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  • Buying my first welder

    I've finally got enough project that require a welder to officially begin looking for a welder to call my own. The problem? I don't (currently) know squat about welding, and I don't want to get a crappy welder that will be useless in the long-term. At the same time, I'm pretty frugal in my tool purchases, and I don't plan on spending more $$$$ that what makes sense for what I plan on doing. (Prefer to keep everything under $300, cheaper if reasonable.)

    I don't have a deadline on when I need it, so I plan on just keeping my eyes open for sales or good used equipment. I just need to know what to look for so that I can pull the trigger when I see it.

    What I plan on doing is basic repair and fabrication stuff, mostly with some combination of:
    • Tube steel
    • Rebar
    • Fence posts
    • Sheet metal

      Probably the "top end" of what I might do is build a go-kart or something similar.

      I don't currently have any handy 240V outlets in my shop or my garage. Are 120V welders https://mechanicguides.com/110v-stick-welders/ sufficient for most work, or am I going to need to upgrade to 240V for a welder that will do good general purpose welding?

      How necessary/useful are gas welders (mig/tig) over non-gas welders?

      I'm only going to likely use the welder 4-6 times/year. Will the cheaper ($100-300) welders sufficient, or are they crap that will burn up after an afternoon of use?

      Are their features I should be looking for?

      Are their any good places to find good used welders?

      What types of accessories should I buy? Helmet, apron, gloves, clamps, etc. Any recommendations?

  • #2
    I know you referenced stick welders, but think about MIG....

    Basically if you don't have 240v available in shop I would go with top end Hobart Handler 140 (just under $500) .... It is pretty much the max for 120v outlet and can do up to 3/16 thick steel with ease and 1/4 inch with really good welding techniques applied....

    Controls are simple, 5 steps of amperage (heat) and single control for wire speed (and voltage)...
    Can do both fluxcore (FCAW) and solid wire with shield gas (GMAW) ... The two most popular MIG welding types (will not do TIG and has no provision for spool gun for aluminum)... Amperage and voltage to drive the weld process are pretty well defined in owners manual... Manual can be downloaded in the "SUPPORT" section of this site....

    Will require a 20 amp outlet!!!.... Mine could not do top heat setting (4 on my older 4 step machine) on 20 amp breaker as it tripped it continually, upgraded to a dedicated 120V welding circuit with 30 amp breaker and life is good.... Smaller unit will probably not trip breakers but you sacrifice some ability to do bigger welds...

    Until Hobart comes out with a new inverter version its about as good as it gets with Hobart.... Side note, "other" manufacturers are beginning to come out with 120V inverter machine, but I don't have enough facts about them to recommend any of them ( but they are probably the future for efficiency) ... And I would stay away from unproven "no name" machines from China no matter how good the manufacture raves about its superior attributes (sales hype), time is what proves, makes/breaks a welder....

    Personally "IF" I could go back I would have gotten the 210MPV machine because every once in a while there is those 5% of welding jobs where bigger welder would be better... But I have a 240V circuit in garage/shop.... In welding you can always turn down the "heat" but once machine is at maximum there is no more no matter how bad you need it... {Hobart are you listening, would love to test a new inverter welder for you!}

    Want good introduction to welding?

    http://weldingtipsandtricks.com

    He is also on youtube...

    Also suggest if available in your area and welding class at night school ( either high school or Junior college).. IF not at least someone with experience to mentor you... Its not hard, but you also need to learn to do it correctly...

    Dale
    Last edited by Dale M.; 01-03-2019, 07:23 PM.
    "Fear The Government That Wants To Take Your Guns" - Thomas Jefferson..

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't want you to think I'm sucking up or anything, but...that was rock solid, arrow straight, make it a sticky because it doesn't get much better then that for advice reply. Well said.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Rmenonni View Post
        I've finally got enough project that require a welder to officially begin looking for a welder to call my own. The problem? I don't (currently) know squat about welding, and I don't want to get a crappy welder that will be useless in the long-term. At the same time, I'm pretty frugal in my tool purchases, and I don't plan on spending more $$$$ that what makes sense for what I plan on doing. (Prefer to keep everything under $300, cheaper if reasonable.)

        I don't have a deadline on when I need it, so I plan on just keeping my eyes open for sales or good used equipment. I just need to know what to look for so that I can pull the trigger when I see it.

        What I plan on doing is basic repair and fabrication stuff, mostly with some combination of:
        • Tube steel
        • Rebar
        • Fence posts
        • Sheet metal

          Probably the "top end" of what I might do is build a go-kart or something similar.

          I don't currently have any handy 240V outlets in my shop or my garage. Are 120V welders https://mechanicguides.com/110v-stick-welders/ sufficient for most work, or am I going to need to upgrade to 240V for a welder that will do good general purpose welding?

          How necessary/useful are gas welders (mig/tig) over non-gas welders?

          I'm only going to likely use the welder 4-6 times/year. Will the cheaper ($100-300) welders sufficient, or are they crap that will burn up after an afternoon of use?

          Are their features I should be looking for?

          Are their any good places to find good used welders?

          What types of accessories should I buy? Helmet, apron, gloves, clamps, etc. Any recommendations?
        While Dale's argument for a mig machine is quite persuasive, for a low budget, low-use machine that will do everything that you say you want, has an excellent service and support and warranty,, and long-term value, and, in addition, has dual voltage, so that it can be used in a limited way until you upgrade your shop to 220v, I would suggest the Hobart161I. (Its also very portable, compared to some older 3-400 lb machines you will find on used sales.

        This gives you a new machine, that will retain re-sale value, and allow you, with mutiiple pass welds, and a wide variety of electrodes, to build almost anything you want, although it will require more skill and practice, especially on sheet metal.

        All this for $364US on CyberWeld / Free Shipping!

        https://store.cyberweld.com/hobart-s...0i-500570.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Rmenonni View Post
          ...Prefer to keep everything under $300...
          What do you mean by "everything?" Do you need gloves, welding hood, etc?

          With that budget, you aren't in the gas-shielded game.

          Best budget-friendly machine will be a Hobart. Get the biggest one you can afford.

          Comment

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