I have a oxy/acet welder, and am not about to sell it. ( I also have
an AC stick welder that is not for sale ).
But I think if I were you, I would consider the TIG welder that Harbor
Freight sells for about $200 on sale. You would need to buy some Argon
to work with it. It would do the same sort of welding that you would
use a gas welder for.
Someone else posted a link for a $200 MIG from HF.
I sold my small MIG and need to replace it.
I'm considering this MIG, and now the TIG.
For general-purpose shop welding, nothing big, rarely anything critical,
which would you guys recommend - small MIG, or small TIG?
Depends. MIG is better at sticking cruddy stuff together, such as
questionable bits of automotive sheet metal. And it's fast. But since
you're doing "nothing big", fast may not matter much.
TIG needs the metal to be cleaner, is slower, and requires more skill,
but it can also weld pretty much anything (different types of metal)
that can be welded. It's much more versatile, and thus I'd see it as
more general purpose. However, some folks who can weld away happily with
a MIG get all frustrated trying to use a TIG. IME, if you have
successfully done oxy-acetylene welding, you'll find TIG not too
difficult to pick up. If you've only done MIG, you'll have a whole new
thing to learn.
You normally require an AC welder for aluminium and higher current for
the same thickness material compared to steel due to the thermal
conductivity. A high frequency arc start is also required to reignite
the arc each half cycle on AC. I doubt the HF welder is AC or has the HF
arc start. Now you can weld aluminium with DC but the electrode polarity
must be reversed and that generates more heat at the torch, less at the
The most flexible welder is the TIG. It does steel, aluminum, stainless,
copper, titanium, etc. Of course it takes a fair amount of skill, not to
mention the $1500 or so to get into a decent setup. Another downside is
that it is much slower than MIG or stick.
Everyone seems to have on O/A rig in the corner, not so much for welding
as for heating and cutting.
Leaves you with your old stick or popping for a decent MIG. A gasless
wire feed (can't call it MIG!)running flux core is about the same as
your stick welder running smaller rod. In the 110volt sizes they are
The reason most folks buy the flux core rigs is that they are scared of
the "difficulty" in learning to weld with a stick. If they don' have
anyone to show them, it probably is a show stopper. I personally think
the stick is a pretty good, rig, have taught literally dozens of
students how to get started. I normally have folks doing decent beads in
about 30 minutes.
A decent 240 volt gas MIG (Miller 180 class) will do a great job on most
shop projects. It welds fast and clean. But is doesn't like rusty or
dirty material, doesn't like any air currents (ie not outside) and you
are limited to the 10' stinger cable (or pop for a spoolgun and more $$)
Net: If you have a 220 volt stick welder and can use it, keep using it
until you have enough $$ and need to go to either TIG or 240 MIG.
IMHO, from 31 years of welding, I would suggest that you go buy a GOOD MIG.
A Lincoln or a Miller. One WITH the gas, as it will work without gas, too.
That way, you can weld a lot of things. If you need to weld heavy stuff,
you can just buy an old (or new) Lincoln tombstone AC/DC stick welder, and
with those machines, you can weld a LOT of stuff.
It all depends on what you want to do. My strongest suggestion is not to
buy Harbor Freight and other junk that will wear out if you really get into
welding. Then it site on a shelf waiting for parts that might never get
Anything hot enough to turn filler rod into molten metal...even a car
battery plus a pair of booster cables will do.
Says who? I have a Lincoln AC-225C plain old AC buzz box and I will
get rid of every other fancy welding machine I have long before I get
rid of it. As far as I'm concerned, the AC-225C is going with me to
my grave. There is much to be said for the click-it-on and weld
simplicity the AC-225C provides -- should be no problem for even a
corpse to use it.
On Thu, 22 Dec 2005 19:05:02 GMT, email@example.com (Speechless)
The machine that I prefer, but is much along the same genre..is the
old (and still made) Miller DialArc 250.
Its ac/dc, and is virtually bullet proof. They show up with some
regularity and may be had for as little as $50-100. You will often
find them with bent cases/sheetmetal, where they were hit by trucks,
fork lifts etc..and still keep on keeping on.
Marvelous machine. 220 1ph
Ive got a modest selection of various mig/tig/stick welders..and the
Miller has a permanant place under my welding table, with 100' of
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire.
Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us)
off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give
them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you
for torturing the cat." Gunner
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