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What's decent welder for the enthusiast

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  • anorexicpoodle
    I was advised on my first welder by a close friend who is a structural welder and is in elevator construction. He told me to get something that wont frustrate me as I get better. (He was also a ruthless judge of weld quality.)

    I bought a Millermatic 211 almost 9 years ago and never looked back. Not the cheapest but certainly not crazy either.

    The biggest selling features for me were:

    Ability to do 120/208 with a plug swap (it welds better on 208 but sometimes you take what you can get)
    Ability to do aluminum with a spool gun (admittedly not very pretty but very functional)

    One box, any metal, any voltage.

    It has paid for itself a dozen times over in time saved by not having to stop and find someone to weld something for me, or by allowing me to complete a project start to finish myself. Ive also made a good amount of my garage workspace with it by now.

    In 9 years I have replaced my whip liner once, and thats it aside from consumables.

    Dont buy cheap tools. If you buy a cheap welder you will outgrow it quickly and then nobody else will want to buy it from you. If you buy a decent one and never use it, it will at least be easy to sell.

    Example of my 1000lb capacity modular workbenches I made with this box:
    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by anorexicpoodle; 01-23-2017, 05:42 PM.

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  • markn
    The analog to the Lincoln MP210 is the Miller 215. I don't think you can go wrong with either of these welders. My motto these days is no more cheap tools. A good welder is something you will have for years so why cheap out? Access to consumables is also an issue - Praxair or Airgas stores are everywhere and they carry Miller and Lincoln parts. If you are not welding every day you will need all the help you can get when it comes time to glue some metal together. Either of these will make you look like a pro. If I had to choose I'd wander down to Airgas or Praxair and get their opinion. They talk to a lot of guys and get some good feedback.

    An old school welder advised me 'Never buy metal working tools at a place that sells plywood'. Words of wisdom.


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  • bawareca
    I just bought Lincoln MP210. This is a multipurpose welder and can do MIG, TIG, stick and aluminum with a spool gun. 2 year warranty, 3 optional. Base config MIG and stick is around $1200, base+spool gun is $1400 and the TIG torch+pedal can be bought for ~$350. It weights only 40lbs and can be connected to 110 or 220 volts.

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  • Blackbird
    Millermatic 141 would do anything that you might want to tackle as a hobby.
    Get gas too.

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  • robburgoon
    I got a cheap one for 300, doesn't feed right. Feed problems are infuriating when youre trying to make good welds. Doing it again id probably cough up 500-600 for a name brand.

    I really enjoy my cheap HF 110v flux core welder though. Feeds well and is great when you want to do something quick and nasty without wheeling the tank and 220 extension out.

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  • Red_5
    started a topic What's decent welder for the enthusiast

    What's decent welder for the enthusiast

    Since I took a MIG welding class and MMW is too far away for me to use their facility, I'm thinking about getting a MIG welder. My friend who took the MMW class a couple of years ago bought a multi-welder that came prepared to do MIG and stick but could also do TIG with extra parts. The welder, gas and tank, wire . . . was all less than $1k not including the parts for TIG welding. He's had good luck with it working on his Jeep Cherokee - replacing floor panels and such. I really don't know much about this so any thoughts on the matter would be great.

    Edit: My friend has a Tweco 141i
    Last edited by Red_5; 01-23-2017, 02:23 PM.