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Which welder for me?

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  • Which welder for me?

    I know you guys see these posts atleast once a week but every persons needs are a little different so I thought id ask...

    I currently own a Lincoln weld-pak 100. I didnt really know much about duty cycle or amps when I bought it...I just needed something that would weld floor pans in my car and some other misc. things and could run off 110v outlet. It has served its purpose and still works great but Im ready for something larger. I am still quite the rookie when it comes to welding and hope to get in a welding class for fall of 2004 in my local college.

    I am just a hobby welder and would like to get into making misc things for cars and my jeep.. steps, roll bars, chassis stuff, welding table, and other random stuff...Id also like to learn aluminum at some point....My problem is for a roll cage for my car it would be chrome moly and would have to be tig welded..I dont feel comfortable welding a roll cage at my skill level right now so id either have to improve greatly or farm it out...

    ....MIG or STICK..TIG??? Blue, Red, or Yellow
    I have been looking at the MM251 for a mig since it seems to be the last welder id really ever need for what I like to do..$1700 is a lot of cash to layout but im willing to do it, just for the fact that I wont have to purchase another welder again for the rest of my life hopefully....Or is MM251 too much welder for the things ive described?

    I have also been looking at the Thunderbolt XL 300-200 AC/DC. I like the price of this machine a lot more, but I have never stick welded before..I dont really like the idea of chipping slag all of the time but I do like be able to weld outside, inside, or whever needed. I dont think chipping the slag would be that bad as little welding as ill be doing...I would really like to learn how to stick weld just to see how it is and if I like it...From what ive seen and heard about stick I really seem to like the idea behind it better...

    So.....Do I keep my little wire welder and possibly get the gas kit for it and keep it for the thin stuff. Buy a stick welder and learn how to stick for the thick stuff and after ive got stick down well, spend the money on a nice Tig and be able to do everything? For the price of a nice mig and not being able to do everything I want I figure a stick would better suit me and a TIG down the road right now..

    Hope this isnt too long, and makes sense. Thanks for your time and help guys. I appreciate it.

    Dave I.

  • #2
    well..... my opinion is stick with a mig welder or a multi welder that will do it all. go with as high a output (amps )and duty cycle as you can afford .ive overworked a welder and had to fix it and never want to go thru that again! in my opinion mig is the easiest welder to use . nno chipping no scraching an arc and no seperate rod. as far as aluminum ive not done alot but have seen verry nice welds with tig . ive heard the big thing about aluminum is how clean you make it before you weld. hope this helps
    Eric the Blacksmith


    • #3
      Re: Which welder for me?

      You would be the first person to say that you bought a welder that was more machine that they will ever use and that is is too capable.

      That said, you probably would be perfectly happy with the MM210 for your all your GMAW welding. It has the capacity for what you describe, and many prefer its controls and arc performance, even over the bigger MM251.

      Stick welding is great for thicker material, especially outdoors, but if your MIG is big enough, and it's not windy, you'll try to use it over stick as often as you can, especially if you don't want to spend more time on cleaning afterwards. And, you can always use flux-cored wire in your MIG for either windy conditions, or when you need greater penetration than you can get with solid wire.

      You mentioned that you wouldn't be doing a lot of welding. That is a relative term, but it may be an indication that you should make the TIG machine more of a priority. Being proficient with GMAW and SMAW (Stick) will still leave you to learn GTAW when you first get started, so you may consider skipping the stick machine. Yes, you will still have shielding gas concerns, but since you want the capability for rollcage tubing, you will already have the machine once your skills meet the needs. Anything that your MIG can't do, you probably won't mind the extra time it takes to weld with the GTAW process, considering you'll want all that practice anyway.

      If your needs are light, even in the future, look into the Miller Econotig, as it will also do AC aluminum. If you want a squarewave machine (recommended), try to swing one of the Syncrowaves. The Dynasty is the inverter of choice if your budget allows.
      Last edited by MAC702; 01-12-2004, 03:32 PM.


      • #4
        Mac, im slightly think it would be a better idea to skip the mig and stick and just go for the tig and spend time learning that process? That idea works for me but will Tig still cover all of the things Mig does or will I still need a nice Mig to go with it? Also, what size tig should I be looking at? Thanks



        • #5

          A HH 175 and a Maxstar 150 STL or STH would probably cover everything that you are wanting to weld. Personally though, I d probably go with the MM 210 and then later add a stick/TIG machine like the Maxstar 150 sth.

          In my opinion adding the gas kit to your small Lincoln is a total waste of money. Realistically with solid wire the machine is only good for light ga. sheetmetal.
          MigMaster 250- Smooth arc with a good touch of softness to it. Good weld puddle wetout. Light spatter producer.
          Ironman 230 - Soft arc with a touch of agressiveness to it. Very good weld puddle wet out. Light spatter producer.

          PM 180C

          HH 125 EZ - impressive little fluxcore only unit