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Information / opinions on Maxstar 150 STL

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  • Information / opinions on Maxstar 150 STL

    I want/need a welder for my home shop and also would like to be able to have some mobile capacity and some, maybe even much of the work will be outside. I'm mainly looking at doing some light fab and automotive type work, mainly 1/8" to 1/4" mostly, but would really like to have capability for auto body and maybe chromemoly steel if possible. Was originly going to get a MM175 mig and use fluxcore for outside, mobile work, but the more I think about it the more I think a stick welder would be a better choice. I got a flyer about this Maxstar when I was at the dealer checking into the MM175 and it sounds like it could be just what I need. I really like the lite weight and the ability run on either 115 or 230, and the dealer says it handles 1/8" rods great and maybe even 3/32". The ability to tig on top of that, if it does a decent job would be great. I'm wondering if the touch start will be a decent performer and reasonably easy to learn on. I'don't really have tig experiance but I do have a quite a bit of stick and gas welding experiance, though most of it was a number of a years back. If any one could give me some info on this rig I'd sure appreciate it.
    Also: is the Hobart STI 150 the same machine? If so what kind of amp control does it have? Sears has one in thier catalog that I can get for a good price with a discount and I have some gift certificates that would really help out.
    Thanks,
    Manny

  • #2
    Manny,

    MIG machines are typically better for auto body work. Even very expereienced TIG welders use the MIG process for sheet metal. Speed and sometimes difficulty of TIG torch and filler placement are issues with using TIG for body work.

    The outside work is going to require stick welding or flux cored wire in a MIG machine as the wind will blow away your shielding gas for GMAW and GTAW unless it is a very still day.

    The MM210 is a great machine and will do your 1/4" work well as and is great at 3/8" too! It is highly respected among auto body shops and welding enthusiasts! The MM175 is also a nice machine, but I would not buy it with the mind set of doing 1/4" material everyday.

    I have not welded with the Maxstar 150 (It is made here in the states as are all their other machines), but owned a Maxstar 140. The 140 was actually made by Fronius for Miller and they had their share of problems. The 140 would burn a 3/32" 7018 rod on 220VAC, but would only handle 3/32" 6013 rods or smaller on 110 VAC. My guess is the Maxstar 150 will burn an occasional 1/8" 7018 or 6010 rod on 220VAC, but its performance will be marginal. The Maxstar 150 TIG performance should be good up to 1/8".

    I don't know what your budget is or which way you will go: MIG or STICK/TIG. I would lean toward a Maxstar except for the auto body work. Either way stay away from Sears. Who knows what vendor is currently supplying their welders or if you will be able to get parts. My very first stick buzz box came from Sears and went right back where it came from and I learned on a Lincoln 225AC buzz box.

    Hobart and Miller are both ITW companies and have produced similar machines in years past. Are they identical? I'll leave that one alone. My personal preference is Miller with the exception of specialty product they do not supply.

    Here is my thought on this subject. If you really want to go the Maxstar route, email Andy at [email protected] He had and probably still has a really nice used Maxstar 200DX with the pulse and sequence features. I had a chance to use the machine at the Atlanta Welding Expo a few weeks ago. It looks brand new and still has some Miller factory warranty with it. I own a Dynasty 200DX which is the Maxstar with AC capabilities for aluminum, magnesium , etc. It does have a nice stick arc. Talke a look at the Maxstar 200 series. Based on your statement (used to do a lot of stick/gas welding and would be nice to have TIG) I think you will be disappointed in the Maxstar 150 limitations. The touch start " Lift Arc" is a Miller patented process and works great for DC TIG! It gives you sure starts without tungsten contamination. It also eliminates the need for the machine to have a high frequency generator.

    I think that machine was designed more for the on site maintenance and repair guys for in plant work. It is a great machine for that because those guys also have access to larger and mulit-process machines if the need arises. Don't mis-understand me. The Maxstar is a great machine. Just make sure it accomodate your needs. Miller makes many machines for different applications. There is no on machine that fits them all. If there were, then the engineers at Miller, Lincoln, etc would have an easy row to hoe!

    Too much information? No. I just want to help make you aware of some options and share some experience.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hawk,
      Thanks for taking the time to reply, not too much info at all, I've been away from it for a while, just dabling here and there and need all the help I can get. I e-mailed Andy per your suggestion and will see what he has to say, if I can get into a 200 for a 150 price I'd jump all over it, but I am really pushing the envelope of what I can reasonably afford and justify getting to a 150, let alone spending much more. I keyed on the 150 because it seems that it would be adequate to stick weld up to 1/4" steel, or TIG to 1/8" and these realistically would cover my needs well as I have access to a friends Lincoln 250 Mig if I need more. What I'm a little more concerned about is the capability to weld THINNER on tig, for some body patches. Can I realistically expect a 150STL or if need be a 150STH that adjusts down to 5 amps to do a good job on that or am I expecting too much?
      Thanks again,
      Manny

      PS: My reason of thinking of Sears is because they offer a Hobart STI150 through their catalog, which I understand is a 150STL with a different paint job, and because I have a few gift certificates to apply to the cause.

      Comment


      • #4
        Manny,

        I feel certain the Maxstar 150 will produce a clean and stable output at 5 amps. The Maxstar 200DX that Andy had went down to 1 amp. That's really good unless you need specialized sub amp ranging. Now you are getting into specialty equipment and price tags to compliment it.

        I am also sure it will stick weld 1/4" material as long as you are content with a 3/32" 7018 or maybe an 1/8" 6013 rod. I don't think this machine has enough dig to really smoke a 6010 with authority.

        You may want to check with Andy on the Hobart/Miller comparison.

        Comment


        • #5
          The Maxstar 200DX has plenty of dig to drive a 6010 rod and it is also adjustable. What did Andy say?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by HAWK
            Manny,

            I feel certain the Maxstar 150 will produce a clean and stable output at 5 amps. The Maxstar 200DX that Andy had went down to 1 amp. That's really good unless you need specialized sub amp ranging. Now you are getting into specialty equipment and price tags to compliment it.

            I am also sure it will stick weld 1/4" material as long as you are content with a 3/32" 7018 or maybe an 1/8" 6013 rod. I don't think this machine has enough dig to really smoke a 6010 with authority.

            You may want to check with Andy on the Hobart/Miller comparison.
            Hawk,

            On a 240 volt circuit, my Maxstar 150 sth burns an 1/8" 7018 rod with out any trouble. My local supplier doesn t stock 6010 anymore most everyone around here is using 6011- mostly agricultural. In the end though, 6011, 6013 or 7014 are probably better rods for hobbyist weldor to us on this machine over 6010 or 7018 anyway.

            Comment


            • #7
              Dan,

              I will agree with the 6013 and 7014 rods. I guess you are burning them on DCSP or does this machine do well on DCRP with these rods? I was thinking the 6011 was primarily an AC rod?

              Thanks for the info on the 1/8" 7018 performance. I was basing my statements on the older 140. It would not burn and 1/8 rod-not even marginally.

              Comment


              • #8
                HAWK,
                I've had zero problems burning 1/8" 6010 from my Maxstar 140 STR. I wasn't even maxed out. I'll go out and try some 1/8" 7018 later and some 5/32" E309 (and whatever else is in the lab at the moment...) and post the findings.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the input folks, it's all appreciated, it's amazing how much you forget when you're away from it for awhile. Sounds like a 150 will fill the bill for my needs (unless Andy can come through with a smokin' deal on the 200DX Hawk mentioned). I'm really looking forward to getting back into it, and especially to learning to TIG. Hopefully I can contribute something here, even if it's only ignorance.
                  Thanks,
                  Manny

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MAC702
                    HAWK,
                    I've had zero problems burning 1/8" 6010 from my Maxstar 140 STR. I wasn't even maxed out. I'll go out and try some 1/8" 7018 later and some 5/32" E309 (and whatever else is in the lab at the moment...) and post the findings.
                    MAC702,

                    I had enough trouble out of my Maxstar 140 than this forum has room to write! However, I do not blame Miller for this. I had the machine in and out of several warranty shops and it never was right. This machine was built for Miller by Fronius. I later, much later, found out there were a bad batch of these units and mine was one of them. My bad luck in no way reflects on Miller's quality and service. Let me just say I had a really bad dealer that did not care and I should have pursued the situation direct with Miller. That's my fault! I have since learned that all in all the Maxstar 140 was a pretty good machine! Now all Miller's power sources are built state side! I am sure the Maxstar 150 reflects Miller's total commitment to quality and customer service!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I ran a Maxstar 140 tig welding 24 ga.- 22 ga. 304 SS round duct for about 3 weeks solid 8-10 hours a day without a problem! It didn't have the authority to burn 6010 1/8 inch on pipe supports to my liking though. Maybe the increased output of the 150 would help. It is a great little welder for the price and ease of portability. Good luck in your tig adventures!
                      Chris

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by HAWK
                        Dan,

                        I will agree with the 6013 and 7014 rods. I guess you are burning them on DCSP or does this machine do well on DCRP with these rods? I was thinking the 6011 was primarily an AC rod?

                        Thanks for the info on the 1/8" 7018 performance. I was basing my statements on the older 140. It would not burn and 1/8 rod-not even marginally.
                        6010 DC only, 6011 AC/DC. Doubt many are burned on gas rigs though. I ran a few 1/8" 6010 on AC when I was running low on 6011s and they ran OK. They may not have been the best rod for the job but they held up.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just for the record, I passed my D1:1 unlimited thickness vertical and overhead with a maxstar 140, 1/8 7018 just to know that I could do it, the other boys in the shop used a 3 phase 300 amp machine and had to test 5 or 6 times, I knew in the field installing pulley winch systems 60 to 100 feet up, there would not be any big bad 3 phase machines. 6010 and even 6011 do seem to be a problem sometimes. Go for that 200, the arc is much nicer. Paul
                          More Spark Today Pleasesigpic

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