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View Full Version : Millermatic 251 or Lincoln PM 255?



Bolt
01-27-2004, 05:09 PM
Ok guys,



I'm looking at these 2 machines, and want to know if one is realy any better than the another. The companies' websites both claim the same things, best arc starts, stickouts, cooling fans, and what not, but what are some real world opinions on the two?

I will be doing mostly farm work with it, brakets, gates, bumpers, trailers, hitches, drawbars, and what not.

Much appreciated

Jerry
01-27-2004, 05:26 PM
I can only speak for the Miller 251 and since I added it to shop I have ran at least 20 rolls of 44lb. spools through it. I can weld in a spray type mode and have welded thicknesses up to 1". I am actually surprised by the performance so far of the MM251. I also have other mig machines but I actually like using that Miller.

Franz
01-27-2004, 05:33 PM
Buy the BLUE one, and buy it from a good dealer who will be there if you ever have a problem and when you need consumables. BLUE seems to support a machine for 25 years, whereas RED drops support sooner.
BLUE has superior factory support for even small customers.

Bolt
01-27-2004, 05:41 PM
Thanks, I was leaning towards expanding my Miller fleet, but wanted to act unbiased and at least look at the competition.

widetrackman
01-27-2004, 09:32 PM
I purchased MM251 for the reasons stated by Franz and performance is excellent. The similar Red machine is about equal in performance to the MM251. My 2 cents worth.

oregonaaron
01-27-2004, 10:50 PM
The thing i don't like about the lincoln is how low the tank platform is. While lincoln promotes this as a back saving advantage to their machine, it could be a real pain in the neck for farm applications like pulling your welder through a gravel lot.

Bolt
01-27-2004, 11:47 PM
Having a low tank rack is of little use to me, as I still have to lift the dang tank out of my pickup bed first!

Having said that, what do yall use to haul gas tanks around in the bed? Anyone built some kinda rack to keep em from rolling and sliding around the whole time?

echo8287
01-28-2004, 12:52 AM
I vote for the 251. When I was looking at them it was between the 251 and a PM300. The PM300 looked pretty good and versitle,but it was way more expensive. In the end I got a 251 and a 200dx and that sort of covers a wider material choice and ability. David

MAC702
01-28-2004, 01:49 AM
I would really like to see the Miller MM251 have GMAW-P (pulsing) capabilities, like the PM300. Seems like the best machine out there for single-phase users.

But when the choice is between the PM255 and the MM251, I would also go for the Miller. For me, it would be tough to not have it match everything else, but I just cannot stress highly enough the customer support I have received from Miller. I have no experience with Lincoln's customer support.

Aaron
01-28-2004, 08:25 AM
As I have said before, I'll say again: I love my MM251! That machine makes even a hack like me look like a weldor. :D

After first seting up the machine w/ C25 & .035-ER70S6 I was VERY impressed with weld quality and lack of splatter. I varied the settings to get spatter increase, but you really had to try to get the machine to miss a beat.

Definate thumbs up. I have welded everything from car exhaust to 3/4" CRS bar with it, and it is smooth throughout the range. I also really like the spray-arc capability, as this is some pretty welding. ;)

Aaron
01-28-2004, 08:28 AM
One more thing: I have also been able to weld alum from 1/8" through 1/2" with great results, simply by using 3/64" wire and rolls, pushing through a 15' gun. Try that with .030" wire and no spoolgun. :D The machine sets right next to my bench, so there was probably about 8' of cable coiled up on the floor. Not a single birdnest.

Scott V
01-28-2004, 11:10 AM
Originally posted by Aaron
One more thing: I have also been able to weld alum from 1/8" through 1/2" with great results, simply by using 3/64" wire and rolls, pushing through a 15' gun. Try that with .030" wire and no spoolgun. :D The machine sets right next to my bench, so there was probably about 8' of cable coiled up on the floor. Not a single birdnest.

Aaron,
you can do the same thing with the 300 powermig with the standard gun.It would make it fun to weld .055 aluminum.You can even use the #40 mode to build up edges on a boat prop or fix some thin cast part.It is like a short-arc mig in steel,but a process that works for aluminum.It is like a poor mans Lincolns SST process.It is way beyond any welding you can do with any standard transformer machine made by anyone.For somebody that fixes cast parts it would be worth it's weight in gold.Something tig machines can sometimes have a hard time doing.:cool: Aaron,I had a new top quality spool-gun with a esab 250.I know exactly what you can do with one.When you compare it to the 300 Lincoln python setup the Lincoln is cheap for what is does for you.:cool:

Aaron
01-28-2004, 11:51 AM
Scott,

I believe if you check the original question he was comparing the PM255 to the MM251. :D Man's trying to compare pontiac to buick, and your talking about a caddy! :D

I will gladly concede to the PM300's superiority over the MM251. But thats apples to watermelons. I'm not aware of a Miller machine comparable to the PM300. But I guess that might bother me if I could afford a PM300.

It's almost like getting myself worked up over Ferrari's newest car. ;) It's all I can do to afford a used Ford, so I don't waste much time dreaming of the Ferrari. The MM251 is a LOT of machine for me, and in comparison to the PM25x (I think it was a PM250 when I bought mine) the Miller was the nicer machine.

Franz
01-28-2004, 12:20 PM
Well, I hate to throw cold water on this discussion, but since I'm in snow up to my *** and it's still falling, my perspective has gone cold.
We all know the ongoing process of machine developement by every manufacturer is bringing more and more features to the market, BUT, I find myself wondering as I read these ford-v-chevy discussions of welders, how many guys get enfatuated with buying specs and modules they will never use?
If you have to sit at a data entry device for half an hour inputting characteristics to a machine before you can make a five minute weld, while I already made the weld and got paid with my 23 year old MM-225, were all those features necessary?
Sure, you can run Spray Transferr with some of the newer machines, BUT, how often is the average guy going to do that, and what's the actual cost when you include Trimix? Spray definitely has applications, but is the average guy working in his garage ever going to use it?
MIG aluminum is fantastic, BUT, is the average guy really going to MIG enough aluminum in his lifetime to justify the cost?
Hard surface MIG~ by the time you change over the wire, and figure in the extra wear on liner, gun and tips, it pretty much has to be a lot of hard surfacing to justify doing it with MIG rather than stick.
There is a tendency among people buying their first machine to buy bells and whistles, salesmen love it cause the profit on modules is probably a lot better than the profit on bare bones machines, but are they necessary to your intended use? I've always advocated buying a BIG machine over buying a small machine because you can always turn a big one down to virtually nothing, but small ones only go up so far, and you'll always find something bigger to weld, BUT, unless you are going to actually use the extras enough to pay for them, Bells and Whistles just aren't cost effective.

Scott V
01-28-2004, 12:57 PM
Sure, you can run Spray Transferr with some of the newer machines, BUT, how often is the average guy going to do that, and what's the actual cost when you include Trimix? Spray definitely has applications, but is the average guy working in his garage ever going to use it?


Franz,
maybe the average guy should just build his trailer hitch with the short-arc process?:eek:

Aaron,my point was for about $1000.00 dollars more you get capabilitys for beyond any 250 amp welder by far.You get a stick machine that will will 6010 better then most inverters,and a tig machine that will do anything in steel.No hi freq start though.That should satisfy Franz.Pulse steel for welding those trailer hitchs out up position is worth something too.Maybe I want to weld some Stainless steel,and use the short-arc/spray-arc.I can use a short-arc gas(90/7.5/2.5),and also spray with it too.That is done with the bells,and whistles though programming.The inductance feature is another bells,and whistles thing that very nice to have.Franz I buy Trimix in the 150 size for $36.00



Now here is the real point,if you want the most proven,and straight foward machine in the class that also has tapped controls(less bells,and whistles)The Esab 250 smokes the rest.

Planet X
01-28-2004, 01:04 PM
Originally posted by Scott V


Now here is the real point,if you want the most proven,and straight foward machine in the class that also has tapped controls(less bells,and whistles)The Esab 250 smokes the rest. [/B]

ScottV, don't they make that over in South Carolina too?

Scott V
01-28-2004, 01:26 PM
Originally posted by Planet X
ScottV, don't they make that over in South Carolina too?


The 250 plus is made there,and the Standard model is made in Mexico.It's a no brainer though,because the plus is the same price as the standard model.More refined by miles.It also is the only machine other then the Thermal-arc with a hi/lo tap for Co2 or stainless welding.Very nice to have.Of course you don't get the fancy meters of the others.It is a option though.I would take the hi/low tap any day if I had to chose between those two options.

Planet X
01-28-2004, 02:38 PM
The Esab unit is competive price-wise with Miller if you throw down cash, about $1700 + tax. This does not include the $375 digital meter option .
So, if someone could use the industrial features this machine has it may be something worth checking into if one thinks they need them.
HI-Jack thread mode off.

Which ever way you go just be sure to post pics of your projects. Looking at what others have done to raw materials & shapes is damn :cool:

Aaron
01-28-2004, 02:53 PM
Px,
I'm with you on that one. I really couldn't care less what color someones machine is, as long as it serves their purposes. Most of us on here are welding as a hobby anyway. As long as we can share ideas, burn a little wire, be creative and have a little fun in the process, I'll be a happy man.

At least for me the largest factor in purchasing my machine was that the blue ones are most widely supported in my area by far, with red a distant second. Most here have never seen a yellow one, and the dealers look at you funny for asking about them. I probably have at least 6 local Miller dealers, 1.5 Lincoln (one store only sells the red engine drives), and that's about it.

Scott V
01-28-2004, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by Planet X
The Esab unit is competive price-wise with Miller if you throw down cash, about $1700 + tax. This does not include the $375 digital meter option .
So, if someone could use the industrial features this machine has it may be something worth checking into if one thinks they need them.
HI-Jack thread mode off.

Which ever way you go just be sure to post pics of your projects. Looking at what others have done to raw materials & shapes is damn :cool:

Not quite,The esab is about $1650 with no tax.(Oregon)

Bolt
01-28-2004, 05:00 PM
So if I want to run spray transfer on 1/2 inch plate, what kinda gas do I need to run?

And what will I need to add to a MM251 if I want to weld some stainless steel water trough liners in the future?

And the MM251 is capable of running .045 hardfacing with a larger liner, right?

I plan on doing a bunch of stuff with this machine, but I don't think I am quite ready to make the cost jump to the PM 300, as much as I would like to.

And it aint a problem that this thread is going off track, I will take all the responses I get into account.

Charles Brown
01-28-2004, 05:03 PM
This thread is interesting... already two pages long and, so far, not one person has offered an answer to the original question... which was about differences between a PM255 and an MM251.

Sadly, I join this ever growing list of would-be helpers by offering no experienced comparative data on those two particular machines. I wish someone could, though... like Consumer's Union.

Unfortunately, welding machines in this class are so expensive that individuals do not tend to own a collection* of the same amperage size wire feeder, and so cannot generally offer "real world" comparative experiences. (*save for one notable exception: Scott V!).

Fortunately, both the PM255 and the MM251 seem reliable enough that once an individual purchases one, they have no need to return it to purchase the other, so they only have experience with the one that they bought.

It seems that the only way to get the best comparative feel for the machine is to do what Rock always said: "Give those girls a twirl." If I had to make the decsicion you are making, I might first find a local welding shop that would allow me to burn some wire on scrap material that typifies the repairs on my farm equipment. That would be an ideal way for me to see which machine suits my ergonomics, never mind the economics.. since they cost nearly the same. I would ask permission to change a drive roll or two on each machine while I was there. I'd remove and replace the torch liner to each gun. And, I would try the machines at a known wrong setting, and see how long it would take me to dial them back in right again.

And there are a couple of things that I would not do:

First, I wouldn't take at face value anything a dealer might tell me about how one company is better than the other... because I have found in the past that there is often a business based bias in those opinions.

There are often distribution deals, salesman spiffs, units sold per month contests, and other factory to dealer incentives that majically "influence" just how "reliable" one brand is over another. Business is business, regardless of industry. I do not exaggerate when I report that I have seen excellent lines in my business dropped entirely from dealer and/or distribution channel stock, not because of the quality of the product, nor because of the "service" reputation of the manufacturer. No, the line disappeared into darkness simply because of a business disagreement on how much margin a pertinant party should share. In the meantime, the consumer loses out on the availability of a great product.

Beyond the hard numbers and high above the bottom line, much of a manufacturer's marketing budget is not spent on the consumer at all. It is spent in the middle channels. Ask me how I know? Thanks to my wife, I have travelled around the world with every single frivolous expense paid, staying at the same exclusive hotels as the leaders of countries, all on the dime of a manufacturer's marketing budget that was spent at the distribution level, as a sales incentive, not at the consumer level, as a purchase incentive.

It goes without saying that the people on those annual trips were there because they promoted this particular manufacturer's products to retail dealers at the virtual exclusion and expense of other viable alternatives. And the funny thing is, these trips were far more enjoyable than any vacation we could muster on our own, partly because we "won" the right to be there, partly because it was totally stress free travel with every arrangement made for us, partly because multiple assistants were at our beck and call to make changes for us if we desired, partly because everything was 5 Star and First Class, and partly because we weren't having to budget for it, often leaving the destination country with more money than we took with us when we arrived.

Needless to say, that type of kingly treatment will inspire a distributor sell a lot of widgets. It wasn't the money so much as it is the "people" thing. Meeting American travelers abroad, I was at first surprised at the number of them who were on similar incentive junkets, rewarded by their industry. As a result, I look deeper behind the "expert" recommendations I hear.

In the case of welding machines sold in the US, despite the rampant exclusion of seemingly good welders of other brands, a reasonable argument could be made for staying with either Lincoln or Miller, since they are the most widely recognized brands here, which helps for trade-up/resale value, etc. But even then I would still look for a dealer that generally regarded both brands fairly.

What sounds fair?

It seems to me that anyone that might say "always buy blue" or "always buy red" may perhaps be unfairly biased, since the reality is that the manufacturers continue to leapfrog each other in the evolvement of welding technology, and due to patent protections, some manufacturers might reign for a period of years in one type of technology over their competitors. That seems like a more fair assessment.

Which brings us back to who is the leader today, during this "period of years," among 250 amp Mig power supply wire feeders?

Seeing that question asked and "answered" here and especially on the Hobart board, I finally learned of the second thing that I would not do...

I wouldn't rely on a brand preference that I read on the Internet.

Franz
01-28-2004, 05:44 PM
Well, I sure as hell own a rainbow of machines, and the major influence in my decision has been Mahany Welding Supply for the better part of the last 40 years. They plowed the ground for Blue in Rochester, and when Red's distributor who always badmouthed Blue lost a couple manufacturers, like Linde good old Blue showed thier appreciation for Mahany plowing the ground by giving Blue to the Red distributor as well.
Manufacturers don't give a damn about anything other than total units sold. Today, another distributor who wasAIRCO is also Lincoln, amd Mahany sells both Blue and Yellow machines along with a lot of support equipment.
I specificly asked about a yellow machine a few months back, and was taken to the repair shop where there are 4 barrels of PC boards waiting for Yellow to make good on them and less than half a barrel of PC cards for Blue machines. I was convinced that I didn't want to buy Yellow. Beyond that, I was convinced I really didn't want to buy a new machine, but rather just some parts so a machine I already had could be used to do what I wantyed to do. I seriously doubt the result would have been the same had I gone to Jackson or RWS with the same questions.
There is a lot to be said for a relationship with a good dealer, and while it may take a bit of time to establish the relationship, it's time well invested.

Someplace in the last few posts, the subject of farm equipment repair & MIG came up, so I now find myself wondering if MIG is being considered as the only welding process for equipment repair.

Bolt
01-28-2004, 06:25 PM
I'm not considering MIG to be the only process for my farm use.

I have a Bobcat 250 that I weld all my fences, pipe, and what not with in the middle of nowhere, and in the garage as well. However, when the task of welding 130 caps onto 2 1/2 inch pipe comes up, or welding 1/2 nuts onto as many pieces of 3 inch pipe, and cable clip onto the other side, I would much rather MIG it all up, then arc it, especially when I need to get the welding trailer and park it near the garage, listening to the 20 horse Kohler hum all the time, and all the extra smoke that comes with the arc. I'm just looking for something faster, quicker, and cleaner for many tasks. It will in no way replace the arc, only supplement it.

Dan
01-28-2004, 06:44 PM
Originally posted by Bolt
So if I want to run spray transfer on 1/2 inch plate, what kinda gas do I need to run?

And what will I need to add to a MM251 if I want to weld some stainless steel water trough liners in the future?

And the MM251 is capable of running .045 hardfacing with a larger liner, right?

I plan on doing a bunch of stuff with this machine, but I don't think I am quite ready to make the cost jump to the PM 300, as much as I would like to.

And it aint a problem that this thread is going off track, I will take all the responses I get into account.


Bolt,

For Spray transfer you could either use a 98Ar/2oxy, or a 90Ar/10Co2 gas mix.

For the SS troughs, SS wire and a 90He/7.5Ar/2.5 Co2 shielding gas.

Franz
01-28-2004, 06:55 PM
OK, now I got that part clear in my mind.
What was the original question again? Never mind!

Planet X
01-28-2004, 07:12 PM
Originally posted by Bolt
So if I want to run spray transfer on 1/2 inch plate, what kinda gas do I need to run?

.

If the 1/2" application, involves some kind've farm equipment I would consider a .045 gas-shielded flux core wire w/c-15-25%. If using solid wire gas mixes Dan posted, with optimum joint prep-pre-heat,the works- Ranching/farming equipment is dammed deadly when its working normal-let alone poor fusion on some critical component.
Mig is outstanding,but the machines that have been discussed have very real material thickness applications limits. 1/2 inch is 400amp machine territory for GMAW.
SMAW would be good, but larger skill/technique factor required so if one is not skilled in the process the weld may actually end up worse than if you had just Migged it.

Scott S
01-28-2004, 07:31 PM
Dan,
It's nice to see you over here. Your expertise on spray can surely be used (among other processes :) ) I hope to see more posts!!

echo8287
01-28-2004, 08:32 PM
I've got a comment on the Franz and Scott V post. One thing I don't like on welding machines or anything else is a lot of programs to sift through. Just give me a few knobs that will suffice and I'm happy. I play the electric guitar and I have a pile of signal processors that cost alot of money. Some of them have eddless programs to change this and that, others have maybe 6 knobs. If you want to get anything done you go to the ones with a few knobs. You set it fast and play. Same thing with welding machines,I'd rather weld than play with a program to eventually weld. Too many options is not always a good thing. David

ralenr
01-29-2004, 03:02 AM
Dan,

Good to see you over here too.

My new MM 251 is on the truck heading my way as I type. Hoping it arrives tomorrow.

I already have a bottle of C25 but am anxious to try spray. What are the subjective differences between using 98/2 vs the 90/10 for spray?

Allen

Bolt
01-29-2004, 03:20 AM
Check out Ed Wright's information on MIG gasses, he sure has a great deal of thoughts on the subject.
http://www.weldreality.com/MIG_welding_gases.htm

Dan
01-29-2004, 04:36 AM
Originally posted by Planet X
If the 1/2" application, involves some kind've farm equipment I would consider a .045 gas-shielded flux core wire w/c-15-25%. If using solid wire gas mixes Dan posted, with optimum joint prep-pre-heat,the works- Ranching/farming equipment is dammed deadly when its working normal-let alone poor fusion on some critical component.
Mig is outstanding,but the machines that have been discussed have very real material thickness applications limits. 1/2 inch is 400amp machine territory for GMAW.
SMAW would be good, but larger skill/technique factor required so if one is not skilled in the process the weld may actually end up worse than if you had just Migged it.

PlanetX,

I guess Ed Craig doesn t mention anything about multiple passes in his book. :D

My MM 210 can handle 1/2" in multiple passes.

Are all you Ed Craig cult members so extreme into Ed's teachings?:D

Planet X
01-29-2004, 08:01 AM
Originally posted by Dan
PlanetX,

I guess Ed Craig doesn t mention anything about multiple passes in his book. :D

My MM 210 can handle 1/2" in multiple passes.

Are all you Ed Craig cult members so extreme into Ed's teachings?:D

Ha, pretty good, but I would consider it a good bet that you,yourself have one of his books-I would guess the 'red' one.:eek:

About the multiple pass thing, 5/16" single pass size limit-besides dual-gun, what ese would you do? EC quote "spray used on materials thicker than 120thou...to ANY thickness". ;)

The gasses you mention are what the MM would NEED to spray .045 wire anyway:blush:

Now Dan, about the mm210' 1/2" capacity thing,using multi-pass...sounds like something I might say to my wife-just change the noun :blush:

Scott V
01-29-2004, 11:24 AM
Originally posted by Dan
PlanetX,

I guess Ed Craig doesn t mention anything about multiple passes in his book. :D

My MM 210 can handle 1/2" in multiple passes.

Are all you Ed Craig cult members so extreme into Ed's teachings?:D

Dan,
I bet you have enough followers to start your own cult?
Just think about the advantages(tax free income)
Lets see how does this sound?The church of welding Scientology!

:angel:

Dan
01-29-2004, 01:32 PM
Originally posted by Planet X
Ha, pretty good, but I would consider it a good bet that you,yourself have one of his books-I would guess the 'red' one.:eek:

About the multiple pass thing, 5/16" single pass size limit-besides dual-gun, what ese would you do? EC quote "spray used on materials thicker than 120thou...to ANY thickness". ;)

The gasses you mention are what the MM would NEED to spray .045 wire anyway:blush:

Now Dan, about the mm210' 1/2" capacity thing,using multi-pass...sounds like something I might say to my wife-just change the noun :blush:

PlanetX,


Sorry, if you put money down on that bet you would be loosing it. There are NO Ed Craig books in my welding library.

Sorry, but I do not know what the abbreviation "ese" stand for.


Most of the guys here that use these machines are hobbyists, so I really don t see the need to use an .045 wire . .035 is a much better general purpose wire you can use it to short arc 16 ga. and spray arc up to 3/8" in a single pass. .045 on the other hand is going to start out at around 1/8" for a good short circuit transfer. Most guys here would be better off having a roll of .030 or .023 around for thin material and the .035 install in there machine for 16 ga. and up. Ok, so I don t end up with several replies about .030. I'll concede that an .030 wire is an acceptable general purpose wire for 1/4" and thinner at the hobbyist level.

Planet X
01-29-2004, 03:59 PM
Originally posted by Dan
PlanetX,


Sorry, if you put money down on that bet you would be loosing it. There are NO Ed Craig books in my welding library.

Sorry, but I do not know what the abbreviation "ese" stand for.


Most of the guys here that use these machines are hobbyists, so I really don t see the need to use an .045 wire . .035 is a much better general purpose wire you can use it to short arc 16 ga. and spray arc up to 3/8" in a single pass. .045 on the other hand is going to start out at around 1/8" for a good short circuit transfer. Most guys here would be better off having a roll of .030 or .023 around for thin material and the .035 install in there machine for 16 ga. and up. Ok, so I don t end up with several replies about .030. I'll concede that an .030 wire is an acceptable general purpose wire for 1/4" and thinner at the hobbyist level.

Us, hobby welders need to be even more aware of process limitations than real welders. We can be too easily fooled that our welds are sound. We just have not been exposed to enough bad ones to know the difference . This is why I hedge my bets, on important parts I pick the most suitable sized wire,because it can carry the minimum needed amps to get the job done. And if I can not run that wire/amps-I examine my options-some of which you pointed out.
I did not say your wire/gas choices were wrong- I merely added what I would use if I had that sized machine and that thick of a part to weld. I did add an assumed value that the 1/2" part might be on a stressed application. Perhaps I read too much into the question.

As far as I'm concerned running the gas mixes that I do, with the machine I have (pm255), .035(solid) wire can be run through its entire optimum amperage range. The .045 solid wire toward the bottom end of its amperage range-if my machine could make more power it would be able to take advantage of this wires current capacity, but .045 wire can carry/deliver, more current than my machine makes. No big deal just something that I have learned.

Learning how much amps a part should get starts with its thickness, along with other things like joint type, material, etc. And if you don't know find out the information is available it just take some effort. Heck, would be easiest to start with what kind've power your particular machine can produce- than get realistic with what you really should be welding. This by itself would go along way to ridding migs "hot-glue gun" stigma:D

Wow, can you say I need to get my *** outside and weld:o
:o