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Need a new MIG machine

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  • Need a new MIG machine

    I moved last year and finally started getting settled back in to the new place. Had a complete shop set up for general mechanic style stuff. Do some mowers, some general fab and some automotive motorsports (Drag racing) stuff. I had all the stuff needed but lost it all due to circumstances out of my control, so I'm starting over.

    I'm looking at a 220/230v unit. But I have not decided which one to go with. Hobart has their Handler series-which is what I was using previously and had no problems with it. Or the Lincoln, I think the Pro Mig 180. Of course then there's the Millermatic 211, which is roughly twice the money. I'd like something in the 180-210 range.

    What are your thoughts? What makes the Millers worth the extra money? I want one but at this time with my income level, if I can save a little bit, what I save can be used for extra project-related stuff.

  • #2
    MILLER has a super deal on the 211 if you check the special offers . FREE SPOOLGUN PLUS rebate ! I like the multivolt feature on the 211 and found out it likes the .030 wire. The auto set feature is liked by some and hated by others. I have used MILLER'S forever so the 211 is my choice.


    • #3
      I just bought the 211 and love it. Money well spent. The spool gun and rebate is a no brainer.


      • #4
        Ditto. Have had it about 3 weeks - wonderful machine. Airgas had it for $1118 then subtract the $200 rebate. Free spoolgun ends 7/31.


        • #5
          The 211 is a beast. I use a Linc SP175 Plus at my work and my 211 (at home) is way more powerful. The 110/220v is a real nice feature also.


          • #6
            I have a mm251 that I bought used for about the new price of a 211. I love it. No duty cycle issues for the work I do. I've used the smaller mig machines and they hit their duty cycle pretty quick which gets fairly annoying.

            I vote for the mm251/252 off the used market.
            MillerMatic 251
            Maxstar 150 STH
            Cutmaster 42
            Victor Journeyman OA

            A rockcrawler, er money pit, in progress...


            • #7
              Originally posted by elvis View Post
              I have a mm251 that I bought used for about the new price of a 211. I love it. No duty cycle issues for the work I do. I've used the smaller mig machines and they hit their duty cycle pretty quick which gets fairly annoying.

              I vote for the mm251/252 off the used market.
              You got a heck of a deal. Most 251 or 252 by me are almost as much as new. I'm in Northern Illinois.


              • #8
                Originally posted by BD1 View Post
                You got a heck of a deal. Most 251 or 252 by me are almost as much as new. I'm in Northern Illinois.
                Northern illinois here to. Bought a Lincoln mp210. Does stick, mig and tig, dc only machine. Has 210amps, cost was 999. I really like it, now there is a particular person on this forum who will comment on how it's unproved and will fail in a few days. I like mine, very portable. Now I happen to be a field mechanic who owned his own welding business for 10 years, I sold my larger shop machines, as I no longer do a lot of shop work, (everything is field, and I sold my business anyhow). You might want to consider it as we'll.
                Lincoln ranger 305g x2
                Miller spectrum 625
                Miller 30a spoolgun
                Lincoln 210mp
                F550 imt service truck


                • #9
                  Need a new MIG machine

                  I say you find yourself a good used machine that fits your budget. Keep an eye on Craigslist and whatever local stuff-swapping sites you have. Be patient and a good deal will surface. Also, ask around, you'll be surprised at the awesome stuff people have laying around their sheds going to waste.

                  My primary mig machine these days is an old mm250 I found sitting out in some guy's yard. Got him to pretty much give it to me since it looked like it had been there for years, can of WD40 and a wire brush, a new gun liner and a roll of wire and that sucker welds like a beast. Sure, it has a bit of a harsh arc and has a tight sweet spot like many old timers say is typical for this machine, but it certainly anchors a whole bunch of my fab work regularly.


                  • #10
                    Another vote for a MM251. I picked up a 30A spoolgun with it. Nice unit. It will outwork me any day.


                    • #11
                      About 10 years ago I bought a used Lincoln SP130. It did everything I needed to do with it, which wasn't much but when I want to weld, I want to be able to WELD (not fiddle around). I hate poor equipment. I dug it out of the corner one afternoon to weld up an "oops" on the mower and it would power on, but no weld current. I did what I could, next day I took it in to a dealer and they kept it, then called me a few hours later saying the circuit board was toast. Seems like it was about $350 at the time for the part. So I paid $250 for the welder used, and put $350 into it to fix it (did it myself, parts only) and still ended up with a welder that had zero warranty. Yes I sold it, and got 60% of what I had invested in it. Then I bought a new Hobart Handler 190 and it did great. But when I moved, it was stolen from the place I moved from, along with a lot of other stuff. We have a 210 at work and it does fine the 2 or 3 times a year that we need it. Funny thing about boss is a cheap skate. We originally had a Handler 120 and it died. I told the boss and he runs over to Tractor Supply, picks up "another 120" and we fired it up. Well he was griping about the price going sky high. They didn't make the 120 anymore. He bought a 210 and THOUGHT he was getting a 120. Which worked out good for us because the 120 wasn't big enough anyway. But me personally, I do not want to go through the headaches of buying another used machine and have a possibility of having problems with it.

                      So I want a new one now since I have nothing. I rounded up a bunch of metal at work to build a cart with a new welder. "Horse before the carriage"...I haven't bought anything yet. I am pretty much set on the 211 though. For no more than I will do with it, it should be what I need. And versatile being that it's a 120/240v unit. Not that I plan on doing any mobile repairs.

                      Do you all have a suggestion on the best place to purchase from? Am I seeing this correctly? Free spool gun and $200 rebate?


                      • #12
                        Buy welding supplies online from plasma cutting machines to auto darkening welding helmets. Safety equipment available from Welder Supply Company in Wisconsin. Call 1-844-682-0205.

                        I just placed an order with them. As for the rebate that is the way I understand it to be now, you get both. I didn't get that deal when I bought mine just the rebate. So the spoolgun is one of the things I just ordered because of my need to hone my silicon bronze and alum. for automotive repair. Otherwise I wouldn't have needed it, it will stay home in my garage to practice with. My employer can buy his own welder for me to use there, I'll be damed if I will buy those kinda tools for his business.


                        • #13
                          I bought my 211 about a month ago from the local Airgas store. $1118 - $200. That rebate is through 12/31. The free spoolgun is via a mail-in form (same paper as the rebate) and comes in about two weeks. That is good thru 7/31--only a couple more weeks. I could not find a lower price than Airgas.


                          • #14
                            Link to the 211 at Welders Supply:

                            Miller stuff:
                            Dialarc 250 (1974)
                            Syncrowave 250 (1992)
                            Spot welder (Dayton badged)


                            • #15
                              I've been stewing on this all weekend long. Shopped around at different places. Airgas. WelsCo. Online. Tractor Supply. Lowes. Looked at Lincoln's Hobarts's and Miller's. After looking at Lincoln, I narrowed it down to Miller and Hobart. The Hobart MVP is $899 about everywhere, +/- a couple dollars. Local Airgas wanted $1232 for the 211, Welsco was $1218. Both are a good distance from me, which is I guess a downside to living out in the sticks.

                              Also looked at the MM 251. It's more welder than I will EVER need, and it's also a significant jump in price from the 211. You get what you pay for, but after stewing on this all weekend, I don't think I'll ever be able to use a welder enough to justify the 251's extra cost. About $900 is what I've budgeted, and after a rebate the MM 211 is going to be right there. But so was the Hobart, and the Hobard doesn't come with a spool gun, and is considered to be a "cheaper" Miller by many. The one we have at work has been great but I think in the years we've had it, I've only run it maybe 5 times for a total of 10 minutes.

                              Bought a 211 from, from referrals from this thread. I won't get it for a few days. I didn't get a cart. I need to build one anyway, and I have an idea what I want (a drawer for storage of consumables, tips, nozzles, etc) and that kind of thing.

                              Next thing I need to do is go find me some CO2. I own a bottle but I haven't seen it in probably 5 or 6 years, at least. Probably just have to buy a new one.

                              First project-the cart. Second, fab up some brackets and such for the hydraulic/electric tilt bed for my Kawasaki Mule. 3rd project, weld up the mower deck on my Kubota. Then maybe get started on the Mustang.

                              Thanks for all the suggestions.