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Beginner welding equipment advice?

Posted by Skye 
Skye
Skye Nott
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Beginner welding equipment advice?
March 17, 2017 09:30PM
Hey everyone I'm finally ready to start on my XR4Ti project again this year and need a recommendation on a beginner welding setup. This is going to be used for light duty welding (body, non-roll cage tubing, fabricating mounts and other misc jobs). Up to maybe.... 3/16 wall I'd guess

MIG? Flux core or gas/solid wire (some can do both)? If gas, argon and CO2?
One that runs on 120v would be good but I could call the sparky if 240v is significantly better

I guess min amps is important for not blowing through thin stuff, like 20 to 25?

Can I get away with a Harbor Freight special or should I get something name brand?
Would like to spend less than $500. Hopefully less than $300.
It's going to be used infrequently. Maybe something like this?

http://www.eastwood.com/mig-welder-110vac-135a-output.html

I guess I'll need some gloves and an auto-darkening helmet too

Thanks!



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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
March 18, 2017 09:48AM
Did Janvanvurpa not give you the speech enough times? smiling smiley

If it's going to live at home, you want the 220v because MOAR powerzzz!!! If you want portability, you want 120v so it will run off a 5000w generator kinda ok for a few minutes.

Brand? You get what you pay for. I have a Lincoln 120v SP135 that is OK, but I'm always arguing with the wire feed (it has to be JUST SO or it doesn't feed, and that just so seems to change every time I use it). I know some have had luck with the HF stuff for puttering around the house projects, but it's not something you'd want to use on a cage I don't think.

When I saw the Eastwoods come out they looked like a rebranded Lincoln, which was intriguing. After some investigation, they seem to be a higher-end Chinesium welder, kind of like a Honda engine clone.

You can go to Tractor Supply or equivalent and pick up a Lincoln or Hobart that will be OK. The welding shops tend to have the nicer versions on their shelves.

Really, just find the real brand (Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, ESAB...don't they all kinda own each other anyway?) that has the best local support for when you need parts.

Get the gas kit. Flux core is fine for Farmer Bob repair work, but for something that matters more like a cage, gas is nice. Always remember to shut off the damn tank. And you'll forget and be out of gas the next time you use it. Which is why I have the flux wire in mine right now.

I've honestly had better performance out of my $49 Harbor Freight helmet than the $120 one I bought with the welder, although I need to replace the HF one now...there isn't much chooch left in the dimmerator. Gloves, and such just get what you like. I would also suggest a skull toque and a welding shirt and/or apron....which I don't have and I have the sunburns, slag burns, and holes in clothing to show for it.

Blah blah blah. Spend money. smiling smiley



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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
March 18, 2017 12:40PM
I'm getting in on this if you guys don't mind. Do you live near Syracuse NY? I got some homies who can hook you up with 220/240 or whatever volt stuff on the cheap cheap.

Are the welders that do more than one type of welding any good? My garage mate wants to go half on a welder, and he wants (well, we both want but I'm a don't give a * kind of guy) a good one.
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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
March 18, 2017 12:46PM
I have an old Miller Millermatic 135, which I use with gold gas (some sort of mix), and it has never let me down. My welds suck for looking good, but I never need it enough to practice. However, the penetration is good, and I am told if you only have one or the other; have penetration for strength.

You can hunt around on Craigslist and get an older Miller or Lincoln for in your budget. I bought mine for 700, but it was only 1 year old at the time, and came with the gas kit, a rolling cart, and a waist high tank of gas.

You should have no problem getting a quality unit for the 500 range.
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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
March 18, 2017 02:11PM
Thanks this is really good info. The knowledge is probably in my brain somewhere but there's been a lot of work junk learned and forgotten in the meantime, my poor noggin can only hold so much.

Nowhere near NY, opposite coast (BC/WA)

Hmm Craigslist, yeah that's a good way to get a name brand unit. I've picked up a lot of stuff that's barely been used.

Looking forward to getting a nice tan on my inner things like the nice welder lady

Skye



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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
March 18, 2017 04:23PM
Skye, give me a call...all typed out.. looking local just now..



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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
March 19, 2017 07:32PM
I hunted around on Kijiji and last year found a Millermatic 180, that was unused (bought for a job and then never used) for $350 CAD. It came with a roll of wire and the regs but no gas.

Definitely look used and if its a good price, grab it quick. I emailed the guy at 1am.
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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
March 19, 2017 11:21PM
Quote
Skye
Hey everyone I'm finally ready to start on my XR4Ti project again this year and need a recommendation on a beginner welding setup. This is going to be used for light duty welding (body, non-roll cage tubing, fabricating mounts and other misc jobs). Up to maybe.... 3/16 wall I'd guess

MIG? Flux core or gas/solid wire (some can do both)? If gas, argon and CO2?
One that runs on 120v would be good but I could call the sparky if 240v is significantly better

I guess min amps is important for not blowing through thin stuff, like 20 to 25?

Can I get away with a Harbor Freight special or should I get something name brand?
Would like to spend less than $500. Hopefully less than $300.
It's going to be used infrequently. Maybe something like this?

http://www.eastwood.com/mig-welder-110vac-135a-output.html

I guess I'll need some gloves and an auto-darkening helmet too

Thanks!
Check out KMS tools if you plan on going new. They have miller, Lincoln, ESAB, and a couple off brands, often have trade ins for sale as well. They even have learn to weld days.



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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
March 23, 2017 10:32AM
120v will be fine for most amateur car building tasks - just watch the duty cycle and check out the thickness the welder is rated for. You'll always want something bigger, its just how it goes but be realistic about what you are going to weld. Also, as mentioned don't bother with flux core. Ya it works, and its simple and its good in the service park but it's welds look like garbage and you don't really want them on your car. Also, don't even try sheet metal with it.

Go to your local library and get a couple welding books - like, textbooks, not the "build your own supercar" sort of tech books and learn what each setting does and changes. Then, practice and practice some more until you can get a weld that is strong and looks good. Try different angles (horizontal, vertical, upside down is a super big pain in the ass but usually possible if you need to). As with most things - prep makes the final product good. Also factor in a good assortment of clamps, magnets etc.
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Skye
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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
May 25, 2017 07:38PM
(oh no my cover is blown. reposting)

Looking at welders again now after a forced hiatus. The universe is conspiring to prevent me from finishing this damn car.

Too bad flux core doesn't work with sheet metal. Good to know.

Don't have time to shop around or deal with Craigslist right now so looking at this, opinions?

Hobart Handler 140

https://www.amazon.com/Hobart-500559-Handler-Wire-Welder/dp/B009X43F38/

Looks like they upgraded that model recently with metal wire feed and better clamps etc
Welds 24 gauge to 1/4 inch (!) mild steel

Seems to get great reviews and includes gas valve, regulator, gauges etc when I get tanks. I'll probably just use the flux core for now as the first few jobs are joining some steel square stock

Thanks
Skye



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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
May 25, 2017 07:43PM
I split buying a Hobart 210 MVP with my dad a few years ago. That thing rocks. On 110v it'll weld just fine up to 3/16 ish, even on a 50ft extension cord. They like clean grounds, as most welders do.
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Skye
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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
May 25, 2017 08:05PM
Quote
Robert Culbertson
I split buying a Hobart 210 MVP with my dad a few years ago. That thing rocks. On 110v it'll weld just fine up to 3/16 ish, even on a 50ft extension cord. They like clean grounds, as most welders do.

That looks really nice but it's quite a bit more than I have budgeted. Good to know you're happy with the Hobart though it looks like it's in the same family



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Robert Culbertson
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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
May 25, 2017 08:39PM
I was just trying to say, in a very round about way, that the Hobart welders work pretty darn well on 110v and that we've had zero issues with it after near daily use for 2 years.
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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
May 26, 2017 03:43PM
JEGS currently has the Eastwood MIG-135 for $250 shipped. 120V.

I picked one up a touch over a year ago as "My First Welder" and have put ~6 lbs of solid wire through it without issue, doing body structural repair (16-22 ga steel) and general fabrication.No issues with the equipment, and the ability to fine-tune arc voltage is extremely useful working on body-gauge steel, but is absent on some other bargain bin welders. I have done ~3/16 with 0.030" wire, albeit in a double-v (2-pass) configuration. It might be able to go in one pass if you really crank it up and run 0.035 through it.

A lot of people are attracted by the warranty and apparently Eastwood is good about honoring it, but I can't speak to that personally.
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Skye
Skye Nott
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Re: Beginner welding equipment advice?
May 26, 2017 04:01PM
Wow that is a lot cheaper. Apparently it's a Chinese copy of the Lincoln SP-135

http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?397081-Hobart-140-handler-Vs-Eastwood-135-mig-welders

I guess it's a question of longevity and parts, I plan on owning this thing for a long time.
I haven't had great experiences with Eastwood customer service in the past.



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