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Thread: New welder - Miller XMT 304, Optima and 60 wire feeder

  1. #1
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    New welder - Miller XMT 304, Optima and 60 wire feeder

    Just bought this setup - been after a bargain inverter welder capable of pulsed MIG for a while now, and not knowing much about Miller or XMT's before now, all I saw was a setup, that if I added an Optima pendant, I could have full pulse capability for experimenting and hopefully attaining the holy grail - all position spatter free MIG welds with proper fusion.

    So, this XMT 304 came up on ebay, with unknown wire feeder, and seperately, a good condition Optima pendant came up. I bought them both




    So... what do i think of this 22 year old power source, 22 year old computer control, and 25 year old wire feeder?
    ...it's the best welder I've ever used!

    Set up for regular CV MIG with 93/5/2 Ar/CO2/O2 and .035 wire:
    - Arc starts are crisper than my own Cemont, or the Lincoln or Kemppi transformer welders at work
    - I can dial in the settings to get minimal spatter in short-circuit transfer, basically just making small sparks, much more easily than a transformer and much smoother (I wonder how much of it is down to inductance control?)
    - It has loads of welly for spray transfer - kinda obvious, since it supplies 400amp @ 30% duty cycle, basically on par with a "400 amp" manchine sold today

    Set up with the Optima pendant:
    - not quite dialed for the gas mix I'm using in synergic mode, basically it gives a pulsed spray transfer that puts a little less heat input into the work and makes the puddle a bit more controllable
    - harder work than a well set-up short-arc for vertical up, seems to like a whip-and-pause technique rather than the upside-down V's that I'm used to, otherwise the puddle just runs away
    - manual mig pulser mode is a faff to set up for different thicknesses and joints, I can't see it being used much, but it's good for experimenting with anyways.

    Set up for MMA welding:
    - simply the smoothest and most controllable arc I've ever experienced, both with 6013 "farmers rods" and low-hy 7018's. I now realise why i've read forum comments about people buying these solely for stick welding.

    TIG welding: It came with a gas valve/HF start box hooked up, I have no interest in using it for DC TIG welding since I love my ESAB Aristotig for both AC and DC TIG welding.

    Anyways, I'm over the moon with it. I honestly can't believe we were making inverter welders two decades ago, that are as good as this. Our new 4500 Lincoln Speedtec at work is built cheaper, with a poorer wire feeder, and only thing that's better is the synergic mode controls.

    I have made a chart so I can start writing down settings I like:



    It will replace my Cemont Blumaster 283 - good welder, but not in the same league




    new ESAB welding helmet - nice budget lid for MIG welding, definitely a step up from the crappy SIP helmets - we had two of them and they keep breaking.



    Plans:
    Clean it up properly, blow through with air, check torque on the inverter board screws as per maintenance recommendations.
    I'm going to make a new cart for it - the one it came with is a bit "homemade" with poor quality castors.
    I've already bought a new Binzel MB36 torch for it - IMO the best torches available in the UK.
    I'm going to keep my eyes open for a spool gun - seems pretty straightforward to run and would be nice to have an easy-switch aluminium MIG setup, especially with pulse.

  2. #2
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    Re: New welder - Miller XMT 304, Optima and 60 wire feeder

    I'm late to the party, but congrats! The XMT is my very favorite power source, and if you have the right unit, it will connect to just about any mains supply you can dream up. Have fun!

  3. #3
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    Re: New welder - Miller XMT 304, Optima and 60 wire feeder

    where's my pics gone?

    Here's another from when I made the spool cover for it.



    Yes, the more I use it, the more I realise how incredibly capable it is.

    The S64 wire feeder is the beefiest and best designed feeder I've ever used bar none, puts every UK spec lincoln, kemppi, Lorch, ESAB etc to shame. Built to a quality, not a price.

    I ended up hooking up a 3m torch dedicated to aluminium and it feeds 5356 from a reel no problem. It has a close-tolerance outlet tube so leave it in and butt the plastic liner up close to it... means swapping between steel and alum is as simple as swapping reels and swapping guns, 5 mins or less.

    Still need to make a new cart for it cos the old one is fugly and a proper hanger for the Optima pendant.

    My unit is an older one so doesn't have auto-link voltage circuitry, but it's fine because I have a great 3 phase 415v system on the farm anyways. If this packs up I'll be buying an auto-link version for "just in case". Although it's more likely to get repaired... plenty of info about repairing PCBs out there.
    Last edited by Munkul; 02-25-2019 at 06:36 AM.

  4. #4
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    Re: New welder - Miller XMT 304, Optima and 60 wire feeder

    Congratulations. That is a very nice setup there. I have been looking for an XMT for a while now, but they don't come up for sale often here in used condition, and the new ones are north of $5000 for just the machine.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Miller Dynasty 280 DX TIGRunner
    Fronius Transsteel 2200

  5. #5
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    Re: New welder - Miller XMT 304, Optima and 60 wire feeder

    I have owned an XMT 304 of similar vintage for almost 20 years now, and agree. I use it for stick welding on plate 1" and thicker, its great. It is one of the best power supplies for wire feed I have ever used.
    And I use it daily for DC tig, with an add on radiator and HF unit, and it does very well at that, too.
    This machine was designed as an industrial/job site welder, and it is very tough and underrated.

  6. #6
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    Re: New welder - Miller XMT 304, Optima and 60 wire feeder

    I'd be interested in some photos of some aluminium welds with the optima pulse unit if you have them available

  7. #7
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    Re: New welder - Miller XMT 304, Optima and 60 wire feeder

    Sorry, bit late here



    here's a thread that I wrote about some test pieces I ran a good while ago, the photos look blurry but are still hosted in the PB site.

    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.ph...ghlight=optima

  8. #8
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    Re: New welder - Miller XMT 304, Optima and 60 wire feeder

    Better late than never, i've done a bit of aluminium welding with newer pulse migs before and what you have done is comparable to that. Have you had any issues at all with this setup?

  9. #9
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    Re: New welder - Miller XMT 304, Optima and 60 wire feeder

    It ran absolutely perfectly Just using 500g spools, and each spool ran from the start right to the end of the wire with no issues, probably put around 3-4kg down in total.

    5356 wire is pretty rigid and easy to feed, though.

    The only things that could make it better would be a hot start feature, and crater fill. My next MIG machine will definitely have these things.

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