View Full Version : Used ESAB 350 mpi w/ 2e feeder or New Miller 212 w/ spoolgun

02-18-2009, 03:24 PM
I am in the market for a welder. I will be using it for general welding projects for my personal use such as general ranch repairs and projects. Mostly steel 1/4" or lighter welding. I would like the ability to weld aluminum. I was strongly considering buying a new Millermatic 212 with auto-set and a 15A or 30A spoolgun. However, I have come across a used ESAB 350 mpi with 2E wire feeder, a tig torch and stick lead for about the same price. It appears to be in good shape.

I have not done any tig welding before, but would be interested in that type of process for some things. I am not that familar with ESAB or this particular model. I am not interested in anything that is not dependable or that will be expensive to fix or maintain. I will likely use it heavy for a few days, then not for several weeks or months and then heavy for a few days again. My use will not be frequent enough to regularly tweek, fiddle or upgrade things.

Any input on the reliability of these two welders would be appreciated. Also, I am not sure that the ESAB can tig weld aluminum since I understand it is a dc machine. Mig welding aluminun would require a spoolgun which would put the ESAB out of my price range. Can I use the ESAB to tig weld aluminum?

02-18-2009, 09:48 PM
The ESAB 350 MPI is a versatile inductor power source capable of more amperage and more welding processes than the Millermatic 212 you're considering. The ESAB is similar to my Miller XMT 350 CC/CV, in fact I considered it before getting the Miller. After buying the XMT and a Miller wire feeder for MIG welding, I tried TIG and have since been using TIG for 80% of welding chores. I have delved into stick welding for heavier fabrication and I like that too. So I would choose the ESAB for flexibiity.:)

The ESAB's TIG is DC only, so it will not work on aluminum. The ESAB will accept a MIG spoolgun capable of aluminum, albeit at additional cost. With the ESAB you get a CC (constant current=stick & TIG) as well as a CV (constant voltage=MIG) machine, whereas the Millermatic is CV only. Either machine will require you get two cylinders of shielding gas: argon for TIG and aluminum spoolgun welding and argon/CO2 or just CO2 for MIG on steel. The Millermatic 212's power rating makes it a marginal choice for heavy aluminum spoolgun MIG welding (1/4" to 5/16" max. depending on joint design). IMHO the ESAB is dependable and no more finicky than necessary to give the user control over the welding parameters. Here are the specifics on the ESAB http://products.esabna.com/index.php/library/1172584692_esab_350_mpi.pdf

02-19-2009, 01:12 AM
Oops, typo above. Should have said inverter not inductor.