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what to buy?

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  • what to buy?

    I found this site last night, forgive me for not checking the archives. I'm in the market for some updated equipment.I haven't kept up with technology for the last 20 years ,so I need some advice.

    I want to be able to weld aluminum some stainless, and regular steel .I need to be able to do fairly thin stuff.I will be doing some work on my boat(.100-.125) alum.

    I really would like to have a MIG and a TIG, should I buy a multi-process machine or what would be your recommendation.I want to be able to TIG aluminum.

    I won't be using these 8hrs a day every day, just periodically,but I want all the quality I can afford.


  • #2
    i would go the route of a syncro 180 tig runner and a mm135

    reason being is that they are both great machines and you could have both of them for under 3grand......

    dont get talked into a inverter.....(do to the amount of usage)....if you want to do that.....just write out a check to arcdawgs z71 fund !!!!



    • #3
      Good call arcdawg. Frequency of use plays a big role. Both of the machines dawg mentioned I have owned and used. Most anything blue is top notch, so you cannot go wrong. Too bad you live so far away as I have a like new syn 180 tig runner with less than 20 hours use for $1000.00. Good luck and when you decide let the forum know. I am only a hobbyist but this forum has many pros who can help with settings, size, etc.


      • #4
        For close the same amount of money a Thermal-arc 185 and a Lincoln SP 135 plus would be a much better combination. Better overall welding arc, Hands down. Although I would go for a SP 175 plus if I needed to weld over 1/8 inch stuff.

        PS- the $1000.00 sycro and a littte mig would make a very nice package too.


        • #5
          Scott, never used any Thermal arc stuff. Are you comparing an inverter machine to a standard transformer machine, regarding arc quality?


          • #6
            Originally posted by rb455ho
            Scott, never used any Thermal arc stuff. Are you comparing an inverter machine to a standard transformer machine, regarding arc quality?
            Yes mostly on the ac side but even on the dc with the pulse and that ripple free inverter arc. What I really like is controlly the welding arc with a button control in the repeat mode. Very cool for out of position welds. It was the main reason I upgraded from my gtsw 300 to a 300 tsw. Although I still have not made a button control for mine.

            I also feel on the mig side until the wirefeed tracking on the 135 goes down the road there are better welding machines then the Millers in that class.
            If it was so wonderful they would have it on the MM-350P


            • #7
              scot, i really like the sp135.........but is there that much of a diffrence compared to the mm135.......

              i cannot do a to the fact that i was using the mm135 with fluxcore and on a exstion cord........and the sp135 with c02 and direct plug in

              what are your reasons ?

              and does lincoln make diffrent models of the 135 ?



              • #8
                Scott, I believe my next logical question is. How does the thermalarc machine compare to the dynasty 200 in performance and price and reliability? I do not believe you can kill a transformer machine but the inverters are more susceptable. Can you elaborate please.


                • #9
                  and does lincoln make diffrent models of the 135 ?


                  I only used a sp 135 T and a sp125 plus and of course the MM135 .
                  Self-shielded flux-core about any machine seems to run that pretty well. It's just with solid wire 75/25 gas, I did not care for how the MM135 adjusts (weird to me) Nothing is really wrong otherwise. The MM might be be a better machine then the Lincoln if they ditched the wirefeed tracking. I would buy a Hobart 140 Before the MM135 even though it has wirefeed tracking,but it is setup with taps for voltage. I had two Miller 130 and the XP model was fine with that setup.


                  • #10

                    We can help you out better on this, if you gave us an idea on the material thickness range that you want to cover. Plus, how about an idea on how much you're willing to spend. Personally, if I have a 230 volt input power source available, a 175 amp mig is the smallest machine i would consider. I know there are several internet weldors who boast how there little 120 volt unit can weld 1/4" or thicker steel. I 've ran several of these small 120 volt unit, and once you hit 1/8" or thicker, using a solid wire, the little unit can't keep up with the 230 volt 175 amp machine performance wise. As far as the 175/180 amp unit go, I ve ran the Lincoln sp 175+, MM 175, and HH 180. In my opinion, if the MM 175 didn t have the wire speed tracking feature, it would be the best of the three. This feature makes dialing the arc in on the MM 175 more complicated then it should be. Therefore, for ease of operation, and quality performance, my vote will have to go with the Lincoln sp 175+ until the wirespeed tracking feature is elimated from the MM 175. As far as the HH 180 goes, the arc performance of the top two taps is rough, so I really don t like it.

                    Out of the Miller all-in-one units that i currently own, my MM 251 has become my favorite. Performance wise it is an excellent unit.

                    I also have a MM 210, it's a nice unit for the hobbyist level weldor, who wants to mainly weld 1/4" or thinner. Its tapped design makes it a simple unit to deal with dialing the arc in on.

                    As far as a TIG unit goes, the Syncrowave 180 will handle the thickness of aluminumm that you have mentioned. However, since it is a transformer based unit, if I remember right, you're going to need at least a 70 amp 230 volt circuit for the unit. Whereas if i remember right, the Thermal Arc unit that Scott mentioned only needs around a 30 amp circuit.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rb455ho
                      Scott, I believe my next logical question is. How does the thermalarc machine compare to the dynasty 200 in performance and price and reliability? I do not believe you can kill a transformer machine but the inverters are more susceptable. Can you elaborate please.

                      They sold tons of Thermal-arc 185 and it has no issues with reliablity.
                      The Dynasty 200 will have a edge because of features, mostly the 120 volt one. I would probably go with a Dynasty 200 for that and the the extra HZ adjustment.

                      I was looking around my shop and just noticed all I have in it is inverters at this time.

                      I guess I fall for the inverter side of things.

                      Thermal 101` cutmaster
                      Thermal 38 XL
                      Thermal 300 TSW
                      Easb 350 mpi
                      Esab 161
                      Esab 160 mutimaster
                      Miller Passport


                      • #12

                        well it may not count for much but i give the MM135 all thumbs up . i have had mine for almost a year now ith no problems and great performance.

                        as for circuit power the dynasty 200 needs 30A 220V or 120V, TA185 requires a 40A 220V, the syncro needs 54A 220V.all have been given great reviews and any would do what you need. if you have 220V i would agree that a MM175 or MM210 would be better if you have the $$$ and might need to weld 1/4"
                        thanks for the help
                        hope i helped
                        feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
                        summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.


                        • #13
                          The 185 Thermal draws 29 amps 230 input at full output in tig.
                          The SP 135 plus Lincolns have a better track record then the Millers or Hobarts in reliability. They are just tougher units !!!!


                          • #14
                            I'd vote for the mm135 and a Dynasty 200DX! I've used most of the machines mentioned and the D200DX rocks and for thin mig the mm135 is fantastic.

                            Just my .02,


                            • #15
                              Thanks for the input guys. I'm trying to familiarize myself with all the latest terminology.Back in college I worked at a welding shop,really enjoyed TIG-ing,didn't know everything about the set-up,boss would get it set close and I would go to town.I haven't welded aluminum in 18 yrs, just been getting by with my old Miller dial-an amp stick-box I've had since high school.

                              I am doing a semi-major boat project,and will be working with .100 -1/4 alum.
                              18yrs. ago I could TIG alum much better than MIG at that thickness, maybe that has all changed with the new machines.

                              From what I've seen so far, I'd like a MM251 and one of those 200DX's that everyone is talking about. 220v isn't a problem,I can stick a bigger breaker in the box.I will also be making farm machinery repairs,which a nice MIG would be great for, I think.

                              Money is somewhat of an issue, but I'm old enough to know you get what you pay for.

                              keep the advice coming...