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What type of welder are you guys using?


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I"m interested in doing some blacksmiting/welding projects and wondering if a simple stick welder would serve my purpose, looking at Lincoln ac 225 or ac dc225. Should I just get a Mig. I'm thinking of using 1"-2" square tubing, some round tubing, I'm guessing 1/8" thick or maybe thicker. Also using 1/8 flat bar, 3/16 to 1" square stock. I plan on using the square tubing for frame and doing some designs with the solid and welding it to it. I'm very very new so any help would be appreated. Also if you post your pictures if you wouldn't mind explaining how you welded it, i.e. Mig, Tig, Stick, torch.. etc.

thanks.

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The question you ask is not a simple one to anwser. In fact you may get alot of different opinions on this subject because it has been asked many times here. First, do you have any welding experience? If not, stick welding requires some skill and a bit of practice to be able to use it. If you are going to be welding alot of thin gauge tubing it might even be frustrating for you. I would recommend a MIG unit for you. It will be easier to learn and find a friend or take a class to help you learn how to use it correctly. A good welding supply store will help you get it set up and they will even give you some pointers. I am Miller man myself and would recommend a Miller 211 unit. It is a great power source and will run on either 110 or 220 volts. Good luck!

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Hobart is made by Miller and is a great machine for less money (and fewer features)


My Dad has a Hobart 135 (now discontinued, replaced by the Hobart 140.) It is a 110v wire feed machine capable of flux core or shield gas. It easily welds up to 1/4 inch in one pass, but you run into duty cycle after a while. It will weld multi-pass much thicker.

If the machine is for "occasional" use I can recommend this machine highly. You can do large projects with ease, and some care for the 20% duty cycle (common on 110V machines)

If you are doing daily production welding you might want a bigger machine with a longer duty cycle.

Here's the post vise mount I made using my Dad's machine. I am not a trained welder.
http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/1084-show-me-your-vise/page__st__180#entry275609


Phil

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To quote "Big Trouble in Little China" "Marry them Both!"

You should be able to find a used AC lincoln Tombstone welder for around US$150 in these parts and it's a great welder for many items where you wouldn't want to buy a full spool of special alloy wire.

The Mig is a great addition to the shop's welding capacity but will probably be more expensive and used ones are a bit more prone to problems as it involves moving parts.

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All the different processes have their place. If you are doing mostly decorative projects, especially thin walled tubing, its hard to beat a Mig. For quite a few years all I had was a Lincoln 135. Works fine for anything up to 1/4". Nice to have the portability of a 110 machine. Currently I'm using a Miller DVI. Good welder but quite underpowered for its size. Wouldn't be my first choice but it came to me in a package deal. HWHII recommended the 211. Its the newer version of the DVI. More power and a smaller package. If I was in the market for a new machine it would probably be towards the top of the list.

I also have a Lincoln 225 Tombstone. Try to find one used if you can. They can be had for next to scrap price.

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I have both types, like the old Lincoln for heavy stuff and really like the Lincoln mig for for the thin stuff. I bought the old tombstone in 76 and mig in 06. By 06 I wasn't doing too much heavy stuff, couldn't lift it, so was doing mostly light stuff and found a floor model for cheap at HD for about a third off a boxed one. No instructions but I figured it out. Tombstones often go for more than scrap prices when you consider the price of scrap and they are a very good tool.

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I have both a Miller Thunderbolt and a little Lincoln 115v mig. The mig is real handy for doing quick welds and tacking (flux cored gassless wire) while the stick is for heavier jobs. For the stick be sure to get the AC/DC machine as just AC limits your rod selections. Miller and Lincoln make great machines but Miller has moved a little ahead on the small migs, they are just easier for a newbie to use. If I had to choose just one, in my shop for what I do, the mig is worth its weight in gold (ok, 75lbs of gold I could buy a new shop but you get my drift.) Not only do I use these machines but I sell them too. Stay away from inverter machines. These are light weight, have great a smooth arc and are more efficient than the older transformer style machines. The draw back, they only have a life expectacy of 5 to 7 years. Good luck.

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I'll be following this thread as I'm interested in something myself.
I'm leaning towards a Hobart (which I read is still made in the U.S.), probably the 140.

ron



I want a Hobart 140 for myself, too.

Most Lincoln's are made in Cleveland Ohio (well, Euclid) still. I drove past the plant a few weeks ago.

I agree with getting the bigger machine if you can afford it, and have reasonable expectation of using it.

Phil
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Forge weld first and foremost if the client understands or is educatable. If you must electric weld, I prefer the modular approach. Miller 304 power source, add on mig/tig/stick parts as needed. Job site portable, takes up minimal shop space, you can rent hi freq tig or wire feed units to plug into it as needed for odd jobs.

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I started with a Lincoln 225AC buzz box. This is the same welder that I used at a small welding shop that did repairs and made equipment for grain systems and livestock producers in the area.We welded up to 1/2 inch and down to 20 guage. The owner upgraded to a mig before I moved on and it was much nicer for the light steel.

I also have a Hobart 140 which is nice for light sheet and tubeing. I usually go to it first if it is 1/4" or less but would not be with out the Stick welder. I have more confidence in the stick when I need it to hold, on the thicker stock.

I would go with an AC/DC if the opportunity presented itself.

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Summerman,
I teach my metals students with the following: Oxy-A outfit, Hobart 190 w/spoolgun, Lincoln 225, and a Powermate 140 GMAW. I have them cut and prep six pieces of 1/8" x 1" hr steel band and have them weld both sides with each of the three welding processes; gas, SMAW, and GMAW. For the novice, hands down the GMAW is the one to go with. Some would argue with me, but I personally believe that it is an easier process to learn. The Hobart machine is great for small stuff under 1/4" and I mean really great. I just bought the machine in January to help my larger classes get through the projects....30 high school kids in a production lab. Anyway that machine is really easy to run and mine seems to love flux core. I do a boiler pipe test with my kids. It is where I have them weld the outside of a pipe and then I fill it with water. It used to be a good test for them to run the older Powermate. I could always tell the kids who actually practiced, developed some skill, and figured out how to set the machine. Now, with the Hobart they all are putting down some nice beads and fewer leaks. I believe that the Hobart has some nicer circuitry that helps with adjusting the optimal amperage to help your weld be its best. The older machine does not and takes a little more intellegence/training to run correctly without putting down toothpaste looking welds or burning through.

The real question here is not which process or machine, but rather it is more related on how much do you want to spend for the machine and consumables? As said earlier a used stick machine can be found cheap pretty easy. A nice MIG will set you back a bit more but may be worht it. I would stay away from Oxy-A unless you plan on cutting thick stuff quickly. A niced cutting torch is hard to beat.

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If I was in the market for a welder I would look for a used Lincoln for the stick welder, the old AC-DC machines can not be beat.post-10376-0-78172900-1337133347_thumb.j
For a mig welder you can not find a better more user-friendly machine than what miller makes, the 250 or 251 machines have the best "sweet spot" that I have found. They weld great at just about every setting on the dial.
Now if I was looking for a small 110 v mig I would look for an older Lincoln SP 100, 125, 135. The older ones work great and are lighter than the Millers, (way lighter) If I was going with a new machine I would go with the Miller. I would stay away from the Hobart, every one that I have used had problems (usually the dial that controls the wire speed)

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Repeat of what Wayne Coe said and then add: Stick welding will require you to be more of a welder to weld real well with it.

With MIG welding it will be a lot less effort to get better welds with less practice. I own Miller equipment, but a well known name brand like Lincoln should be just as good. Just stay away from generic off brand knock offs for it will be hard to sell yourself as a serious craftsman using second rate equipment.

Save up for an auto-darkening helmet because tacking something together blind is for professionals and adds struggle to the task of welding. I’ve done a lot of metal art which entails tacking small pieces together and taking aim before the arc happens makes welding much more comfortable and easy.

Good luck with your welding endeavors. Spears.

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I have a hobart 175 it runs on 220v you can weld 1/4" in a single pass. The advantage to this machine for me is all the replacement parts are miller and it cost less to buy the machine. Also I is small enough that it can be run off a 8500 watt generator. So I am able to take it out in the field to weld. With the addition of a spool gun you can weld aluminum. When I set up my welding equipment I looked at buying a big generator welder and after looking at the cost and the price of the individual parts to make up my set up I spent less and got a generator, welder and plasma cutter for the same price. and if one part breaks down I can replace the components with out breaking the bank. I do have a 250 ac/dc Lincoln welder in my shop. but I find my self grabbing the hobart 9 times out of 10. The advantage of a 220v machine over 110v is your duty cycle how much time you can spend in welding time. My brother has a 110v machine he tacks his projects together at his house and then brings it to me to do the welding. Hope this helps

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My brother has a 110v machine he tacks his projects together at his house and then brings it to me to do the welding.


There you have it.....110v wire feed *welders* are fine for body shops but lousy for what we generally do. The power supply to my Lincoln 175 is 12/3 romex (the same as you need for a 110volts of frustration) and the machine kicks butt for a few hundred more bucks. Spend the extra $ and you'll be glad you did..... ;)
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For small work with minimal clean up I use the Hoabrt 150 set up to run on 220 V. The cost of the unis is reasonable as is the wire and consumable parts. Estimated cost around USD $600.00 . The draw back is lack of full penetration on thicker stock pieces. This can be mitigated somewhat by preheating the pieces. Overall a very good investment for the shop doing decorative iron.

For larger projects or those involving thicker materials, I have a Miller 225/ AC-DC/ stick/ gas engine The Miller is skid mounted so I can lift it into the truck and go mobile if the need arises. A good workhorse and an excellent pipe machine. Only drawback is that the TIG package for that model is expensive. You can still use it as a tig for ferous utilizing a gass supply rig and the electrode package. Scratch start only. Cost on the engine driven welders runs anywhere from 3K to 5K. A lot of shops where I live, do welding work in addition to decorative smithing.

Peter

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When I moved to Utah I brought my miller matic with me, I also have a synchrowave by miller, I like them both. The mug is 220 volt, but the duty cycle is not great if you're doing production work. I recently bought an esan 280c. This thing is a workhorse and will even do spray transfer. I can make welds on small stuff look like rig! Get the highest duty cycle you can afford, you will be glad you did.

(null)

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Most people seem to be mig centered. Man, I just don't like it. The big thing for me is it's too smokey, too hard on the lungs. I tig 99% of the daily stuff and will usually only mig a job if there's a lot of tacking. I'm not being a prima dona either. Well maybe a little, but I find mig to be a harder process. Maybe I don't want to be good at it cause of the smoke. And all those globs are a bummer if you don't have it dialed. With tig you can bridge gaps, weld thick to thin, have teeny little beautiful laser welds all with only the sweet smell of argon. Anyway, I use a Thermal Arc 185 tig machine.

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I bought a Lincoln HD3200 110v Mig. I'm no welder and pictures prove it. I know with solid wire and Argon it makes me look like a good welder. With flux core I have to work just to get welds that doen't require more time grinding than it's worth. It's great when I need to weld light stuff but 1/4" is a stretch for this welder and anything beyond is out of the question. I want to get a 3 in 1 next but that won't happen anytime soon. A small mig would handle the tubing but forget about anything larger than 1/4". It is easy to use with Argon or Argon mix. I had never welded before getting this welder. If I had it to do over again I think I would have gotten the stick welder instead.

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got a bobcat with a s32s wire feeder if I need it.......comes in handy for the big stuff, (front end loaders, backhoes, blades etc ) to cut the time in half. And an old hobart 150....still a good machine

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I have the Idealarc 250, Lincoln SP 200, Lincoln Idealarc 300, Lincoln SA 200, Lincoln Ranger 8, Lincoln SP 100, Westinghouse Flexarc 200 amp, Thermalarc 130, I think that is everything I own right now. And I use them all. I use the best machine for the job.

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