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new to welding, product suggestions/opinions

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  • new to welding, product suggestions/opinions

    hello and thanks in advance for reading my post.

    i am brand spanking new, well again i might say.
    while a metal lather 25+yrs ago, i learned entry arc welding
    but, i never used it.

    i am exploring local training options too...dont get me wrong, not posting as a just because, i am serious about re-entering the field.

    i was also exposed to gas (acetylene/oxygen) welding growing up, as my uncle and grandfather worked on cars with this technology back in the 60s-70s.

    am interested in exploration of light home repair/auto repair welding.

    dont know where to begin, hence this post.

    i just bought a used car trailer, with lots of metal...some needs repairing (fenders/ramps @ 1/16 to 1/8 thick), some needs updating (plates/rings/tie down pcs @ 1/4 to 3/8 thick, or thicker possibly).

    i purchased this trailer in essence to turn around and buy, then tow an older vehicle for the experience and fun i hope tor recieve.

    this vehicle will be either late model 28-32 Ford/Chevy/Plymouth OR
    a Tri 5 Chevy (1955-57).

    in either case of whatever i buy on the vehicle front, i am looking for something that will support the efforts above, trailer and vehicle welding/cutting, or small home projects i might want to explore in the future.

    not sure that MIG, TIG, etc were even around 25-30yrs ago, but nonetheless, i know nothing at this point other than i want to explore entry - mid level options, as i am not sure if/how long this will last either, financially speaking!

    with a new, entry level perspective as top consideration;

    can anyone here provide some insight into the novice approach to welding, what welder makes models i should consider, what is easiest welding entrace type to a newbie, what protections/helmets/etc would be best to buy?

    metal cutting, thin to thick, is there a welding system thats good or better vs. another, or is the good old fashion chop saw best =)

    while i dont think $10-$50 is realistic, i also dont want to go over board with $1000-$5000 worth of equipment

    is USED ok vs. NEW, is 220 that much better than 120 (i have both available in my garages)

    thanks in advance for your input and replies...i hope to gain further insight in coming months of this field.

    kindest regards,

  • #2
    new to welding

    I too am just getting started again in welding after many years absence. This forum is great, so helpful to new folks. I purchased a new Miller 180 with auto-set on the internet for $762 and free freight from miller sales. Airgas has them for $785.oo in branches. It is fantastic, so easy to use and learn on. It takes 220, the way to go. When looking around I came to the conclusion that all the cheap welders are made in one factory in China and just painted different colors with different stickers (LOL) honestly though, I think a welder is one of those tools not to scrimp on, buy the best you can afford and it will continue to pay back dividends


    • #3
      Yes, when they invent the 180 class MIGs they have your picture on a poster on the wall as a target customer. This is good place NOT to have some buyers remorse, you get your moneys worth and then some, there is no reason not to spend what a decent TV set cost these days on this machine that does so much and lasts so long. Vendors really take a beating on these, not marked up 4x like a furniture store or 10X like a bottle of water. Even if you were to have every machine they invent this is the type you would fall back to in this type of work/shop/automotive. I can live without a TIG but would be lost without small wire feed.
      Early on I make purchases that could have been wiser and more suited, its easy to get contaminated by previous experience some times. For general light shop a MIG should be first followed by a AC/DC stick unit if one is doing machinery, etc but in truth if its in the shop 99% of that does MIG and last thing I want is a tig, not worth the expense unless one feels wealthy or has a compelling business need.


      • #4
        No need to give this a lot of thought, 187/210 or MM180/211, a 125 bottle with 10# roll of 030 and although I don't use it maybe a roll of 023 if I was doing steady diet of bodywork. Go to it like a maniac.
        I think a welder is one of those tools not to scrimp on, buy the best you can afford and it will continue to pay back dividends
        Its pretty true, very competitive market as are tools in general right now as long as one stays away from that tool truck. A cheap machine can be repaired but reliability is an issue with this type of tool as is how well it works. Some cheap tools are great, I use a lot of them but you can only cheap a wire feeder so far before it doesn't work as well.
        Last edited by Sberry; 12-12-2009, 10:50 AM.


        • #5
          If I buy low quality it has to have low price. Some clone stuff works pretty good.


          • #6
            Until recently they never make much in the low end that was very good especially in the 120V input. The longevity inverter interest me to some extent, at way under 200, about 20% the cost of a Maxstar it has some real value. I see an AC buzzer, 160 for 134$ too but the inverter is a deal. For someone with minor use to be able to burn a 1/8 from a common wall recept is revolutionary especially for 149$. As someone noted all replacement parts available for 149$.


            • #7
              I see one test where the guy went for broke and burn 10 1/8 lo-hi on it back to back and tig a 4 inch 40 pipe all the way out. But a cheap feeder that missing some parts and weight that is priced 60% of the cost of a good one might not be such a bargain especially if it becomes problematic when its needed most. They often become expensive dust collectors and ornaments because they dont work well.


              • #8
                For what you listed I would agree with the other post and recommend the MM211. Its a great machine, can go 110V or 220V and has enough power to do the things you've said. It is also an easy machine to set up and use for a beginner. I have used almost all of the smaller machines and while they do a great job on light duty smaller stuff, when you hit that 1/4" and thicker stuff you really start to see there limitations. The 211 gives you the most power in the small home shop type machines, plus its the only dual voltage in that class I know of. It does cost a little more but most people that start small end up buying a bigger one and wasted a little money "learning". Hope this helps.
                "The only source of knowledge is experience." Albert Einstein