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Mig Welder

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Travis Briles
Posts: 72
Trusted Member Apprentice Bladesmith
Topic starter
 

Hello all,

I'm really showing my ignorance here, so any help is appreciated. I'm trying to get into welding. I've done a little bit of stick and mig welding. I'm looking at mig welders and I'm wondering what is the difference between the $400-$600 Millers/lincolns vs the $1200-$1500 Millermatics/lincolns when the specs are very similar. 110V, 140 amps, gas hookups, 24 gauge to 3/16 etc. As far as beginning welders go, do you have any recommendations? Trying not to break the bank, but also trying to only buy once for the next several years. Welder does have to be 110 at this point.

Thanks,

Travis<><

 
Posted : 21/03/2020 11:53 am
Gerald Boggs
Posts: 0
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)
 

In answer to the last question,

The small 110 Lincoln welder you see for sell at the big box stores. I had one for many years and got a lot of good service from it. The only area I found it to be too small was doing architectural work. Only let it go because I was trying to simplify my life and I also had a Miller 250. Having two mig welders seemed unnecessary. also think about talking to the local welding supply store, sometimes they can be a good source of advice.

 
Posted : 21/03/2020 4:29 pm
Joshua States
Posts: 1157
Member
 

I will second the big-box store versions of the Lincoln MIG. These are special runs from Lincoln only for sale in places like Home Depot.

I bought one many years (like 20) ago and loaded it with flux-cored wire. It is still in use from time to time today although I did upgrade to a 220V with gas and solid wire about 10 years ago because we were doing heavier welding. I still pull out the solid core wire rig for any outdoor work.

For the knife maker and hobbyist, the 110V MIG with flux-cored wire is more than enough to do everything you will need to do. I have a very good friend and blacksmith that still uses this same welder almost daily. Just one additional recommendation though. Up grade to the 10 pound spools of wire. It's an inexpensive plastic adaptor (it may even come with the package) that allows you to use the big spools of wire.

Joshua States

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Posted : 22/03/2020 10:36 am
Gerald Boggs
Posts: 0
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)
 

On a side note. I never tried it, but the welding supply rep said if you use gas with the flux-core, you can get some really nice welds.

 
Posted : 22/03/2020 7:54 pm
Travis Briles
Posts: 72
Trusted Member Apprentice Bladesmith
Topic starter
 

Thanks guys! I really appreciate the direction. Looks like I’m going to get a simple mig welder.

 
Posted : 22/03/2020 8:18 pm
Dean Pavia
Posts: 197
Estimable Member Apprentice Bladesmith
 

Travis, thank you for bring up this topic, I am also in the market and the recommendations above will help me decide. Good luck welding.

 
Posted : 24/03/2020 2:59 pm
Travis Briles
Posts: 72
Trusted Member Apprentice Bladesmith
Topic starter
 

|quoted:

Travis, thank you for bring up this topic, I am also in the market and the recommendations above will help me decide. Good luck welding.

Best to you as well Dean!

 
Posted : 25/03/2020 10:08 am
Zach Tarbell
Posts: 2
New Member Apprentice Bladesmith
 

howdy yall,

I'm a welding instructor... my advice to people looking for a welding machine, like my thoughts on all tools, is to spend MORE than you want to, ONCE. Buy once, cry once, as it were.

There's nothing wrong with the cheap 140a Lincoln weld-pac machines; for what they were DESIGNED for, they work fine.

They were designed for short welds on 1/8" thick max material. You WILL find that you need more machine, eventually.

What machines were you comparing, specifically? I'm not familiar with any $500 range machines with very similar specs as a $1200 range machines, as you state.

To address what Mr.Boggs was advised by a welding supply rep: I assume some miscommunication there. Adding shielding gas to a self shielded flux cored wire will do NOTHING other than waste your shielding gas. They are two different wires. Self-shielded wire is most commonly e71t-11, or -GS. Gas-shielded wire (Dual-shield) is most commonly e71t-1. It is a big difference. It's like the difference between a gas and diesel engine.

Directly, my advice: look into a 200A range multiprocess machine. Ten years ago I would never have recommended a multiprocess unit, but technology has come a long way.

The Miller multimatic 215, Lincoln powermig 210mp, and ESAB rebel 215 are all very comparable machines. All three can be bought new for around $1300. I personally have a Miller 215 at my home shop, and we run Miller 220's at our welding school. Run .030" or .035" er70s-6 wire, 10lb spool, with 75Ar/25Co2 shielding gas for MIG. Get a few pounds of 1/8" 7018 stick rod for thick material.

Here is my justification: 200 amps will allow you the full range of what can be reliably MIG welded- 3/8" steel. If you need to weld thicker, a multi-process machine will allow you to stick weld. All three machines listed above are multi-voltage as well: you can use most of the machine's capability on 110v input, when you set up 220v at your shop, you swap your plug at you're ready to go.

 
Posted : 25/03/2020 11:59 am
Travis Briles
Posts: 72
Trusted Member Apprentice Bladesmith
Topic starter
 

|quoted:

howdy yall,

I'm a welding instructor... my advice to people looking for a welding machine, like my thoughts on all tools, is to spend MORE than you want to, ONCE. Buy once, cry once, as it were.

There's nothing wrong with the cheap 140a Lincoln weld-pac machines; for what they were DESIGNED for, they work fine.

They were designed for short welds on 1/8" thick max material. You WILL find that you need more machine, eventually.

What machines were you comparing, specifically? I'm not familiar with any $500 range machines with very similar specs as a $1200 range machines, as you state.

To address what Mr.Boggs was advised by a welding supply rep: I assume some miscommunication there. Adding shielding gas to a self shielded flux cored wire will do NOTHING other than waste your shielding gas. They are two different wires. Self-shielded wire is most commonly e71t-11, or -GS. Gas-shielded wire (Dual-shield) is most commonly e71t-1. It is a big difference. It's like the difference between a gas and diesel engine.

Directly, my advice: look into a 200A range multiprocess machine. Ten years ago I would never have recommended a multiprocess unit, but technology has come a long way.

The Miller multimatic 215, Lincoln powermig 210mp, and ESAB rebel 215 are all very comparable machines. All three can be bought new for around $1300. I personally have a Miller 215 at my home shop, and we run Miller 220's at our welding school. Run .030" or .035" er70s-6 wire, 10lb spool, with 75Ar/25Co2 shielding gas for MIG. Get a few pounds of 1/8" 7018 stick rod for thick material.

Here is my justification: 200 amps will allow you the full range of what can be reliably MIG welded- 3/8" steel. If you need to weld thicker, a multi-process machine will allow you to stick weld. All three machines listed above are multi-voltage as well: you can use most of the machine's capability on 110v input, when you set up 220v at your shop, you swap your plug at you're ready to go.

Hey Zach,

Thanks for your reply. I was looking at things like a Lincoln 140 vs a millermatic 141. Both gas mig welders that say they will do up to 3/16" steel. I do prefer to only buy tools once, but I feel like if I get a smaller welder that can last me a few years before I want to expand, that will be sufficient for now because I'm working out of a portion of my garage. Space is at a premium and if something cheaper can buy me some time it may be worth it to get a $300 welder to last me 3-5 years for general bladesmithing. That was my thought anyways, what are yours on the above two welders?

Thanks,

Travis<><

 
Posted : 26/03/2020 1:33 pm
Andy Knipp
Posts: 72
Trusted Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)
 

|quoted:

Hey Zach,

Thanks for your reply. I was looking at things like a Lincoln 140 vs a millermatic 141. Both gas mig welders that say they will do up to 3/16" steel. I do prefer to only buy tools once, but I feel like if I get a smaller welder that can last me a few years before I want to expand, that will be sufficient for now because I'm working out of a portion of my garage. Space is at a premium and if something cheaper can buy me some time it may be worth it to get a $300 welder to last me 3-5 years for general bladesmithing. That was my thought anyways, what are yours on the above two welders?

Thanks,

Travis<><

Travis,

I am definitely NOT a welder so defer to Zach. I have a Hobart 140, which is an equivalent to the two you listed, and I am quite pleased with it. It does everything I need and is pretty small, BUT it does have the limitations that Zach described. Again, I can make two pieces of metal stick together but I wouldn't use it to hang-glide with. <img src=' http://www.americanbladesmith.com/ipboard/public/style_emoticons//laugh.gi f' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' />

Andy

 
Posted : 26/03/2020 4:09 pm
Zach Tarbell
Posts: 2
New Member Apprentice Bladesmith
 

|quoted:

Hey Zach,

Thanks for your reply. I was looking at things like a Lincoln 140 vs a millermatic 141. Both gas mig welders that say they will do up to 3/16" steel. I do prefer to only buy tools once, but I feel like if I get a smaller welder that can last me a few years before I want to expand, that will be sufficient for now because I'm working out of a portion of my garage. Space is at a premium and if something cheaper can buy me some time it may be worth it to get a $300 welder to last me 3-5 years for general bladesmithing. That was my thought anyways, what are yours on the above two welders?

Thanks,

Travis<><

Travis,

Either one of those machines will fit your needs. The hobart 140 is also in the same class (hobart is owned by miller), with one major difference: The miller is going to be a little bit nicer machine in use, because it has a continuous voltage control knob. As opposed to a tapped voltage control knob, which the 140A lincoln and hobart machines use, continuous voltage adjustment is going to allow you to "dial-in" the machine much more precisely.

But, if you want to save a bit, there is nothing wrong with tapped voltage. In some ways it can be one less thing to have to figure out.

For general bladesmithing- welding all-thread for a through tang, welding handle sticks onto bar stock, tack welding billets for damascus, or basic fixture or toolmaking, a 140A machine should do you just fine, for now. Just remember what those machines are designed to be capable of.

You should be able to visit your local welding supply store and ask to demo a 140A mig welder.

all the best.

 
Posted : 29/03/2020 11:57 am
Gerald Boggs
Posts: 0
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)
 

Zach, I just glad I didn't say it as a fact 🙂

 
Posted : 30/03/2020 11:07 am
Shane_P_Atwood
Posts: 6
Member
 

I know this is an older post, but I just purchased a Weldpro MIG210LCD. I absolutely love it! It is a multiprocess welder that does Mig, Arc, & Tig. I have had it for a month or so and have used the Mig a good amount and the arc a little bit, but not the tig yet. So far it has been awesome. Anyone looking for a new welder I highly recommend WeldPro. Also their customer service is very very good. I called them a couple times asking questions about their different machines and they were great!

 
Posted : 08/02/2021 11:36 am
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