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miller TB 302 or PipePro

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  • miller TB 302 or PipePro

    I am looking at getting a machine... Fortunately money is not a major concern. I am currently getting into welding and trying to learn and get set up at the same time. I am 35, college degree, motivated and finally learning to weld after years of doing other businesses. Currently taking a 10 month structural and pipe course. x-ray test for both. I understand the school vs. OJT argument and not all folks are the same.

    Since I am a greenhorn in this field main power option is running me in circles. I would like to have different job options and wondering between TBAir pac (diesel) or Pipe Pro. Would the TB be sufficient for pipe? Should I not waste my time with either? Also looking at a classic 300. Any such thing as a very good universal machine? Thanks for any input.

  • #2
    Why not start out with a Miller Trailblazer 302 gasser to see how you like it? I can't see any reason to start with the most expensive machines untill you find your niche. If you are going pipelinning then I guess the lincoln will let you fit in.


    • #3

      I agree on the 302 Trailblazer. Also, if money is not too much of a concern, I would get the 302 equipped to run on propane. Propane seems to be much more trouble free in colder climates, and also if for some reason the 302 will sit for an extended time, you will not have to worry about stale fuel gumming up the system. We have an LP model where I work as a maintenance tech. You would not believe how clean the oil and plugs are because of using LP. We do not PM this unit as often as recommended, but even so, the oil looks almost new, and the plugs are very clean. I would also get at least 2 propane cylinders so you have at least 1 as a back up.


      • #4
        My vote is for the TB. I would go with the Airpac and if they have a propane model, it will save you most on fuel and your carbon footprint will be smaller. I had a trailblazer 250G and with a hf 251 TIG set up, an 8VS suitcase, and a 30A Spoolmate. Can't forget the 100' of lead for the stinger and same for the ground. I could just see how much more versatile it would have been with an Airpac. I know of no other machine with as many powerful capabilities. With the right truck, you can go anywhere and do anything.

        It would really be a shame if you decided it was something you did not want to do and the equipment got dusty in the garage or sold at a loss.

        That's my 2 bucks worth.
        Bill Lambert
        Argon Welding
        ABQ NM

        Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc


        • #5
          You seem to be heading in two different directions with the welding course your taking. I look at it as if you need to decide what direction you plan to go into.

          A welder for structual welding would have different requirements 1) diesel powered 2) ability to gouge with 1/4" carbons or bigger(maybe 400amps or bigger) 3) be both cv/cc 4) good arc starts on 6010 and 7018.

          A welder for pipe welding would have these requirements 1) diesel 2) good arc characteristic for 6010 rod ( adj arc dig/force or adj engine rpm) and 7018.

          Things can still change for a welder for pipe because if your allowed to run pipe downhill you may require a different machine. The reason for the diesel is that some places will not allow you to run gas powered equipement for its potential flammabilty. One more factor falls on you and that your preference for arc charasteristics and that alone can make a difference, so people notice it and some people don't.


          • #6
            Thanks folks. Yes it is true I am not sure which path but maybe both. My goal is to become the best welder I can be and beable to do any job be it pipe or structural. I currently own and run a fishing boat/lodge up in Alaska. I would keep this unit up here and have decided diesel because I keep 500 gal at the lodge. Propane I have not really considered but shortly thought about . It is no cheaper than diesel or gas up here.

            At this point it seems the TB will run all processes. Not saying it is the best in any but the error would come from the welder not the machine. This unit seems extremely versatile.

            Just like any business I am sure I will need something a little different for the next job. Most folks on these sites have a really long list of equipment and I could see a lincoln in the future if I ended up on a pipeline. Aluminum and stainless are on my radar. I don't want to be a one process welder.

            Thanks for the responses and keep confusing me if you want. It is all appreciated.


            • #7
              You cant prepare for everything, you will waste a lot of money and time if you try. Some of the best are one process welders because they specialize but I can see in your case some contingency preparedness may be in order, out in the puckers some alloy work might be worth the investment, maybe the AC power of a TB would be a big asset. Get the affordable stuff you are likely to use, if you get a burning desire to pipeline a guy could always trade around or buy another machine.
              Back when I was a sprout I put a lot of tools on the truck I never used.


              • #8
                Thanks Sberry. I guess everything may not be what i am looking for. It seems that if I stick, tig and wire feed it covers most basis so long as I am proficient at each. Don't these 3 processes kind of go hand in hand? I am not looking to get into sheetmetal or aircraft work if that makes any difference. Thanks for you time, wow 10,000 posts on here! Considerable weight to your opinion. To bad I don't have 5 yrs of experience to answer all my own questions. Should I just pic up a Synchrowave for now and play with that? I have a little millermatice 140 with alum spool gun in the garage. Looks like I may need a little more time before buying a portable unit...


                • #9
                  You have a 140 now, its a little small, will work for a lot of things and if I didn't have it i would be leaning toward a HH210 as a basic workhorse for general light fab. I would deal with alum if I really had to, its a steel world to a great extent. Only reason i have it is I have a lot of alum equipment, if I didn't I would be doing my prep/fab work and running it to someone on the rare occasion I needed it welded. I have even strayed from TIG to using the 210, so fast and I am not a perfectionist if it isn't required.
                  But since you have a 140 which would suffice for light sheet work for the moment I might be considering a machine like the Miller Maxstar 150 which you could get a lot of use out of at this time. Very portable, cheap to operate and really works from 120V. Since you are not financially pressed another option is a Miller Dynasty, still portable enough, will run from 120 if needed but makes you feel like a super hero on alum. I use my Max in place of engine drive on several jobs, these machines are easy on the electric service demands, work great with extension cords and even generators.
                  A good ole torch set should be near the top of the list as well as grinders and top battery drill. Rocky D recently found a real deal on older engine drive on trailer with torch and comp, something like that is great until you find a special need.


                  • #10
                    I have a few 4.5'' grinders, chop saws, hand tools, dewalt battery tools,... I have been looking at the Dynasty 200 also. Looks like a good al around unit and would not be bad to have down the road. I have some alum work of my own to do before this season and figured it will cost atleast 500-1000 to have someone do the work so I may as well get my own. Last year I spent 1500 on stainless and alum work up here about 7 lbs of material with 10 welds. Linear feet of welds about 2. That would have only cost me 8-900 back in Texas. I have also looked at the Max. The Dynasty has option I will most likely never use but seems to be the way to go if one doesn't mind spending the money. We have both at the welding school I am at. I will get to use them in the next 3 weeks before I make up my mind.

                    Sberry... How do I order some? No good fruit up here.