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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok before the work starts I'll be looking to buy a Mig welder and I need some input on what size and features I should be looking for, as well as brand advice. I won't have a ton of cash to throw at this, I'd rather save for parts so I'm thinking $1000 to $1500 at the most for a complete rig. I don't think this will get me into anything like a new Millermatic 210, which looks it would be the best size and feature set for now and anything I might need in the future. When it comes to buying a used machine how do you tell a good buy from junk, is there anyway to tell?
 

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Im a certified welder .
I would recomend the miller 210 you can weld 22 gauge to 3/8" plate in one pass. its a great home welder, praxx-air has the cheapest price on these welders right now. 1500 for the welder and an optional 400 for the aluninum gun.( Im pretty sure thats the sale price I remember?)
 

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Superfly
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Spudzz said:
Ok before the work starts I'll be looking to buy a Mig welder and I need some input on what size and features I should be looking for, as well as brand advice. I won't have a ton of cash to throw at this, I'd rather save for parts so I'm thinking $1000 to $1500 at the most for a complete rig. I don't think this will get me into anything like a new Millermatic 210, which looks it would be the best size and feature set for now and anything I might need in the future. When it comes to buying a used machine how do you tell a good buy from junk, is there anyway to tell?
Call me biased but...the Air Liquide M170 would be perfect for any kind of 4x4 work you'd have in mind. It'll be within your price range. If you show up at the upcoming Air Liquide, welding class, they will probably sell them at a healthy discount.

Just by way of example, at the last class, the M170 was on sale for $1,365 and included a spool gun. It's a 230v, 170amp welder that can do 1/4" material in a single pass. Most of the home fabricators I know are happy with their 170-180 amp MIGs. You can read the tech sheet for it here:
http://www.airliquide.com/optiweld/Content/machines/M 170 ENG.pdf



...lars:welder



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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Lars
That is a great price esp' with a spool gun and for a new machine with a warrenty too! I was looking for the info on Air Liquide welders as I recalled it mentioned in a few post right before and just after the first intro welding workshop. All of that was lost in the great crash of `02 though I guess. I must have missed the post about a second class, what is the date and place? With the move and new job I don't know if I'll be able to make this one either but I might be able to get a welder by proxie! I won't be ready to buy until sometime in Novemeber though, I'm just trying to get all of my homework done now so I can price shop. Hmmm I wonder if I could find a welding supply house that would barter for some web design work.... yeah, that would be nice.
 

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i would vote for a air liquide welder. i was going to buy the 170 but then just spent the extra $ to get the m200. lars and i both have a m200 and i love this machine. in my oppion it has a better wire feed design than the miller210. i was looking at both of them at the time of purchase and the miller only has one roller while the m200 has a dual roller design which means a lot better wire control and feed. also there is no comparison in the gun you get with the m200 compared to the miller. the m200 can also weld 22guage 3/8" on a single pass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well after having a good look at the hard to find optiweld site I would have to say that I would go for the m200 before the 170. Not for any reason other than I play with some blacksmithing too and I would want a bigger machine for that. So I should add that about 200 amps would be a minimum requirement.
 

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I'll throw my vote for the cheapest as both the Air L. and the miller machines that have been discussed are nice. Personaly I have a Miller 210 cause I got the free spool gun resulting in a better deal at the time.
 

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I just bought a Air Liquide M200 yesterday. It was cheaper than the Miller 210 and has a better drive system. The duty cycle is also good: 150A @ 60%. I also looked at the M170 but I figured the extra money was worth it. It welds very nice:D:welder :D
 

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so what ever brand you buy, here are a couple of pointers,
these are serious,


get the spool gun option,i got mine free,it was a good thing cause it isn't worth runnin' out later to get one for the price,
to weld alum it takes a bit to get on to,so you don't want to get into the ladder rung replacement business right away,:laugh
cause you might have a lot of warranty work,

the duty cycle dosen't seem to matter a hole lot,cause it 's tuff to max these things out on the every day stuff that we typicaly do,
i used mine for constructing portable signs,i never came close to popin it out,i would run out of beer long before it came close to it's duty cycle:clown

make sure that the spool set up can take the big daddy's
not just those little spools,they seem to run out too quickly,

make sure you get the big tanks for it,too

the bonus of the bigger machines is there too bulky for buddy to come and borrow;)

don't be shy to spend a couple of dollars extra now,that machine will last a long time probly longer than your truck or your wife,or your wife's truck ,or the truck of your next wife!:laugh

anyways goodluck ! it's always exciting buyin' new toys!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It looks like the Air Liquide and the Miller machines are about equal then. So it's a matter of price only I guess...

A little suprised that no one has reccomended a Lincoln or a Hobart though... :confused:

I had noticed the price on spool guns, scary... almost a 1/3 of the price of the welder alone. I will definatly be hunting for a deal like the free gun offer. I also noticed that none of these machines come with tanks, I'm assuming that these are rented or leased or do you have to buy them from a consumables supplier?

And it's a little off topic but what gas is everyone using? Can you get by with just argon or is tri mix a better choice? I have a little Cebora pocket mig I've been practicing with but only with flux core.

My buddies hate getting dirty so borrowing is a non issue... :rolleyes:
Not hitched thats why I get to build a truck! :D
And I have a beer fridge for the shop so I'll probably run out before the welder or the beer... :laugh

Thanks for the input people! :beer
 

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Superfly
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Spudzz said:
And it's a little off topic but what gas is everyone using? Can you get by with just argon or is tri mix a better choice? I have a little Cebora pocket mig I've been practicing with but only with flux core.
Argon is generally used for aluminum welding. For mild steel, you need CO2 or a mixture that primarily consists of CO2 (ie: the typical "tri mix"). Pure CO2 makes for hot welds and spatter. I use CO2 and don't find the spatter to be an issue. I'll probably use a mix next time (could be a long time coming since I have a big tank).

Definitely talk to Air Liquide when it comes to gas. They've got an extensive selection of gas products. I suggest you have a look at the gas they recommend for spray arc welding. To do spray arc, you need at least 170 amps of power and you have to crank it up. When you're doing it right, the arc sounds like a high pitched buzz, not the bacon frying sound you're used to hearing. You end up with an extremely strong weld.

The people who were at the last Air Liquide class got a demo of this process. In fact, one of the guys welded a right angle joint using the standard method while the instructor did the same weld using spray arc. Then they put both pieces on the ground and stomped on them. The spray arc welded piece stayed intact, but not the other piece.

BTW, here's a pic of the M200's wire compartment:


You can see the four-roll wire feeder and the huge spool it's capable of handling. That spool should last me a few years (your mileage may vary). :D

...lars



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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
lars said:

BTW, here's a pic of the M200's wire compartment:


You can see the four-roll wire feeder and the huge spool it's capable of handling. That spool should last me a few years (your mileage may vary). :D

...lars
Mmmmm so blue and shiney.... :D

Thats great, thats for the info. I had thought spray arc was for surface coverage only I didn't think you could use it for strutural peices. I can see I have a lot more to learn... :read I was actually thinking about pimping myself out for free to a welding shop a few days a week just so I could get some expert instruction.

I really hope I can get to the next Air Liquide class though as I would love to try my hand at plasma cutting. I suck when it comes to pulling a torch... :(
I've seen a lot of talk in some other places lately on actually building a plasma torch with salvaged microwave parts, it could prove interesting to see the end result.
 

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in our shop we have a lincoln power mig 255 and a miller classic 210 . iv also used hobart .
i have used all sorts of other mig welders big and small .
by far the best machine i have used is the lincoln 255 the feed drive roll is the most industrial heavy duty of any machine in it's class hands down . gear driven four pinch roller design ..also the drive roll is angled slightly upward to align the feed roller with the with the wire coming off the roll . of course any good machine to consider will accept a 30 lb spool . plus it has all the power you will need and then some it can be turned up hot enough to cut a 1/4 plate in two .
my advice is not to buy some off brand . stick with lincoln or miller
btw those big spools last about 2 months in my shop .
we burn lots of wire

alan
 

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Just to clarify, Air Liquide is NOT an "off-brand," in case that's what you're suggesting. They might not be as well-known in the US as Miller/Lincoln but in Canada and Europe, they are very well known and have been around for a long time.

...lars



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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
alan said:
not implying anything lars what i mean is that one should stay away from off brands .
hey don't you be dissin' my Cebora!!! :p :laugh

It was free after all...
 

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alan said:
in our shop we have a lincoln power mig 255 and a miller classic 210 . iv also used hobart .
i have used all sorts of other mig welders big and small .
by far the best machine i have used is the lincoln 255 the feed drive roll is the most industrial heavy duty of any machine in it's class hands down . gear driven four pinch roller design ..also the drive roll is angled slightly upward to align the feed roller with the with the wire coming off the roll . of course any good machine to consider will accept a 30 lb spool . plus it has all the power you will need and then some it can be turned up hot enough to cut a 1/4 plate in two .
my advice is not to buy some off brand . stick with lincoln or miller
btw those big spools last about 2 months in my shop .
we burn lots of wire

alan
how do you cut steel with a GMAW machine? Do you mean blow a hole in it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
swamp monster said:
how do you cut steel with a GMAW machine? Do you mean blow a hole in it?
I think I'd like to know the answer to this one too...
I've heard of cranking up a stick with 7018 to cut, but you can do this with a mig too?
 
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