. Flux is good stuff. It is how Steel buildings are welded. It ain't pretty and it isn't clean but it makes perfect track side repairs..
    last year at the Mid-Ohio Runoffs our friend crashed his neon racecar. He got a front end to radiator core support at the junk yard and Lewis's crew chief welded it back on in the paddock. He got to race! A welder trackside is a good thing!
    Last edited by fatbillybob; 04-07-2017, 05:54 PM.

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  • Red_5
    replied
    Brett and I pulled the trigger on a Miller 211 along with some other gear. Now I'm trying to figure out the gas situation as to best bang for the buck for bottle size. I know you guys mentioned to to big on bottles which will ultimately save money down the road but man are those big bottles expensive. I'm not sure I want anything bigger than a ~140 cu ft bottle and trying to decide if I even want that big as far as swapping them out. I can definitely see the benefit though. What size are you guys using and how long do they last? What do you guys do and how much do/did you spend on bottles? Thanks.

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  • Red_5
    replied
    I'm back leaning toward the Miller 211 then getting a separate TIG machine down the road if I think I need it. Any other thoughts on the matter? I haven't completely given up on the Miller Multimatic 215 idea though.

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  • markn
    replied
    If you get the 215 please report back. I really like my 211 but the ability to do DC tig and stick welding would sure be nice. Maybe it is time to add another welder to the shop.

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  • Red_5
    replied
    Brett and I are planning to share the machine so we'll split the cost. At this point we're leaning toward the Miller Multimatic 215. I've seen some decent prices online but let me know if anyone sees a better price or coupon/rebate thing. Not in a huge hurry, I'm still saving up for my end.
    Last edited by Red_5; 01-26-2017, 08:49 AM.

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  • 2GRX7
    replied
    I ended up getting an Eastwood Mig 175 and it works beautifully-when it chooses to work! In all seriousness, the welder is as good as the Miller Mig I trained on, but there was an issue with the gas continuing to flow long after the puddle had cooled. They ended up sending out two new Mig guns. Had the last gun not work, I was going to send the whole unit back on their dime!

    So, moral of the story; 1-Chinese quality-they get it right after the 3rd iteration, and 2-Eastwood customer service-A1 stuff! No hassle at all. In fact, because of the down-time hassle, they offered a substantial discount on the next product I purchase! Hope this helps.

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  • thepass
    replied
    Miller, Lincoln, Hobart. Stick to those three for all the reasons others have mentioned. Hobarts are tanks - they run for decades and can be fixed by the same parts as the other two. You can sometimes find them second-had for a slightly better price than the other two just because it doesn't have either of their names. Trying to learn to weld with a crappy welder is infuriating because you don't know enough yet to know whether it's the machine or you and a lot of guys will waste a lot of time thinking they must be doing something wrong when the machine is just crap.

    Get a machine that can run gas and don't look back. Other initial costs to keep in mind are the regulator and tank so if you can find a MIG welder that comes with a regulator that's great. In CA get your tank from an Airgas or Westair, and don't waste money on a tiny tank in an effort to save a few bucks. The cost of air gets a lot more affordable in larger volume and you'll be surprised how fast you go through the small tanks.

    While you're at Westair/Airgas, get your MIG gloves there. They don't cost much and it's a lot better to try them on before buying and find something you have decent feel through than buying online and hoping. While you don't need the same dexterity for MIG as you do with TIG, feel is still important and some MIG gloves are like wearing oven mitts.
    Last edited by thepass; 01-24-2017, 04:42 PM.

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  • Red_5
    replied
    Originally posted by albertg View Post
    Eric, I have a Tweco 181i I bought last year. I've only used it for MIG welding but it seems like a great bang for your buck.
    I saw that one too when I was shopping. Does it have the ability to run on either 110 or 220? Obviously at different power levels. I also saw a Tweco Fabricator 211. It all get confusing when you're new to it.

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  • albertg
    replied
    Eric, I have a Tweco 181i I bought last year. I've only used it for MIG welding but it seems like a great bang for your buck.

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  • fatbillybob
    replied
    Originally posted by flink View Post
    A 110V welder has more than enough power to blow great holes in anything you'll weld on a car. Flux core is miserable - spatters everywhere and you can't see the weld puddle because of its flux covering - get gas.
    Actually you can see the puddle just fine and you can see thecolor of surrounding metal as an indication of good penetration. A fluxcore bead will also wet out into the work like you see in the picture I posted. MIG is actually the most dangerous weld imo because it is easy to have a good looking weld with poor penetration. MIG welding can be easy as pushing toothpaste out of a tube but a MIG weld is not a slam dunk. Those shortcomings are often used to promote TIG over MIG. All methods have their place.

    You can blow through tin but 110v just isn't great with 120 wall tubing. I have seen lots of 110v bird poop MIG welds. I question their strength and penatration. If you have to weld at the track that's one thing. It is just too easy to wire your home garage with 220v plus gobs of amps.
    Last edited by fatbillybob; 01-24-2017, 12:15 AM.

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  • flink
    replied
    A 110V welder has more than enough power to blow great holes in anything you'll weld on a car. Flux core is miserable - spatters everywhere and you can't see the weld puddle because of its flux covering - get gas.

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  • anorexicpoodle
    replied
    Originally posted by SeanB View Post
    Miller 215.
    With that box miller is like....
    Click image for larger version

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    Now I want one.....

    Maybe when the remodel is done.

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  • fatbillybob
    replied
    Based on my experience I say buy only Lincoln or Miller for welders. I have gas,MIG,TIG and Plasma. AS a first machine buy a MIG machine 220V. Almost nothing good can be done with 110V. It is very easy to pull 220V into your garage building single phase 220V from 2 separate 110V lines or from the washer dryer or even an electric oven circuit. For easy living and the most forgiving welding consider using your MIG with Fluxcore wire which is gas free, works great on dirty metal, will weld the thickest metal that the machine you buy can weld, can get into the smallest areas, and can be used outside in the wind. And for all those who say fluxcore is nasty ugly I just don't think so. It is messy. Here is a random example on my rollcage before paint.
    Click image for larger version

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  • bawareca
    replied
    And buy online to save sales tax.

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  • SeanB
    replied
    Miller 215.

    I have the 211, the newer inverter based version. It's makes it so easy to get decent results even in my unskilled hands. It's practically point and shoot. Full disclosure - I'm a novice w/ welding. Tip - there's almost always some Miller rebate that adds up to several hundred off + accessories you need.

    The 215 came out recently and I'm envious. I suspect AC Tig isn't far behind at the rate inverter technology is advancing.

    Also, don't skimp on helmets. The digital shields are worth the premium. Welding is a lot easier when you can see better.

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