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Thread: Looking at mig welders. Suggestions?

  1. #1
    Senior Member small's's Avatar
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    Looking at mig welders. Suggestions?

    Hey all im looking at getting a mig welder in the spring. At first i was looking at smaller welders but with a bigger one i wouldnt need a stick welder for stuff a little thicker. I started out looking at the harbor freight stuff then i found that the eastwood company has mig welder/plasma cutter combo's for around $1g. They are chinese and get very good reviews and a few bad. Now im thinking a miller 211 or a hobart 210. These two are alot more expensive but they are made in the USA and are higher quality from what ive heard. Most shops i deliver to use millers so im guessing they are hard to beat. Im just going to be using it around the garage making brackets and whatever my mind comes up with. Both the hobart and miller have the mvp plug which can easily go from 115v to 220 and can both take an aluminum spool gun for welding aluminum. Any recommendations? Also looking at getting a portable torch/cutting torch setup.

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    Senior Member Roninboise's Avatar
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    I have a bunch of experience with small mig welders. I taught the Welding and Metals Fabrication Program at Boise State University for 24 years. I personally have a 220 Volt small Hobart welder in my shop for just such projects as you intend to build. I use .030" solid wire with C25 cover gas. It is great for about any project I want to work on. The millers are also great machines. Another benefit of a 220 volt machine is that your friends will not be so quick to want you to bring your machine over to their place to work on their stuff when they find out that you need a 220 volt plug in.

    I would recommend that you enroll in a local evening course to learn the fundamentals of welding. There is more to the process than just point and pull the trigger.

    As far as a combination torch, my experience has shown that the most durable on the market is The Victor. If you are going to be the only one to use it, I prefer the Smith setup. It is easier to change from cutting to welding or brazing. That is what I HAVE IN MY SHOP.

    Happy Trails All

    Ron in Boise
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    Senior Member Tirebiter's Avatar
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    I've had a Hobart Handler 180 for 12 years that handles everything I've needed from trailer frames to subframing streetrods without a hiccup. It easily welds up to 5/16" material and I've never needed to weld anything thicker. They don't sell the 180 anymore but if I was getting one now I'd probably look at the Handler 190 with the spool gun for aluminum wire. Just a quick search shows that Northern tool has it on sale for $799 with a spool gun or $749 without, and free shipping. FREE SHIPPING — Hobart Handler 190 – 230V Flux Cored/MIG Welder with Included SpoolRunner 100 10-Ft. Spoolgun — 190 Amp Output, Model# 500554001 | Wirefeed Welders| Northern Tool + Equipment The spool gun is $199 if you buy it separate.

    I made a 30' power cord from 8/3 wire and put my receptacle in the center of the 40' wall in my shop. I can reach anywhere in the shop and outdoors too.

    I'd definitely stay away from the Harbor Freight welders. People have lots of problems with them.

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    Senior Member small's's Avatar
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    Thanks Ron and tirebiter. I took a welding class in high school and did some welding in college but thats been a few a few years ago. More like 15 years ago and im sure a refresher course wouldnt hurt. But thats one of the few classes in school that i miss and liked doing.

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    Senior Member trailscout's Avatar
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    I've been having a lot of fun with my $89 HF welder. Five 2 pound spools so far with no problems. It is limited to 1/16th to 3/16th mild steel. I'm traveling in an RV so I can't have the big stuff.
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    Senior Member r80rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailscout View Post
    I've been having a lot of fun with my $89 HF welder. Five 2 pound spools so far with no problems. It is limited to 1/16th to 3/16th mild steel. I'm traveling in an RV so I can't have the big stuff.
    I got one of the 90 amp welders from HF, it does all I need.
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    Senior Member kdick91's Avatar
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    I've had my Hobart Handler 210 MVP for a year now and it's incredible. Massively versatile. The spool gun ability is really cool for buzzing together aluminum, but don't expect TIG-looking welds. Holds great though! I highly suggest paying the extra for an American-made welder both for quality and I always promote supporting the market on home turf. If you have any questions about usage of the 210, shoot me a message or ask here. I've built a lot with it as far as metal thickness goes. It can do over 1/4" thick on a 110 outlet!!!

    Kyle
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    Senior Member vanillagorilla1's Avatar
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    I would highly recommend the millers. There are benefits to both 110 and the 220. personally I have a 110 and a 220 miller sidekick. They are older models, but they both weld well. I use the 110 far more, but when I have It on 100% amp output the welds are not as clean and thats when the 220 comes out. I have a cart with handles for the 110 and a small trimix bottle for it. Two guys can easily carry it and I run it off of a generator often. Great for working on a fence off of a tail gate or other like stuff. I would highly recommend spending some cash and getting something good that will last a lifetime.
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    Senior Member howardgene63's Avatar
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    I work in a sheet metal shop. We use Miller mig welders of various sizes and vintages. The last few welders the company has purchased, have been the cheaper 175/180 series miller welders. The only problem we have with them is the drive motors for the wire feed won't take abuse like the bigger commercial welders. I think they would hold up just fine to home use, and do about anything you would want to do.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Little General's Avatar
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    Check your local Miller dealer, sometimes they have lease turn ins that aer a great deal.
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