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MIG easier than Stick???!!!

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  • MIG easier than Stick???!!!

    Greetings Boyz and Girlz,
    I was reading a thread in the "Welding Products Forum" and was surprized to see that a lot of you say that MIG welding is quite abit easier than stick welding. I retired from one of the largest railroads in the USA in 1994 where I had worked 35 years as a heavy equipment mechanic. All the work I did was field work and all the welding and fab. work was done with welders mounted on our trucks that the RR furnished ( last welder I used was a Bobcat 225 ). In my many years with the RR I repaired broken frames, crane booms, HD trailers etc. Being the "wiseass" that I am I've always told folks that I can weld up anything from the crack of dawn to a broken heart!!!!! Now I've said all that to say this, I've never used a MIG!!! I've always been a "stickman", for the last 25 years, well up until 6 weeks ago I had a Lincoln "tombstone" as my shop welder. I just bought a Stickmate AC/DC and so far I love it. I guess my questions are, are MIGs really that easy to use, do they cost more to operate than a stick because of the gas, wire spools, spool guns and consumables??? Would it make since to have a nice MIG setup as a second machine? I value you folks input on this subject.

    From the Cool and Very Dry Flatlands of Texas,
    danny
    If you want it I got it
    If I ain't got it I can get it
    If I can't get it I can make it
    And if I can't make it then you don't need it

  • #2
    Personally I Agree with You

    I find that a stick is way more useful and easy to deal with than a Mig. Then again I am not a "real" welder and I don't even play one on tv. Best of all is that it takes no effort or time to just toss in whatever rod I need to do whatever I am doing. The old Tombstone is the first thing I reach for every time unless its for auto tin or to consider something a learning experience.

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    • #3
      I don't pretend to be a welder but I had a stick welder for 40 years. It has done some serious work in repairs to broken farm equipment and a few hobby jobs. My problem has always been when I get down to 1/8" or less. I picked up a Hobart 140 (MIG) recently and I have been delighted at how easy it was to use it. In fact, I gave the stick machine to my son-in-law since I doubt that I'll ever use it again. If I do need it, I'll borrow it back. So far, I'm still using fluxcore wire but will likely add gas and solid wire soon. Actually though, the fluxcore wire gives me pretty much everything I need right now.

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      • #4
        I hate stick and never did it well, so I'm biased. MIG is nice for a few reasons. It does thinner materials nicely, there's less cleanup and better productivity. Multipass, if it's needed only requires a bit of cleanup with a wire brush as there's no slag left behind. Also, there's no real need to use different fillers for different positions or passes. I like it because it's quick and easy. Gas isn't so expensive. I just picked up a 140cf for $55, which is pretty expensive relative to other parts of the country. That's good for atleast five hours of arc-time, which is a great deal of wire.

        The downside to MIG is having to deal with a wire feeder, a bottle of gas, and a short lead. It also doesn't work well outdoors if it's windy at all. One advantage stick has is that it works well in windy environments and has better penetration at a given load, but that's also true of FCAW.

        I will say that it's easy to learn how to make a pretty bead with MIG in the flat position, but it's not quite as easy to make a bead with good penetration in all positions. I'd say it's easier than stick, but it's no piece of cake. The best way to answer your question would be to suggest that you borrow or rent a MIG welder and build something with it and see how you like it. Some stickmen are instant converts, while others hate it and go back to their holy rods.

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        • #5
          Having been a man who loves or loved ( he he he ) the stick weld I have to say yes Mig is a bit easyer. Just think of it as a almost never ending Stick. I still have my stick units here as a matter of fact I was useing the one just last weekend. Had some odd work to do and MIG and rust just do not getalong. Mig is very quick and clean but your metal needs to be clean too. I have not done much Flux Core so I cant say if that works well on rustly stuff or not. I find the Mig is nice for that quick thing I just happen to be working on.

          I have a Tomestone AC/DC and a old Miller engine driven AC only that I use here. I have a Hobart H175 with gas for Mig. Both have been great to me!

          I would have to say its all up to what you are doing. If you work on a lot of painted and rusty stuff then theres nothing better then some 6011 to burn that crap off. If your working with a lot of new iron and fabing a lot then a mig would be handdy to have in the corner.

          I am not sure but I think thay would be prety close in cost to use. Yes you have gas to buy with the mig but I think it might **** MIGHT ***** be cheaper on the electric bill then a big transformer running stick rods. I have not done research so do not hold me to that its just a thought I have. that and you dont need a rod oven for the 7018 .... In speaking of such mine took a crap! tryed to dry off some last weekend for that job and ended up C clamping my cutting torch to a jack stand to have a torch lit hands free to "dry" my rods with before thay striked there first arc.
          OMS
          HH175
          Red Tomstone W/ HF for TIG
          Old Miller Engine Driven 225 Amp AC Stick Welder
          Smith O/A X 2
          Harris O/A
          BridgePort
          MSC cut off BandSaw 6X12"
          And more!
          Shop Mechanic for Brinks Coin

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          • #6
            R45,

            My take on it is that, while sticl is harder to master, a crummy looking stick weld is likely to be stronger than a "pretty" MIG weld laid down by a newbie. I'm speaking from experience. I'm really still a "newb", and starting with O/A, then going to stick, and finally MIG (actually, I'm tryin' to learn TIGnow!) I know that my stick work was much more sound than my inital MIG work. Even though stuff wasn't real pretty, nothing i ever stick welded fell apart. My first effort at MIG LOOKED beautiful! I was rejoicing! Then, I stood it up and put some weight on it, and "POOF" - all layin' on the ground!

            Hank
            ...from the Gadget Garage
            MM 210 w/3035, BWE
            HH 210 w/DP 3035
            TA185TSW
            Victor O/A "J" series, SuperRange
            Avatar courtesy of Bob Sigmon...

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            • #7
              The strength issue is what I like with the stick.

              I can put together about anything common that I do with the stick. By burning it right in there is never an issue of it holding and never was even when I didn't really know what I was doing. Thats not the case with the mig. I know a guy who can weld 1/4 plate and have it as strong as my tombstone using his little 110 miller but then he is or was a pro. I can't begin to get the small mig to make it strong on plate like that. I just feel the power makes up for a lot of expertise . At least it lets you get away with a lot more. I never minded cleaning up the mess either. A little shaping with the grinder and many of my welds look pretty nice. It just takes a little longer.

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              • #8
                I have almost always used stick and like it. Most of my hobby work is ornamental; treelises, gates, etc, with 1/4 to 1/2 inch steel- 1 pass, so stick works fine. I was pleased to see how controllable DC+ was on thin (lawnmover housing) steel. I suspect a 110 MIG would be a good complement to a stick machine; portability, no need for 220 and down to 26 gauge or so.
                Blacksmith
                Stickmate LX AC/DC
                Big cheap (Chinese) Anvil
                Hand cranked coal forge
                Freon bottle propane forge
                HH 210 and bottle of C25

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by hankj
                  R45,

                  My take on it is that, while sticl is harder to master, a crummy looking stick weld is likely to be stronger than a "pretty" MIG weld laid down by a newbie. I'm speaking from experience. I'm really still a "newb", and starting with O/A, then going to stick, and finally MIG (actually, I'm tryin' to learn TIGnow!) I know that my stick work was much more sound than my inital MIG work. Even though stuff wasn't real pretty, nothing i ever stick welded fell apart. My first effort at MIG LOOKED beautiful! I was rejoicing! Then, I stood it up and put some weight on it, and "POOF" - all layin' on the ground!

                  Hank
                  Hank is right-

                  Stick is much harder to master, but you get a higher quality result even if it does't look so great. I personally started stick welding about ten years ago, and none of my welds have failed-even those beads that look like bird poop! However, my mig welding (I've been welding mig about 5yrs.) has failed- even those beautiful jewels which I was so proud of at the time. My tig welding has never failed either- which is why I only really trust those two processes. Mig sure is nice for slapping together a big project though, so I guess everything has it's place.
                  Miller Dynasty 300dx
                  Miller XMT-304
                  Lincoln SP-135
                  Oxweld O/A rig
                  Jackson Master pro-variable helmet

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                  • #10
                    Mig welding makes a good stick welder look great and bad stick welder look good.
                    "Democracy is two wolfs and one sheep having a vote on what to have for lunch.
                    True Freedom is a well armed sheep contesting that vote."
                    Ben Franklin
                    Optrel satelite
                    Miller Trailblazer 302

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                    • #11
                      I was like you I stick welded my whole life.I couldnt see a use for a mig machine.I broke some machinery away from my stick welder and needed it fixed,so being the money saving person I am I decided it would be cheaper to buy a 110 mig machine than hire someone to come out and fix the problem.I layed out an extension cord and went to work on my tractor.I made a good enough weld to get the thing to my stick to do a proper weld.I wish I would of bought a bigger mig machine but found a ton of other uses for my mig.Just buy a good mig that is big enough to do your average size jobs and leave the once in a while big jobs for your stick.I bet you grab your mig more than your stick with a little practice.Your stick will have its place so don't get rid of it.Just my 2c worth.everything has its place.The mig is a little more expensive but it also seams to weld faster which if you get paid by the hour is something to consider.
                      You don't need directions if you have good pictures.

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                      • #12
                        i find mig easier than stick

                        with stick you keep having to feed the rod in and keeling that arc even while moving at a constant speed...and T joints are really hard...moving the sstinger side to side and keeping the electrode tip still.......nearly impossable

                        with mig its super simple
                        just prop your hand up, pull the trigger and slide the nozzle acrost the workpiece...no arc constoll really needed

                        overall i like mig but i find stick more useful

                        edit:
                        they both have their place...you cant do really thin welding with stick but migs cant to thick in one pass
                        Last edited by Weldman1223; 11-17-2005, 05:27 AM.

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                        • #13
                          I spent a long time in auto body with a mig. I favor stick for just about everything. The mig is very easy to learn to use and as pointed out the metal is more touchy about being "clean" (i.e. sandblasted, grinder, grinder w/wire brush, etc.). I think a 110v mig is perfect as the area where it really shines is thin (less than 3/16ths) metal. The 110v is readily available wherever you go and the machines are light and portable. I have a lincoln 100 (110v), a craftsman 225A (ac), a lincoln G7 engine driven, and a gas set up. For continous beads all day long, a mig will be faster, saving labour, but cost more in consumables. I welded up a rusting through (had become a sprinkler) 2" hydralic hose end on my D8 dozer with a 110v mig. not an easy task (would have been easier with a torch and brazing rod-but didn't have).

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                          • #14
                            It all really depends. MIG is easier to do in most positions, but it's also easier to mess up and not know you messed up. While I won't say I am a pro weldor, I am a weldor in training (with many many years to go ), and find that I prefer MIG over stick and TIG. I love TIG, but if I had to pick one welder for the rest of my life, it would definitly be a MIG. Right now, I am working on my test (not certified, but just for class) for vertical fillet using 7018, and it's a ***** compared to MIG in my personal opinion. I'll tell ya what though..If you have experiance, or are taught with O/A, ALL forms of welding will come a lot easier to you. I remember when I was getting 'ok' welds on MIG, then I did O/A for a while, and suddenly my MIG welds got A LOT better. O/A really stresses the importance of puddle control, where as a lot of guys get stuck watching the arc or think it's just a pull the trigger/electrode and weld away with all forms of the forms of Arc welding...

                            -Max.

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                            • #15
                              If I was spending much time fabricating a 210 or better mig would be high on my priority list. The speed and ease with lighter materials and general work in a small shop would make it foolish not to have one. The labor reduction would be beyond well worth the investment.
                              http://www.facebook.com/cary.urka.urkafarms

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