Welder for a newbie? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    As soon as you deprive yourself of a functionality, you will find reasons that you need it. That being said, an import inverter DC machine of reasonable capacity still weighs less than 30#, costs less than a couple hundred bucks and can be used for most common stick jobs as well as functioning as a scratch start TIG.

    (If And When it dies, [though it may not] you’ll still have the leads,a torch and probably a gas bottle to use going forward). Between those two modalities, you can do a pretty bang-up job around the shop on most of what you would have used a cheap wire welder for and a lot more besides.

    Learn to weld with that, and pretty soon, you’ll come across a quality used ac/dc inverter or a pulse MiG with a spool gun that you didn’t know you needed.

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  3. #22
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    I understand the "use stick" idea, but it is less good on thin materials for a beginner, I think. Did stick, Mig, Flux, and Tig in class years ago, done mostly TIG and Mig since,, and they are none of them "super easy", except I had the least trouble with Tig, maybe because I had lots of experience at soldering.

    Mig can be used very effectively, but most folks getting into Mig or flux core seem to make a lot of bird-crap welds. There are too many inter-related things with what looks like a simple process, you really need to learn it and not self-teach..

    The OP would be best to find and take a class, many Community Colleges seem to have them, and they are worth it, because you will learn how to do each type, why that works, when to choose it, etc. The experience of two or three processes will help to make the choice.

    I happen to like Tig, because it makes a lot of sense to me, and I can control the puddle the best with it, since heating and adding metal are not as tied together as with stick, or especially mig. That seems to be where folks get messed up and make bird-poop welds, they need the heat, but get too much metal with it and do not melt the base metal.... But others may find a different process makes sense. Taking a class allows the choice to be made with personal experience of the different processes. They all work on metal, it's a case of what works for you and what you need to do.

    If the OP goes Mig.... he should buy a bigger one.... weak mig or flux-core seems to suck worse than weak stick or even Tig....

  4. #23
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    I vote TIG with a foot pedal. Take awhile to find used in your price range but not impossible.

    Main thing learning welding atleast for me was time. Stick and mig there really is no slowing down. Metal is being added by the second.

    With a TIG you can barely push the pedal and sit there for a year and not hurt anything. Also there is no wondering if the weld will “stick” because you literally see the base metals coming together.

    Granted these are very general statements.

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  6. #24
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    I've got O-A, Stick, TIG and MiG in my shop. If I were just starting out, I'd get a small inverter MIG. It would be easier to get started and would work well on smaller, thinner projects. An O-A would be an asset as well and would be an introduction to TIG later on.

    Prices have come down on the inverter machines in recent years, as well.

  7. #25
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    +1 on the Stick/TIG machine. Yes, there's a learning curve, but the versatility can't be matched by a MIG/Flux core welder.

    Dirty metal? Grab some 6011. Structural? Go 7018. Thin metal gets 6013. Need some precise stainless welds? TIG torch and 309 rod. You can TIG in your basement and stick weld in a hurricane.

    Some of the Everlast TIG/Stick welders are pretty close to the OP's budget even bought new.

    My eight cents worth...

  8. #26
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    well I'm big on TIG find it actually easiest for me
    but then it's a high end welder.
    over here I would recommend one of the smaller Lincoln migs

    a lightly used one from some one who has out grown it would be ideal.
    a used quality machine would be better then a new pos

  9. #27
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    a little over the budget, but the miller mutimatic and Lincoln multi process little dual voltage machines are really sweet. the tig does not have hf start, but have gmaw, gasless nasty wire bugger welding, full stainless and bronze ability... Add on spool gun if you want AL. These little welders have low duty cycles, especially on 110, yet pack a punch beyond the old hobarts or first/second gen fronious (sp?). They even come with presets that are close to right.
    The esab, no.

  10. #28
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    I guess my take is, if you are going to buy as much functionality as well as complexity, and be least likely to be buying something useful as something other than a boat anchor, the DC inverter has a good bang for the buck.

    I still have one that I dust off for remote jobs, and I don’t feel that any of the accessories that came with are no longer useful.
    In the best of all possible worlds, everything would crap out in my shop or right next to a road, but that aint the way she goes.

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  12. #29
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    got to remember guys he in a brit so big red and big blue not as common
    and no 110 either and not a peep out of the op in recent history

  13. #30
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    Thanks for all the replies, I've just been a bit busy the last couple of days.

    I think 99% of what I will do is join steel box section tube, max 2mm thick. I'm not actually bothered if it is a real weld or brazing, I just want the stuff stuck together. I'm usually very keen to learn new skills but I have enough on my plate to learn, I don't really want to get in depth with this.

    Interesting what one guy said about TIG and soldering. I have a lot of experience doing electronics soldering, I'm not sure if that translates but holding an iron and controlling solder in the other hand is not unfamiliar to me.

    I was looking at MIG (plan to try gassless flux-cored but would be good to have gas option) because I thought simply setting the wire feed rate for the metal thickness would make it easier than manual feed on TIG, plus it leaves a hand free if I need it. I could keep unused wire vacuum packed as I have a packing machine.

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    With MIG you have to set wire speed and power, just about any setting on both will get metal stuck together, but to get it so it looks good and holds together requires proper settings, and some practice, but its pretty easy. Flux core wire is required for outdoor/moving air, if indoors shielding gas works better and produces nicer welds. If you do not need mobile capability, older transformer machines sell dirt cheap, and you can weld all day without exceeding duty cycle.

  15. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    With MIG you have to set wire speed and power, just about any setting on both will get metal stuck together, but to get it so it looks good and holds together requires proper settings, and some practice, but its pretty easy. Flux core wire is required for outdoor/moving air, if indoors shielding gas works better and produces nicer welds. If you do not need mobile capability, older transformer machines sell dirt cheap, and you can weld all day without exceeding duty cycle.

    I agree on the older transformers just keep an eye on the amps it draws. Some of them draw stupid amounts at idle not even welding. Had one that pulled 60amps 220v single phase.

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    I picked up my Lincoln mig (forget M#) about 30 years ago at auction, it was filthy and had 3' of cable to the gun, paid a whole $25 for it. Drug it home, checked it out and it worked, so put a new Bernard gun with 15' lead on it, been using it ever since. Great machine, could burn a whole spool of wire and never get past warm, just takes a forklift to pick it up........

  17. #34
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    Take a welding class for sure. In that class you will meet a dozen or two like-minded people and may even run across a good deal on a used welder. Make any boneheaded mistakes on the welding school's machines. Once you learn to weld, you will probably know what to buy and how.

    metalmagpie


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