Mig Welders


I've been trying to do some body work and rust repair on my truck before I
sell it and I'm getting close to the point of needing to weld in some metal
to replace the rusted metal. This isn't so much to increase the value of
the truck as it is to learn to do some body work and rust repair. My welder
is a Century 145A (IIRC) 230V Sam's Club special that came with the MIG Gas
regulator kit.
For my current location and to weld thin auto body sheet metal it would be
nice to have a 120V welder so I was looking at what is available. Seems the
economical MIG welders (Harbor Freight, Northern Tool, etc.) are set up for
flux core and the thinnest they advertise to weld is 18 Ga. and the addition
of the MIG kit puts their price near the price of the little bit better MIG
welders.
Looking around, I found a welder that looks interesting, a Millermatic 211.
It will run up to 140A on from 120V or up to 210A from a 230V supply.
Sounds like just what I need, light duty running out to my auto body and
heavier duty shop welding. Plus it is ready for a spool gun (on sale
locally for $179). Everything sounded great until I looked at the price,
$949 on sale locally, sounds like a good price for this welder but still
pretty expensive. It would fill all my MIG needs in one machine plus I
could add aluminum spool gun capability. And it looks like a bottle of
Argon for TIG + MIG aluminum and a bottle of 75/25 Argon/CO2 would set me up
with all the gas I need for about anything I'm likely to weld.
Any recommendations on a favorite MIG welder for auto body sheet metal?
RogerN
Reply to
RogerN
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What Steve says. If you look locally, you can find a better deal. I bought a Millermatic 251 for about $600. (hard to calculate as I bought several things for $1k and sold some)
i
Reply to
Ignoramus3594
Those prices are new from Praxair's special offers.
not sure this link works properly, should open a PDF brochure with "special offers"
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Also, instead of a bottle of Argon and a bottle of mix, I'm wondering how hard it would be to set up with CO2 and Argon to select Argon, CO2, or mix. I could use straight CO2 for normal steel MIG, Mix for auto body, and straight Argon for aluminum or TIG.
RogerN
Reply to
RogerN
That is a good welder, but the price is high for a used unit. Buy only Lincoln or Miller. And don't buy from HD or those stores, as the components they use have more plastic parts than a similar one you're buy at a welding store. You get what you pay for, and a red or blue one will weld all day long all week long. There are cheaper ones, but they have more problems, and you can't make any money if your welder is not working. I wouldn't worry too much about the aluminum, but to have the spare hole to get one later is a plus. If you are going to do any heavy work, you might want a 220v. unit. The 110's have a light duty cycle, and you will have to spend time waiting for it to cool off. Not so much with the 220. Red and blue are easy to get consumables and repairs for. The other off brand names not so much.
HTH
Reply to
Steve B
Let us know what you find out about it.
Reply to
Ignoramus3594
You have conflicting objectives, wanting a MIG that can do heavier welding, including aluminum, but still a best choice for autobody.
An excellent welder for autobody is the Lincoln SP125 plus, may be SP135plus now, with continuously variable heat setting. If you visit a restoration or custom body shop, that's what you'll see at the workstations.
Reply to
Don Foreman
If your present wire welder won't weld sheetmetal without burning holes, there may be something wrong with the welder or your methods/techniques.. examine both closely. You don't say if you've actually tried using the Century model, or if you're just comparing advertising numbers.
You may not need a new liner in the gun/torch assembly to run .023" or .025" wire. The C25 argon/CO2 mix is more expensive, but most likely the best choice for sheetmetal and small wire. Small wire size, low power output and C25 gas is what will make sheetmetal work very easy.
When repairing rusty sheetmetal, any rusty spots are best avoided. The weld should be applied where the surface is absolutely clean steel and free of rust, and where rust hasn't eaten away at the back side of the body metal. If the body metal is rusted badly on the back side, the patch area needs to be enlarged/extended. The skills for proper welding are in the user, not the machine.
Don't get too carried away with the model numbers and marketing hype.. even the better brand name 120VAC wire welders are just 90 Amp units. Ernie L (SEJW group) and others will confirm this. The possibility of a little more output amperage is realistic only if the unit requires a 30A 120VAC supply circuit. Another aspect that many get carried away with is duty cycle.. unless you're making long, continuous welds at high output current, duty cycle isn't paramount. During most home shop welding, the user is going to pause, changing position or other small interruptions that reduce the actual weld-duty time. I would consider a better warranty period of more significance than a slightly higher duty cycle, only because new stuff sometimes fails. A good warranty and parts supply chain outweighs a full power, 100% duty cycle IMO.
There are numerous quality 120V units available, that have parts readily available in most locations. Hobart is one very good brand, with wide availability from what I've seen, but I haven't needed warranty repairs or major parts replacement. All of the genuine Hobart consumable parts are readily available to me locally, and if I would need a gun assembly or new liner, they're readily available online, or thru local dealers.
This Mm 211 unit is multi-voltage unit with extra features like the Auto-set and Smooth-start which appear to be additional electronic circuits that may be nice, until they fail. I don't know what spatter-free start is, but it sounds like marketing crap. More features are generally just more things that can go wrong, and most likely need to be returned to a service center for repair. The smaller Millermatic wire units also have the Auto-set feature.
A good quality 120V unit should be economical to own and use with consistent performance evey time it's turned on.
Since you already have a gas regulator kit, you might consider a basic model quality wire welder that has the solenoid valve already installed (many do).
The Hobart units still appear to be made in U.S.A. and they're availability is as widespread as any other manufacturers. You may not find a continuously adjustable heat range on some models.
Years ago, my job involved setting up a small fabricating and machine shop, and to produce small machines for the employer. The wire welder welder that was bought was a cheap imported bottom-of-the-barrel quality unit, that required more time repairing and adjusting, than actual welding.
Later, for my own use, I bought a Hobart Handler 135, and after years of occassional use, have never had any problems with it. It still works just like it did when it was new.
Reply to
Wild_Bill
The dual voltage on the Millermatic 211 has conflicting capabilities, on 120V it has the exact same current and duty cycle ratings as the Millermatic 140, but on 230V it has capabilities of a higher power welder, that what has caught my interest. However I may be better off getting a small 120V unit for auto body and a used heavier welder for welding heavier metals and aluminum.
I'll look them up and see what kind of deals they have on them at the local welding suppliers. If I get a 230V extension cord I may be able to use my Century MIG welder, I don't remember its specs but I think it can do thin auto body sheet metals.
RogerN
Reply to
RogerN
Get one of these flange/punch tools for sheet metal work if you don't already have one:
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Reply to
ATP
Im not...not a body guy. Id rather take a beating than do body work.
But Ive got a little Lincoln Weldpac 100 and a Hobart 150 (220vot) that do rather nicely for this sort of work. The Weldpak is 110volts and one can easily install a gas kit into it for less than $100.
Ive had the Lincoln for at least 10 yrs, its banged around the inside of my service trucks most of that time, and it still works just hunky dory.
Ive loaned the Lincoln out a number of times to buddies who do body work and they all have had no issues with it. The Hobart gets less such work as it is 220volt..but it will go down there just fine, with .020 wire, just like the Lincoln.
I think the Lincoln runs $340ish or thereabouts and the Hobarts replacement is about $450
Ebay may be one place to check as some..some..some of the pricing has gone down as buyers have run out of money due to the economy and one can find some really good deals occasionally.
I have found that with mig welders...getting one locally and actually running a bead or 3 tends to be best..as you know exactly what you are getting. And any issues have ether been correcte by the present owner..or they will tell you about them if you ask properly.
Gunner, who buys and sells welding equipment
One could not be a successful Leftwinger without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of Leftwingers, a goodly number of Leftwingers are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid. Gunner Asch
Reply to
Gunner Asch
Ayup..basiclly an updated and improved Weldpak.
Good stuff and check ebay for used ones.
The problem with trying to find small welders..is that most guys wont sell one that works well. They dont take up a lot of room, they paid a lot for it new and cant sell it for close to what they paid for it most of the time...so they often simply sit on it and let it collect dust between uses
Swap meets can often times find you something..but you had better be good at haggling and there had best be power handy so you can test it.
Gunner
One could not be a successful Leftwinger without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of Leftwingers, a goodly number of Leftwingers are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid. Gunner Asch
Reply to
Gunner Asch
Got the Weldpak 100 with gas . Works sweet on up to 3/16" stick , for bigger there's a Tombstone under the bench . For body panel type stuff I tack-n-skip then go back and do it again , then again . Helps keep flat panels flat - especially if I hammer-n-dolly the welds between passes .
Reply to
Snag
You are a very smart fellow!!
The only issue I have with the Weldpak is sometimes the spool tightens up the wingnut holding the spool and stops the wire..other times the wingnut comes loose while in storage in a vehicle and when I go to use it..it has a big rats nest in the compartment. So I put big Dymo labels on the front..CHECK SPOOL NUT!!! in bright yellow. Never had a problem after that.
Gunner
One could not be a successful Leftwinger without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of Leftwingers, a goodly number of Leftwingers are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid. Gunner Asch
Reply to
Gunner Asch
Went to my building full of stuff and brought my Century MIG welder home. It is Century item number 83145. 130A @30% duty cycle, 145A max @20% duty cycle. Primary 230VAC, 22A, I have sufficient 230V in the area, just need to make a plug adapter/extension cord.
According to the front panel it is supposed to be able to go as low as 24Ga steel. I haven't found the owners manual PDF online but I should have it around here somewhere! :-) I was able to find a PDF exploded parts view of it though.
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I plan to get a bottle of argon/co2 mix tomorrow and connections so I can plug it in to power. I'll give it a try on auto body and see how it does. It has pots for amp and wire feed, not stepped adjustments, I don't see why it wouldn't work OK.
RogerN
Reply to
RogerN
Thanks for all the good information! The Hobart welders are what they carry in all the farm supply type of stores around here. The Hobart 140 I looked at today at Rural-King had only 4 steps for heat settings, the 180 and 210 version each had 7 steps. Have you ever had any problem with having steps instead of continuously variable heat control?
Later I may get a bottle of Argon and see what damage I can do with my TIG welder.
RogerN
Reply to
RogerN
It should indeed work. Get as small a wire as you can..probably .020-.024 and a few tips of the proper size. A GOOD wire cup wheel and you should be good to go.
Btw...when trying something like this for the first time...I always weld a bit on similar sized scrap, making adjustments and whatnot.
Ive had more than a few surprises when I didnt. Cringe.....
Gunner
Gunner
One could not be a successful Leftwinger without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of Leftwingers, a goodly number of Leftwingers are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid. Gunner Asch
Reply to
Gunner Asch
The current version on the Lincoln seems to be a SP140T the best I can tell, they also have a Power MIG 140 for about $100+ more but I don't know what the difference is other than the price.
RogerN
Reply to
RogerN
"Gunner Asch" wrote
I have had good luck with just placing a "wanted" ad on craigslist or the local Tradio AM show, or the local Quick Quarter. You find people before they put things out to sale, and lots of times, they underprice their article.
Steve
visit my blog at
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Reply to
Steve B
Ayup. I put in a .045 liner about 2 yrs ago.
Gunner
One could not be a successful Leftwinger without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of Leftwingers, a goodly number of Leftwingers are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid. Gunner Asch
Reply to
Gunner Asch
Cringe...yeah...steps tend to limit your fine work pretty badly. So you will wind up holding the gun closer or farther away from the weldment rather than learning to hold the same distance and simply adjusting the arc.
Its not a deal breaker..but...something to be well aware of before spending the money. Best to find a welder with a "volume control" type of adjustment for both power..and wire speed. Makes setups much easier.
The old Weldpak 100 has steps...and while it works well for little money..if you are going to be spending some bigger bucks....get what works easily every time.
Gunner
One could not be a successful Leftwinger without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of Leftwingers, a goodly number of Leftwingers are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid. Gunner Asch
Reply to
Gunner Asch

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