I do ornamental iron to occasional heavy fabrication. I've managed to get b y with my Lincoln SP170T MIG for light fab and ornamental work, and my Maxs tar 200 using TIG for heavy ornamental and stick for industrial.
Now I've got a heavy ornamental job that will entail a few weeks of outdoor site welding 1" solid square bar, so stick is too messy and TIG is impract ical.
I think it basically comes down to comparing price, power, and duty cycle i n portable form.
Hobart Handler 210MVP / Max 210 Amps output / 15% Duty Cycle / $990.00 Millermatic 211 / 210 A @ 15% duty cycle / $1180
Thermal Arc 252i Mig-Tig-Stick / 210 A @ 20% duty cycle / $1485 Thermal Arc 211i MIG-Stick-TIG / 250 A @ 40% duty cycle / $2100 Miller Multimatic 200 / 180 A @ 10 % duty cycle / $1830 ESAB Caddy MIG C200i / 180 A 25% / $990
after my initial research my thoughts are -
In the $1K range: I can do this job and most anything else... I think 210 Amps should be fine to make 1" bar joints strong enough - I can bevel where I really need it. I'm a little wary of the 15% duty cycle, but I've used the SP170T a lot on full power and that's 20% duty cycle. Hobart looks like the logical choice. (I like Miller, but haven't seen why I would spend the extra $190 for the Millermatic 211.)
In the $2K range: The Thermal Arc 211i seems to blow everything else away. I did a search for this unit here and found nothing. I don't know anyone who has used Thermal Arc welders.
I'd really like to hear what you all have to say...
Also - I haven't used flux-core wire in years, how will that affect penetra tion? I've read some conflicting comments on that.