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Posted: 6/2/2002 7:01:28 PM EST
i am goin to purchase a welder here pretty soon for some projects im starting.  i need some advice on what welder to get.  here are the requirements i have:

1.) Wire fed (flux core) or MIG welder
2.) fed off standard household currect (115-120 Volt plug)
3.) able to weld 1/8 inch steel for a relatively long time (acceptable duty cycle at this level)
4.) under about $800 or so.

now, at the MOST i will be welding some 1/4 inch steel, but not often and not for long.

which welder should i go for?
and what model,
Lincoln Electric, Miller, Hobart?

Link Posted: 6/2/2002 7:14:09 PM EST
I am a "True Blue" fan. Miller makes a model right up your alley forgot the model but, I have a friend that bought one a few weeks ago and is happy.  It is more than in your price range and is more than you are looking for but, a Millermatic 250 is a great machine.
Link Posted: 6/2/2002 7:16:51 PM EST

I think you will be much happier in the long run if you get the model one step up from what you think you will need. Also, I was glad to see your list of possibilities - Do NOT even think of Chicago Electric.

I happen to prefer Miller (MIG) as that's what we use at work.

Question - Why not 220?

Link Posted: 6/2/2002 7:42:26 PM EST
Best advice I could offer, is to get more welder than you need...

I started off years ago with a 140A welder to weld roll cages...
It ran off of 110V, but needed it's own 30A breaker just to keep it from tripping breakers...
I had to run the machine at it's max, just to weld .134 wall rollbar tubing...

Your best bet is to go with something like the Millermatic 250, and have a "real" welder...
It will run on 220V all day long, and will weld anything you'll need it to...
If I remember correctly, they are rated around 80% duty cycle...
That means in 10 minutes, you can weld 8 minutes non-stop, with a 2 minute break...

"Overkill" is good, when it comes to welders...
Nothing sucks worse than one that is underpowered...

Trust me...
Link Posted: 6/2/2002 8:32:50 PM EST
We have a few Miller migs at our place, couldn't be happier with them.  I would take NMSight's advice and always get alittle better than you think you might need.
Link Posted: 6/2/2002 9:26:51 PM EST
SkaerE, I would stay away from a 110/115 mig welders.

I have a Miller challenger 172, now they call it the 175 for small jobs. I think you would be very happy with it.

Buy it at a welding store so you can take along a couple of pieces of steel that you plan to weld. They will be glad to demonstrate how it will weld before you buy it. Heres the link to the Challenger.

Link Posted: 6/2/2002 10:27:53 PM EST
[i]sigh[/i] I get no respect!
Link Posted: 6/2/2002 11:20:16 PM EST
You might be able to weld 1/8 inch steel with a 110 volt welder cranked up, but if you want a decent duty cycle go for 220 volts. Especially if you think you might tackle 1/4 inch.

You must have 220 available someplace you can tap into. Lots of common stuff uses it -- kitchen stoves, water heaters, water pumps, etc. Every house I've ever lived in had 220 where the power line came in, whether anything was using it or not.
Link Posted: 6/2/2002 11:35:01 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/2/2002 11:36:18 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/3/2002 2:28:38 AM EST
ok then,

220 volt is ok.

i would also prefer a welder that is infinitly adjustable (as opposed to haveing set settings for amperage, and having to "jump" from one level to the other)

thanks again
Link Posted: 6/3/2002 2:45:04 AM EST

I too, recommend that you go with a 220VAC welder.  I have 2 and they both run off of it.

My mig welder is the Lincoln SP-175 Plus.  It has infinitely adjustable heat and wire controls.  At the time I bought it, it was the only 175 amp mig welder to come with that feature.

Miller, Hobart or a Lincoln will all serve you well (I'm a Big Red fan myself).

If you live somewhere near North Alabama, my brother-in-law has a Century 250 mig welder he'll give to me free since he replaced it with a version of the Miller 250 (He welds steel and aluminum with a flip of a switch).  This oughta to be a clue for you, also (i.e. don't buy junk).

I hope this helps.

Link Posted: 6/3/2002 9:06:35 AM EST
I am a "True Blue" fan. Miller makes a model right up your alley forgot the model but, I have a friend that bought one a few weeks ago and is happy.  It is more than in your price range and is more than you are looking for but, a Millermatic 250 is a great machine.
View Quote

Millermatic 250 IS a great machine. Add a top-feeder and you have yourself a professional welder. Its a beautiful thing......even the sound.

Whatever wire-welder you choose: Get all the necessary hookups so you can run the MIG Argon/Co2 shielding gas. Flux core welding sux.

The 110V Miller Cricket and other knock-offs won't fit your requirements. They'll weld 3/16" steel tops, and dont do it very effectively. Good for a autobody man, thats about it. The Cricket will accept shielding gas hookup, many others will not.
Link Posted: 6/3/2002 11:31:58 AM EST
ok, so a millermatic 175 ought to do the trick it seems.  fits all my requirements i believe.

found one for $675 (-price is at my door)

this is a good choice?  how about the price?

any other recommendations?
Link Posted: 6/3/2002 11:50:08 AM EST
I have two machines both are Miller.

MillerMatic 85
 110v 85amp wire feed

And the big brother.

MillerMatic 185
 220v 180amp wire feed.

I run them both with Argon/CO2.

I still love my little 85 just for the portability.

Good luck on your choice.
Link Posted: 6/3/2002 12:27:53 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/5/2002 5:37:22 PM EST
anyone else?
Link Posted: 6/5/2002 5:51:19 PM EST
100% CO2 shielding gas is cheaper from a material standpoint but from my experience the 75/25 mixture with argon gas is actually cheaper due to simple demand and bulk stocking of the gas.
Link Posted: 6/5/2002 5:58:30 PM EST
I have a Miller,  it's awsome...  I used up the flux core wire sampler that came with it.  I replaced with solid and running Ar/CO2 mix.. it was like having a sexual experince using gas after flux core!!!  [:)]
Link Posted: 6/5/2002 6:04:43 PM EST
Well I will pipe in FOR the 110v Miller.  I have one and it will tackle a tremendous amount of material.  Of course it depends on what you are welding, but it is simple to build up the weld, using MIG, because the bead is clean and there is no prep for the next pass.

I have had my Miller 110v unit on many 20 amp circuits and it has never blown the breaker.  Most importantly for me, it goes where I go.  If this were a permanently installed welder I would have 220v.  With the small Miller, though, I bring it to where I need it.  I have run it off of a 12 gauge 50' extension cord and easily welded 1/8 mild steel tubing at the 1/2 amperage setting.  (I know I got good penetration because I welded samples for destructive testing and also cut them open.)

If I need to weld 1/4" or larger plate for an extended period I would get a bigger welder, but you can build a tremendous amount of stuff with 1/8" wall.  Or like I said, do more than one pass.

I have never had my Miller fail to work in 6 years.  I have had some long days of welding but I am always prepping stuff or moving parts around to fix them in the jigs.  Without being in a production line setting, I think the duty cycle on the small Miller would work fine.  Plus remember that the duty cycle extends as you turn the amperage down and you don't need the amperage on the small Miller all the way up to weld 1/8" wall mild steel.

Like the other poster said, get set up for gas.  The flux core could be beneficial, I guess, but it leaves a mess behind.

Now I am saving my pennies for a 110v plasma cutter and you should too!
Link Posted: 6/5/2002 9:21:08 PM EST
This info might help also.

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