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Thread: I need a recommendation (please)

  1. #1
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    I need a recommendation (please)

    Hi everyone. This is my first post and I'm sure many more to come. I'm 45 years old. I've only welded once in my life and that was in college back in the mid 80's. I used a stick welder and did ok with it. I've always wanted a welder but I never really had the chance. Now I do. I like to build things and I have always felt limited because of a lack of a welder and experience.
    I have about $2,000 to spend. I want to buy new. I want something simple but effective and high quality. Nothing fancy. I've looked at many names and types. Stick or mig seem to be the best choices. I'm thinking either the new Hobart 230 mig or Lincoln 1053 stick. I don't think I'll ever build anything intricate, but you never know. This is a hobby only. I want to keep it simple. The fewer moving parts, the better as far as I am concerned. Easy settings are good. Few parts to replace is good. Toughness and dependability is good. Honestly, I'm leaning toward the stick (lincoln or miller equivalent). Would I be disappointed if I chose that over the mig? I know I can run flux cored wire and I could always add gas (CO2?). Whatever I buy will stay in my garage. I had a garage built about 5 years ago and included a dedicated 240 outlet for a future welder. I have a 100 amp fuse on it right now (not sure what I need though). I think with the stick welder I can order an optional 100 ft set of cables which would reach anywhere in my driveway or patio around the side of the house.
    Things that may concern me: amount of splatter, safety (I have children), quality of the weld. would I use the same type of welding shield (helmet) with either unit?

    I appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks. Phil.

  2. #2
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    Miller 211 MIG
    http://www.millerwelds.com/products/...c_211_autoset/

    Get it on E-Bay for $1,057.00 with a cart, and free shipping.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/MILLERMATIC-211-...item563e130ad4

    Plug it into your 240 garage plug, or run a extention cord and drag it around your yard using the nearest 110 outlet. Run it on Fluxcore, or better yet buy a bottle for it and put it on the cart. You could buy the Welder, Bottle, Extention Cord, Hood (yes u can use the same one on both), Beer, and enough Metal to heep you busy, and still be under your $2,000 budget.
    Last edited by Rugar; 08-02-2010 at 06:08 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    Another vote for the Millermatic 211. I think it's the best general all around use "hobby" mig. As said it will do heavy metal ( up to 3/8") on 240v and lighter stuff (up to 1/8") on 110v. I'd also suggest you get the bottle of gas to use with it. If you do most of your work in the garage, you won't have the smoke that you get with FC wire or stick.

    If you wanted to add a stick machine and have 2, you could pick up a nice used Lincoln AC/DC tombstone for less than $400-500 on CL or a straight AC one for less than $125 used.

    Don't forget the other accesories, 4 1/2" grinder, hood, gloves, leather jacket (especially if you go with FC or stick), wire/rods, metal...
    .



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  4. #4
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    **they beat me to it, oh well, I typed it in MS Word, I might as well post it**

    Hi Phil and welcome to the forum.

    I think mig would suit you better than stick. If you are just a hobby welder/small projects and stuff, mig will be easier to re-learn if you don't weld for a few weeks between projects. Also mig is cleaner than stick, no hot rod stubs to deal with, no slag if you use hard wire and shield gas
    .
    I would recommend a Miller 211 auto-set. It is a small mig, runs on 120 and 240, and you can add a spool gun if you want. The Ironman 230 is a good machine from what I hear, but it is a full size mig machine so it won't be as portable as the 211. If you make yourself a decent 240 extension cord, you could have the full capabilities of the welder 50 or 100 feet out of the garage, in the driveway/patio/side of the house. Or just use a 120 volt extension cord and a 120volt outside plug. You would also be able to easily take the machine to a friend's house and do a little welding for them, yes that will happen.

    Short arc mig does spatter a little, but so does stick.

    Safety? Safety would be the same whether using stick or mig, as far kids go anyway.

    If you practice the quality of the welds should be the same, the weld appearance will be better with mig in the short run.

    Yes, you can use the same hood for both processes.

    With 2000 to spend you should be able to get a 211 with a spoolgun, a tank of gas, and maybe have some left over for a grinder or chopsaw
    Will

  5. #5
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    I'm growing to like stick more and more now that I'm doing it a lot. MIG is a good quick and dirty, not THAT much to learn. More of a point and shoot. If you think you'll get into welding a lot I'd probably vote for stick now, but if you just need the capability MIG is probably the better option. It's definitely cleaner than stick if you run it with gas. I'd budget a decent amount of money for all the accessories though - grinder, protective equipment, etc because having a welder doesn't get you much if you can't prep your welds, cut metal to length or clean up after welding. Good luck, and fair warning: welding may become a sick addiction for you. I know it did with me.
    Millermatic 135
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    I'd probably buy the mig now, and then later buy a used transformer tig (sync 250 maybe). You have the 100A circuit to handle it. The transformer machines eat the power, but for hobby use you probably won't know the difference on the electric bill. This gives you mig, stick, AC and DC tig capabilities. This will handle just about any project I can think of. You could go for an inverter tig machine if you want the portability and can spend the extra money. The dynasty 200 is nice, but new price is almost $3k for the box alone. I don't see a lot of used ones like I see the transformer machines.

    The miller website rates the MM211 at 150A at 30% duty cycle. Personally I'd want something a little bigger. Of course you'll lose the portability and ability to run on 110v. Guess it depends on how you want to use it.

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    Quote Originally Posted by Philsworld View Post
    Hi everyone. This is my first post and I'm sure many more to come. I'm 45 years old. I've only welded once in my life and that was in college back in the mid 80's. I used a stick welder and did ok with it. I've always wanted a welder but I never really had the chance. Now I do. I like to build things and I have always felt limited because of a lack of a welder and experience.
    I have about $2,000 to spend. I want to buy new. I want something simple but effective and high quality. Nothing fancy. I've looked at many names and types. Stick or mig seem to be the best choices. I'm thinking either the new Hobart 230 mig or Lincoln 1053 stick. I don't think I'll ever build anything intricate, but you never know. This is a hobby only. I want to keep it simple. The fewer moving parts, the better as far as I am concerned. Easy settings are good. Few parts to replace is good. Toughness and dependability is good. Honestly, I'm leaning toward the stick (lincoln or miller equivalent). Would I be disappointed if I chose that over the mig? I know I can run flux cored wire and I could always add gas (CO2?). Whatever I buy will stay in my garage. I had a garage built about 5 years ago and included a dedicated 240 outlet for a future welder. I have a 100 amp fuse on it right now (not sure what I need though). I think with the stick welder I can order an optional 100 ft set of cables which would reach anywhere in my driveway or patio around the side of the house.
    Things that may concern me: amount of splatter, safety (I have children), quality of the weld. would I use the same type of welding shield (helmet) with either unit?

    I appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks. Phil.
    Welcome to this forum from another new member,

    Only within the last week or so I asked for similar help on this forum too. I already knew I wanted a MIG since I had previously done a bit of stick welding long ago. I was fortunate enough to find this forum and by listening, to the veterans, learned so much I was able to make a choice I felt comfortable with that suited my possible needs perfectly. My need was for a general purpose machine to do the odds and ends that come up around the home for the "do it yourself" type of person. I kind of figured one day I might find myself needing the ability to weld aluminum. At first, I thought I would simply cross that and maybe other bridges when I came to them. That would have been a mistake. By making the right choice at the start, those bridges are either much shorter or not impossible.

    I settled on the Millermatic 211. I can hardly wait for it to arrive.

    Anyway, welcome from a soon to be hobby welder as semi-retired electrical engineer.

    Warmest regards,
    JohnS

  8. #8
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    Hello Phil and welcome to the forum.
    I was in your place about 3 years ago, so I can empathize with trying to make the best decision. I had worked as a welder helper during college many years ago, but never learned to weld. I needed to learn to weld for a project and have been addicted since.
    I started with a Millermatic 140AS and loved welding with it. It was easy and handled everything I wanted at the time. I bought an autodark helmet, chopsaw, grinders, etc. which you need to include in your budget. After about a year, I sold my 140 and bought the Millermatic 211AS the guys are recommending - boy! am I glad.
    It was not available when I bought my first welder or I would regret having bought the 140AS. I think you will be happy if you go ahead and buy the 211, then if you want to you can buy a AC/DC stick welder later. BTW, give your local welding store a chance to sell you a welder. They will be an asset for when you are buying gas, wire, accessories, etc.
    Good luck, let us know what you decide, and post some pictures!
    Burt
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    I would go with the 211. I bought one last week and just fired it up today on 120v. I really like this welder. I have a Lincoln 180T but had a little extra money and thought I would get the 211 because of its dual voltage capability. It was either a new welder or a new rifle and I got way more rifles than I have welders.Miller has a thing going now where if you buy the 211 along with the spool gun they will give you a 100 dollar rebate, and that is what I did.

    The 211 is worth the extra money in my book. It looks like Miller got the idea of the dual voltage from HTP, can anybody verify that??

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    one more vote for the 211
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    It looks like most of you are recommending a MIG. I looked at the Miller 211. Yes, it is nice. And, the price is right, leaving me some money left over for a nice hood, wire, etc.... I do have a full 2K to invest. I might get something with a little more "juice". I looked at the Lincoln 255 but I haven't decided. I like the idea of visiting one of the local welding stores (one is within about 7 miles of me) and seeing what they have to offer. All of you have given me great advice. I think off of you collectively have convinced me to get a MIG. It offers me more versitility and honestly I think my welds will be better than a stick, at least over the short term. This is a geat forum and I appreciate your help. (I think I'm hooked).

    Questions:
    1: how long do the gun tips last? What other consumables other than the wire would I have to worry about?
    2: how much does a tank of gas cost (I'm assuming CO2)?
    3: how much does a spool of wire cost?
    4: should I have to worry about dependability of the mechanics (wire feed, etc...) over the long term?
    5: how long should a tank of gas last me?
    6: would I buy the tank\gas initially and then go back for refills or just trade in the empty for a new filled bottle?

    Phil.

  12. #12
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    Quote Originally Posted by Philsworld View Post

    Questions:
    1: how long do the gun tips last? What other consumables other than the wire would I have to worry about?
    Depends on how good a welder you are. Usually people wreck the tips when they have the settings way wrong, or hold the tip too close. At the tech school with 20 guys all learning mig, I'd bet one guy would F up a tip every other class. Thats about one in 30-60 hrs of weld time learning. Tips are usually the big one. Eventually you may need new rollers or a new liner, but usually you'd have to put a ton of wire thru the machine before you get to that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philsworld View Post
    2: how much does a tank of gas cost (I'm assuming CO2)?
    .

    You have a couple of options on gas. 100% CO2 or "mig mix" (usually 75/25 but there are others.)are used with mild steel. You would use 100% argon to weld Alum, and there are special mixes for stainless as well. Cost of a fill depends on the size of the cylinder and where you are at and the gas. Most hobby guys get cyl from 60cf to 125cf. "Pros" often opt for larger cylinders as it's cheaper per cf to get gas in larger cyl and the cost of lost work due to down time is often more than the cost of the gas. CO2 is the cheapest, but 75/25 usually is better for thinner steel and gives nicer beads.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philsworld View Post
    6: would I buy the tank\gas initially and then go back for refills or just trade in the empty for a new filled bottle?
    .
    Most buy a cylinder and then swap the cylinder for a ful one. Some suppliers will fill customer cylinders and return them, but thats becoming less common and in many cases you'd have to wait till your cylinder comes back from getting refilled which can be a pain. Larger cylinders (usually over 125cf) are only rented/leased by some companies. They will not fiill/exchange customer owned cylinders. If you buy a large cyl. be sure you can get it filled and that it's not a rental someone just kept.


    Quote Originally Posted by Philsworld View Post
    5: how long should a tank of gas last me?
    Again it depends on what size you got and what your flow rate is. Flow is set at Cubic feet per hour. Set the reg at 20CFH and an 80cf cyl will last 4 hours of weld time. 15-20 CFH is normal for most.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philsworld View Post
    3: how much does a spool of wire cost?
    .
    Depends on the size of the roll and type of wire. The last time I bought solid wire I want to say it ran about $30 for an 11lb roll. FC wire was more, I'm thinking $60-70. Stainless, alum and specialty wires would be more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philsworld View Post
    4: should I have to worry about dependability of the mechanics (wire feed, etc...) over the long term?.
    Most top end name brand machines (Miller/Lincoln) will give years of flawless service in an industrial setting. The lower end "homeowner" machines by Miller/Lincoln/Hobart will last years in light to medium use with out issues.



    Keep a few things in mind. All things have good and bad points and you have to pick what fits best for you and your needs. I would most likely not suggest someone down size on a machine, but the 250amp class machines are entering the "industrial" class and is more than most "hobbyists" need. They give you more options and power, but at the price of being tied to the shop. They are not usually considered "portable" by any means other than they roll around the shop. They usually require 30+amps 230v power. Even if you manage to load it in your truck and take it to a friends to do some work, you will need to be able to power it there.

    Small 110v units are way under powered for anything but thin metal 1/8" and less. They are very light and portable and can be run off most standard outlets at lower levels, but lack the umph to do most hobby projects people want to do.

    The MM211 is nice because it gives you the best of both worlds. Often people find all sorts of things that friends want done as soon as they learn you weld. Not all can be easily brought to you. I fixed a railing at my parents in Va over christmas with my little 110v machine. My big 230v mig would have been a better choice, but there was no 230v power there to use and it wouldn't have been worth installing it for a few welds. On the other hand 95% of the work I do with mig I couldn't do with my small machine, in fact I'm keeping my eye open for a 300 amp class machine if I can find one used in my price range.
    .



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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    1. Tips can last a long time or you can toast 'em in a split second. Just depends on how good/careful you are. They're cheap anyway.
    2. Around here, a 125 cf bottle costs around $250 up front + fill.
    3. Expect about $2 a pound or so.
    4. Not if you buy a quality machine. Aluminum feed mechanism with steel rollers is preferred.
    5. Depends on use. In the past I've had bottles last for almost a year with little use. I've also gone through a bottle in just a few days.
    6. Yes, you typically just trade the empty for a full and pay for the gas. Around here a 125cf bottle of 75/25 runs about $40.
    My name's not Jim....

  14. #14
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    If you have a Local Welding Store within 7 miles, swing by and open up an account with them. Talk to the counter guy and let him/her know that you are interested in buying a welder.
    Ask them if they plan on having a "open house" or something like that. One of the LWSs near me has an open house every summer. They get the factory reps/salesman from Miller, Lincoln, Tweco, Victor, Esab and others to display and demonstrate their stuff. They'll let costumers play around with the latest and greatest equipment……. I have to leave my wallet at home.
    Anyway, you may find that you can get a chance to "sample" a couple of display machines which may or may not help you decide on which machine to buy.
    Good luck and keep us posted if you can.
    Will

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    I have done a lot of welding with a Lincoln 255, it is a great welder, I own a 211. For hobby use the 211 is the best investment IMO.

    The thing I would think of is the cost if the thing breaks down or you want to add accessories, both things are cheaper with the 211. You could really set yourself up nice with a 211 on a $2K budget.

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    the Hobart Handler 210MVP is equal to the MillerMatic 211.
    Little bit lower price.

    ~John

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    Nother Zombie thread...
    Lincoln Precision TIG 185.
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  18. #18
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    Suprised no one has recommended the Hobart ironman 230. Never heard a bad thing, and is a lot of welder for the money.

    Ha 3 year old thread. Need to be more observant .
    Last edited by farmer2; 03-01-2014 at 01:45 PM.
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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    What ever happened to Phil? Did he fall off the edge of the world? He made three posts and disappeared, never to be heard from again. Maybe he was abducted by a UFO Did you ever get a welding machine Phil?

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    Phil said to tell you all that he is either busy welding or he gave the whole idea up and too up golf instead. UFO's, is that who those guys were?? He probably bought a stick welder like he should have done in the first place and didn't want to offend anyone.---Meltedmetal

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    well I'm looking for a welder most likely used, budget $750. At the moment I can only run on a 110v. whats a good one to get? I want to use it to make amp rack and mounting accessories for car audio.

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    anyone?

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    Tremendous learning curve for stick, esp if you don't have someone to teach you. I vote for MIG too

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    I have a miller dc inverter (cst 280) and just recently bought a miller 211. I have used the 211 a lot but if I had to have one welder it would be my inverter. I can stick and tig weld with it. I think mig is great if you are fabbing in a small area. I find my self still grabing the stick welder a lot because I want to move around. And I had a lincoln tombstone before the inverter. I would never recommend one. I find stick welding with the dc inverter to be much much easier and smoother than the lincoln. I bought the cst 280 used so got it for $750. You can get a maxstar in your price range. I work in a pharmaceutical plant and most all the contractors here (pipe fitters) have moved to the miller maxstar welders for the portability. They look like toys but are not toys.

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    Re: I need a recommendation (please)

    I know you said a new machine is preferred, but if I were you I would check out a used Lincoln or Miller tombstone stick welder. They run ~$100-150 for an AC only welder, or ~$250 for AC/DC. A buzz box will hold value, and possibly even appreciate, while a small MIG will only lose value if you want to sell later on.

    The characteristics of the stick and MIG processes for a hobbyist are pretty much;

    Stick buzzbox (~$150)
    -Cheap to buy, low operating costs. These are rock solid machines and will last for just about forever. Pretty much no maintenance other than just blowing the dust out of the inside every once in a while, no consumables to mess with. A wide variety of rods are available pretty much anywhere at a wide range of qualities and prices.
    -Takes a little longer to learn compared to MIG. It helps to use easy rods like 7024 for practice, then move on 7018 etc.
    -Works best for mild steel and stainless 1/8" or thicker. After some practice you will be able to make good welds down to 16 ga or so. Cast iron and aluminum rods are also available, but its probably best to wait until you have mastered mild steel before trying to weld these materials.
    -A tombstone will give you a LOT of power for the money. You will be able to run pretty much any rod out there on 225 amps.
    -Stick will weld equally well in the shop or outside, as it is not affected by wind. It is very easy to run out a long lead from your machine to an inaccessible workpiece (check out bridge welders!)
    -Stick will burn through rust, dirt, paint, galvanizing (but be careful of the fumes) and pretty much any other surface contamination you have, although this may affect the quality of the weld depending on the extent of the contamination.
    -When you are starting out, you will have a LOT more weld clean up to do than with a MIG. However, after a while as you learn better techniques slag will peel off easy, and you will get less spatter. Rods like 7018 and 7024 also tend to be "cleaner". Still something to consider if you plan on painting and prettying up your projects.
    -Your project designs using a stick welder will likely want to incorporate more angle steel and plate, and less thin wall tubing and thin sheet metal. Depending on what you plan to do this may be a limitation.
    -If you are good you will get bragging rights!

    110 MIG (~$1000-1500)
    -Expensive, high operating costs. You will need to keep the welder stocked with;
    (a) Wire
    (b) Gas
    (c) Contact tip and nozzle (you will burn through these fast while learning)
    -Depreciates in value. Mechanically complex, with lots of moving parts and electronics that can break.
    -Very easy to learn. If you are having difficulty with position welding, try a triggering technique. Not exactly code quality, but it holds up fine for most hobbyist stuff.
    -Will weld most common metals. Mild steel, stainless, aluminum are all options, although each needs a special shielding gas and wire, and possibly new drive rolls or a spool gun ($$$)
    -Great for thin gage metal, but limited over 1/8"
    -Your project designs with a MIG will want to use thin wall tubing and sheet metal more than heavy angle or plate. This may be limitation depending on what you are doing.
    -MIG requires squeaky clean joints- no rust or paint, and best to remove mill scale.
    -Not very mobile- pretty much confined to the shop, as MIG relies on shielding gas that will blow away outside.
    -Clean welds that don't require much cleanup are easy to get. Still a good idea to wire wheel off the grey oxide layer.

    Bottom line- consider what kinds of projects you will be doing, do your research, get the machine you need. Consider that you may end up giving up on this if it is just a hobby, so take into account resale value of whatever you get. Whichever option you end up going with, get a good red or blue machine not Chinese crap (I would stay away from the Mexican Home Depot Lincoln MIGs too). Save your HF coupons for the blue angle grinder.

    Edit: damn, just realized how old this thread was. Still I hope this post will help someone.
    Last edited by Stickerer; 06-10-2014 at 12:12 AM.

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