View Full Version : absolute newbie here
01-27-2004, 01:18 PM
i have been interested in welding for a few years now. i am going to purchase some equipment this week. i have been reading through posts on this board and on the hobart forum for a month or so now. i want to get an opinion on which machine to get. i will also be taking classes next month at a community college. so i have money to burn on it before i spend on something else.
i wanted to get a welder that i would be able to grow with. i do not want to get something that is only gonna be good for small items. i would like to be able to do 1/2-3/4 inch steel platting, some stainless, and aluminum. more steel than anytying, i think. i was looking at a millermatic 210 or the 251. being these are the larger machines they offer i assume that these will be useable for years. some projects i have in mind were, art, trailers, and a front bumper for my truck. i will also be purchasing at the same time and ocy/act set up, no gas yet though. also, would it be a bad idea to purchase a tig machine with this or a plasma at the same time? i have been reading the brochure that i recieved from miller and am overwhelmed by the information. any help is greatly apprecieated. thanks
01-27-2004, 01:35 PM
You are certainly looking at the right two machines. The 210 will be easier for you to learn with as it has tapped voltage setting, unlike the 251. The 210 is about $500 less. If money is no object, go with the 251. I am sure that there will be alot more opinions to follow :D Good luck with your classes and Have FUN shopping!
01-27-2004, 01:49 PM
thanks for the input, keep it coming. forgot to mention that the some of the metal will be fairly thin for sculptures. somewhere from 1/8-to 1/16.
01-27-2004, 02:01 PM
That is in the 251's range.
01-27-2004, 02:07 PM
I have had a Hobart 200 amp machine for years. I only use half of it's capacity so it doesn't even get warm. I put on a Tweco gun to get a 15' cable.
01-27-2004, 02:39 PM
Hmm. ill throw some thoughts out. You might be better off going with the smaller 210 MIG machine for light fab, and get a TIG/Stick machine for the thicker stuff. You dont say what you are primarily going to be working on, is it going to mostly 1/2" or mostly 1/4. Can you add some details about what your typical stuff will look like?
Although MIG (and FCAW especially) can be used for thick materials, in the industry, its generally not used for stuff over 3/8". SMAW is going to be the preferred process for the majority of the thicker stuff.
TIG will be the way to go to get your aluminum, and pretty welds
If you are looking at art stuff, i'd definatly recommend a plasma. You can do fancy cuts with an OA, but it will be a lot cheaper in the long run, and certainly cleaner to go plasma. a 375 class machine can cut 3/8th plate very cleanly with a standoff, and do shear quality cuts on sheet.
If I were you, i would wait till you get rolling in class before making any purchases. Odds are, the school will have all sorts of machines you can try out, or get demonstrated. If i had followed this advice, i would have just bought a 180 class TIG. From the sounds of it, you have a nice toy budget saved up, so ill give my 'ideal home shop' machine list.
MM210 MIG with .030 and 90/10 for light fab and spray on mild steel (1300$+160$ for a bottle of 150 of 90/10)
Thermal Arc Pro-Wave 185 for Stick and TIG (1600$ + 300 or so for torches, tungstens and such + 160 for a 150 of argon)
O/LP for cutting and heating (250 for torch, regs and tips +300 for bottles)
Hypertherm Powermax 380 plasma cutter (1200$)
01-27-2004, 03:11 PM
As an owner of a MM251 I am probably a little biased. I would own nothing less. It truly is an awesome machine.
For a TIG machine, check into the T/A Pro-Wave 185, which is dollar for dollar the best machine on the market. It is in many ways comparable to the Dynasty200 by Miller, but will cost about $1000 less. I'd say the $1k saved would be best spent on a T/A Cutmaster 38 Plasma cutter.
01-27-2004, 05:32 PM
All right I'm biased with the MM210. I was going to purchase a 251 but then really thought it might have been too much welder. The money I saved not getting the 251, I was able to afford a Spoolgun with the 210. It all depends on what you are going to weld. So in a nutshell you have to look into that crystal ball and see what you need it for. Good Luck and the important thin is you take your time and not rush into buying anything....
01-27-2004, 05:37 PM
Put on the friggin BRAKES! Buy a helmet some leathers and gloves, and go take the classes. After you've learned a thing or 7, it's time to start thinking about machines. Your opinions and ideas may change a lot.
01-27-2004, 08:10 PM
got a helmet and cant wait. very impatient. think that i am gonna get the 251 b/c of the adjustments plasma and an oxy torch. then it wont really matter after i finish the class, because i will have everything i need. right? well any way, gonna shop around for the equipment. thanks for the input yall.
01-27-2004, 09:27 PM
What have you got against stick machines?
01-28-2004, 11:25 AM
Besides the extra smoke and slag chipping....nothing...:D
01-30-2004, 10:42 PM
Diver885...I agree with Franz 100% ! . . . .the wire-feed machines are indeed, "state-of-the-art".....and very tempting.
I guess i'm from the "old-school"......I'd say get a good o/a outfit....(not to "name-drop", but I have a Victor, and it's excellent)...learn what a puddle is, and what to do with it.
Next.......for less than $500 bucks, you can have a nice Lincoln, Miller or Horbart ac/dc stick machine.
Mild steel is a cake-walk.....and I have done stainless (with Forney X-1000) and aluminum (with Castolin/Eutectic #4021).....
What I'm trying to say is: "Learn to fly straight & level before you
try aerobatics" !
02-03-2004, 12:39 PM
It sounds like you have decent funding. If that's the case, get a medium class plasma cutter like JoeHobart said, and then whichever machine you want to spend your money on. The MM210 and MM251 are both in the lower industrial range (more so the 210) and should satisfy you to no end :). Lower end TIg machines like the syncrowave 280 or Lincoln Squarewave 175 are nice, I personally love my Squarewave. From what I have read, the little T/A inverters have large following and everyone seems to love them, so if you want a TIG/Stick welder, don't forget those options. You don't really NEED a TIG machine or a plasma cutter, but a plasma cutter could save a lot of grinding, depending on if you get really good with Oxy-fuel stuff or not. Have tons of fun getting your toys...er..tools and using 'em!
02-05-2004, 04:52 PM
just to keep you all up to speed on my progress. got a millermatic 251 sitting in my garage right now. bought it from my local dealer. thankful that i did. they have been really helpful. need to get some gas now. thanks all that have given some suggestions, but couldnt wait.
02-06-2004, 07:46 PM
If youshop your deal well enough you can get the 251 with the spoolgun thrown in, also the valve came with my package.
02-06-2004, 08:22 PM
one other thing that you may look at is if you purchase all your equipment fromm on of the larger dealers at on time your sales person should put you on a differnt matrix thus allowing you to purchase your stuff even cheaper.
also with the probable purchase BOC by Airgas you probably can find a distributor that will deal even more.(after all they all need to make quotas):D
02-07-2004, 02:46 AM
and you got your spoolgun for free? how much did you pay?
01-27-2005, 11:33 PM
You posed the question whats wrong with stick welders? I personally am a stick man...Wondering where you stand on a personal level. I grew up with east texas oil field welders early retired to fab shops. They dint go for wire machines. Most folks I know now, fab shop owners give me a lot of hell for my love of stick. They have a real aversion to stick claiming that mig has such higher effieciency ratings. I would have to agree from all I can tell, stick tends to be a little slower, you cant use the whole rod with stick, and so on. However, in my experience with mig, unless I'm the only one using the mig, the dang machines seem to have lil problems. I just feel that on thicker than 1/8" I can do just as well with stick than mig. I think its hard for me to determine exactly though, but I love how quickly you can change rod types, how little maintence stick requires. I personally love stick. Oh and I dont care for ac stick though, I only use dc, obviosly.
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