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MIG Welder/Plasma Cutter Purchase

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  • MIG Welder/Plasma Cutter Purchase

    Hello everyone:

    I am new to this forum, although I’ve been reading and enjoying it for a few days now. I would appreciate your helping me decide which MIG welder and plasma cutter to purchase. Please excuse the long post, but I’d like to provide as much information as I think you might want to have.

    Intended use -- I plan on using the welder and the cutter for making sculpture (that I eventually hope to sell commercially) during weekends. I doubt I’d weld or cut anything over 3/8”. I expect to work with steel, stainless steel, and perhaps aluminum (I may also cut copper and other metals).

    Budget -- about $4,000 (I’ve been saving for a looong time). I contemplate that some of the budget will go towards gas cylinders, consumables, etc.

    Space -- rather limited (park two cars in the two-car garage, in addition to storing a Lincoln AC/DC 225A welder, Victor oxy-acetylene welding/cutting outfit and cylinders, a radial arm saw, an air compressor, 2 Craftsman tool chests, 4 storage shelves, a workbench, a pressure washer, 2 floor jacks, a cart for lumber and scrap steel, …. well, you get the idea). I’m considering storing the welder and cutter inside the house and lugging them to the garage when I want to use them.

    Electrical supply -- 230V, 30A outlet in my garage that taps into the clothes dryer outlet on the other side of the wall. It ultimately hooks up to a 30A breaker in the main electrical box for the house. Incidentally, to use my Lincoln welder, I calculated backwards (using a rough conversion ratio for the transformer) to conclude that I can safely weld at 135A max. with the 30A electrical supply I have. I suppose I could upgrade the supply, but I haven’t figured out the feasibility and cost of doing so.

    Air supply -- I have a Campbell-Hausfeld 125 PSI max., 15-gallon air compressor. It can provide 6.9 SCFM at 40 PSI, and 5.5 SCFM at 90 PSI.

    MIG welder -- based on comments on this forum and other forums, I’m considering the Miller Passport 180, although I’m open to comments and suggestions. From some comments, it seems that the Passport does not do well with welding aluminum (if things go well, I may consider buying a TIG welder down the road so I can handle aluminum but, right now, I’m not sure).

    Plasma cutter -- I’m considering the Miller Spectrum 625. Reading various posts, however, it seems that many of you either own or recommend other brands. Also, given that the Spectrum 625 seems to require 6 SCFM at 75 PSI, my air compressor may be inadequate or marginal. How sensitive are plasma cutters to having the precise air supply available? (I suppose I could reduce the duty cycle to give the compressor a chance to catch up.)

    Merchant -- As the “little guy,” I haven’t had good luck hooking up with a local supplier (the closest metro area is Austin, TX), so I’m considering online merchants. I would appreciate hearing about your experience (recommendations/warnings/price data points).

    Thanks very much in advance for your help!

  • #2
    millermatic 210 W/spool gun for aluminum 230V-27Amps
    spectrum 375 plasma cutter 230V-14Amps

    should do the trick and fit in youre budjet bolth are well spoken of buy there owners here.

    online i used indeana oxy. supply (link below) got my MM135 and spec125 through them 2 days and it was at my door.

    and have herd good things about and spoken with cyber weld

    hope this helps and good luck
    thanks for the help
    hope i helped
    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
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    • #3
      Hi fun4now:

      Thanks very much for the quick reply and the suggestions.

      I had briefly considered the Millermatci 210, but the weight (200 pounds, IIRC) seemed too much to lug in and out of the house. I'll have to consider whether I can move something else out of the garage to open up some room. I definitely like the spool-gun capability, and I recall reading on this forum that it works well.

      With respect to the Spectrum 375, the specifications show that it can cut 3/8" if one uses a standoff. I like your idea of the Spectrum 375 because of the lower price, but on the other hand, the Spectrum 625 leaves some room for future growth (somehow, I always seem to want a bigger, better tool after a while ). Of course, the Spectrum 375 would also obviate any potential problems with insufficient air-flow on my compressor.

      Would some of the owners of the Cutmaster plasma cutters please share their experience?

      BTW, I don't have much brand loyalty; the best-valued tool wins. For example, I purchased my Lincoln Electric AC/DC 225 welder because it was a 1980s copper-wound machine in great shape, and it had an attractive price tag. So, please feel free to recommend various brands (sorry, Andy, don't mean to bite the hand that feeds ).