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  • Need a light duty MIG recommendation

    I would like to find a small, reasonably transportable MIG machine to use for light work that I would most likely keep a roll of .023 hardwire in, but would like to be able to use any of the smaller cored stuff and maybe even do some thin aluminum with it, too. My big MIG machine isn't really useful with a spool gun so maybe it would be nice to have a smaller machine that could have a spool rig hooked up to it with MINIMUM or NO fuss. I do have 220 (single phase) available, but is there a good little 110v wire shooter out there?

    I currently have a Millermatic 250X for MIG work that usually has a roll of .035ER70S-6 in it, but sometimes (pretty rarely) I use .045 cored for higher deposit chores. The 250DX does great spray with 86/14 and I like the machine a lot. Also in the shop is a Miller Dial Arc 250 AC/DC for stick work. Both are using single phase 220v and the old Dialarc weighs about as much as my pickup truck, so it isn't really too portable. Same thing for the 250X, though it only weighs maybe half as much as my truck. I will probably keep both of these machines until I learn to be decent TIG welder and then may try to find something that will do both TIG and stick as is pretty common from what I see.

    So anyway, what machine(s) would you all suggest to sort of fill in the "bottom end" of the welding range without having to spend a fortune (think maybe...Craigslist!)? By the way, I currently have a little *incoln weldpak 100 piece of **** that does nothing for me but give me headaches. I bought it as a first welder before I knew any better and have done nothing but regret it as it seems to have too much plastic in it and NEVER seems to just feed nice and consistent! I would like to make the shop all "BLUE" and get rid of that little bugger! The ONLY advantage it has that I can see is that it uses 110v.

    I am open to any suggestions from people that have had experience with the smaller MIG stuff!

    Thanks!

    Don J
    Reno,NV
    Last edited by dondlhmn; 11-28-2009, 09:19 PM.
    Don J
    Reno, NV

    Never pick a fight with an old guy. Old guys are too smart to fight and get hurt. They'll just kill you and get it over with.

  • #2
    The Millermatic 211 is a great little mig that runs on both 110v and 220v and connects easily between the two just by changing the included adaptor plug on the power cord. The machine as a nice crisp arc and is great for short circuit of small diameter wires. My friend bought one from the local weld supply for about $1000 and it welds very nice. The Spoolmate 100 spool gun connects to it for aluminum, though I've never used it on aluminum. If you want to spend another $500, the Passport Plus is an excellent dual-voltage machine that is very portable for on-site work. I love my Passport.
    Millermatic350P/Python, MillermaticReach/Q300
    Millermatic175
    MillermaticPassport/Q300
    HTP MIG200
    PowCon 300SM, MK Cobramatic
    ThermalArc 185ACDC, Dynaflux Tig'r, CK-20
    DialarcHF, Radiator-1
    Hypertherm PowerMax 380
    Purox oxy/ace
    Jackson EQC
    -F350 CrewCab 4x4
    -LoadNGo utility bed
    -Bobcat 250NT
    -PassportPlus/Q300
    -XMT304/Optima/Spoolmatic15A
    -Suitcase8RC/Q400
    -Suitcase12RC/Q300
    -Smith oxy/propane
    -Jackson EQC

    Comment


    • #3
      Definitly MM211. It is no bigger than any of the other 110v machines but runs on 110v or 220v, comes spool gun ready so all you do is plug in the spoolmate and go. I bought mine looking for a machine to do aluminium with, we have the MM180 at work with the spoolgun and its a little lacking when welding sheet aluminum but I have welded a couple of alum projects with my 211 already and it has the power to do it with easy. First try I was having the problem of it being to hot, had to back down the setteings. For what you described, go with the 211, the 110 machine will leave you wanting on the aluminum.
      "The only source of knowledge is experience." Albert Einstein

      Comment


      • #4
        Besides the MM211, which is getting rave reviews here,
        either the Hobart or Miller 140 class machines are good,
        110v-only, machines. I've used the Miller a bunch, the hobart
        some. The advantages that they might have over the 211
        are that it looks like they are somewhat lighter than the 211
        (you stated portability was a goal) and definitely are less
        expensive than the 211 (you hinted that $ was an issue).

        The other posters gave the advantages of the 211 vs a -140.

        As to where to get the best price/etc. Be careful about craigslist.
        The offers on it are occasionally less than completely legitimate
        (shock! gasp! horrors!). For what it's worth, I'd go to a local
        welding supplier and buy the machine there. Usually you can
        get an ok deal (perhaps not rock-bottom), but you also make
        a good friend/resource.

        Truth in Advertising: I have a MM140 and love it. I am also a weekend
        weldor, not a full-time professional at it.

        Let us know what you buy and why you bought it ... folks are always
        asking the same question and it's good to be able to say "some people
        did ..."
        Good Luck
        Frank

        Comment


        • #5
          Light duty MIG

          Thanks for the suggestions, guys and I hope to hear more.... I have read and heard nothing but good about the Miller 211, but am not sure I can spend that amount of money on another machine. I now am familiar with pretty much all the LWS places around Reno and have bought a lot of stuff from them, some at great prices, some not so great...you just have to know what things are worth or can be gotten elswere for and who to deal with. As for Craigslist, yes..I have bought some stuff off of there...matter of fact a lot of my welding stuff came from ads on there and I have found some really great deals, but have also found some real flakes, too. Now that I know a little more about welding and the machines, tanks and etc, I am not as gullible or as ignorant as I was when I first started out. PLUS, when I first started out on this, I didn't know about this forum which is a really great resource...thus all the "maybe dumb" questions you see on here. That is just a lot of guys trying to figure stuff out and asking those that have "been there, done that, got the hat" for advice!

          PS..... One (just ONE of them!) of the things about that *incoln Weldpak that I really hate is that the two knobs for settings really don't tell you what voltage you have....the WFS is OK, but the voltage knob is only marked as "A, B, C, and D" and even the danged manual won't tell you what those represent as to what you get at the weld. You can look up the max and min, but you really have to just guess what those letters stand for. I understand that the MM211 is pretty automated and maybe that is just where the future of welding is headed and I will have to get used to it, huh?
          Last edited by dondlhmn; 11-29-2009, 10:03 AM. Reason: additions
          Don J
          Reno, NV

          Never pick a fight with an old guy. Old guys are too smart to fight and get hurt. They'll just kill you and get it over with.

          Comment


          • #6
            211

            I just got a 211 and tired it this morning. It is a great machine as far as I can tell. I have only welded with it on 120 V, but it worked so great. I have a mostly just stick welded, and wanted something that is portable for work related jobs. I only had 120 V years ago in the garage and purchased a little 100 Lincoln, I gave up with it as it never seemed to work good for me, so was worried about the 211. Those worries are gone after just a few minutes welding with the 211. It is going to take a little getting used to but it sets it self pretty close right off. I had the gas a little to low at first and that seemed to work much better around 17. It will be a welcome addition.

            Comment


            • #7
              I am a hobby welder that has mostly needed welding for small projects. I have both the MM140 Auto with a Spoolmate 100 and the Diversion 165. Occasionally, I have wished I had the 220 volt machine for a couple of projects.

              Since I purchased the MM140 approximately a year and a half ago, Miller came out with the MM211. I recently spoke with an employee from a local Miller supplier/welding shop and he said when the MM211 came out, they sold 2 or 3 a week. He gave all three machines a high reviews.

              The only slight negative thought I would have about the MM211 is that one would have to switch out the wire spool for welding thicker metals on the 220 volt settings. Obviously this is not a big deal.

              If you only used a new machine for thinner metals, I believe you would find the MM140 quite satisfactory.

              Steve

              Comment


              • #8
                110,115,120v
                220v,230v,240v

                all da same thing really.

                The MM211 is Auto sensing on the voltage- change the Plug for either 120v or 240v and weld away

                Any machine that does not have a Digital meter will not be able to let you know the Volts and Amperage so don't kick the little Lincoln too much.

                I used a Weldpak for quite a bit of stuff and the biggest improvement was getting the Spool adapter so I could run the 8" Spools-no more birdnesting.

                The Weldpak worked just perfect.

                BUT since you mentioned a Spoolgun I assume you want to run Alooominum so ALL 120v machines are out of the running in my book.
                Ed Conley
                http://www.screamingbroccoli.net/
                MM252
                MM211
                Passport Plus w/Spool Gun
                TA185
                Miller 125c Plasma 120v
                O/A set
                SO 2020 Bender
                You can call me Bacchus

                Comment


                • #9
                  One more thing- when you say "Thin" aluminum.. how thin?

                  Mig AL is limited to about 16g, anything thinner will be a PIA
                  Ed Conley
                  http://www.screamingbroccoli.net/
                  MM252
                  MM211
                  Passport Plus w/Spool Gun
                  TA185
                  Miller 125c Plasma 120v
                  O/A set
                  SO 2020 Bender
                  You can call me Bacchus

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Little MIG machine

                    Broccoli..you are right about the thin aluminum stuff..I guess that is why I have to learn TIG. I signed up for a course at our local community college, but don't start that until sometime in Jan 2010. I would like to be able to MIG weld the aluminum stuff down into the smallest practical guage range, but also want to try to work on some of my old BSA motorcycle tanks, which are thin, but I don't know how thin!! I guess once I learn TIG, I might be able to get good enough to do that. A guy I know says that what the TIG guys like to do for show off is to weld aluminum beer or soda cans together. Don't know if I will ever get that good (or have the patience to), but I do want to be able to grab a TIG unit and at least have some idea what do to in order to weld on whatever project pops up in my garage.

                    I understand about the birdsnest problem with the 100. I also think I may have a worn out drive roller as the ****ed thing seems to sort of skip and jump, which, of course, gives really ratty "bird poop" looking welds and sounds HORRIBLE. I have changed guide tubes (both inlet and outlet), VERY carefully set drive roller groove to guide alignment, cleaned everything, checked spool frictions, changed liners, double triple checked contact tips, tried all sorts of different roller pressures, changed everything to try different wire sizes, etc., etc...with no good results. It is really TOUGH to produce a good weld when the wire stops, hesitates, goes, hesitates, pops, splatters, stops...well...you get the idea. All of that is with 75/25 in the tank. I never really thought about trying different reel sizes...I may have to do that as I'm sure I have some bigger ones lying around out there.

                    By the way, my old Miller 250X does have the voltage marked around the dial so you at least have an idea!! I wish it had a digital readout that you could read down to the tenths, but if you wish in one hand and ..in the other...well...you get the idea!
                    Last edited by dondlhmn; 11-29-2009, 12:46 PM. Reason: addition
                    Don J
                    Reno, NV

                    Never pick a fight with an old guy. Old guys are too smart to fight and get hurt. They'll just kill you and get it over with.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Want to learn TIG? I have seen it said many times on here and the same way I was taught 25 years ago, get out the O/A torch and get after it. You get really go at O/A welding and you sould pick up on TIG pretty easy. Same hand movments anyway, just have to learn to do the settings and control the heat.
                      "The only source of knowledge is experience." Albert Einstein

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Learning TIG

                        Diverdude,

                        I have also heard that a lot of times. I can do some pretty nice welds with the O/A and people that have seen those welds tell me that I should make a good TIG welder. I hope they are right! I am hoping that with the great heat control (as I understand it now) you have with the TIG setup, I can do a decent job. I may be old fashioned, but I enjoy the gas welding stuff because it just seems a lot more "user friendly"....relaxed and controllable even if you don't have the heat EXACTLY right..wrong tip or whatever. After all, if you haven't tried out things a little on similar scrap and don't have the settings just right ( or REAL close ) when you strike an arc, MIG or stick, you get either bird poop or holes or have to haul *ss to keep from making holes!! LOL!!!!
                        Don J
                        Reno, NV

                        Never pick a fight with an old guy. Old guys are too smart to fight and get hurt. They'll just kill you and get it over with.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There is a lot more to it in the technical side but on the basics thats about it. The same flow of the weld is there, controling the torch with one hand and feeding the filler with the other. The big jump is that instead of being stuck with the heat you got, like you refered to with wrong tip and such, you have to get use to controling it with the foot pedal or finger tip controler. Be careful not to fall back into old habits, I do sometimes and I have seen others do it, is to get a good bead going and then speed up or slow down the weld like O/A instead of adjusting the heat with the controls. Good luck with it, it's my favorite way to weld just slow, but it is artistic as well as functional.
                          "The only source of knowledge is experience." Albert Einstein

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Jan 2010 is around the corner- I would just wait until I took the course, wait to spend the money on a Tig machine.

                            A new MM211 is around $960.00
                            A new MM140 is $680.00

                            Can't the Dialarc be outfitted to run DC Tig with just the addition of a Torch with gas control and a jug of Argon? I imagine it will need a HF unit for the AC welding.
                            Ed Conley
                            http://www.screamingbroccoli.net/
                            MM252
                            MM211
                            Passport Plus w/Spool Gun
                            TA185
                            Miller 125c Plasma 120v
                            O/A set
                            SO 2020 Bender
                            You can call me Bacchus

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              MIG or TIG??

                              OK, Broccoli1, maybe I will wait...is there a machine out there that does both MIG and TIG and maybe even stick and doesn't cost more than my house? I guess I could look around, which is half of the fun of buying a new setup, anyway. But then, you sound as if you just may know of such a thing....Or does anyone else on here know of such an animal?? Now that I think about it, saving some floor space in the shop would be a good thing. On the other hand, if you have an all in one machine, if your TIG setup is broken, so is you MIG and your stick machine!!

                              Don J
                              Don J
                              Reno, NV

                              Never pick a fight with an old guy. Old guys are too smart to fight and get hurt. They'll just kill you and get it over with.

                              Comment

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