looking at Millermatics

Just subscribed to this news group about a week ago and have enjoyed reading
the posts as it is very helpful to a beginner welder such as I am. I have
an old '70s Miller Thunderbolt AC box that I've been trying to join 14 - 12
gauge mild square tubing with - with mixed results. Today I test drove a
neighbors Millermatic 180 with .030 wire and 75/25 argon/co2. What a
dream - now I'm shopping. Miller no longer makes the 180 but the
Millermatic 175 appears to be a much smaller machine size-wise. What
replaced the 180? Is the 175 comparable? What is the main advantage to the
rather large leap to the Millermatic 210? I guess what I'm getting at is -
will I get the same results with the 175 as my neighbor with the 180?
Chuck
Reply to
cjensen
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Chuck, I have the 175 as well and it really works great. The difference between the 175 and the 210 is nicely compared on the miller website:
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chose the 175 because .250" steel is as thick as I would be welding with the mig. The 210 will weld up to .375"
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should read the specs and compare for yourself what would be best. I've never seen a millermatic 180 (I've seen the hobart handler 180 which is made by miller) and i've used an older challenger 172 at a friends shop. (both are about the same as the 175 except the 172 and the 180 have tap controls and the 175 has infinite adjustment controls for voltage and wire speed. Good luck, walt
Reply to
wallster
A Thunderbolt should do a great job of 12ga square tubing. I'd be looking to figure out why that isn't doing the job before spending $$$ on a new MIG. Not to say the Mig isn't nice, just not really ncessary for that work.
Try some new 6013 rod, 3/32" at 80 amps or 1/8" at 110 amps
cjensen wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
I definitely agree that the Thunderbolt can do a great job with this app--I use my ancient old AC arc welder for everything, and have even managed some good results on some tubing way thinner than 12 to 14 gauge. But I have to say that the generally good to very good results that I can pretty much count on getting now were not what I could get with any semblance of consistency when I was a beginner welder. It does take practice, and some instruction/feedback is helpful too.
Chuck, whenever I have taught someone to stick weld, every single one has made the same mistakes: keeping the rod way too far away from the work (a long arc) and moving erratically (and usually too fast). Actually, these were some of my early mistakes as well. If you are using 6013 (or 7014 or 7018) and your "mixed results" include lots of slag inclusions, where it seems like the weld only sticks to one side of the joint and the other has a deep pocket of slag, I would strongly suspect either too long an arc, bad fit-up, jerky motion, or all of the above--at least based on the many ugly joints I made until I began to learn some better techniques! Make sure that you support your wrist using your other hand as a brace/lever, so that you can move the rod smoothly across the joint as the rod burns down. Practice holding the tip of the rod right down at the puddle (wait a couple of seconds after striking before doing this to let the arc stablilize).
FWIW, on my ancient monster, 80 amps would generally be too much for 3/32 6013, particularly on 12 or 14 gauge. I generally run it at 65 to 75 amps, depending on the configuration of the joint. I don't know if that reflects a difference in the design of my welder (I think it has a bit higher arc voltage than the newer machines--it definitely has a higher OCV), or if it is simply the variation in settings from one machine to the next.
Andy
Reply to
Andrew H. Wakefield
Ok - thanks for the suggestions Andy and Roy. I'll practice more with the Thunderbolt using one hand to brace and cutting back on the number of cups of coffee drank before welding. I know this little blue box can do the job - it's my inconsistency that makes a mess. I'll bet an auto darkening helmet would help alot too. Chuckl
Reply to
cjensen
I sometimes teach a "get started" session in how to stick weld. A few things I've found helpful: -use 1/8" 6013 to get started. 100 to 110 amps. It is a drag rod, great looking welds. -With the power off, hold the rod so it tilts about 10 to 15 degrees off vertical in the direction of the weld. This usually puts your arm uncomfortably high so figure out how to brace yourself. -Stick your nose down to one side, your helmet should be about 12" from the weld where you can easily see the puddle and where you are going. This is WAY closer than most newbies like to be. -Use a trouble light next to the weld or light things up with a 500 watt wrok light. Flip the helmet down, wait 10 seconds for your eyes to adjust, you should be able to see both the work and the rod. -You typicaly use a bit more rod than weld length. With a 12" rod you get 8" of weld. But that means that your weld hand has to go DOWN at almost a 45 degree angle. You can demonstrate this to yourself by holding the stinger at the starting point and the ending point. If you don't realize this, you will always be running a long arc. -With 6013, don't weave, just go straight and even, arc should be about the same as the diameter of the rod. -Practice, practice, practice. MIG or stick, you need to spend some time moving that puddle of molten metal into the places it is supposed to go.
cjensen wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
These hints helped out a lot. This afternoon I made a bunch of T's with bits of 1" sqr 14ga tubing using 3/32 6013 at about 70 Amps(all flat position). Still rough but much improvement. No burn through, less inclusion and spatter. Gonna do butts and laps on 1/8 strap next time just to get more welding and less time setting up. Anyway - good tips - thanks again. Chuck
Reply to
cjensen
Heh, heh, we'll make a stick weldor out of you yet! Practice with the 6013 until you get a nice even bead, same width all along the weld, no inlcusions, etc. You might want to practice running side by side beads about 4" long on some scrap bar stock.
When you get 6013 running perfectly, the slag will curl up and peel off about 6" behind where you are welding. No chipping at all.
Once you have 6013 under control, you can try 6011. This is your repair rod. Much more pentration, much less problem with oil and paint. Downside is much harsher arc, more spatter, glassy slag that must be chipped.
cjensen wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
gee i feel "unloved"... i gave you info on the millermatic machines (hey, the post was titled: "looking at Millermatics" sure let Andy and Roy get all the glory :) i'll go back to my hole now.
walt ps. glad the stick is working out for you, those guys did give you great advise.
Reply to
wallster
Nah, he will be back 6 months from now, looking to buy the Miller with all the whistles and bells. But that time he will kow EXACTLY what he needs. Then a TIG, then an O/A, then plasma, then a micro O/A, then a vertical mill.................
wallster wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
that's how they got me too! first the cheepie flux core rig, then the mig, o/a, tig, plasma, etc. i need more room for the mill though.
walt
Reply to
wallster
Walt, Oops, you're right. The info you gave me is much appreciated and indeed led me to choosing the 175 for my needs. I went to local welding shops both here in Durango CO and Farmington NM to see what they could offer and they don't want to deal. MSRP or maybe a little less is the best they will do because they are "service" oriented they say. About that time an ad for a ranch auction listed a Hobart 180 Handler to be sold. Figured it was probably a welder that was rode hard and put up wet so I only took 300 bones with me to the event. Well I'll be damned if the unit wasn't bran-spankin new in the box with 10 extra rolls of wire. The bid started at 100 and went to300 real quick. Amazingly it was just me and one other guy that wanted it. I bid 320 but that was all I had with me. He got a hell of a good deal - 330. I've been kickin my ass for a week over that. But now Andy and Roy have me appreciating little blue again. I'm learning to stick weld with renewed enthusiasm now that I see it can weld 14ga very nicely. (Also change to Lincoln 6013 - I think it's grey flux with three green dots. One of the local shops "service oriented" sold me Weldmark rod made in Mexico which is green flux and seems to be real crap. Lincoln rod is much better). Still hoping to get that 175 some day though Chuck.
Reply to
cjensen
Ergh, don't you just hate it when you *just* miss out on a great deal! I like going to auctions, but I have come to realize that I enjoy them the most when I go for entertainment rather than because I want something specific -- that way whether I come away with a great deal on something, or just enjoy watching the way people bid outrageously on something worth nothing, I come out ahead :) It seems like when I want something specific, someone else always wants it more, and it goes beyond the price that I've set for myself as a limit. One time in particular I went to an auction where they sold off around 200-300 lbs. of welding rods in one lot -- a mixed variety, ranging from 6011 and 6013 to some specialty rods, almost all of it sealed in the original boxes/cans. Would have kept me supplied for the rest of my life! I hadn't thought that too many people would be too interested, and I didn't have a lot of money on hand; IIRC, I had to stop bidding at around $70 ... and it promptly sold for $80!
Glad that you're enjoying stick welding. Actually, contrary to what Roy said, I have not had any urge to get a MIG; I've been happy just with stick for the two years that I've been welding. What I *would* love to get is a TIG, but cost issues prevent. I had thought I wanted a plasma cutter, but a friend has one that I can borrow whenever I want, and I've found that for the sort of stuff I do I almost never actually want to bother getting it; my inexpensive 4x6 H-V bandsaw does most of what I want very nicely (with a nicer cut than I can achieve with the plasma cutter), and the rest I can get by with a cutoff wheel in a 4-1/2" angle grinder. All of this is not to say, of course, that if I find a great deal on any of things that I won't buy them in a heartbeat!
By the way Walt, sorry that we horned in on this thread! But maybe we'll make a stick convert out of you, too :)
Andy
Reply to
Andrew H. Wakefield

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