Novice: Welder reccomendations

OK I'm a total novice but I have two other people that are interested in splitting on a welder so these seems like the right time to purchase one. The welder will be used very infrequently (ever couple months) but when it is used it will be put to the test. We will not be welding anything any thicker then 3/8 - 1/2 an inch but have the need to weld stainless. Can anyone recommend some welders to look at? Also what is the difference between the Mig and Tig ?

What about a plasma cutter that will do 1/2 ? (nice and clean)

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As one novice welder to another, you had better take a class and do some research before you purchase anything. I am in my second class (basic arc) and know you are not going to buy a machine and acutely use it, with any success without spending a few hundred hours learning. I have spent about

50 hours welding and have not really mastered ( in my mind at least) vertical fillet welds on 1/4 plate or 1/2 vertical butt welds. Anyway that said, I will let the experts recommend what to buy. Doug
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Douglas R. Probst

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