Big single phase MIG recommendations

First, are there any hidden gems amongst 3 phase welders that can run on single
phase but almost no one knows this? Reason I ask is that there seem to be lots
of bargains in fully equipped 3 phase machines. Reasonably modern, some bells &
whistles and going for considerably less than a new one. Even ones set up for
Used single phase machines seem to be selling for about what they sold for new.
The only "cheap" ones came over on the Mayflower and none I have found are set
up for aluminum. Plus it is extremely confusing figure out if a used machine is
really as big as I need, since the manufacturers change the model numbers so
often. Argh!
And the price of push-pull guns! Serious sticker shock if you have only
purchased ordinary MIG guns before. Do not have deep pockets so a Teflon liner
may be all the upgrading I can afford if I don't get lucky. I remember how
difficult pushing .035 aluminum wire through a (previously used for steel)
normal liner was at a former job. Nasty looking welds too, and once they bought
a TIG the MIG was *never* converted to aluminum again.
Wanting to weld large pieces of 5/16 thick cast aluminum back together and add
narrow strips and / or small chunks of thicker (non cast) material to same.
Since I'm my own customer pretty is not at all important. Inside gets ground
smooth and the outside will soon get covered in burnt plastic so who cares.
Rotational molds so high strength is not needed either. Porosity is bad of
course, but my experience with TIGing cast is that the high heat can (and often
did) make all sorts of holes show up where none were before. MIG might be an
improvement here and will certainly be much faster.
Reply to
William Bagwell
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I buy and sell welders all the time, and I do not recall seeing single phase MIGs above 250 amps.
Reply to
Wish you were closer! Not found a used one yet but some of the latest models are rated at 300 and will peak at 350. Pretty sure the two we used to convert over were both 250 amps. More maintenance than fabrication, but same sort of stuff so I think I can get by with a 250 if I have too.
Reply to
William Bagwell
There are plenty of good single phase MIGs, but there are a few to stay away from. I would avoid anything that says Linde, L-Tec, or ESAB on it. Some of the old Linde machines were OK, but parts are scarce, and service can be a nightmare.
Hobart Betamigs, Lincoln Powermigs and Millermatics are all fine. but avoid the Miller 250X, it has a terrrible hot start spike that tends to stick the wire in the tip A LOT!!!. The much older Betamig 200s were great, as were the really old Millermatic 35's.
I have a had a Betamig 250 for 16 years and even though it has an aluminum transformer, it is a great machine.
If you really want integrated spoolgun support stay with Millermatic 251's or 252's. They work seamlessly with the 30A spoolgun (my favorite spoolgun on the market). If Aluminum is the most important thing, you can go for an MK machine with integrated cobra or python push-pull gun. They are really spendy new, but often show up used for cheap because few people now how to use them.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
Just with aluminum? Or in general... Can not remember the model number, but the Miller we were converting over to aluminum stuck *bad*. I could weld steel all day with it and never change the tip. Switch it over to aluminum and go through a hand full on one small part. Never personally used the Lincoln switched over since it was in a different location, so it may have sucked less. (We shared the aluminum wire / straight argon on the rare occasions we needed to switch)
Once we had a TIG (also shared) we never switched a MIG over again.
Yes, aluminum is my current goal, have steel covered between my buzz box and sons tiny flux core. Thanks! You have given my several new things to search for.
Reply to
William Bagwell
I check Craigslist frequently, Ebay occasionally. Would cost a fortune to ship and I will not drive more than one state away unless it is a kick a** deal.
Well aware, look at my OP in this thread
Want to avoid a spool gun and itty-bitty rolls of wire if possible. Going to try to get by with a push gun and a Teflon liner until I can afford a push pull.
Internal feeder on the gun is quite logical since aluminum is soft and hard to push. An external feeder box to convert a stick power supply to a MIG is likewise logical. Why you would want both at once is not...
Back in the early 80s I had a big Miller TIG (APB 230? Size of a short refrigerator and 700 pounds). Around 1986 I needed an engine in my truck and sold it. The man who bought it was from out of state and showed up in a rental truck. (Leaving out a bunch here) Apparently in a hurry because he initially declined my offer to throw in the disconnect which was still mounted to the wall. Big ugly rocker switch that had been re-painted, on top of *rust*, many years before...
A few days later he changed his mind and called me back asking for the disconnect. I said sure, and he asked if I could meet his buddy at the closest big shopping mall. His friend shows up in a Delorean! We proceeded to stick the nasty rusty flaking paint disconnect box in the trunk of a (then) brand new Delorean. For some strange reason I think of this story every time I watch Back To The Future:)
Reply to
William Bagwell

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