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welding advice?
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mrcustomsteel
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Joined: 01 Mar 2005
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Location: Bilings, still a Texan, MT

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25 07 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a medium duty welder I think the best bang for the buck is a Hobart. A friend of mine just picked one up for under $600. I know that's still a lot of $$$ but you will never buy another one and parts are very common. You will save that much on your first smoker. My friend found free shipping and free a cart deal someone had on the internet.

Here is a link to that particular machine:
http://store.weldingdepot.com/cgi/weldingdepot/500501.html?id=oMLcDqrT
That 30% duty cycle is at max output. You can look at the duty cycle/amps graph on the spec sheet where you get 100% at 80 amps and thats still good. With 220V you don't pull a lot of amps either so you can run it on household 220 no problem.

One more tip, rent or lease your gas cylinders. Most welding suppliers will rent/lease them to you for around $5/mo/bottle. Owning them is a headache.
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Travis_Creek
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Joined: 10 Jul 2005
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Location: Aubrey, TX

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25 07 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can teach yourself to weld, I did about 15 yrs ago. You will also learn to not look at the pretty light. I don't really like the auto shade hoods(flip/flop). The cheaper ones in particular, because they can and will burn your eyes. Especially if your not used to the light. I never let newbies use them. Once you learn to depend on them it is harder to work without them. Purely my opinon and experience. I would spend the extra $50 on a better machine. Stay away from the 110v units. There ok for patching mufflers. Stay away from the flux-core machines. Wire is too expensive and harder to learn with. I would buy a 220v unit for sure. Hobart is about the most economical brand that still has quality and parts available. I believe they make a 185 amp or so that is great for the home. If you don't buy a quality machine, you will get frustrated and tend to give up before you learn. Then your machine will be for sale also. Lincoln 215 unit is my first pick now, though I use and still like the Miller 251. The lincoln will push .035" wire all day and it costs less since it doesn't have all the digital stuff in it. I think it is more reliable as well, since it is simpler in design. It also comes with a 15' gun, which you can buy consumable for anywhere.

If a machine claims to weld 1/8" material, you figure it is probably good for about 1/16" material consistantly. It can weld 1/8" material, but that is pushing it to its limits.

Outside of Hobart(built by the same people that own Miller), Miller, and Lincoln, I would stay away from the rest.

You might find a good used unit somewhere, but it is tought to do. Most people don't let go of them or someone grabs them as soon as it is available.

If you need any welding tips, give me a call when you get a machine.
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Travis_Creek
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25 07 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember, a welding machine is not something you can go cheap on and then get the results you want. It is one of those things you have to spend the money on to get what you want.

If you really don't want to spend a lot, I would buy a new or find a used crackerbox. Learn how to stick weld. Start up is cheaper and if your not going to use it much, your overhead is less. If your going to use it a lot in a shop enviroment, MIG with gas shielding is the only way to go.

It's kinda like comparing a deskjet to a laserjet.
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Travis_Creek
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25 07 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrcustomsteel wrote:
For a medium duty welder I think the best bang for the buck is a Hobart. A friend of mine just picked one up for under $600. I know that's still a lot of $$$ but you will never buy another one and parts are very common. You will save that much on your first smoker. My friend found free shipping and free a cart deal someone had on the internet.

Here is a link to that particular machine:
http://store.weldingdepot.com/cgi/weldingdepot/500501.html?id=oMLcDqrT
That 30% duty cycle is at max output. You can look at the duty cycle/amps graph on the spec sheet where you get 100% at 80 amps and thats still good. With 220V you don't pull a lot of amps either so you can run it on household 220 no problem.

One more tip, rent or lease your gas cylinders. Most welding suppliers will rent/lease them to you for around $5/mo/bottle. Owning them is a headache.


This would probably be a good machine for the weekend warrior, or even a fit up table in a shop like mine. Low cost to get into, made by a good manufacturer, runs on 220v, has gas shielding. I like it!
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Rubit
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25 07 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I was typing this Travis left his post. I disagree with him on on a few points but I am disagreeing from an amatuer user stand point and am not questioning his or the the other's profesional opinion.
Bottom line by the best machine you can afford.

I use a wire burner from Lincoln I bought at Lowes. As the other guys mentioned a 110 volt will weld common steel up to a ¼” thick but a 220 volt unit can go a little bit more.
Because of location, I went with the 110volt because of a problem getting 220 to the same location. So far I have not ran into a welding situation that it could not handle. But if I could have I would have went to the 220 volt model. I have welded a good bit of 3/8” rod for a grill with no problem. You can weld some things larger than ¼” thick using the 110 volt problem but I would not trust a weld on thicker components than ¼”on a structural component like a trailer axle. But note most structural steel you would use around the home shop would be 1/8” to ¼” thick.
The wire burner is more versatile around the home shop because it can weld thinner steel than a stick and as I said before handle ¼” plate with two passes. Of course, with bottled gas and a wire burner, you can weld thinner steel and weld aluminum if you are good.
I have used both stick and wire and find the wire easier to master.

The small Lincoln welder I bought came with a video tape some years ago. Not sure if they do anymore.

As far as duty cycle goes, at our amateur level, you will probably never exceed a duty cycle on an entry level Hobart or Lincoln. I would avoid any welder at the $200 level and stick with the name brands.

One of the first things you will learn is prep time is much longer than weld time most of the time.

I do disagree with Travis on the Lincoln 110 volt unit to weld a ¼” steel. The specs says it will and it does as they say. But again, if you can go to the 220 volt models.
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Underdog
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25 07 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Underdog bodyman huh? me too been doing bodywork for 20 years now. Insurance companys keeping you busy or low and slow most times?
Sure not like it was 5 years ago, kinda slow without snow.[/quote]

Hey Jeff, Had my shop since 78, been doing it since I was in highschool. Going through a divorce so I can't ever seem busy enough! LOL Yeah been slow. Hard competeing with all the direct repair shops around here plus a lot more cars getn totaled these days. Last few jobs been deer hits. Thank God for Bambi ! LOL
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mine
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Joined: 27 Jun 2006
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Location: Redmond, Oregon

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25 07 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a Hobart Handler 180 . It is ok and does a good job for what I paid for it. (130A @ 30% duty cycle) I would consider this the minimum machine to build a cooker out of "thick" metal like old propane tanks and like sized pipe. For the thinner Stumps clones and things like that it would be more than fine. The issue is that when you get on a roll and push the duty cycle the welder starts feeding poorly and the current seems to fluctuate.

In the last shop I worked we had a pair of 3 phase Miller power sources (600 A @ 100% duty cycle), and it is real easy to get spoiled.

Buy all the welder you can afford, BIGGER IS BETTER!
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Jeff T
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Joined: 08 Mar 2005
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Location: Norfolk, Nebraska

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25 07 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Underdog...
"Deer hits" are my favorite. Twisted Evil I work for a local shop here in town yeah been slow not to bad since november though. There again the Deer.
I got a 55 post(chevy) to do this spring got the loose parts to start on already. Getting the body blasted then on to that. Not bad...... Will post pictures on the off topic section when i get more into it.Here is some of the ones i`ve done http://s37.photobucket.com/albums/e61/mudman322k/IDIDIT/
the 34 "bootlgr" was just a paint job, the nomad is a reacurring nightmare. (lol) The 59 i did for the boss and the yeller dearborn duce was start to finish. Kinda fun...

Sorry for the thread jacking Dawg but i got started again.....
Another thing ya just as well get is a 4 inch grinder to purdy up your welds when your done. Wink
Buying tools is like buying smokers ya just can`t stop so far into it.
All the way.... Razz Welding isn`t too hard to learn. Don`t get discuraged at first you`ll pick it up as ya go.
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Travis_Creek
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Joined: 10 Jul 2005
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Location: Aubrey, TX

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25 07 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's some really nice lookin rides!
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mrcustomsteel
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Joined: 01 Mar 2005
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Location: Bilings, still a Texan, MT

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25 07 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff, great work. I love that Impala, tail fins and chrome, don't get any better than that. I was born 20 years too late!

mine, When your Hobart is getting hot and starting to give you problems, it might be with your input. Just a hunch. Also, if you ever duty cycle a welder, they are never quite the same. Kinda like a breaker that has been thrown too many times.

The funny thing about those 3 phase MIG machines is that you can find them used for about as cheap as these medium duty machines we are talking about. I have had several over the years and have never paid more than $500 for one. But I don't know anyone who has 3 phase at home which is probably why they are so cheap used. Every time I've tried to get rid of one, I couldn't get anything for it.

I guess it is Murphy's law or something, when you are looking for a tool, nobody has one and you have to pay through the nose. When you don't need one, they show up on your doorstep.
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Jeff T
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26 07 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 59 is my favorite also. Completely restored right down to the nuts and bolts, on and off it took me 9 months to do. Then the boss took it home and assembled it in his nice clean shop at his house. Scored 984 out of a possible 1000 at a show in indy. Still don`t know what the judges didn`t like. Prolly found that one paint run way up under the left fin that i couldn`t buff out too well. hahahehe
The owner of the 55 Nomad was offered $90,000 last summer and turned it down. Shocked

sorry dawg i`ll stop now. Sad
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Oz
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Joined: 27 Jun 2006
Posts: 65
Location: Fl.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 27 07 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When purchasing a mig welder a good rule of thumb is to size it for 1 amp of power for each thousandth of an inch of material thickness. 1/8" equals .125 inch of thickness therefore a 125 amp power source would be desirable.
A machine sized in this fashion will perform the task well. 220 volt is more desirable than 110 volt with regard to duty cycle. Flux cored non gas shielded wires burn hotter helping small machines handle larger work. Innershield wires produce excessively high temperatures at the weld zone that result in brittle joints. Innershield is also more expensive to boot. Buy a quality machine that will handle the work and resell it when the project is completed.
The "rent" you pay will be less than the cost of a cheap machine you would have purchased that either broke or couldn't do the job and some guy will jump all over a good used mig welder.
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