I'm a welding newbie and new to the forums, but very interested in buying a mig welder for home/hobby use.
I'm considering purchasing a Hobart Beta Mig 250 that is being sold as surplus by a local metal fab. shop (asking $575.) For my purposes this is an elephant gun and WAY more than I would need. However, it seems that for about the same money as the chinese offerings from Harbour Freight (many of which feature a 25% duty cycle) I can get a serious tool that I'll never outgrow, assuming it doesn't break down.
I called Hobart today with the S/N and they were kind enough to send me a manual. They indicated that replacement parts are still available for this unit, with the possible exception of the transformer. One strange thing I discovered from Hobart is that the unit is from 1992 though the fab shop says it was new in 1999. Haven't spoken with them yet to find out if there's a reason for the discrepency.
Alternatively, something along the lines of this Clarke 180EN looks pretty good to me. http://cleveland.craigslist.org/tls/825481145.html
Can anyone advise me on whether or not this seems like a good idea? Many thanks in advance!