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Thread: Need a MIG welder

  1. #1
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    Need a MIG welder

    I am needing to weld thin gauge automotive sheet metal (18 gauge is my guess...maybe 20). Trying to stick weld it would frustrate me to no end. I did some testing and I would never be happy with it. I want to do this job right. I have considered flux core since I could probably get a cheap HF one (if people want to try and help convince me that would be a good way to go).I have ZERO experience with anything but stick.

    I have a Miller Thunderbolt XL. It does AC/DC and seems to work great on thick metal. I used it to convert my engine mounts and was very happy with the results. It is 230v.

    I have been mulling the idea of maybe getting a HF MIG welder used, as they don't hold their value and can be had for cheap. The issue is finding if any of them would be worth it. I'd love to hear if any MIG models they have are worth getting over a bigger name.

    I am leaning more towards getting a Lincoln 140 since I just want it for thin stuff and can stick thicker metal. If I should get a 180 instead, and not mess with 140, then by all means please let me know to avoid that. I have also seen LE 31s...the idea of multiprocess and being able to TIG sounds cool but is it worth it in a low power machine?

    I don't know enough about Miller models...they all seem high priced. Since a bottle will cost me around $200 it seems, I was trying to stay under $500 but want to make the smartest decision and will pay more if I have to, to do so.

    Are there good used models I need to be looking for that can be great value like my thunderbolt that people seem to want rid of due to their size and weight? Hobart seems like they have a couple decent options also.

    I'm just looking for wisdom to make the best decision possible. I appreciate any insights that folks with experience can lend me. I really wish I could stick weld so well that I could just use my current guy but i'll blow through it in places and be so mad it's not worth it. And it will be ugly...so ugly. It would be nice if I knew someone with a MIG welder I could rent for a day. It's on a car that doesn't run yet and I need to do the welding before I can even get seats in so moving it to the welder isn't really an option.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by jtap; 11-17-2020 at 06:14 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Where do you live?

    The Titanium line at HF. I have used a Titanium 140 and it works just fine.

    140 ( 120v) $379.00
    170 (120v/240v) $479.00


    You'll probably hear " ya get what ya pay for..." but sometimes we gotta stick to our budgets and the Titanium line is a good option that fits in the budget.
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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    Where do you live?

    The Titanium line at HF. I have used a Titanium 140 and it works just fine.

    140 ( 120v) $379.00
    170 (120v/240v) $479.00


    You'll probably hear " ya get what ya pay for..." but sometimes we gotta stick to our budgets and the Titanium line is a good option that fits in the budget.
    I'm in Mobile, Alabama.

    I appreciate your suggestion, thanks. I am totally satisfied with my HF plasma cutter so I'm more than willing to buy HF stuff. I just didn't know which, if any, HF MIG welders were decent for the price.

    I have also considered buying a TIG unit instead...but I think I might prefer the speed and ease of the MIG.
    Last edited by jtap; 11-17-2020 at 08:44 PM.

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    seems like CL is down. I couldn't search Mobile to see if anything good was available.
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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    seems like CL is down. I couldn't search Mobile to see if anything good was available.

    I've been watching it but it seems so dead compared to FB marketplace.

    I guess the Chicago electric version is no good because it doesn't have a dial for power, eh? What about the Vulcan model, is it significantly better or worth it?

    479 for the Ti 170 and 379 for the Ti 140. Not too bad although I think I would rather get a Lincoln used for under $500, if I could.

    There's a Millermatic 135 an hour and a half away from me. they want $600. The stats on it seem a little weak compared to the Lincoln 140 but maybe if they went down in price it would be more worth it. I might need to start popping into pawn shops...although I hear they usually don't have good prices.
    Last edited by jtap; 11-17-2020 at 09:39 PM.

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    I would recommend the Lincoln 140. since you have stick for heavy stuff. Or look into a used 180 or 175 lincoln, Buddy picked one up pretty reasonable and it has the extra amps to weld thicker since sometimes it's nice to mig vs stick. Could probably get a used 180 size machine for same as a new 140. And the 180 has quite a bit more juice being on 230v

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Quote Originally Posted by nick121 View Post
    I would recommend the Lincoln 140. since you have stick for heavy stuff. Or look into a used 180 or 175 lincoln, Buddy picked one up pretty reasonable and it has the extra amps to weld thicker since sometimes it's nice to mig vs stick. Could probably get a used 180 size machine for same as a new 140. And the 180 has quite a bit more juice being on 230v
    There is a Lincoln 180 HD Weld-pak on craigslist an hour away and even though it was 25 days old the person responded and says they still have it. They are asking $550. Would it be reasonable to offer $500? I don't want to be insulting.
    Last edited by jtap; 11-18-2020 at 09:24 AM.

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    I'm probably a bad one to be responding since I'm looking at Cdn. prices, but that sounds like a reasonable approach to me. Worst he can do is say no, and if it hasn't been selling, he's probably more motivated. I've got the 180 and I think you'd be much happier with 240 over 120 volt.
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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    You can adapt your AC/DC miller for tig as an option. Can not use a foot pedal.
    Since you need a tank, I'd get a price from local suppliers on machine and tank package.
    The newer HF migs have good reviews.
    I would definitely consider their extended warranty.
    Since you have 220 volt, definitely get a 220 volt machine. If you don't need that many amps, it will provide better duty cycle.
    As for the Miller migs, look for one with
    " Auto Set ". Those are the later models.
    The older 211 is extremely popular but difficult to find.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Quote Originally Posted by BD1 View Post
    You can adapt your AC/DC miller for tig as an option. Can not use a foot pedal.
    Since you need a tank, I'd get a price from local suppliers on machine and tank package.
    The newer HF migs have good reviews.
    I would definitely consider their extended warranty.
    Since you have 220 volt, definitely get a 220 volt machine. If you don't need that many amps, it will provide better duty cycle.
    As for the Miller migs, look for one with
    " Auto Set ". Those are the later models.
    The older 211 is extremely popular but difficult to find.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I saw a welding tips and tricks video where he even made a special high current pedal to do the adapted tig move with the thunderbolt. That would be an option. Good point.

    Is it easier to weld thin metal with TIG without blowing through it than MIG?

    Also good point about maybe getting a combo tank/unit deal from a gas supplier. I'll inquire about that.

    There happens to be two Lincoln 180 HDs for sale around me. I put out feelers to them to see if either is flexible on the price.

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Quote Originally Posted by jtap View Post
    There is a Lincoln 180 HD Weld-pak on craigslist an hour away and even though it was 25 days old the person responded and says they still have it. They are asking $550. Would it be reasonable to offer $500? I don't want to be insulting.
    Lincoln Electric 180 Welder - $550 (Milton)

    This one?

    looks like it is missing the drive shaft for the Spool of wire.
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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    The HF Titanium 170 actually has an advantage over the Lincoln 180.
    better Duty Cycle and more control. Infinite Voltage selection as well as an inductance control.


    180HD: 130 amps 30% Duty Cycle, Tapped Voltage selection
    HF170: 160amps 25% Duty Cycle, Infinite Voltage, plus an Inductance control know.


    Most situations the Tapped Voltage isnt a bad thing but when welding thin sheet metal the ability to dial in it even more could come in handy.


    If yer buying a used Lincoln- no warranty so they are both even on warranty since HF basic warranty is only 90 days from purchase, unless you purchase the extended warranty.
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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    Lincoln Electric 180 Welder - $550 (Milton)

    This one?

    looks like it is missing the drive shaft for the Spool of wire.
    Interesing, i'll ask about that.

    The other one in Pensacola has less pictures. It's listed at $600

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    The HF Titanium 170 actually has an advantage over the Lincoln 180.
    better Duty Cycle and more control. Infinite Voltage selection as well as an inductance control.


    180HD: 130 amps 30% Duty Cycle, Tapped Voltage selection
    HF170: 160amps 25% Duty Cycle, Infinite Voltage, plus an Inductance control know.


    Most situations the Tapped Voltage isnt a bad thing but when welding thin sheet metal the ability to dial in it even more could come in handy.


    If yer buying a used Lincoln- no warranty so they are both even on warranty since HF basic warranty is only 90 days from purchase, unless you purchase the extended warranty.
    Infinite voltage does seem better than steps. Good point about that and duty.

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    that $550 one without a drive shaft seems sketchy- how is it missing? Looks like it is in a storage facility so no way to test it.

    I saw the $600 one as well with a cart. Would be a better risk as it looks like it was used and you would be able to test it.


    But don't forget about the cost of a bottle of shielding gas which eats up the money
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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    You should connect with Mozella. He is in south Alabama and needs a TIG machine for only one project. Then getting out of welding.

    Y’all could buy a multiprocess machine, let him finish his project and you have a new better welder. Split the costs up front.

    Just saying.
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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    that $550 one without a drive shaft seems sketchy- how is it missing? Looks like it is in a storage facility so no way to test it.

    I saw the $600 one as well with a cart. Would be a better risk as it looks like it was used and you would be able to test it.


    But don't forget about the cost of a bottle of shielding gas which eats up the money
    I could bring a generator to test it. I sent an email asking about the missing spline.

    Quote Originally Posted by wb4rt View Post
    You should connect with Mozella. He is in south Alabama and needs a TIG machine for only one project. Then getting out of welding.

    Y’all could buy a multiprocess machine, let him finish his project and you have a new better welder. Split the costs up front.

    Just saying.
    That is an interesting proposition. I am somewhat flexible on this.

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    I use HF 170 MIG welder
    Works great and low cost
    I have own name brands but now I am retired so just need a small welder and 170 works great

    https://www.harborfreight.com/170-am...der-68885.htmlName:  TTIMPORTER_1538154557590_L1000.jpg
Views: 421
Size:  104.5 KB

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by jtap View Post
    I am needing to weld thin gauge automotive sheet metal (18 gauge is my guess...maybe 20). Trying to stick weld it would frustrate me to no end. I did some testing and I would never be happy with it. I want to do this job right. I have considered flux core since I could probably get a cheap HF one (if people want to try and help convince me that would be a good way to go).I have ZERO experience with anything but stick.

    I have a Miller Thunderbolt XL. It does AC/DC and seems to work great on thick metal. I used it to convert my engine mounts and was very happy with the results. It is 230v.

    I have been mulling the idea of maybe getting a HF MIG welder used, as they don't hold their value and can be had for cheap. The issue is finding if any of them would be worth it. I'd love to hear if any MIG models they have are worth getting over a bigger name.

    I am leaning more towards getting a Lincoln 140 since I just want it for thin stuff and can stick thicker metal. If I should get a 180 instead, and not mess with 140, then by all means please let me know to avoid that. I have also seen LE 31s...the idea of multiprocess and being able to TIG sounds cool but is it worth it in a low power machine?

    I don't know enough about Miller models...they all seem high priced. Since a bottle will cost me around $200 it seems, I was trying to stay under $500 but want to make the smartest decision and will pay more if I have to, to do so.

    Are there good used models I need to be looking for that can be great value like my thunderbolt that people seem to want rid of due to their size and weight? Hobart seems like they have a couple decent options also.

    I'm just looking for wisdom to make the best decision possible. I appreciate any insights that folks with experience can lend me. I really wish I could stick weld so well that I could just use my current guy but i'll blow through it in places and be so mad it's not worth it. And it will be ugly...so ugly. It would be nice if I knew someone with a MIG welder I could rent for a day. It's on a car that doesn't run yet and I need to do the welding before I can even get seats in so moving it to the welder isn't really an option.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by smithdoor; 11-18-2020 at 04:22 PM.

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    I use HF 170 MIG welder
    Works great and low cost
    I have own name brands but now I am retired so just need a small welder and 170 works great

    https://www.harborfreight.com/170-am...der-68885.htmlName:  TTIMPORTER_1538154557590_L1000.jpg
Views: 421
Size:  104.5 KB

    Dave
    Thanks for the first hand report Dave!

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Your welcome

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by jtap View Post
    Thanks for the first hand report Dave!

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    In all my searching I did stumble across what could be a really good deal. Up in north alabama...a lincoln flextec 450 for $500. I don't know what a mig spool for it would cost but if it was close I would probably snatch this up.

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...2688213271848/

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    that $550 one without a drive shaft seems sketchy- how is it missing? Looks like it is in a storage facility so no way to test it.

    I saw the $600 one as well with a cart. Would be a better risk as it looks like it was used and you would be able to test it.


    But don't forget about the cost of a bottle of shielding gas which eats up the money
    Exact same pictures for a FB ad in a different city in a different state. Sketchy!

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...4551955765221/

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    TIG on thin ga sheet is going to require a higher skill set then MIG. The TIG unit will also need to have a real good low end with a gentle arc start.
    Even with MIG with this thin of material you want a unit with a real good low. I just don't mean a machine that can go down to 25 amps. The arc characteristics are going to matter too. An arc with a little too much aggressiveness is going to make gap situations more difficult. Unless you find a good used one, it'll be out of your price, but for thin ga sheet I definitely feel Lincoln's PowerMIG 180C is a really good choice. Never ran a 140C to know if it's as good as the 180C.

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Titanium 170 is showing 30 amp low end. Can't find anything on low end voltage though. With that inductance control, with a 30 amp low end, if the proper low end voltage is available the unit looks to have the potential to be a good thin ga sheet unit. Of course the skill set of the person operating the unit is going to play a major role in this potential.

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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    Titanium 170 is showing 30 amp low end. Can't find anything on low end voltage though. With that inductance control, with a 30 amp low end, if the proper low end voltage is available the unit looks to have the potential to be a good thin ga sheet unit. Of course the skill set of the person operating the unit is going to play a major role in this potential.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    TIG on thin ga sheet is going to require a higher skill set then MIG. The TIG unit will also need to have a real good low end with a gentle arc start.
    Even with MIG with this thin of material you want a unit with a real good low. I just don't mean a machine that can go down to 25 amps. The arc characteristics are going to matter too. An arc with a little too much aggressiveness is going to make gap situations more difficult. Unless you find a good used one, it'll be out of your price, but for thin ga sheet I definitely feel Lincoln's PowerMIG 180C is a really good choice. Never ran a 140C to know if it's as good as the 180C.
    You have honed in on the key, being able to do this thin material work in a decent way. That is what concerns me most. I am skeptical of these Lincoln machines with only 4 or 5 voltage steps. That is what made me think the Hobart machines with 7 (I think on the 190) or the 10 of the millermatic 135 I saw for sale might make them better suited for the job. I was able to find this chart in the millermatic manual.



    I'm not sure how it compares to others without being able to find similar charts but the voltage/amp options seem decent on it.

    I'll keep digging a bit regarding the 180c. The manuals I found were not for that specific unit but kind of for all 180s. I thought the C version would have a different, maybe infinite voltage control to go along with the different wire feed that I think I heard it has.

    You also confirmed my thoughts regarding TIG not being suitable for me and my needs here.

    I am potentially willing to do a buy once cry once for a more expensive unit...but am not sure which units to be looking for and they would likely need to be used. I haven't seen many miller units for under 1k, but I am looking.
    Last edited by jtap; 11-19-2020 at 09:37 AM.

  25. #25
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    Re: Need a MIG welder

    The Lincoln C models do have Continuous voltage selection.

    Power Mig 140c Power Mig 180C these units are only sold through welding Supply shops.


    The Retail Models are Tapped Voltage: EasyMig180, Weldpak 180, MigPak180 are sold at the box stores. All of them are the same machine with a different name as each retail store stocks their own model.


    They both look the same with a slight difference on the voltage control label. C models have the red band around the dial.
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