Buying my first welder....confused

I am looking to purchase my first welder. I have purchased and read several
books, and have compared various manufacturers. BUT, I am very confused.
Firstly, the majority of the books hint at purchasing an Oxy/Acet system if
you can only have one. But in the same book will say that MIG is the
easiest for the beginner. I will be using this system to work around the
farm on implements and various projects.
Secondly, I have looked at several MIG welders, and am confused as to why
one with a max of 135 AMP, would be able to weld thicker metal than another
with the same amperage. (according to the outside of the boxes) Both of
these are by reputable (I think)manufacturers. Should there be any
difference?
Finally, for each system, I am finding a "preferred brand". Meaning that if
I am looking at O/A for instance, I hear Victor over other brands. Then on
MIG, I hear Lincoln over Miller, Hobart, etc. After deciding on a type, how
do I decide which way to go on the brands. There are so many, and to me
they look very similar. If I should go with MIG, I will want a 115v system.
But then again, maybe I should be looking at O/A?
Sorry this is so long, but thanks for any and all help.
Tim
Reply to
Tim
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For work on a farm: Oxy/Acetylene torch for cutting steel, bending, brazing.
Stick welder for general repairs fabrication.
MIG is best for work in a shop on clean steel, and is the fastest and easiest arc welding method to use.
Overall I would recommend that you buy s small Oxy-Acet set, a 200 amp AC/DC stick welder and a Readywelder spoolgun to run off the stick welder when you want something faster for clean steel.
All in all, for general repair stuff a stick welder will likely suite you best.
The Miller Maxstar 150 is a $600 inverter that is both 110volt and 220volt. Couple that with a Readywelder and there is little you can't do.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
What do you intend to weld? Each process has different characteristics.
j
Reply to
James Arnold
Be safe and do what everyone else does. Buy one of each.
Steve
Reply to
SteveB
Hehehhe..ya..that's the other part of welding...it's *highly* addictive and no matter which machine you buy, you'll soon *need* the other types as well.
Believe me....been there...now have 3 welders.
j
Reply to
James Arnold
Am getting closer to buying a TIG and a plasma cutter. As with all purchases, I am being doubly sure before parting with the $$$. The TIG will have SMAW, so I guess that is a twofer.
The more you know about welding, and the more experienced you become, yes, you DO need more equipment. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Steve
characteristics.
Reply to
SteveB
O/A for cutting, brazing, and heating for bending. You can weld with it, but it is slow and gas hungry. You want O/A mainly for its other capabilities. You want 220 volt stick welding equipment for farm equipment repairs. This is the best all around process for repair of rusty, dirty, or heavy section pieces, and for hardfacing worn parts. Baby MIG for clean sheetmetal welding and *thin* structural sections. This needs to be done inside out of the wind to avoid blowing away the shielding gas.
None of them will actually produce 135 amps on a regular 110 volt circuit. 90A is the most you can get. Following the rule of thumb that you need 1 amp per 1 thousandth of an inch thickness, you can realistically weld sheetmetal up to 0.090 inch single pass with these machines.
With thicker sections, you can Vee out the joint and lay in multiple passes using fluxcore wire (this is the MAG, not MIG process). This works up to the point where the piece becomes too good a heatsink, then you just get cold beads on the surface and a poor weld. That'll be somewhere between 1/8 and 3/16 inch depending on your technique and the particular size and shape of the piece being welded.
Victor isn't the best, but it is the most popular, so it is easy to get tips and other replacement parts, get regulators serviced, etc. It is definitely *good enough* for use around the farm. There isn't much, if any, difference between the comparable models Lincoln, Miller, and Hobart baby MIGs. Same with stick welders from these companies. What differences there are will be very subtle, and of no real practical importance around the farm.
Gary
Reply to
Gary Coffman
Gary,
you are the "man" that is one of the best explaination for the question.
this question seem to come up frequently : "which welder to buy "
the tru answer is : below in blue (Agent ) you need all , I gues there is 2 kind of welder (or weldor) or welder want to be.
the ones that gets hooked on it (like my self) and will keep buying more and more, and will end up with all 3 -4 - 5 + machines, A/O MIG stick , TIG , plasma cutter and so on........., and it is all for private use . ( now I am lauging at my self ) ohhh myyyyyy.
and the other kind.... that buys the wrong machine for the job and gets discouraged, and never welds again.
so yes you need al 3 on the farm.
LOL
Reply to
acrobat-ants
Gary,
you are the "man" that is one of the best explaination for the question.
this question seem to come up frequently : "which welder to buy "
the tru answer is : below in blue (Agent ) you need all , I gues there is 2 kind of welder (or weldor) or welder want to be.
the ones that gets hooked on it (like my self) and will keep buying more and more, and will end up with all 3 -4 - 5 + machines, A/O MIG stick , TIG , plasma cutter and so on........., and it is all for private use . ( now I am lauging at my self ) ohhh myyyyyy.
and the other kind.... that buys the wrong machine for the job and gets discouraged, and never welds again.
so yes you need al 3 on the farm.
LOL
Reply to
acrobat-ants
Actually, you only need two, because one does not need a stick machine when one has a tig machine. Of course, Tim, living on a farm may not need tig at all, and certainly needs stick.
Reply to
jerry_tig2003
Gary Coffman wrote in message
I know I have asked about this before, and please have mercy on my newbie ignorance, but I keep having trouble with the 1 amp per .001 rule. I am using a stick welder, and often weld 1/4" mild steel. According to that rule, I should be using 250 amps for a butt joint, and 30% more for an inside fillet (325 amps). I cannot imagine trying to weld 1/4" at 250 amps, not to mention 325 amps, at least not on my stick welder! Not only would I need a 1/4" rod (or bigger for the inside fillet), but even using a 1/8" rod at 125 amps, I have to be careful not to blast through. The only thing the rule seems to help me with in stick welding is the maximum amperage that can be run through a given size rod (1/8" rod = .125" = 125 amps max).
Given my experience with stick welding, I wonder about how the rule applies to MIG. I do understand that 90 amps is a more realistic assessment of the power available on one of those "135 amp" MIGs, but surely they can weld something thicker than .090 inch in a single pass?? I realize that the claim of welding 1/4" in a single pass is probably overstated, but surely they can weld at least 1/8" (.125) or even 3/16" (.1875)?
Again, please pardon my ignorance; I ask but to learn! (In fact, some of my thinking on this came out of asking for critique a few months ago on some welds; I was uniformly told that I was using too MUCH amperage, when I wasn't even using as much as 1 amp per .001.)\
Reply to
Andy Wakefield
Andy,
The 1 amp per .001 is a guideline for TIG welding. Stick welding current is based on the size and characteristics of the electrode, not the item being welded. Likewise, MIG current is determined by the wire speed and limited by the power available and the size wire being used. That being said, the 1 amp per .001 is fairly close for MIG and if you can connect the 135 amp machine to a 20-25 amp circuit, you can probably get enough output to weld 1/4" steel.
Hope this helps,
Bob
Reply to
Bob Robinson
1 amp per .001 thickness is the standard rule of thumb for TIG and for MIG using short circuit transfer (what the baby MIGs do). It doesn't hold for stick (where the electrode diameter sets the current limit), or for spray transfer MIG (requires more current), or for fluxcore wire in a wire feeder (MAG process).
Gary
Reply to
Gary Coffman
I thought fluxcore was FCAW and MAG was solid wire with CO2 or N2. No big thing really. I suppose you could be referring to "dual-shield" where I have no idea to which category it falls. FCAGAW?
Thanks for the good info, albeit. I always enjoy your posts. ;^)
Reply to
Zorro
For fluxcore, the AWS names are: Self-shielded: FCAW-ss Dual-shielded: FCAW-g
All of the others fall under "GMAW". MIG / MAG are not AWS process names (like TIG vs. GTAW)
Reply to
Rich Jones
I am new to this group because I am in your exact position. Beginner, farm, plus maybe some artsy-fartsy stuff, confused.
What I have found is that no matter how I slice it, I gonna have to spend about $800 before it is all over.
I am looking to buy a mig welder that will use the self shielding flux-core for now and convert to gas shielding later when I can afford the bottle. Then I am still probable gonna have to buy an O/C system to cut metal with. I am only going to be an occasional user and I have a bad back, so I am looking at one of the smaller O/C kits like the Pro-kit by Lincoln. I'll have to fill it up much more often, but it gets me out of the house.
BEFORE you take any of my advise, remember, I am just as new and confused as you. I might be 100% wrong on my decisions. I too would like some advise from someone who is not going to profit from my decision.
Here is a good question for yall. The Lincoln 135T v/s the 135 Plus? The plus has a rheostat and supposedly a better feed system. Do I need these?
Scott
Reply to
Scott
It is very difficult when first getting into welding to pick the "right" machine. Whatever you do, buy the machine that will run flux core wire AND hard wire with a shielding gas. Right there you have a two in one machine. If you buy a TIG, get one that has the stick welding leads on it. You can buy combination machines, but I avoid a machine that does too many things, as the cost is high, and if you have one problem with it, it can shut you down completely.
First, look at what you will PRIMARILY be doing. If it is ornamental metal, or just artsy fartsy stuff and general repairs, a MIG will fill the bill nicely. If you want to build car trailers, I would suggest a stick. If you want to do aluminum and stianless, then a TIG. Select a machine that will do what you want to do PRIMARILY, then if you branch off into other things, you can get those machines, too.
One of the things most people don't realize, IMHO, is the earning potential of machinery. If you are going to fool around with making stuff for sale, or doing work for pay, please consider the following:
You want your machine to start every time you need to use it. You don't want it in the shop for any reason. You don't want to be looking for oddball parts and consumables. If the machine isn't working, you aren't making money. Then there is the aggravation factor. It is just a PITA to be constantly fiddling with/working on something. So, buy quality and have a dependable working machine.
Consider that you will probably outgrow your machine quickly. If possible, buy more machine than you need and allow for growth.
One poster said he was going to spend $800 any way he went. Good math. Remember that you will also have to buy a gas bottle, or more than one if you don't want to have to schlep to the welding supplier every time your bottle runs out, and they run out at the worst time. You will need a cutoff saw ........... $100. You will need a good hand grinder ...... up to $100 or more. Squares, bevel squares, protractor, soapstone, clamps, tape measures, marking devices, angle and degree finders, hammers, punches, chisels, stuff, stuff, stuff ................. price will vary according to where you buy it.
That being said, buy quality. My choices after years of welding are: Welders: Lincoln first choice. Miller second choice. OA - Victor. No second choice. Plasma cutting -Hypertherm first choice. Thermal Dynamics second choice. Others have theirs, but this is my buying pattern.
My Point?
Buy quality and cry only once. You can get deals on stuff at yard sales and auctions, but don't buy offbrand welding equipment. A deal ain't a deal if it doesn't work half the time. Offbrand hammers, hand tools and the like don't matter a lot. If you plan on making money at it, start with the basics and start ringing the cash register. Build what is in demand and will sell, rather than something you have always wanted to build for yourself. Then go and buy additional equipment as you can. Figure that most of the money will go right back in for a bit, but stand back and examine all you have accumulated, its value, and its earning potential. After that, you will have time for your own creations.
I went to an art fair in Fallbrook, California last May. In the art fair, there was a metal sculptor who made birds out of pieces of metal. All sorts of metal. Iron, brass, copper, stainless, etc. They were anatomically correct and really looked like the birds they were supposed to be. Not copies, but very reasonable facsimiles. They were priced from $300 to $2,000 each. Moral: When a creative mind meets a willing marketplace, you have money! Lots of people make money from scraps and discards and a little iron by making sculptures for sale. Good money considering a lot of the materials are free or cheap. BUT, there is still the thou$and$ of dollar$ in equipment, the training, and talent that makes it happen.
Sorry for the length of this, but I started welding in 1974. I still weld, and am doing lots of wrought iron and awning work on my own properties. I also do stuff for ebay. I was a steel erection contractor for nine years. I have welded and cut underwater. I have worked in the offshore oil industry.
These are some of my own observations, and they are all just my own opinions.
Welding is great. I have been to small towns in rural America where every house is on a creek, and the dogs sleep in the streets and everyone drives around them. I always wondered how a guy could move to such a pretty place, and make a living by working part time, and fish and hunt the rest of the time. Now you can do that if you have a skill, an Internet connection and UPS service. You can make money anywhere on this planet by welding.
Just remember: Lincoln, Victor, Hypertherm.
Steve
Reply to
SteveB
Thanks, Steve.
I think I'll plunk down the bucks on that Lincoln 135T mig, today.
By the way, how about this observation...
When I started to fly fish. It took forever to find the good guys, like yourself. Most every shop had some pompous turd behind the counter with some opinion like you should not enter the sport. The news server was even worse. 90% of the replies I would get were abrasive, which I thought was add for a "gentleman's sport".
Now for search for welding advise and equipment. Every shop has been equipped with "friendlies". They all helped tremendously, and when they did not know they said so. As for the news server, I see all positive responses to questions and no one get "flamed" (the verbal type). :)
Yall all are a credit to the skill and the trade.
Thanks.
Scott
Reply to
Scott
Ah, another fly fisherman! I too dropped the NG due to the endless flame wars.
Steve R.
Reply to
Udie
Don't buy the itty bitty MC Acetylen Cylinder and matching tiny O2 cylinder as gas is too expensive and tanks are too small to do much work. Buy biggest tanks you can own or at least cylinders that hold 200 cubic foot of O2 if leasing. If you have bad back make small crane to get them out of truck or trailer. From there put on cart to transport. Can also leave them in racks on truck. You have to do a little lifting to weld but don't lift tanks if don't want to and your smart. Use Oxy/Propane if your only cutting steel.
Reply to
R. Duncan

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