View Full Version : wire feeder vs Millermatic?
03-08-2006, 11:49 AM
I’m in the market for a wire feeder, I could use a quick education in models and specifications. I’m looking at Miller’s line and will probably be connecting to a XMT 305 power source. Is the new 75 Series a better investment over earlier models (20 Series)? I’m not welding aluminum with the MIG, a lot of mild steel fabrication jobs. What is the biggest difference between a S-75S and a S-75D? Should I stay with a 22A feeder? How handy is a digital read out?
And real quick, to add to the question… I am looking to make the best investment for the future of a small fabrication shop so I was interested in the potential and flexibility of the multi-process unit (I haven’t obtained the XMT yet). I have another primary machine that I use for TIG welding, so I’m really just looking to set up a MIG unit right now. I like the ability to switch over to stick, and have a configurable cc/cv inverter in the future, but being so much cheaper to set up, am I better off and wiser investing in a Millermatic 251?
03-08-2006, 12:54 PM
Not a professional here, but the first thing that comes to mind is that you seem to be focused on just one brand. I'm not sure if you realize it but Lincolnc 350MP might cover a lot of or all of your needs.
As to the best investment for your shop that is always a difficult question to answer. The first thing that comes to mind is what do you expect to fabricate? The answer to your question will vary a lot based on the answer to the previous question. I suppose you already know this and realize that it is very diffiucult to buy to much in the way of a welder.
Now a good arguement can be made that just about any fabrication shop can make use of a MIG welder of the self contained type. The Millermatics have a lot to offer here, so I suspect that you need to figure out what duty sycle you will be happy with for the type of work you are projecting to do. Then realize agian that it is very difficult ot buy to much welder.
One thing that should not be forgotten, for any modern shop is energy usage, which inverter based machines win hands down. As far as I know at the moment the only inverter based MIG machine of the sefl contianed type is the Passport. At least that is the impression I have of the field, which would mean the purchase of XMT type technology would be required if you can justify it based on power usage. These sorts of machine are however no where near as convient to use as the all in ones.
Frankly I the type of guy that would say go with a MM350P or the equal from Lincoln and get the best (as much) use you can out of the unit. Though I'm also the type of guy that can see the wisdom in getting a couple of smaller machines and keeping them set up for differrent media.
03-08-2006, 04:51 PM
The answer depends on the application. The miller S-22 is a straightforward and simple wire feeder. It runs off of 24VAC and can be acquired with a two or four roll motor. The 75 series has more advanced features intended for production. One can be acquired with motors, spot meters, pre and post flow, etc. For most fabrication, the S-22 should suffice. For maximum productivity in a production environment, the 75 series may be required.
With that said, there's some decent feeders on the used market. One can usually find a good deal on the 20 series, the 60 series, and the 70 series, which are all modern feeders. As for myself, I have an S-64 with a roughneck gun that I'm running off of a Powcon 400SM inverter. This rig cost me about $1k on the used market and I wouldn't trade it for anything less than a migrunner package or equivalent. I also recently acquired a Spoolmatic 30A and I'm pretty stoked to see how well the Powcon does aluminum spray arc.
04-06-2006, 12:18 AM
The Miller 20 series feeders will work fine in most applications, I've got several customers that use them all day. The 22A is the 2 drive set-up, and the 24A is the 4 drive, the 4 drive is nice if you decide to go with a mig gun longer than 15' or ever have the need to run small (.030) wire. The full function S75 series feeder offers remote voltage at the feeder, which is nice if you put it out on a boom, and eliminates you going back to the machine to make adjustments. As stated in an earlier post, the Lincoln Powermig 350P is a heck of a nice machine, if you want to spend less $$, you can check out Esab's Multimaster 260, it is a self contained unit (like the Powermig) that can Mig, DC Stick, and DC Tig weld.
04-08-2006, 10:44 PM
Well, I guess I will add my 2 cents. I run a Miller XMT 350 with an Lincoln LN-25 wire feeder off it and it works great!!! The LN-25 is a voltage sensing feeder and easily works with the XMT. Actually, I have two LN-25 hooked up to it for fluxcore... one unit is setup for innershield wire and the other for outershield. As far as the stick side of the unit, it has a great arc with either a 6010 (5P) or the 7018 (Excaliber). I added the gas valve to it so I could tig with it in the future.
And it wouldn't be fair if I didn't tell you that after one week of use it went back to the dealer for repair (XMT). To make a long story short. It was sent back to me to use until the repair part came in and a week later the service rep. came out ot my shop to repair the unit. Miller went above and beyond to make things right...
04-09-2006, 11:48 PM
As a bit of a follow up, I'm wondering if anybody has the low down on Millers Millermatic 350/350P. While no competition for the Lincoln I'm wondering if there might be inverrter technology implemented in this machine. It just seems strange that it is a lighter machine thean the Millermatic 251.
Further if you are just starting out I'm not to sure I'd like the idea of putting all my eggs in one inverter basket. I'd seriously consider a Millermatic or a Lincoln PowerMig as a wise choice to support a fab shop. The reason is that they are relatively in-expensive, would be great for fabrication involving mild steel and are reasonably portable. This assumes that the Tig unit you already have can support stick welding well.
There are a couple of reasons for this suggested approach. One is the lower cost for a start up. Two, either brand will continue to remain viable machines even after you get a fancy do everything inverter.
I don't know how much capital you already have for your startup, but you have to believe that there are a number of other things that you will need to aquire inorder to fabricate. It could be argued that some of those are more importnat than the welder. Of course this depends a bit on what you want to fabricate. The reality is that many business fail due to the inability to keep startup costs under control. It is not a big issue save a few grand on a welder at start up and you could very well be in a postion to buy an enhanced welder in less than a year after startup. Startup debt is a killer.
I understand that the multi purpose machines will perform all weld processes acceptably , but I also hear that a dedicated MIG Machine, has a better arc than the multipurpose welding machine, the same as a dedicated stick machine has a better arc than a Multi Purpose Welding Machine, Same for TIG Welding Machines. I have not welded with a Multipurpose Welding Machine, so I am asking for feed back from anyone that has welded with a Multipurpose Welding Machine. The Lincoln MIG Machines utilizes Diamond Core Technology, the newer Lincoln Stick Welding Machines utilizes the Chopper Technology . When I read the Lincoln Power MIG 350MP Machine Specifications the weld technology referenced is the Chopper Technology not the Diamond Core Technology.
05-21-2006, 12:41 AM
A good multi-process machine will do each process as well as any good dedicated-process machine. That said, I personally prefer dedicated-process machines because I do so much welding of different things that I like having my machines already close to set up for something. That's why I have four wirefeeders; most of my welding is GMAW and FCAW.
My engine drive is a classic multi-process machine, a Miller Trailblazer 301G. It performs excellently as a power source for my feeders, and as an awesome stick and TIG machine as well.
For mild steel, I have been running a 22A for almost 15 years now, and I like it a lot. Very reliable, nothing ever goes wrong, no bells and whistles, it just feeds the wire, thank you very much maam.
As far as dedicated versus multiprocess- I like dedicated machines, but I have to say my XMT 304 does EVERYTHING better. It mig welds nicer than a brand new Millermatic 251 I used lately. It tig welds nicer than my Syncrowave 250. It stick welds nicer than anything else I have ever used.
And it runs my spoolgun and my XR push pull gun better than any other power supply I have tried, including trailblazers.
I guess I just like the feel of inverters.
I thing the new Millermatic 350 is an inverter.
Me, I would just get a 22 series, its enough, unless you are running a lot of oddball stuff.
05-21-2006, 02:04 PM
I have to say my XMT 304 does EVERYTHING better. It mig welds nicer than a brand new Millermatic 251
Ries, how is that XMT304 on thin sheet metal when using GMAW? I've heard mixed results for thin GMAW.
05-21-2006, 02:07 PM
.I thing the new Millermatic 350 is an inverter.
Actually, you'd really like it. It's the XMT inverter made into a Millermatic. The same inverter is powered by a 3600RPM diesel in the PipePro engine drive.
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