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Welder Help

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  • Welder Help

    First off, I am new to welding so I am still very much in a learning process.
    I am in the market to buy a welder and have looked at several models and am having trouble deciding. I will need something that will handle light jobs and the occasional big ones. I am looking to build a Car Hauler (not enclosed). I believe I will need to use 1/4" steel to accomplish this. Also will be doing body repairs. So here is the problem, I am limited on funds to begin with but also limited to 120v power.
    Would I be able to weld 1/4" steel with the smaller unit (like the millermatic 140) and still have a reliable weld or would I be wasting my time? I have also looked at the hobart 140 and the Clarke 130EN. Both Hobart & clarke say's that those units will handle 1/4" with multiple passes. I have heard of Hobart but not clarke (other than for power tools). Any advise?

    PS. I like the millermatic 140 & millermatic DVI. But like I said price is a problem.

  • #2
    After building 500 trailers i would not use a 110v welder to do them. Why can't you run a 220v line?...Bob
    Bob Wright


    • #3
      Originally posted by aametalmaster View Post
      After building 500 trailers i would not use a 110v welder to do them. Why can't you run a 220v line?...Bob
      I Guess I could run a 220 line but not only would I have to buy enough line to run to my shop to handle 220v (about 100') I was told I would have to replace the load center I have. Not to mention an electricain to do the work. Besides our plans for now are to move to a new place next year so I don't want to soak any more money in our current place.


      • #4
        What I did for years was run an "extension" cord from house to garage. It was std solid house wire. Wind it up in big circle, take it in every night, etc. Requires a bit of good sense, and keeping kids and the wife away with the lawn mower and cutters of any sort. But, then you take the wire with you... Might even want to wire in a gfi circuit to be safe.

        I have a 110volt unit, old miller, use it with flux core, works great. Would never attempt 1/4 with the 110 unit. Just not the right set up. Now that I have 220 in the garage, upgraded to the mm210 unit. Want to do some tractor impliments and trailer stuff. That will handle the thicker metal with ease.

        If you have an electric clothes dryer, use that circuit.

        The last thing you want is a broken weld out on the road some where.

        The other option is a generator. The mm210 likes generator power. As you said cost is a concern, but, the right tool for the job is important. Look for some of the used equipment available, good unit will have plenty of life for less dollars.

        If you don't know any electricians, make it a point to meet a few, then barter something you can do for their help. Not a bad bunch of guys to know.

        I took a welding class at a local community college when I was learning, it was well worth the money. Think liability on the road...

        Or find a local welding shop and get a part time job there, barter your time for their knowledge.

        Good luck, keep us posted.

        ps, here is a link to the miller selector, check out the 180 unit.

        The mm180 (735.00) is 100.00 more than the 140 at the the local guys will usually match price, or br is decent outfit, purchased some equip from them earlier this year, delivered as promised.

        if you run flux core you save the money of a tank to get started.
        Last edited by trstek; 05-17-2007, 07:26 PM.


        • #5
          what i did was, i came out of the meter on my house with copper into a separate box with a 70 amp breaker in it. came out of there into another box with a set of lugs to change over to alluminum wire. i used copper because with it being the better conducter, you don't have to use as big of wire. i ran alluminum arround to the shop and put it in a breaker box. now i have lights and recepts as well as seperate breakers for my machines. now i have a breaker box for the house and a seperate one for the shop, with only one electric bill. not to mention i increased my property value.
          i found some utility guys working and got the alluminum wire for free. 100 or 150 foot is trash to them.
          i wouldn't run a wire from your dryer. the main reason is that your dryer probably runs on a 30 amp breaker and a 240 welder runs on a 50 or 60 amp. if your dryer was to malfunction, it wouldn't trip the breaker and possibly start a fire.

          if you don't want to put the money into your shop or garage, check into engine driven machines. lincoln and miller both make machines you can put a wire feeder on. i just bought a miller shopmate 300dx with a feeder. it's a multi process machine but, it's only dc.
          the generater idea is good also. after katrina and all of the ice storms we had here in oklahoma this last winter, the classifieds are full of generaters.


          • #6
            I may go ahead and buy a generator first. I found new a 7500 watt (6800 Cont) generator for around 400 bucks (could come in handy one day). Then I will have a decision to make on the welder. From miller I am looking at the Millermatic DVI or Millermatic 210. I like the DVI just from the voltage standpoint but it doesnt appear to be able to handle aluminum, which I don't know if I would be doing much with aluminum anyway. I still haven't ruled out Hobart or Clarke though. I tend like the millers just from the research i've done, peoples opinion and even the help that I have seen from this forum. I will just take a little longer than I wanted to get everything but all in all thats probably not a bad thing. Thanks guy's.


            • #7
              Keep in mind even a 110v welder requires a full 20 amp circuit, or it will not weld very well.

              A guy I knew early in my life always said, buy equipment you can grow into. My welders are capable of way more than my ability to weld. but I know they will work when I fire them up and if needed I can get support for them. Value is a better way to purchase than price, in my opinion. (and for critical welds I can always get someone to come over and weld it for me on my equipment, they don't balk at my set up)

              Way back, in school we made a hovercraft for a parade. I designed and welded the frame and engine mount. But for the fan, the machinist knew a guy from allis chalmers who came in and welded it. He smiled at my frame, but, he said it would be ok. Or we would have cut it apart and did it over. This guys welds were so even we put one washer on to balance the fan, it was incredable.

              If you have the chance, take a class at the local community college. Getting the feedback and access to someone to answer questions will save you much time. Plus you will get information on local resources. The instructor got us a decent discounts on helmets, gloves, and safety equipment. Then you will have a base line for your shop set up. You are not going to get that on the internet.