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  • Welder setup question

    I've been researching this for about 3 weeks. I've visited local welding supplies and all I got was individuals thumbing through catalogs reading the same descriptions I've read multiple times. I've called Miller and spoke to somebody there and the person was knowledgeable but I think I have too many questions. Meaning he would suggest everything I researched but when he would suggest something I would ask about qualities of another machine.

    I have a Millermatic 250x. 30 amp spool gun. I don't care for the spool gun size and weight. I like the mig gun.

    I have a Lincoln Tig 200 Square Wave that's kind of cool. (I've only messed with it about an hour on scrap and nothing of importance.)

    The Millermatic I can tell if it's me or the machine. It's just a pain sometimes getting a weld started without it popping back into the gun and ruining the tip. (I called support and they said it was a wire feed problem and to change the liner. I did and really no difference. Plus it does the same thing with the spool gun.)

    I've kind of figured out a way to get it to start by running the wire out about 2" kind striking an arc then getting the torch down to the appropriate level to weld. Then when i get it going, it just seems the settings don't match the metal guide. Again it could be me.

    All I know is a friend has a 350P aluminum setup and I went to make some aluminum brackets for an AC compressor, I put set it to the metal size, cleaned, hooked up the ground and welded. I never had welded aluminum and it seemed pretty easy.

    So that's got me thinking. Welding is a hobby and a release for me and it's usually to fix a vehicle or to make something I want to tinker with. Having said that I'm not trying to turn into a professional welder. I'm not lazy but I don't want to spend hours upon hours learning all there is to know just to weld something simple together.

    I foresee myself welding mostly steel but I do have some vehicles with aluminum bodys I need to patch up. I don't like the weight and size, hassle of the spool gun and loved the push pull gun on the 350p aluminum.

    At first I was trying to go the multiprocess so I just had one machine but then I came to realize there aren't many/any MP's that do AC tig so that kind of killed that for me.

    Tig is cool to tinker with but I prefer the mig. (I'll keep the Lincoln in case I need it something really thin.) But since I liked my only experience with the 350P aluminum, I was considering the non aluminum version really wanted to make sure if I dropped that much it would make me happy. Unfortunately I haven't found a place to demo one yet.

    Calls to Miller, they recommended a 215 to a 252. But again when he started talking about those I started asking about pulse and things along those lines and articles I read how they can effect vertical welding etc. (Those may or may not be true.) That's where he got miffed and replied I had it all figured out. Well just the opposite, there is just so much stuff out there and so many freakin opinions which more than half I believe are now posted by individuals reading something online and posting like they are an expert. It's almost impossible to make an educated decision anymore.

    I then called a local repair place. They told me to scrap the 350p idea, go with a XMT 304, add pulse to it etc and pick up the items used. and have about the same into it as a new 350p. He suggested I get my 250x tuned up and keep it.

    So I started researching the 304 which caused me to know stumble on the XMT 350 MPa & Invision 352MPa. I then saw the Invsion 352MPa packages that come with a D74. A mig gun setup for steel and one for aluminum I can roll around my shop. But then I can't justify 12k to tinker.

    Outside of the repair shop suggestion, I've realized everybody has just thrown out machine models and non really can answer why one over the other or why would get a XMT 350 over a 252. At best it's based on are you going to weld under 1/2" or more than 1/2". My guess the main reasons are longer duty cycles at higher amps but still I want to know about the pulse technologies and other things that may benefit somebody like me. If it saves me time and frustration, then I'll pay more for it.

    With that, I don't like buying something small/limited and working up. I'd rather purchase more than what I need and never need it than just enough to get by now and wish I would have just got a better model to start with.

    The values on these seem to hold fairly well so my thinking if I get a used setup and take care of it, it probably won't loose that much money if I ever want to sell it.

    On that, I think I'm back to I want a setup I can mig steel and the ability to run a push pull gun on aluminum.

    I love the idea of the dual feeder setup on one cart and I just pick what gun I need and go to work but I still have the 250x and if tune up solves the issues I'm having maybe I just need to go with a 350p and a XR gun?

    I apologize for the length, I could probably type another couple of pages worth of ideas I'm contemplating but have tried to condense it down as best I could to give anybody reading this the mindset I have and my situation.

    Anybody that would care to share experiences, and opinions with reasons as to why they would stick with the 250sx and go with a 350p. Or would you look at an XMT 304 or a 350/352 MPa and build it out. (If I go this route, I'll probably take my time and piece whatever I need to get together over time and get the few things I need to get done with my 250x and hold off on other things until I get what I want.)

    Also, what's the true difference between the Invision line versus XMT. In particular, the 350 MPa versus the 352MPa? I ask because I see both come up refurbed on ebay and I can't decide if I should rule out one over the other for any type of reason. Thanks in advance for any ideas.





  • #2
    Bet your MM250X can be tuned up to weld properly

    Clean up the Ground/Work connection...& replace the clamp to start with...
    .

    *******************************************
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

    “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

    Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

    My Blue Stuff:
    Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
    Dynasty 200DX
    Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
    Millermatic 200

    TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000

    Comment


    • #3
      From what I remember the 250x was the dud in the 250 series machines Miller came out with.

      The Older MM200 is a rock, then replaced with the fancier 250dx, and shortly replaced by the 251, then the 252 which is a rock as well.

      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by Broccoli1 View Post
        From what I remember the 250x was the dud in the 250 series machines Miller came out with.

        The Older MM200 is a rock, then replaced with the fancier 250dx, and shortly replaced by the 251, then the 252 which is a rock as well.
        Thanks Ed, I'll get one person tell me that or I'll read online that a weakness is what I seem to be experiencing. But then I'll get somebody else tell me these are a lot better than the new 252's and I should hold on to it. I'm not bashing either one because in the right hands I have no doubt any of the above weld beyond me. The thing is as mentioned I don't mind paying for technology that to make easier and faster for me to just go out to my shop and get a weld out of the way and onto other things.

        The repair guy said something about replacing the caps something like that, I can't exactly remember if that's what he called it. I've had another person I trust tell me to ditch the miller gun and get a Tweco. Then others love the miller gun. (Think mine is a M25)

        I'll probably keep the M250x but looking for newer technology as well. Trying to decide if this and a 350P is the way to go. Or the repair guy is right and take an XMT 304, pulser or a MPa machine and put together a setup would be better. I'm curious about the pulse in the perspective, I've read some say it makes doing a vertical weld up easier which if is the case would definitely help me.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by steelwarhorses View Post

          I'll probably keep the M250x but looking for newer technology as well. Trying to decide if this and a 350P is the way to go. Or the repair guy is right and take an XMT 304, pulser or a MPa machine and put together a setup would be better. I'm curious about the pulse in the perspective, I've read some say it makes doing a vertical weld up easier which if is the case would definitely help me.
          FWIW I have had my MM350P for several years and love it ........... if your budget permits.... you will not be disappointed

          https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...llermatic+350p



          on the MM250X..... still think it can be tuned up to behave...
          Last edited by H80N; 12-20-2016, 06:00 PM.
          .

          *******************************************
          The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

          “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

          Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

          My Blue Stuff:
          Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
          Dynasty 200DX
          Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
          Millermatic 200

          TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000

          Comment


          • #6
            On the 250x make sure you're running the right size tip for your wire. Also, if the liner is old or well used, replace it. Be sure your drive rollers are clean and the right size as well and the spool isn't binding.

            I had a 22a feeder on a 300 Shopmaster. Did exactly like you've described and drove me nuts. I did everything I mentioned above and cured it. Don't toss out the 250x, they're capable machines.

            Comment


            • #7
              I got about half way through your original post and there was just so much in there I don't know where to start to help you. <br />
              <br />
              About as much as I'd risk speak of....the MM250 series machines are beasts, but they have a very narrow sweet spot. You really have to feel out your machine and find where it likes to weld. On mine, I have it marked on the dials a good starting point for short circuit and for spray arc...I adjust from there. I use it all the time and every single time I use it I'm reminded just how harsh the arc that machine can has.<br />
              <br />
              That machine will weld just about another you need. Mine also throws aluminum wire down like a mean mammer jammer. <br />
              <br />
              You have it, learn to use it better or sell it and get something you like. I like mine because I rescued it and because it's old and ugly, just like me.

              Comment


              • #8
                You really have to feel out your machine and find where it likes to weld.
                That's one of the main points, I'm trying to find a machine that works the way I work. Not literally, but I was reading a post by Miller where they feel welders have to be made more and more user friendly.

                Having said, that if you have a 350P, how would you compare it to the 250x? Would you say there are characteristics about it that would be more forgiving and help a novice like myself just be able to set by it's guide and just weld?

                Do you have any experience with the XMT 304 with Pulser or the MPa machines? Would going that route be as good or better and have the modular capability over the 350P. (I like the idea of some day ending up with a Dual feeder so I can weld aluminum and wire without having to change the setup.

                I mainly want a Push Pull aluminum setup and not have to use the spool gun. I really liked that on the 350P aluminum but I'm not going to spend that much on a machine that just does aluminum.

                P.S. I'm hoping somebody comes along with these machines or some of them and give me some insight about their experiences.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ok,
                  I wanna say this in all honesty. With no hostility intended.
                  If you cannot figure out how to run/diagnose your 250X there is a very good chance you won't do much better with a 350P, much less a more sophisticated machine. You may need some help with all this for awhile. The fancier the machine, the better advice you are gonna need.
                  If you want dual feeder capabilities you are gonna spend big money. And you are going to have to learn how to work thru having problems with setting up the machine for what it is welding. Technology actually makes initial set up more difficult in many instances. Not that many welders have run machines like these, and when they have it is usually on only one type of metal. Most places that would sell you a machine are clueless when it comes to actually using one. Few will make it thru installing the power cord. Most of that stuff is for production work in a factory or expert operators with years of experience. 2 feeders off of one machine isn't all that great anyways. You always have to drag all that extra junk all over the shop.

                  You have a simple machine already. Have it checked out. If it works good then master it. If not then move on.
                  The reason the 350P was easy was because it had a chart for you to follow. Unless you trade the 250X in for a newer machine (great idea imho) you gotta fix it anyways sometime.
                  The 350P will weld thin metal awesomely as well as thick. It takes very little actual time to switch from a regular whip to the push pull. If you can afford it then you could master it and then decide how to diversify from there. Not one machine out there will lay a better weld than the 350P with you running it if it is set correctly.
                  And then there is warranty....... not gonna get much of that with the used route.
                  I really hope this helps to simplify your outlook a bit.

                  www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                  Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                  MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                  Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                  Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                  Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                  Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                  Miller WC-115-A
                  Miller Spectrum 300
                  Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                  Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you're not doing that much with the spool gun, just suck it up on those few occasions. Maybe check out the 252, I've heard several guys on here give it high marks. <br />
                    <br />
                    That 250 you have would is an industrial size machine that is best suited for a single application and would thrive if you were a trailer making production line. If you're gonna be changing the settings all the time, like I do, you'll have to dial it in each time until you get it nailed down. I can pretty much dial her in within the first couple of inches or so, but there certainly is no chart to help. <br />
                    <br />
                    You keep going back to the 350P and if you're anything like most guys, once you're mind is made up, come **** or high water you're gonna do it by god. By all accounts it's a pretty awesome machine. Get one.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My $.02
                      Chances are that the reason your friend's 350P worked so well is that he was there to set it up properly. Ask him over or better yet take your MM250 over to his place and have him try it out and see if he can tweak it to weld better or suggest what you might have to fix/change on it.
                      Slow down and take the time to learn to weld. You have enough equipment already to get you well started and doing some decent work on both steel and aluminum. No machine is going to make you an expert if you are not already one. Patience is golden.

                      ---Meltedmetal
                      ---Meltedmetal

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Meltedmetal View Post
                        My $.02
                        Chances are that the reason your friend's 350P worked so well is that he was there to set it up properly. Ask him over or better yet take your MM250 over to his place and have him try it out and see if he can tweak it to weld better or suggest what you might have to fix/change on it.
                        Slow down and take the time to learn to weld. You have enough equipment already to get you well started and doing some decent work on both steel and aluminum. No machine is going to make you an expert if you are not already one. Patience is golden.

                        ---Meltedmetal
                        Which is exactly what I was sayin'

                        www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                        Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                        MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                        Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                        Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                        Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                        Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                        Miller WC-115-A
                        Miller Spectrum 300
                        Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                        Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by FusionKing View Post

                          Which is exactly what I was sayin'
                          He wasn't there and hence mentioning it why I liked it.

                          I read an article by Miller last week and it seems like they get what I'm asking. It talks about how they know they are going to have to utilize technology to make it "easier" to get into welding.

                          I write software and I can't tell users, be patient learn all about computers and software and you won't have as many issues. Rather it's a constant battle to make software easier and easier to use with less and less training. I despise apple because they've made to where you don't have to know the first thing about a computer to use one. That makes it extremely difficult when trying to write software to resolve complex problems and numerous business process because users of the software don't make money learning to figure out a computer or software. THey make money when it just works, it saves them time.

                          Same thing here, steel, aluminum and several different types of wire. Sure they probably can never have metal and environment sensing units to where you turn it on, you get a read out telling you what to use and then monitors your welds but things can surely progress from what was back in the 90's.

                          Anyway, I ended up getting a certified used Lincoln Power Wave S350 with 2 10m wire feeders while searching around for a used dual feeder.

                          It was between it and refurbished Invision 354. I choose the Lincoln because of the upgradable software and the ability to add an Advanced module to do AC Tig. I pretty much have one machine that could just about literally do anything I'd ever want to try if. Or on paper it seems that way.

                          Also, with the blue sale, I also got a Multimatic 215 today. It actually seems like it's designed to address what I'm asking about. I'm just not sure how well accurate the settings are but going to start another thread about that.

                          Thanks everyone. I'll try to post back updates as i go along.


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