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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm seriously thinking of breaking down and buying a Mig Welder. I would like everyones opinions on what 'type' of Mig Welder to buy. Not 'brand'...but type. Now...I'm not looking to buy some $800 super-ultra-mega-fantastic Mig Welder that I'll have to run a 220 out to my garage to use. I just want to know...what's the least that I can get away with for welding sheet metal and maybe sub-frame connecters, etc.

Thanks...your input is greatly appreciated.
 

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Not sure exactly what you want out of this question. Mig is mig. There are no different types of mig welders. There are only options.

Gas or flux. Everyone will tell you that gas is the way to go, bar none. There is no comparison. Gas gives cleaner welds and less splatter.

110V or 220V. You've already made up your mind here.

That's it. Now find your brand.

Dave
 

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Beware that 110V welders have their own quirks. For one, you can't run a puny extension cord of appreciable length and get good welds. The welder must be located near an outlet and any extensions should be heavy and short. Now that I own a 110V welder, I wish I had shopped harder for a used 220V unit. 110V welders do a great job on sheet metal, but on subframe connectors....well, I'd feel much better doing that with a good 220V unit that puts out 175Amps or so. If you're really stuck on 110V welders, be sure to compare duty cycle ratings. You'll want a gas setup if you're doing sheet metal, which means you'll have to opt for the regulator, solenoid, and lease a bottle (or buy) from your nearest welding supply. Some used welders come with all that stuff. Flux-core wire will weld heavier metal, but the welds will have slag on them, and you'll have to change the wire, liner, and tip each time you want to switch.

-dnult
 

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I have a Miller Millermatic 251 and I love it. I had a Millermatic 250 before this one and we used it for 10 years before some perp stole it. Remember you get what you pay for. 220 volt welders are a helluva lot better than 110 volt models. Its kinda like a 110 volt heater compared to a 220 volt heater.
 

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I have an HTP 140 mig. Very happy with it. Its rated for 140 amps at 20% duty cycle and runs off of 110 volt. Blows away the equivalent miller, lincoln, or hobart machine. (compare at 90 amps @ 20% cycle)

I haven't had any of the issues issues mentioned above plus I can take this thing anywhere. Its easy to recommend a 220 volt machine when its not your budget and if sheet metal is all you need to weld, 110 volt will do just FINE.

Dave
 

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I also have the HTP 140. I can easily weld 1/4" material with it and it also has great options like spot welding and stich welding. I have not had any problems with it. I would highly recommend it. John
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guy's. The HTP-140 looks like a hell of a welder...but unfortunately, at $967 it's a little out of my price range.

I think I may just job all the welding out.
 

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A Hobart 135, the Miller 135 and the Lincoln SP 175 T or Plus is a great welders for the money.

Here is a link to an online dealer with some prices to compare:

http://b2b.airgas.com/browse/product_list.asp?catID=65

The 130/135 series are great for home shop use if you dont really do anything bigger than say 3/16".

The 175 series would be your best all around choice for a "General Garage" type.

As for the 110/115 compared to the 208/230 does make a somewhat of a difference though. The 208 wont even blink when stiching thicker materials. With the 110, you will have to make multiple passes more often.
 

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Check out the HTP 120. This may be more up your alley. And with a 120 amps @ 20% duty cycle it STILL beats the equivalent miller, hobart, or lincoln machine. I want to say it sells for about $400.

Not sure where you got that price. My catalog sells the HTP 140 for $719.

Dave
 

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I got a miller 250 like Mike, and yes it is the bomb. My neighbor has bought a few wire welders and now has a 130 amp welder. It will work on floor pans and small stuff but as far as heavy steel it comes to here to get welded. I have had my welder turned up 3/4 of the way up, using that as a guideline a 175 would be a safe welder for all around use. Mark
 

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Most of the lower line 110-120 welders use a switch that allows maybe 5 power settings. Some place after $400-$500 I think the manufacturers have constant tune voltage models. Pretty much most of them have the constant variable wire speed so you aren't stuck with just a few speeds.
For power cords 25' has to be at least 14 gauge and a 50' has to be 12 gauge to keep the welder reliable. At least one of the brands has a switch to change polarity going back and forth from flux core to solid wire. It's a no brainer to change two connectors with wing nuts so the cost is not needed.
One or two of the brands have nascar endorsement and shops I've seen use some of those like them with no mechanical problems to complain about.
Buying a bottle and gas is $100 for argon and cheaper for CO2. Going CO2 bottle on my model you need an adapter for the valve to couple. CO2 and Argon bottles are two different creatures for valves. Why? I don't know. Argon mixs give less splatter giving more of a spray of metal instead of globs but arc cooler so it doesn't go as deep. Great for body panels. If you do frame parts use the flux core for better penetration without gas but you'll have more splatter which any welder put up with. Most the welders come with a special wire for dirty metals.
Get a real welding helmet that you don't have to hold. Most come with a 10 lense but I think 12 is needed to really cut UV's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That's some good information...so your saying I could weld suspension stuff with the flux-core wire but leave the mig welding to body panels? All with a 110 or 120?
 
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