Mig Welders



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
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wrote:

They look similar, but does the Weldpak have continuously adjustable heat (voltage) vs a 4-position switch?
I think the Weldpak line was/is a consumer "fighting model" sold thru outlets like Northern and HD. I would not assume that it works as well as an SP135 Plus for autobody. I also wouldn't assume that it doesn't; try before buy if possible.
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On Sun, 18 Jul 2010 23:24:09 -0500, Don Foreman

Nope. 4 postition switch. But for $100-150 used...shrug I ran some .020 wire with it not long ago and it was very usable, but I did have to play with torch height a bit while welding before I found a compromise height.

Indeed.
Gunner
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You are correct. One of the main differences between the machines sold at welding supply houses and the Borg was the infinite vs. step heat range. With the infinite variety, you can up or down just a tad. With the jump, it's just that, one's too hot, one's too cold. IIRC, the interior parts in the Borg models had more parts made out of plastic. I opted for the SP175+ so I'd have all the bells and whistles. Except for the cranky trigger switch, which I am about to change if this last fix doesn't cure it, I got no complaints whatsoever. Had been a Miller man before that, but either is good.
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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.
--
WB
.........


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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
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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
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I like to "dial" mine in, that is, find out what settings work perfectly for what, then keep a little 3 x 5 notebook of the settings. Compensating for too low/too high amperage by adjusting stickout range is not a great thing. If your stickout is too short, it burns back into the contactor tube. If it is too long, you end up with a bb on the end of the wire, and either have to trim it, or start with a bit of metal on the end of the wire.
I tell you, getting it "dialed in" on some scrap, then using the staggered spot sequence will give you some dang pretty welds that make your work look very very good. Also do rosette welds, where you drill a 1/8 or + hole in one side of two pieces of metal that are going to fit flat against each other. Clamp, and fill the hole, making it a really good spot that is as strong as some of those that the robots do in the factories. Staggered rosettes are also good for positioning a piece before welding it all around to keep down warpage.
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On Sun, 18 Jul 2010 23:10:31 -0700, "Steve B"

Indeed. Ive got a few MIG welders..and the little Weldpac 100 gets a fair amount of use when Im out in a customers shop.
Gunner Lincoln Weldpack 100 Dan-Mig 200 Miller 35 (straight wire) Miller 35 Husky 300 Feeder (aluminum) Airco PhaseArc 300 (300 amp 3ph) Ranger 9 with LNS-8 feeder
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The punch/flange tool comes in handy for making those holes. Cleco's are also a good thing to have for sheetmetal work.
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wrote:

YES.
Steps are OK for 1/16" metal and heavier, but for thin body metal the ability to tweak to "just right" makes a huge difference. The difference between good fusion and burnthru is rather narrow with thin metal so getting heat, wire speed and welding speed all just right makes all the difference.
I had an import MIG with a 4 position switch. I wasn't really looking for another one when the guy at the welding store had me try the little Linc. WOW! He was chuckling as he said he knew I wouldn't leave without it. I definitely got my money's worth out of that little red box doing rust work on the fleet at the time.

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What he said.
Steve
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The 4-position heat selector on the Hobart Handler 135 that I use, isn't an issue for me, or for a friend who has primarily used a basic Lincoln model for years.
If I feel that the selected range is hot for sheetmetal, allowing a little more wire stick-out, or moving a little faster keeps everything working well. The wire feed speed is infinitely adjustable, so that allows the user to dial-in the speed of movement too.
Last fall, a friend and I tackled a windshield opening repair job on his big motorcoach. The Hobart worked fine with new sheetmetal fitted into openings where the rusty old steel had been cut away. The welding was done with C25 gas and .025" wire at the Heat 2 setting with essentially no problems. There was a lot of rust damage that resulted in numerous water leaks, but the more serious problem was that the 2 huge, very expensive windshield sections are nearly vertical, and they're glued in place. I wanted to do more experimenting with the Heat 1 range and new sheetmetal, but got sidetracked onto something else.
I tend to push weld in most cases, instead of the drag technique, for better visibility and more predictable/desired results.
I also have another MIG welder that I haven't used yet. It has several additional weld features that aren't usually found on basic units, since it was marketed to autoody shops, but the extra features may not be very significant. It's an older Solar/Century 120VAC model with an integral wheeled cart/storage cabinet. There were a number of accessories and methods described in the manual that I hadn't heard of before. There is an adapter for holding a carbon rod, which can be used for heating (bending or shrinking), but also for brazing with common brazing rod used in conjunction with the attached carbon rod.
--
WB
.........


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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
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wrote:

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
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wrote:

Probably either: a better gun, comes with a gas solenoid kit, has the infinite vs/jump heat ranges, or has better component parts, and perhaps even an extra set or two of rollers. First time your liner takes a dump, put an .045" in there, and forget about it for about five years.
Steve
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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.
http://www.centuryweldingparts.com/data/117-069,%2083145.pdf
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
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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
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duty

I've never had good luck with long runs on thin stuff. I have had good luck with staggered spot welds. If you make long runs, you get a LOT of warpage.
Or, that was my experience. Keep a little diary, and it will keep you from experimenting around so much with scraps. It will also keep you from blowing so many holes in stuff.
And importantly, torch angles so you make the puddle flow to the edge from the flat piece works better, because if you start right on an edge, you will burn it up instantly.
Get lots of scraps and practice a lot. Particularly spotting, rosettes, pushing instead of pulling, staggering, and recognizing the color of when it is just right cool to stack the next spot. And learn how to stack your spots like the "stack of dimes" or snazzy looking TIG welds.
I'll do some soon and post them to flickr. I got a couple of projects coming up. Might even do youtube. Would sure like to catch that on video if my camera will cooperate.
Steve
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I have found that with thin sheet metal, it is better to make a series of tacks, rather than long runs, as those generally fall through. Use the color as a guide. Make a tack, and wait until it cools down to yellow fading away. From the available glow of the light of the puddle, you should have enough light to already be positioned for the next spot. I do it in a push situation, pushing the next puddle in front of the other, rather than pulling the wire away. Got some mighty fine stitch welds like that, and far less burnthrough. If you burn through, it's a bitch to fill up the hole, or stop and make a patch, and the patches look like hell. Jump around and let it cool inbetween spots to keep distortion low.
Steve
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