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  • MIG welding aluminum

    Well, the more I learn and figure out the more I learn I have more to figure out!...Dad and I have a Millermatic 210 with the 3035 spoolgun at home now. I am looking to buy my own MIG down the road but have noticed some negatives about spoolguns. 1, their pricy for a good one, 2, the small spools of wire go nowhere. Making them uneconomical and a pain in the rear. We are more extreme than a hobbyist but do not have a full blown side business. But as I said I am learning more and getting better at things so I am running into more aluminum work. I have a TIG but it isn't feasible to use for large jobs with large fillets. So, could a guy switch his gas hoses around to run the pure argon into the 'MIG' gas port in the back of the machine and simply add a spool of aluminum wire inside the machine? Or am I missing something? Dad doesn't really know as he doesn't do much aluminum. Im pretty sure he got the spool gun with the machine when Miller did the "free spool gun when buying a 210" thing years ago". I have read some crap about switching polarity on other forum pages, then see guys respond with how that's wrong. So Im just confused as to what I can and cant do. Anybody have any answers they are willing to share?? Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Originally posted by Sledpuller555 View Post
    Well, the more I learn and figure out the more I learn I have more to figure out!...Dad and I have a Millermatic 210 with the 3035 spoolgun at home now. I am looking to buy my own MIG down the road but have noticed some negatives about spoolguns. 1, their pricy for a good one, 2, the small spools of wire go nowhere. Making them uneconomical and a pain in the rear. We are more extreme than a hobbyist but do not have a full blown side business. But as I said I am learning more and getting better at things so I am running into more aluminum work. I have a TIG but it isn't feasible to use for large jobs with large fillets. So, could a guy switch his gas hoses around to run the pure argon into the 'MIG' gas port in the back of the machine and simply add a spool of aluminum wire inside the machine? Or am I missing something? Dad doesn't really know as he doesn't do much aluminum. Im pretty sure he got the spool gun with the machine when Miller did the "free spool gun when buying a 210" thing years ago". I have read some crap about switching polarity on other forum pages, then see guys respond with how that's wrong. So Im just confused as to what I can and cant do. Anybody have any answers they are willing to share?? Thanks in advance

    It is very difficult to push soft aluminum wire through a 10 foot or longer mig gun. That's why almost all mig aluminum welding is done with a spool gun. You can use what's called a push-pull gun. The wire spool is in the machine and a special mig gun pulls the wire from the cabinet; however it is more expensive than a spool gun.
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    • #3
      Here is a quick video overview of aluminum MIG with a spoolgun...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_Mi...e_gdata_player
      .

      *******************************************
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      • #4
        Probably the best bang for the buck for a heavy hobby shop

        http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...6174_200456174
        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

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ja baudin View Post
          It is very difficult to push soft aluminum wire through a 10 foot or longer mig gun. That's why almost all mig aluminum welding is done with a spool gun. You can use what's called a push-pull gun. The wire spool is in the machine and a special mig gun pulls the wire from the cabinet; however it is more expensive than a spool gun.
          Now things make sense to me, Id never really thought of that. I looked at prices on a push/pull...not for me lol. Id rather spend that kind of money on the machine instead of a gun.
          I really like the 210 we have now, it has been great for the last 10 years. Ive heard Hobart machines are good and made by Miller but lack some of the quality inside when compared to a blue machine. So that kind of scares me. I look to buy once and run this thing for the majority of my life.
          I had really been considering a 252 as I have one at work that we bought new and I have become accustomed to setting it almost like its a second nature. My TIG is a Miller Syncrowave 210, and work just bought one of those as well. I have no problem paying more for the quality if I know itll last.

          So it sounds like from the spool guns I see on the Miller listing, either a 3035 or a Spoolmate 200 is going to be my choice. Then, my most cost effective way to buy wire is in the large 16 pound spool. Then build something to load my small spools with.

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          • #6
            Can anybody shed some light on exactly what is different between a Hobart and a Miller? Like comparing the 212 and Ironman 232? A friend of mine was going to buy the Handler 210 but walked out with a MM211 instead. The guys at the local weld shop said the drive rollers in a Miller were machined, Hobart is cast and the electronics weren't as great in a Hobart. But no more specific than that

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sledpuller555 View Post
              Can anybody shed some light on exactly what is different between a Hobart and a Miller? Like comparing the 212 and Ironman 232? A friend of mine was going to buy the Handler 210 but walked out with a MM211 instead. The guys at the local weld shop said the drive rollers in a Miller were machined, Hobart is cast and the electronics weren't as great in a Hobart. But no more specific than that
              Sales guy made more money on the Miller sale

              There are differences but the drive rolls and electronics blabber is BS.

              MM211 has continuous voltage selection
              HH210 has a tapped voltage selection.

              Slight advantage for the Miller as you can dial in the voltage- BUT sometimes that just causes more problems- TOO much adjusting

              The Hobart has their Taps pretty dialed in anyway.

              Miller had the rock solid MM210 and it was a tapped machine.

              The IM 230 is a tapped machine as well but it is a 250amp welder so you get a lotta machine for the price.

              The MM212 is only a 210amp machine and you'll run out of power iffin' you start on thicker alooominum.

              same output it max amps as the MM211 and HH210 BUT it is built beefier and the duty cycle is a lot better on the MM212- price reflects it too.

              Paint a Hobart blue... and NO ONE would be able to tell the difference.
              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

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sledpuller555 View Post
                Then, my most cost effective way to buy wire is in the large 16 pound spool. Then build something to load my small spools with.
                No- you'll drive yourself crazy trying to ReSpool that Alooominum wire.

                Just use the small rolls that fit in the Spoolgun and call it a day.

                If your production needs dictated saving X amount on wire you would be buying a machine that can already handle a large spool.
                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

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                • #9
                  Well my friend this is my 2 cents, I've been welding aluminium for 15-20 years and back then I purchased a 250x miller and a 30 a spoolgun. Yes a bit of money, but it was worth every penny. I got miles of wire thru that machine and if every miller machine is this efficient,there's no debate here! But now I think the miller version now is the 252 millermatic and the same 30A spoolgun.
                  Last year I purchased a Lincoln 350 MP with the push pull gun, here in Canada was around 7200.00 plus the taxes.The reason for the new machine was is it comes with pulse,pulse on pulse and bells and whistles.
                  But should've kept my miller as a back up and it was always reading to weld steel.......
                  AG

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