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Another Welding Question

Cantinero

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My company is going to start up metal fabrication in the next few weeks. I have been doing my home work on this and would like some of you to help in my decision here. We have around $4K right now in the budget at this point to jump into getting started with welding and plasma cutting. I am looking at mig welders at this point and voltage is not a problem. I am leanning towards either the millermatic 251 (pricey) or the 210 (well within budget) or the ESAB Multimaster 260 (mig, tig, & stick) Argon system. We will be doing both steel and aluminum and I need something with an ample duty cycle as well as output as we will be dealing with 3/8" and less stock most of the time. I can still send out the 1/2" jobs if need be, to be fabricated by another shop, but would like to bring them in house as well at some point. I would like any thoughts on brands and units (Miller vs. ESAB) or what brand you think is a better manufacturer. Please keep in mind I need to get a plasma cutter as well, but I was thinking that it could be a used or refurb'd cutter for under $900.

Thanks for your thoughts!
 
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I am working on a Millermatic 210 for my home shop, hope to have it soon. But my thickest would be 3/8. You may want to check with Goodtimes...he has a 210 and tells me he wishes he would have gone with the 251. I believe iether have the optional aluminum spool gun.
 

Cdaniel

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I've got a Miller 210 and haven't been disappointed yet. Of course I'm not using it daily and taxing it's abilities.

Seems to be all I'll need for some time.
 
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Always, always get as much as you can afford. You will never be disappointed that you have too much welder.

-Spike
 

Cdaniel

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-Spike- said:
Always, always get as much as you can afford. You will never be disappointed that you have too much welder.

-Spike

That's exactly the advice I got from my sand car building neighbor.
 

Cantinero

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Thanks for the input so far.

So if you were choosing a brand then who would you go with? I'm not big on Lincoln as I had one in my last shop. We also had a miller tig that we got just before I quit. Seems like they make a good welder from what I hear. My fastenal sales rep is sold on ESAB, and has nothing but great things to say about them. He also stands to make money if I go that way too.

So if it were your dime being spent, which name do you go with?
 
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With the exception of one (Miller) model made many years ago, I've never heard much bad about either one. Between those two, I'd buy the one with the most features at the price point I could afford.

-Spike
 
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My advice on welders....figure out 2 things. 1) how much welder do you NEED (IE: how thick of material will you be welding), and 2) How much welder can you afford.

Now, take those figures and DOUBLE each of them. Buy the smallest welder that fits both of the new figures. When I bought my Millermatic 210, the thickest materail I ever planned on welding was 1/4". The MM210 will get 3/8 on a single pass...so it should have been plenty, right? Wrong. Less than 1 week after taking reciept of my machine, I had a 1" thick plate sitting in front of me that had a crack in it...go figure. That repair would have been much easier if I had gotton the 251 (hell, it was only a couple hundred bucks more than the 210)

Now that my rig lives at home in the garage, it does fine...but in an industrial setting, it wasn't enough. Also keep in mind duty cycles. The 60% that the MM210 has is fine for home use, but if you are running production with it, you may run into increased process times because of it. That may or may not affect you, it depends on the nature of your business. If you are working in a high volume production facility, you should have someone crunch the numbers to come up with the appropriate specs for a machine that will meet your needs. Simply "guessing" isn't the smart way to go about capitol expenditures....run the numbers...they don't lie.
 

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