Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

process and machine selection for my auto restoration business.

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • process and machine selection for my auto restoration business.

    Hi guys, first post here although I have lurked as a guest for some time.

    I hate to throw another "which welder" or "which process" post on the pile... But I would like some input if you don't mind.

    Here's my situation, I own and operate a classic car restoration shop which is a full time business currently with 2 employees. We see a lot of 50's, 60's, 70's projects run through the shop, all customer projects. I have a 3000 sq ft shop with a 2 post hoist in a tear down room, we have a general work area for metal work, body work, fab etc. We have a paint booth and a bunch of the basic tools and equipment you might expect to find in an auto restoration shop.

    I purchased a millermatic 175 probably around 15 years ago as a hobby machine for myself. It's served me well but I don't feel it has a place in my business for much longer.

    I'm looking to upgrade in machines, I say machines rather than machine because I want something set up for exterior body panel repairs and something set up for general purpose welding which can mean frame/structural stuff. Most of the body panel stuff I do is around 22-20 gauge material and I like to fit my repair joints tight (butt). I've been using mig process with .023 solid wire and C25. I do ok with it but metal finishing could benefit from a process improvement here. I've looked at TIG, I love the idea of the low weld profile, less grinding, more planishable etc. But I know that the reality is that I won't be able to lean on TIG process for all of my panel repairs. I don't always have decent access to the back side of the original panel (still on the car) to clean things as perfectly as TIG would require.

    So, for now my inclination is to upgrade my mig machine, focus squarely on 22-20 gauge steel, butt welds, .023 esab easy grind is what I am thinking I'd like to switch to and I believe the C25 gas blend would work well with this. Multi voltage has absolutely ZERO importance to me, I don't care about it at all. I have several single phase 50 amp 230 circuits throughout the shop, I really don't see myself ever needing to plug a machine into a 115 outlet. Lightweight, same thing there, I do not care, I don't care if the machine weighs 300 lbs or 30 lbs, makes no difference to me.If it happens to weigh 30 lbs and can run on 115, 230 or unicorn sparkles and also happens to be the BEST machine for light sheet metal then that's fine. I'm just saying multi voltage and uber portable are not requirements for me by any means. Same goes for auto set, it's not important to me but if the best machine for my needs happens to have auto set then so be it.

    I have looked at a bunch of machines in the mig and tig processes. I've sort of reeled myself back from TIG, I won't rule it out as I do believe it would be useful to me, but I've come to terms with the idea that I maybe don't need a dynasty series machine to figure out if I like it or not.

    I've wanted a 252 Mig for a bunch of years, but I'd feel silly about pushing .023 wire with the machine set as low as I can get it.

    I'm considering miller 211 and also the multi 215 for my light sheet metal needs. Then I had actually considered Hobart Ironman 230 for my general purpose machine, stuff that's heavier than 16 gauge, areas where I won't be metal finishing the weld, places where I can push .030-.035 wire that's not as expensive as the esab easy grind (that stuff is like $6.50 lb).

    Are those 211-215 machines nice performers for light sheet metal butt joints? Are there better machines?

    Then the Hobart 230... I know I'd be happier in the long run with the 252 but I can nearly buy 2 ironman 230's for the price of a 252.

    Again, sorry for throwing out another of these "what should I buy" posts but hopefully someone can share some advice.

    Thanks.

    Dave
    Last edited by northerndave; 01-27-2017, 09:23 AM.

  • #2
    Welcome, Dave! There are plenty of guys here with way more welding experience than I have, but here's my two cents worth. I have the old transformer 211 and it works just great on thin stuff. I'm sure the new inverter one is even better. In a shop environment, you obviously have to be concerned with duty cycle-the new 211 is rated at 40%, which might feel a bit low, but that is at rated output. In your application, looking at the charts in the manual, you would likely be at 60% or greater, which seems it ought to be plenty; obviously you don't put gobs of heat into 20 ga material all at one time.

    The 215 gives you the option to add TIG capability later if you want; only thing is it's D.C. only, so no aluminum Tig. Nfinch86 recently bought a 215 and has years of welding experience; maybe he will join in here. You might also look at the Multimatic 200.

    Just sayin, I've welded a bunch of 3/16 and 1/4" with my 211. Works just fine-I am amazed at the guts that little machine has. First time I welded anything thicker than 16 ga, my first thought was, wow, this little thing is serious! I came from mostly engine drive stick/mig background, and an antique MM200, so was used to a lot of available power, and didn't expect that little thing to work like it did. Of course, there are the duty cycle limitations that might lead you to the larger machine.

    As as you know the Ironman has plenty of power and a great reputation. I don't think you could go wrong with it for the price.

    I'm anxious for the real experts to comment.

    Comment


    • #3
      thank you.

      Good points on the duty cycle and I agree, I'm likely operating down in the 30 amp range on my light sheet metal so duty cycle is not likely to be an issue, plus I stitch along very carefully, moving around most of the time I'm off the trigger more than I'm on it.

      I don't mind DC only for the tig option, I don't run into any aluminum (I haven't yet anyways)

      To me, the 215 is kind of a no brainer above the 211 as long as I was confident that the additional process that come with the 215 do NOT compromise the mig function in the way of controls or performance. I would not be willing to go backwards from the 211's mig abilities in any respect in trade for the additional processes of stick and lift arc DC tig. If I knew the mig performance or controls suffered in any respect when adding those two processes, I wouldn't do it.

      Here, I just finished this little repair on a 69 ford door shell corner. This is typical of what I do every day. this is with my little 175 and cheap ER70S-6 wire. (I'm not saying this is nice work, I'm just showing a typical task effort for my shop)





      I'm sure I'd benefit from better wire alone, I really want to try the easy grind wire.

      But I also want a better machine, lol.

      I would love to have the drive like they put on the current 212 and up, gear driven dual drive. I'd love that because I feel that rock solid consistent wire feed speed is hugely important for my light metal welds.

      I just don't know if the machines that typically get the better drives would perform well down low on the super light stuff?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by northerndave View Post
        thank you.

        Good points on the duty cycle and I agree, I'm likely operating down in the 30 amp range on my light sheet metal so duty cycle is not likely to be an issue, plus I stitch along very carefully, moving around most of the time I'm off the trigger more than I'm on it.

        I don't mind DC only for the tig option, I don't run into any aluminum (I haven't yet anyways)

        To me, the 215 is kind of a no brainer above the 211 as long as I was confident that the additional process that come with the 215 do NOT compromise the mig function in the way of controls or performance. I would not be willing to go backwards from the 211's mig abilities in any respect in trade for the additional processes of stick and lift arc DC tig. If I knew the mig performance or controls suffered in any respect when adding those two processes, I wouldn't do it.

        Here, I just finished this little repair on a 69 ford door shell corner. This is typical of what I do every day. this is with my little 175 and cheap ER70S-6 wire. (I'm not saying this is nice work, I'm just showing a typical task effort for my shop)





        I'm sure I'd benefit from better wire alone, I really want to try the easy grind wire.

        But I also want a better machine, lol.

        I would love to have the drive like they put on the current 212 and up, gear driven dual drive. I'd love that because I feel that rock solid consistent wire feed speed is hugely important for my light metal welds.

        I just don't know if the machines that typically get the better drives would perform well down low on the super light stuff?
        Knowing Miller equipment, I would think the 215 mig capability would be at least as good as the 211, but you really need to have input from someone who's used it. Agree on the solidly steady wire feed on light material-absolutely essential. Do you by any chance have a LWS that might give you a trial run with a 215? Or, where are you located? Maybe someone here who has one would let you try it.

        Your photo looks like nice work. My honest guess is the 215 would be perfect but no way to confirm that. It might be worth a call to Miller and just ask about Mig perf of the 215. I don't think they would want to sell you the wrong machine and have an unhappy customer. They have been very straight with me when I've called them.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm going to check with my closest miller dealer which would be Bemidji welding supply. I'm in Badger MN, way up by the Canadian border. Bemidji is 2 or 2.5 hour drive from my shop.

          Comment


          • #6
            Is that the "iron range" or are you even further north?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ryanjones2150 View Post
              Is that the "iron range" or are you even further north?
              West of the iron range.

              there's a bump upward on the map along the canadian border with a big **** lake in it (north west angle, lake of the woods). I'm a bit west of that.

              Comment


              • #8
                Dave - I just bought the new MM 215, It's a great welder.
                I was absolutely astonished by the Max. output power, for such a small in weight machine. ( 38 lbs. )

                I've only run it in the stick & mig functions, but I'm very, very pleased with it's performance.

                One of the good things, is the input draw compared to the Old transformer welders.
                Being an inverter, it draws very little form where ever it's plugged into.

                The wire feed is ' Consistent " & would be great for your line of work.

                I've been in the welding industry for many years & I can say the MM 215 is by far the nicest small shop welder I've Ever run !

                Norm
                www.normsmobilewelding.blogspot.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you Norm.

                  I do really like the M100 gun for access into very tight spots. Good to hear positive feedback on that machine.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I loved my MM175. I thought it had an exceptional low end for sheet metal. Interestingly enough, its advertised low end was 24-gauge, and the next "better" bigger machines all started at 22-gauge. You'll certainly get a much better duty cycle and other refinements with the bigger machines when doing the structural stuff, though. I wouldn't think the MM175 to be out-classed at all for a role in a professional autobody shop, especially if you want a machine dedicated to sheet metal and are supplementing the structural stuff to another machine. I'd probably go with a MM212-class of machine for its power, duty cycle, spool size, and built-in running gear.

                    As for weld quality for autobody work, look at the Easy Grind wire by ESAB: http://www.esabna.com/us/en/products...oductCode=9492

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This is coming from a weldor , that in the last 50yrs. , who's primary welding machines were Lincoln !

                      I did put a 1/0 work cable on it. & 1/0 stinger cable, plus a Bernard electrode holder.
                      I also bought a Prostar ( Praxair - Bernard ) 250 amp. Mig gun & whip on it.

                      I'll keep the M100 gun for small lighter jobs.

                      As far as stick welding , it will burn a 5/32" 7018 as easy as it will as a 3/32" 7018 electrode. - Power, Power to spare.

                      Norm
                      www.normsmobilewelding.blogspot.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MAC702 View Post
                        I loved my MM175. I thought it had an exceptional low end for sheet metal. Interestingly enough, its advertised low end was 24-gauge, and the next "better" bigger machines all started at 22-gauge. You'll certainly get a much better duty cycle and other refinements with the bigger machines when doing the structural stuff, though. I wouldn't think the MM175 to be out-classed at all for a role in a professional autobody shop, especially if you want a machine dedicated to sheet metal and are supplementing the structural stuff to another machine. I'd probably go with a MM212-class of machine for its power, duty cycle, spool size, and built-in running gear.

                        As for weld quality for autobody work, look at the Easy Grind wire by ESAB: http://www.esabna.com/us/en/products...oductCode=9492
                        Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts on my old MM175. I haven't entirely ruled out keeping it around for the sheetmetal and investing in one decent mid sized or "bigger" machine for my structural and general purpose use. The 212 is on my short list, it's so confusing with current promotions on the 212 though, I've seen it offered with 100 series spool gun, 150 spool gun... I'd rather have a set of the new auto darkening goggles and mask, lol. Because some of the spots I cram myself into, it gets tight even with my little speedglass hood.

                        I have considered a new gun for my 175, a new set of feed rollers and just keep running it. I just didn't know if the machine was hugely outclassed by current models (in thin gauge welding)

                        The ESAB easy grind is on my shopping list, in .023 I've found 11 lb spools for about $65 on a welding supply site. Spendy but I think it will be worth it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          IMHO.......TIG is the most versatile process ..... most controllable.... and will produce the best welds..... ESPECIALLY on thin automotive sheetmetal

                          would suggest a full featured machine like the Dynasty 210.......... you will be surprised how fast you NEED AC TIG for Aluminum...and the control of a real TIG machine on ACor DC

                          Also ....weld finish on both sides........as you do higher quality cars it will really matter
                          Last edited by H80N; 01-27-2017, 02:43 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


                          • #14
                            Thanks, I'd love to have that machine. I just don't know if I can do it right now. Even in air cooled I'll be around 4 grand by the time I set it up.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by northerndave View Post
                              Thanks, I'd love to have that machine. I just don't know if I can do it right now. Even in air cooled I'll be around 4 grand by the time I set it up.
                              Or................ a good used Dynasty 200DX for a lot less.......................
                              .

                              *******************************************
                              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

                              Working...
                              X