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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.
 

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I have had a Hobart for about 7 years now, it works great, only problem I had was I wore out the liner on the cable that the wire feeds through. I consider that normal wear and tear. I have used it to weld bodywork on cars, repair farm machinery, and various fabrication projects. I highly recomend it. It is my understanding Miller and Hobart are owned by the same parent company, at any rate Miller is first rate stuff, too. A friend had a Harbor Freight and the voltage fluctuates on it while welding making quality work more difficult. I have never used a spool gun for aluminum work and have been curious about it and how they work. My $ .02.
 

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I have a miller 180 "auto-set" 220volt fine little machine, if you get one of these use the 2# spools of wire, for I have found the wire drive motor is somewhat weak, I have used both spools of wire and the small ones work better, get you a auto-dark hood, go to a weld shop and ask for there drop, (scrap) and practice or go to a vo-tech and take a class......good luck
 

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, get you a auto-dark hood, go to a weld shop and ask for there drop, (scrap) and practice or go to a vo-tech and take a class......good luck
I had not welded since around 1975 and the auto-dark hoods really make things easier. And the first thing I did was, yes, to buy some drops to weld up and break apart and test on. There were no classes available at the time but I'd still like to do that. Miller online has some good instructional reading and videos. Other places as well.
 

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Welders are on of those pieces of equipment people get really emotional about. You can count on this forum to keep it far more civil than anything else.

I've had great luck with my $90 Harbor Freight flux core welder. Fixed cars, built brew rigs, put motorcycles back together, created christmas gifts with a couple spools run through there. I built the brew rig outside in the sun in the middle of summer and basically had it on max amperage and max wire feed speed the whole time and it loved it. Its not the most robust machine , but it passed my test. I am concerned about the plastic drive wheel on the wire feed mechanism though. No doubt it will wear a nice groove in it eventually. It seems to be slightly less nice than my buddy's little lincoln that hes used a bunch and it doesnt have the provision for gas, but it was also much much cheaper.

I have one of the Eastwood AC/DC Tig machines. It works, there have been good reviews. Its a pretty bare bones machine, but you can plug it in and have at it pretty much right out of the box. I was replacing my old TIG I got for free because it was broken when I got it and broke again. I got it because it was similarly spec'd to other $1000 welders, but they were running a scratch & dent deal at their facility close to work so I got it for a little over $600.

Eastwood has some mig machines that look pretty good too.
 

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I did have one problem with the 90 amp HF welder. When reading/studying on Miller's site I came across their wire speed chart. I used my watch to time the wire feed on the HF welder while set on the "door" settings.

Not only not in the ballpark but not even in the same county as the Miller wire speed chart.

I slowed the wire feed down to Miller's chart and have had much better luck. A better welder than I am might be able to weld at HF's wire speed but not I.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well I finally got one... I picked up a nice miller 211 mvp with all the goodies off a guy on craigslist. Plus a dewalt chop saw and aangle grinder. Thr guy had bout it new and built a welding table with it and never used it after that
 

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I use Lincoln. My Mig, Tig and Plasma cutter are all that brand. Flawless performance for many years. But I have to admit, I haven't tried any other brands. I simply bought Lincoln because that was the brand of the old Arc welder we had on the farm when I was growing up. Not really posting to advocate that brand though. What I did want to suggest is if you end up with a plasma cutter, install a good aftermarket in-line air dryer. It makes a huge difference. I have an industrial model from Granger that I got during a scratch and dent sale. The little one on the unit was inadequate.

I have to make a real effort not to rave about plasma cutters. I grew up using torches for metal cutting. Plasma cutters are simply amazing. Plus the more you use them and learn, the more amazing they get. I just love plasma cutters.
 

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My son is a certified aerospace welder. All I need. We have a combination of Victor, Hobart, Miller, and Lincoln stuff bought at estate auctions for about 1/4 retail.

I agree on the evening welding classes--did me a world of good.
 

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Lincoln EasyMig 180. Nice. 220V. Up to 1/2" (so it says...). Flux core wire or MIG. I use flux more - less susceptable to wind.
 
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