Been thinking of getting a Mig welder for my side business. I've seen several good looking 110volt units from Lincoln, Miller and Hobart. Now, I've been told to not waste my money on a 100volt system because they will lay lousy beads and they will not get good penetration into the metal I am working with. Is there any truth to this? Should I go 220volt and up? I would be welding things like trailer hitches on pickups and SUV's. Nothing very thick though.
I personally would not weld anything that anyone's life depended upon with a
110v. MIG. YMMV. My conscience is too tender. If I was to be welding hitches, I would use 7018 and do it right. YES, you can do it with a 220v. MIG, either gas or innershield techniques. But there is an easy chance to get nice appearing cold lap IF, or LP welds. In which case a failure would be catastrophic.
If you are now making trailer hitches on pickups and SUVs, and are using material that is "nothing very thick", I suggest that you stop now, get more education or training, and learn to build them three times as strong as they need to be. Because in a crisis situation, that much force would be applied. If it fails then, at least you know nothing would have saved that poor family and dog in the station wagon. And also realize that you can put more hitch on a vehicle than the vehicle can handle. And if you are not
200% sure that what you make is going to hold, don't touch it. It might be your station wagon and dog that takes it in the neck.
There's a WHOLE lot more to making a hitch than just gorilla welding something together with a 110v. MIG using multiple passes. No matter who tells you they can do it. Usually the ones who say they can do it don't really know how to weld anyway.
To me, if you can x ray with 7018, you can weld.
Just MHO, YMMV, hold the flames, thank you very much.
While not a cure-all, using flux-core wire will help prevent cold-lap. Yes, there is slag and more work. Flux core does require more power though, so you should keep that in consideration.
There's more to making trailer hitches than welding - there's a little engineering. Good design goes hand in hand with good craftsmanship - both are required. If you start designing your own weldments (instead of copying) you should be fully aware of the possible consequences.
Guess I should have been a bit more clear what I am wanting to accomplish. You know how most truck and SUV today come with a 2" receiver for towing balls, well I would be welding an insert with a face plate on it to slide up in the receiver and cover the opening. So what I am welding together will carry no load, its just for added looks. Hope I didnt scare anyone in thinking I was going to be welding an entire hitch together.
You need a 220 volt machine. As a practical matter, the 110 volt units are mainly useful for sheetmetal (and they're quite useful for that). You *can* weld steel up to 1/8th inch with them, but then duty cycle limits start to become a real issue. While the Miller and Hobart 175 amp machines might suffice, I'd go with a 200 to 250 amp machine. That's what you'll find in use at places that do this sort of work commercially.