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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Bought a 180HD Lincoln Welder.

I've always wanted to learn, and now I need to. It know just about enough to get myself into trouble. What should I look for in my first ever welding machine? I do NOT want something worthless after I learn how to use it, and at the same time I do not see myself working on stainless anytime, well really ever! But I would not have a problem buying a better machine when it comes time for some aluminum tasks.


My first project is to weld in some tie down points on my big ATV trailer. Pretty much some "U bolts." Then to make a larger by-fold gate for the same trailer. Probably out of some 2x2 box tubing. So I will need to be able to make strong structure welds.

I did a search and saw this post:
http://www.kawieriders.com/forum/club-kawie/91659-welder.html#post997686
 

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The best welder for the diy'er is a mig.Before you buy you should think of what you wil be welding and where.A mig with gas makes the cleanest welds but you can't use it outside if it is windy because the wind wil blow the gas off of the weld.A flux core welder can be used anywhere but requires cleanup of the weld like stick welding does.Flux core welders are a little cheaper if money is tight and some of them are upgradeable to gas when money is available.Good gas migs can also use flux core wire so you can use them outdoors.Also good gas migs have spool gun options to weld aluninum that can be added later.Duty cycle is something to look at which is basically the percentage of an hour that the welder can be used at full output before it has to cool down.This is not as important to the home hobby guy as it is to a shop.
Obviously a good name brand is going to last longer that a overseas brand but once again that is not as important to the hobby guy that uses it once in a while as it is to the shop that uses it a few hours a day.
I bought my first mig from Harbor Frieght and when I traded it in on the Snap-on I have now it was five years old and still working good.I welded 7/16 with my Harbor Freight and it cost me $350.I can weld 1/2 with my Snap-on but it cost me almost $3,000.
So basiccally it all comes down to how much you want to spend up front to do what you want to do.Just remember you can always trade up when you start doing more and bigger projects.

ps. I rebuilt the body on my steel bed 18 foot ramp truck ,replacing all of the 5/16 ribbing,with my cheap welder.I just had to stop a few times to let it cool down.
 

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Welding is a little harder than it looks. Are you going to find a school to learn to weld at ??? You can probably find an evening class at the local High School Alternative Learning Center. They will teach you the basics on any or all of the different types of welding. They usually introduce all types and then you can focus on which one you want to become proficent at. Ivy Tech also has welding programs. If you want to weld Aluminum you are going to want to know what you are doing before you start, it's tricky. If you get it too hot it just disapeers !!! Personally I like MILLER welding machines. You will want a good machine that you can use a shielding gas on, and also a flux-core if you want as well. Shop around. Go to TSC, Rural King, Big "R", and a local Weld Shop and ask questions and compare prices. I'd go with the 220 amp if you can, it gives you more flexability, but it's not as portable.

Good luck,
 

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I use a millermatic 210 and love it. Welds steel, stainless and aluminum with spool gun. Kinda price for a basic unit but the Hobart which is made by Miller in the 175 model will do steel and stainless fine and you won't break the bank.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay so I want a 240 volt mig with flux core welder.

-What's about different amp settings? I was told to look into a welder that offers different amp settings that are 1,2, or 3 amps per setting? And not 10 amps per setting, or is that just for a "cracker box" stick welder?

Thanks felas! I need to buy a welder this weekend, if not I'll be replaceing all the expanded metal on the trailer; because that's what I'm hooking the straps to. I'm stretching and braeking it all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What is this "read" thingie you speak of???

WTF No DVD? :lol:

Thanks Skipnay I'm bying one now.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

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I have a lincoln power mig 255, I love it. I only paid around $1600 7 or 8 years ago. I have welded up to 1" thick with it. Probably a little bigger than you need, but around heavy equipment, I needed it. Mig welding can be self taught if you can get a good idea of what a good a bad weld looks like with good penetration. I actually self taught myself on a stick/arc welder when I was like 14 then moved up to a cheap mig and it was a breeze.
 

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dude i told u i got someone who will teach us.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Kewl Aaron but I want one for the garage
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Okay what percent is considered to be a good duty cycle? I've seen from 20% thru 70%

Mig or Tig?
 

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THe higher the duty cycle the better..but you have to consider how long you are going to welding on the highest settings. For what it sounds like your going to us it for duty cycle isn't going to be a problem unless you get a 110v unit. I have a Hobart 175 and I have yet to hit it. When I'm using it its a tack here a tack there, some grinding and fit up here, then a weld or two, then some refreshments, etc.. RArely is it balls out constant long beads one after the other. Its definitely fun and you can make some cool stuff like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow that's awesome
 

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I'm glad I found this thread. I've been wondering this same question.
 

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I am all miller here Mig tig stick and plasma and cronatron spray weld, and try to get a dial type not click for wire speed, and heat, that way you can fine adjust. I have ran some good Lincoln stuff also, if you get name brand stuff it will exceed expectations 220 all the way unless your doing just .125 or less (1/8th).
The key is watch the two parent pieces being bonded and keep the heat the same on each side and prep the surfaces for no paint or rust as in wire brush or grinding and thick stuff with a wire,
Pre heat dont hurt on 1/2 or thicker and a (must on real thick) or this is where cracks show up , or just weld forward and then backward to get the heat built then run your stringer bead at a slower pace on movement on 1/2 to 1'' Thick.
Wireing is easy as falling out of tree on ferrous magnetic alloys.
Aluminum and TI look for the little silver ball and run the bead this gets trickier however and if you have no patience on learning forget it...if you give yourself time you will get this and be a pro and run rope like looking beads...Little silver ball, add fill lift fill, move tig torch forward the diameter of the fill, add fill lift fill, Just keep doing that and you will amaze yourself on the final look.
I dont like wiring aluminum and dont be fooled by advertising this takes a spool gun as you cant push wire that is soft and has amps going thru it very well unless its like 5656 and a harder wire that dont alloy match the job being done.

For a hammerable viberation non cracking aluminum weld you can use oxygen acetelyene and flux but it must be done with a cobalt lens only.
You will get blinded anyway else and these are next to impossible to find so any cobalt lens will fetch over 1200.00 so this deal is kind of lost art but belive it or not its great way of welding all alloys including steel and steel uses just a common set of gogles. If you can Oxy ace weld you can weld anything and any welder is cake work to operate. Flame welding will teach you more in a short time about what the two Items you are bonding wants as you can see it all happening and electric arc you really cant but is one hell of a teacher then electric is a breeze.JH
 

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i also recomend a 220 unit. i have a 110 unit from miller thats good for little jobs but does not cut the mustard in big stuff. the best way to learn how to weld is pick one up and start welding.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Dixie....yall can pass by the house. You can try out one of mine. Get you a crash course.

Thanks Dale! I appreciate it, and may take you up on that.
 
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