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Help a newbie sort out his sudden Miller collection

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  • Help a newbie sort out his sudden Miller collection

    Greetings all. I've had an ancient AC stick welder for years, but I just starting looking into "good" welders for a truck restoration I'm beginning. As luck would have it, I found a couple people going different places with their work and the prices were so reasonable I came away with more welders than I ever wanted. Plus lots of accessories and supplies for them all. Even gas bottles and a Speedglas helmet.

    2018 Hobart 210MVP
    2014 Millermatic 140AS w/Spoolmate 100
    2007 Dynasty 200DX w/finger and pedal controls, 69? arc hours if I'm reading this right

    I've searched and done a fair bit of research so I'll try and make the questions concise:

    1. In the context of a simple home shop, I assume if I were to keep ONE welder it'd be the Hobart?
    2. If I were to keep TWO welders guessing the two Millers?
    3. Anything I'm missing with the MIGs, or does the choice just come down to more power vs adjustable output?
    4. Is there any reason I should consider buying a different machine/machines instead of keeping these?
    5. Is a Dynasty a good idea in an occasional home shop? I've seen a lot of discussions along the line of "Well I fired it up for the first time in a while and my inverter board went and Miller wants $1900 to fix it." If this thing is overkill or a long-term liability I might be better off picking up a different machine when I dip more into TIG in the future.
    6. Any other considerations I'm missing? My use will mostly be general shop-type stuff but I do a lot of random hobbies and repairing a wide range of materials is handy.

    Last edited by Northshore; 04-30-2021, 08:47 PM.

  • #2
    If I were keeping one, I'd agree with you on keeping the Hobart because it will take either 120 or 240 input power, and you can always find a spoolgun for it if you need it. In fact, I suspect it might take the spoolgun from the Miller, but I'm not sure. It is a transformer machine, no exotic electronics, and quite fixable for a relatively low cost. If you kept the Hobart, I don't see much sense in keeping the Miller MIG machine also--just my opinion.

    The Dynasty is a fantastic machine, but as you say, there is significant risk of a too-expensive-to-repair failure. But if it keeps on running, what a sweetheart of a welding machine. I absolutely love mine, and so far, so good. If you want to do a bit heavier work and need a stick welder, the D-200 will obviously do that as well as TIG. However, if you don't want to take the failure risk, (and that's a mighty expensive stick welder), you could sell it and buy an older Hobart Stickmate or Miller Thunderbolt for a couple of hundred bucks and have a stick machine that should run virtually forever --they are pretty much bulletproof.

    The new Hobart Stickmates are inverter machines, which will come with the higher cost of repair that you can avoid with the old ones, but are they ever nice to carry around. I bought Hobart 160i and am really happy with it--it only weight 15 lbs! I have to say I haven't used it a lot, but when I need to quickly go somewhere and do a small job, it is an amazing little box! I have not tried running 6010 with it, although the say it will. I have used 6011 and 7018 and been very impressed. And got it new for right at $300--they are a bit more now. So, if you want to do stick, and it breaks, you can just buy a new one for probably less than the cost of a repair of a higher-end machine.

    All of the above is just one old guy's two cents worth--YMMV. Don't take it as gospel truth.


    • #3
      I'll definitely help you sort them out... My mailing address is...

      Which ones you keep would seem to depend more on what processes you want to run... if you want to do TIG, then obviously you have to keep the dynasty.


      • #4
        I’d keep the Hobart 210 and the dynasty. You’ll always end up wanting/needing more, bigger, better, etc. With those two machines, you’ll most likely be able to handle any job that flops down on your work bench. Sell the little Miller and whatever old machine you’re talking about.


        • #5
          They are all fine machines, keep them all if you can and have the room. HAve the hobart running .035 wire for the heavier repairs, run .023 on the mm140 and run 75/25 gas for light body welding, and keep the Dynasty for future tig welding.


          • #6
            Thanks guys. How big a deal is fixed taps vs adjustable output on the MIG? I've seen people going back and forth on this and there doesn't seem to be a conclusive answer. The adjustable Millermatic with the Autoset isn't worth giving up the 220V power of the Hobart? And yes, they should be able to share the Spoolmate. The MM came with its original gun as well.

            Aeronca41, that's sort of what I'd been thinking about. Before I found all these machines my plan was to upgrade to an old Lincoln or Miller AC/DC stick welder plus a 110V MIG. Of course the Dynasty would be a huge improvement if it behaves itself. Speaking of that, does the display show arc time in hours:minutes or entirely in seconds? Also, was the Blue Lightning upgrade that came out a few years after this one a big deal?

            As far as "Keep 'em all" that's definitely the ideal situation but I'm very much a suburban hobbyist who rents half a house. I'll have to see how much I can get away with. I don't have an interest in a specific process, but I do need to do both automotive sheetmetal and cast iron. So MIG+stick was the original plan. Aluminum in some way is a bonus.


            • #7
              I really don’t think continuously variable voltage is a big deal. I have both tap switch and variable mig machines and really don’t see a dimes worth of difference. Wire speed adjustment handles it fine. Certainly not a reason to keep the Miller over the Hobart in my estimation.

              I can’t comment on the Blue Lightning question—mine has it but I’ve never used one without it so really can’t say.


              • #8
                From the Dynasty manual:

                Upon power up as described above, the meter S LED will turn on, and arc time will be displayed for 5 seconds as [000 000] to [999 999]. The first four numbers indicate hours, and the last two numbers indicate minutes.


                • #9
                  030 in the Hobart and 023 in the little one. A bud retired, bought a 211 and a Dyn. Got 50 hrs on the 211 and 5 on the 200, mostly playing. Said he wouldn't do the Dyn again.


                  • #10
                    What didn't he like about the Dynasty?


                    • #11
                      I don’t think I’d be happy with just a 115v mig as my only wire feed. They are so limited in their capabilities. I have one in my Arsenal and it may as well not be there. I never use it. I figured I’d use it for light gauge, maybe body panel level stuff, but my big machine does a better job anyways. 115v migs are paperweights in my opinion, especially if you have limited space.

                      You mentioned that your needs include working with cast iron. I’d encourage you to explore the tig brazing process then. I have made many successful repairs on cast iron with that process on AC with aluminum bronze. I have also had success using ni-99 rod, but I prefer brazing over welding for those jobs.


                      • #12
                        I've got an exhaust manifold you can slip a credit card into in about a half dozen places... I got some aluminum bronze rod based on all the glowing reviews I've seen of using it for cast iron tig brazing, but I've been having a really hard time finding a sufficient quantity of round tuits to actually work on it.


                        • #13
                          That’s a tough repair no matter how you go about it. Exhaust manifolds, outside of quite likely being about the filthiest thing you can weld on, go through such extreme heating and cooling cycles, add in all the wonky curves and cutouts, you’ll have some serious expansion issues. I’m interested to see you make that repair though. I believe it to be an exercise in futility, but if it’s already broken what’s the worst that can happen? And if it’s a Chinese casting, no telling what all is in it.


                          • #14
                            It's not just already broken... it's something I already have a replacement for, that's been sitting on the passenger floor of the vehicle for about three years waiting for me to install.

                            It'd just be a "let's learn something!" project. I've never done tig brazing, nor have I ever repaired cast iron.

                            It's an American casting from 1967 or so. I don't know anything about its composition, but it's cracked in several places, at least one of which I think goes all the way around and splits it into unattached pieces. Probably would need to bolt it to something solid during welding to keep the pieces lined up.


                            • #15
                              I've had luck welding iron (nothing as fancy as that manifold) with ni rod in an AC stick welder in the past. Never tried brazing, TIG or otherwise.

                              I know the 210MVP isn't a "big" welder but is its 240V capability enough?