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Welder Purchase Advice Please

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  • Welder Purchase Advice Please


    I'm looking to buy my first welder. I'm 60, and want to do some hobby metal work in retirement. First specific use is welding on the chassis of a car I've started restoring. I'd also like to be able to weld aluminum and possibly stainless steel. I did some stick welding many years ago, and that seemed pretty easy. I tried some oxy-acetylene welding several years ago and that was a bit more challenging. TIG seems interesting, but everything I read makes it sound like if you don't do it often, it will be hard to learn and maintain the skill. Additionally, decent TIG welders aren't cheap, and I get the impression that it may be the wrong type of welder for the thicker steel of the car chassis. So I'm thinking a MIG welder is probably the right choice for someone in my situation? BTW: I can get my hands on an old Lincoln tombstone stick welder, so could go TIG and stick.

    Assuming I've come to the right conclusion about going with MIG, I've been looking at which MIG welder to buy. I want to buy one made in the USA, or at least not made in China. The Hobart 210mvp reviews are positive, and it sounds like plenty of welder for my uses. I think it's at least assembled in the US, but I need to verify that. The only concern I have is that one comparison review of it against the Miller 211 says it will burn through mild steel thinner than 1/4". That sounds really limiting.
    "The Hobart 210MVP will only weld mild steel as small as ¼”. Any smaller and the weld will likely burn through the metal. The Miller 211, on the other hand, welds even 24 gauge mild steel. This theme is repeated even when dealing with aluminum. Surprisingly, the 211 can weld 24 gauge aluminum while the MVP’s limit is 18 gauge aluminum which is slightly larger." Source:

    Since I'm new to all of this, I'd appreciate feedback from people with welding experience.



  • #2
    Welcome to the site!

    About MIG welding sheet metal like body panels on cars/trucks.... You probably want a bit smaller welder (see rest of text), and the process is you do not run a bead, you do tack welds about a inch apart and when you have come to the end, you start over with tack weld next to previous weld and continue the process till you have have a complete solid welded seam....

    You can dial down the 210MPV by going from 240 VAC to 120 VAC to do smaller then 1/4 material (never heard that was a minimum thickness the welder could handle).... The 210MVP on 120 VAC essentially same heats as the Handler 140...

    Also keep in mind much will depend on size of mig wire you use, the most popular come in .023 or .030 or .035 these are the most common sizes for this machine and MIG wire size does figuren into equation on how much "heat" is infuses into weld...

    Don't have much confidence in statement from your WELDZONE link... Sound like speal from Miller salesperson...

    Hobert link to the Handler 210MPV.... And it is spool gun capable so it can do aluminum...

    "Fear The Government That Wants To Take Your Guns" - Thomas Jefferson..


    • #3
      Yeah, that review is crap. You can turn down the Hobart just as much as the Miller in those classes of machines, and you can still do the low end at 240V input. You just need more practice at the thinner stuff, with either machine.

      Stitching thin panels together, instead of trying to run a weave or stringer bead, is one good technique. You may also learn how to use backers of copper to absorb heat without having your weld fuse to it.

      Analyze your needs carefully. Adding aluminum and stainless capability will raise your costs significantly, or limit you to machines that won't do your steel projects as efficiently.

      Agreed that a very capable machine for a lot of what you want to do is a 240V Hobart MIG with a spoolgun package.

      Unlike TIG welding, you'll use three different gases for those three different metals when MIG welding.


      • #4
        You are a poster child for a 210, run and get one NOW. At this point forget about the alloy stuff, it gets a lot of internet press but its really a steel world. the spool gun has pretty much replaced my tig when I absolutely have to save the day fixing some alum.


        • #5
          Like all of these guys have mentioned, that review is 100% incorrect, the Handler 210 MVP is rated for 24ga - 3/8" steel - with aluminum you're going to have the same limitations the Millermatic 211 would have since the low end is limited by process (you can only go so low with the voltage in short circuit transfer before you end up in an unweldable condition). The two machines will be very comparable in terms of capabilities.

          As Mac mentioned, you would need 3 different gasses for the 3 different materials, as well as a spoolgun for aluminum and a spare liner used only for stainless.

          The Handler 210 MVP is designed and assembled in Appleton WI.


          • #6
            And price of Millermatic 211 is substantially more than Hobart 210 MPV at least at CyberWeld...


            "Fear The Government That Wants To Take Your Guns" - Thomas Jefferson..


            • #7
              Thank you all for the feedback. Hobart 210 MVP it is.


              • #8
                I cant recall anyone ever regretting getting one.