Noob searches for and buys a welder (1 Viewer)

Romer

fatherofdaughterofromer
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So I wanted to get a welder and posted up on the local club site after researching for days

I agonized over welders and broke it down to 4 with the following rationale:

I get that the 220V have more power. I see ones that have dual 110 or 220V as able to go to help others out of needed. Being a Dad I do that a lot :) Iam wiring a 220V in my garage this weekend

I see that the MIG welders with the gas and gasless Flux capability are best for home use projects. Going the Gas route is much preferred due to less splatter, but gasless may be OK for quick small things.

From all the reading the best brands are Miller, Hobart and Lincoln

I see a majority opinion that the Millermatic 221 is probably all anyone doing home stuff would ever need

Yeah if I had a need for a lot of welding for me I would go get the Miller 221. The Hobart Handler 210 MVP has many of the features of the Miller 211, dual voltage, but is twice the weight due to Miller has an Inverter supply and the Hobart has the old style Transformer supply. The Miller also has Auto set features where as the Hobart has the standard table that you manually set the two switches based on wire size and metal thickness. The Hobart is $500 less than the Miller. The big advantage with these machines is dual voltage (110V and 220V) and more power than I would likely need

At almost half the price of the Miller is the Lincoln easy 180 and the Hobart 190, both 220V only machines. The reviews indicate the Hobart is better as it has 2 more power settings and a slightly wider power range. With all things there is a difference of opinion on if Lincoln or Hobart are better brands, the better here refers to the Hobart having more power. The Lincoln seems to be better setup if you want to do a quick gasless weld (not clear on this). These are both half the price of the Miller 211

There are differing opinions on if the 180 or 190 is strong enough for all auto projects like working on the frame, sheet metal or even building a trailer frame. Though I did see one video review with a guy using the Lincoln 180 to build a trailer frame

They key things is what do I intend to use it for. I wanted it to help with a broken bolt, but I can easily get help with that. I don't really have anything on the agenda, but would like something that can build a trailer frame or work on the trucks, not build a bumper but be able to weld sliders on or stuff like that. See I really don't know what I am talking about

I do this a lot, get a bug, research and educate myself and sometimes pull the trigger and sometimes decide I don't need it. Though, having tools is always a good thing arg arg arg

I do intend to take a class as I have always wanted to learn how to weld, I just dont have any projects in mind at the moment. Since I am a believer in buy once cry once, If I get a welder I would want it strong enough to do what I ever I might want to do in the future.

I understand I can do it all with the Miller 211

I think I could do it all with the Lincoln 180 or the Hobart 190, but there are conflicting opinions on the internet if one or both are powerful enough

Then cutting the price in half again there are the 110V 140 MIG welders. What related to our hobby can you do and not do with those? From what I found they could do a lot of what I wanted, but limit me if I wanted to go with a bigger project like a trailer or something. To do anything 1/4" or greater (Based on reading) you need to have the 220V capability. Dual Voltage just provides more capability

So after researching for a long time I came down to the 4 welders below

220V 180 Lincoln or 190 Hobart Amp Welder
220V 210 AMP (Hobart or Miller) welder

It seems Hobart vs Miller vs Lincoln is like debating Toyo vs BFG tires (I like Toyo). it comes down to experience and every brand can have a bad unit that sours the buyer. So it seemed to me that I couldnt make a bad decision with either welder

Some advice I got from the local guys:
  • Use an automatic hood. They are cheap and make life much easier.
  • Always wear heavy cotton clothes. stay away from nylon and flip flops.
  • Always lube your nozzle on your gun, it will make your nozzles last much longer
  • Buy a good quality pair of welding pliers/tool. You'll always be using them
  • Buy the best, most flexible leather gloves. Makes life much easier.
  • Always have spare tanks, wire, etc.....guarantee you'll run out in the middle of a job.
  • Get the cart...much easier to move the welder and tanks around the job!
  • Use good quality clamps/magnet clamps and have several sets....you'll need them all.
  • Have a couple of fire extinguishers and welding blankets...it's amazing what catches on fire.
  • BEWARE - if you heat chlorinated brake cleaner with a torch or welder, you will generate Phosgene gas, which is a nerve gas. If it doesn't kill you, you might wish it had: Safety Alert! Brake Cleaner = Phosgene Gas - This was after someone suggested Brake Cleaner for cleaning , but after this clarified to non-chlorinated Brake Cleaner
After some internal deliberation over a Cigar and glass of Crown, I came down to either the Miller 211 or Hobart 210. The Dual Voltage and additional power just seemed to me to be the sweet spot for this to be my first and last welder

I believe that the Miller 211 is likely the better machine, but that the Hobart would serve my needs and I wouldnt notice the difference other than weight. I dont think I would use the Auto set feature and the weight can be offset by a cart unless you are hauling it to other places

I went to Murdocks as they had pretty much the same price as anyone else for the Hobart 210 MV. There are a few that were $70 cheaper, but signing up for their new free sale membership program is what 10% off the entire purchase. So I got the whole shebang of what I needed including a small canister of Gas. Since I dont expect to be welding much for the near term, more after retirement, that should last me. Got the Hobart auto helmet, Hobart Cart, Pliers, Gloves, welding Jacket, extra wire, tips gel, brush and polishing attachment for my die grinder. It all came out to less than the Miller would have.
IMG_0564.jpg



IMG_0565.jpg


Something else that wasnt obvious is you can press the trigger to wire feed and not get any spark. The spark is made by the contacts being close to ground so they can arc and melt the wire with the high current. That is why it is important to have a good ground on what you are welding on

Also be prepared to change polarity (its simple) on the cables inside the compartment that opens with the welding table depending on if you are using gas or just flux wire

Thats my story. Hopefully it helps someone in the same boat. Searched a lot of threads on here, read a lot on the welding sites and watched a lot of videos. I didnt find quite what I needed so I posted my thoughts on our local club forum and talking it through with my brothers helped me make a choice

I do not pretend to be a welding expert, nor do I have any welding experience as a disclaimer. This is my search as someone who knew nothing about welding in finding a welder. Your needs and choices may differ resulting in a different choics
 
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TXSunDevil

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Congrats on your purchase Sir. I think I am about a month ahead of you, I dd the same analysis and ended up with the Lincoln 180, but only because I got a good deal. If I was convinced I would be a hardcore fabricator I would have got the Miller 211. I am slowly learning and really enjoying the process. Have fun
 

e9999

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You'll have fun. Quite a good welder that one, I think, good choice for a first machine.

I would add, though, given your comments above, OP, that I don't think it's quite right to label fluxcore as "OK for quick small things". I believe that process is actually superior to MIG under some circumstances such as working outside for example and may also give you better penetration, which may help with smaller machines. In fact, I did meet a pro welder who is building utility trailers and he has switched entirely to using only a 110 machine with flux core, he told me. He says it's plenty good for trailer frames. He has 220 machines too.
Not a criticism, just to say that you may have yet another good process to work with.
 
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Helpful write-up @Romer . I learned to stick weld with a Lincoln tombstone as a teenager. Planning on a MIG rig soon and would also probably take some welding lessons since I know nothing beyond stick welding.....and haven't done that in 30 years.
 

Honger

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Great post. A year or so back I did some research (didn't write things down in a spreadsheet like I usually do) and came to the conclusion I'd get a Miller 211. My brother-in-law and I are going to go into a shared purchase of a welder by end of year... and I'm resurrecting my search. This thread is timely. And now I'm going to have to take another look at Lincoln and Hobart. Thanks for sharing your thoughts...
 
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Great post. A year or so back I did some research (didn't write things down in a spreadsheet like I usually do) and came to the conclusion I'd get a Miller 211. My brother-in-law and I are going to go into a shared purchase of a welder by end of year... and I'm resurrecting my search. This thread is timely. And now I'm going to have to take another look at Lincoln and Hobart. Thanks for sharing your thoughts...
I just got my purchase from cyberweld.com. The costs of the Hobart plus all the other crap to buy- Ppe, gas wire, jacket, gloves...is still less than the miller. Wish I could justify the price of the Miller but I will likely not welding every weekend. Cyber weld had a deal with miller with a free lid and wire. Shipping to Cali took 2days.
 

Mauser

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To add to this. I had been running a Hobart 250 for about ten years at a welding shop I was working at. When I decided to buy myself a big mig welder for home I did quite a bit of research and visited a few friends with the fancy Millers. The autoset and infinite voltage adjustment are a cool idea, but not necessary.

I ended up buying a 230 Hobart for $1600 and love it. I weld 1/2"+ material pretty often and it is awesome. This welder will probably outlive my son.

For welding rusty/powdercoated material if you can't grind it you need a stick or at least flux-core. A mig requires the metal to be a lot cleaner than stick welding.
 
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@Romer This is really great info, thank you for sharing it. I've been reading books on welding and want to learn it. In my own research I've come to many of the same conclusions you have, so it's kinda neat seeing someone else think through it the same way.
 

e9999

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One big decision one has to make nowadays when buying new is to go transformer or inverter. Unfortunately, I don't have a clear answer to that, but worth thinking about. A world of difference. Both my machines are transformers but don't know what I'd do today.
 

PAToyota

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So does everyone just skip stick welders these days and go straight to MIG?

I use my Syncrowave 250DX for stick occasionally. Although I have a Millermatic 250X, I've got a skidloader and mini-ex and some of the heavier stuff (bucket repairs) takes forever if you're laying down multiple passes with a MIG vs. using a stick. An 1/8" rod makes a difference over 0.035 wire!
 

LINUS

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So does everyone just skip stick welders these days and go straight to MIG?


DC stick is still alive & well for industrial pipe where you’re dropping bulk bead material.

But root pass SS is normally TIG for a good inner bead, then stick SS to build the joint.

MIG can normally drop enough bead fast enough for all but real super-structure work where you bevel the snot out of something to plan for your passes.

A good hot MIG can do 99.999999999% of John Q project guy’s stuff, and you can run mild or SS wire on the same machine as long as you swap gases.

If you need to do AL, then sure - go to a TIG, or a push-pull MIG if you need big AL beads.

211’s & 215’s are good enough for most everybody outside crazy needs.
 
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So does everyone just skip stick welders these days and go straight to MIG?
I learned how to weld with a stick one of those old Lincoln welders (ac220?).

When I needed to do some welding at home, I didn't have 220 available, and bought some wire feed 120 welder with all the kit to hook up gas (and I've still never used gas).

Recently, I was welding together a new bumper. 1/4. and that was at the way far limit of the 120 wire feed welder. But I now have a garage with 220 available, made a deal on craigslist for a used ac220 stick welder.

Having both is nice. I still use the wire feed on sheet metal, am really still trying to learn to weld body part, still have issues burning through too often, etc. And it's more portable, use it with with 120. But anything substantial, that old stick welder can take care of, but it's pretty much stuck in that one corner of the garage next to the breaker panel.
 

xtremeVA

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Congrats on the purchase and all you need is a little practice. The only thing you may graduate to is a slightly bigger shielding gas bottle.

Enjoy melting metal...it's alot of fun!
 

Drake2

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So I wanted to get a welder and posted up on the local club site after researching for days

I agonized over welders and broke it down to 4 with the following rationale:

I get that the 220V have more power. I see ones that have dual 110 or 220V as able to go to help others out of needed. Being a Dad I do that a lot :) Iam wiring a 220V in my garage this weekend

I see that the MIG welders with the gas and gasless Flux capability are best for home use projects. Going the Gas route is much preferred due to less splatter, but gasless may be OK for quick small things.

From all the reading the best brands are Miller, Hobart and Lincoln

I see a majority opinion that the Millermatic 221 is probably all anyone doing home stuff would ever need

Yeah if I had a need for a lot of welding for me I would go get the Miller 221. The Hobart Handler 210 MVP has many of the features of the Miller 211, dual voltage, but is twice the weight due to Miller has an Inverter supply and the Hobart has the old style Transformer supply. The Miller also has Auto set features where as the Hobart has the standard table that you manually set the two switches based on wire size and metal thickness. The Hobart is $500 less than the Miller. The big advantage with these machines is dual voltage (110V and 220V) and more power than I would likely need

At almost half the price of the Miller is the Lincoln easy 180 and the Hobart 190, both 220V only machines. The reviews indicate the Hobart is better as it has 2 more power settings and a slightly wider power range. With all things there is a difference of opinion on if Lincoln or Hobart are better brands, the better here refers to the Hobart having more power. The Lincoln seems to be better setup if you want to do a quick gasless weld (not clear on this). These are both half the price of the Miller 211

There are differing opinions on if the 180 or 190 is strong enough for all auto projects like working on the frame, sheet metal or even building a trailer frame. Though I did see one video review with a guy using the Lincoln 180 to build a trailer frame

They key things is what do I intend to use it for. I wanted it to help with a broken bolt, but I can easily get help with that. I don't really have anything on the agenda, but would like something that can build a trailer frame or work on the trucks, not build a bumper but be able to weld sliders on or stuff like that. See I really don't know what I am talking about

I do this a lot, get a bug, research and educate myself and sometimes pull the trigger and sometimes decide I don't need it. Though, having tools is always a good thing arg arg arg

I do intend to take a class as I have always wanted to learn how to weld, I just dont have any projects in mind at the moment. Since I am a believer in buy once cry once, If I get a welder I would want it strong enough to do what I ever I might want to do in the future.

I understand I can do it all with the Miller 211

I think I could do it all with the Lincoln 180 or the Hobart 190, but there are conflicting opinions on the internet if one or both are powerful enough

Then cutting the price in half again there are the 110V 140 MIG welders. What related to our hobby can you do and not do with those? From what I found they could do a lot of what I wanted, but limit me if I wanted to go with a bigger project like a trailer or something. To do anything 1/4" or greater (Based on reading) you need to have the 220V capability. Dual Voltage just provides more capability

So after researching for a long time I came down to the 4 welders below

220V 180 Lincoln or 190 Hobart Amp Welder
220V 210 AMP (Hobart or Miller) welder

It seems Hobart vs Miller vs Lincoln is like debating Toyo vs BFG tires (I like Toyo). it comes down to experience and every brand can have a bad unit that sours the buyer. So it seemed to me that I couldnt make a bad decision with either welder

Some advice I got from the local guys:
  • Use an automatic hood. They are cheap and make life much easier.
  • Always wear heavy cotton clothes. stay away from nylon and flip flops.
  • Always lube your nozzle on your gun, it will make your nozzles last much longer
  • Buy a good quality pair of welding pliers/tool. You'll always be using them
  • Buy the best, most flexible leather gloves. Makes life much easier.
  • Always have spare tanks, wire, etc.....guarantee you'll run out in the middle of a job.
  • Get the cart...much easier to move the welder and tanks around the job!
  • Use good quality clamps/magnet clamps and have several sets....you'll need them all.
  • Have a couple of fire extinguishers and welding blankets...it's amazing what catches on fire.
  • BEWARE - if you heat chlorinated brake cleaner with a torch or welder, you will generate Phosgene gas, which is a nerve gas. If it doesn't kill you, you might wish it had: Safety Alert! Brake Cleaner = Phosgene Gas - This was after someone suggested Brake Cleaner for cleaning , but after this clarified to non-chlorinated Brake Cleaner
After some internal deliberation over a Cigar and glass of Crown, I came down to either the Miller 211 or Hobart 210. The Dual Voltage and additional power just seemed to me to be the sweet spot for this to be my first and last welder

I believe that the Miller 211 is likely the better machine, but that the Hobart would serve my needs and I wouldnt notice the difference other than weight. I dont think I would use the Auto set feature and the weight can be offset by a cart unless you are hauling it to other places

I went to Murdocks as they had pretty much the same price as anyone else for the Hobart 210 MV. There are a few that were $70 cheaper, but signing up for their new free sale membership program is what 10% off the entire purchase. So I got the whole shebang of what I needed including a small canister of Gas. Since I dont expect to be welding much for the near term, more after retirement, that should last me. Got the Hobart auto helmet, Hobart Cart, Pliers, Gloves, welding Jacket, extra wire, tips gel, brush and polishing attachment for my die grinder. It all came out to less than the Miller would have.
View attachment 2449541


View attachment 2449542

Something else that wasnt obvious is you can press the trigger to wire feed and not get any spark. The spark is made by the contacts being close to ground so they can arc and melt the wire with the high current. That is why it is important to have a good ground on what you are welding on

Also be prepared to change polarity (its simple) on the cables inside the compartment that opens with the welding table depending on if you are using gas or just flux wire

Thats my story. Hopefully it helps someone in the same boat. Searched a lot of threads on here, read a lot on the welding sites and watched a lot of videos. I didnt find quite what I needed so I posted my thoughts on our local club forum and talking it through with my brothers helped me make a choice

I do not pretend to be a welding expert, nor do I have any welding experience as a disclaimer. This is my search as someone who knew nothing about welding in finding a welder. Your needs and choices may differ resulting in a different choics
Wow, sounds exactly like what I have been doing for the last year. Research, read, email, call, and find out too much info at one time is a bad thing. Have to give it time to absorb.....then start all over again. I have learned a few things from your write up, so thank you for taking the time to post it
 

TYM4FUN

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Congrats on the purchase and all you need is a little practice. The only thing you may graduate to is a slightly bigger shielding gas bottle.

Enjoy melting metal...it's alot of fun!

What size bottle would you recommend for total newbies doing mild hobbies and practicing? I have a Miller 211 showing up today with their single bottle cart. I don't want a size that is too cumbersome, but also don't want to find I am always running out.
 

e9999

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I have a couple of smallish bottles (2 or 3'tall) and have to admit that I dread having to go to a supplier to refill one / both. What a pain. There is also the cost difference with size issue. And that a tall one normally takes the same space in the shop as a low one. So bigger is better as far as I'm concerned, as long as I can still lift it. But I suggest you also look into possible owning vs renting limitations at your place of choice such as refill vs only exchange etc. Of course, all of that depends on how fast you will be using it.
 
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xtremeVA

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What size bottle would you recommend for total newbies doing mild hobbies and practicing? I have a Miller 211 showing up today with their single bottle cart. I don't want a size that is too cumbersome, but also don't want to find I am always running out.

My shielding gas bottle is 80 cu ft bottle. It's about 3.5 feet tall and is a good compromise between what you have and the super tall ones. If you only welding on the weekends a fill should last you several months. Check you local welding store...an 80cuft bottle should be about $200+/-. You don't get your bottle re- filled, but rather just take it to the weld store and swap out with another full bottle. That way the weld shop performs the proper safety checks on the valves.

One word of advice on the bottle. Make sure you close the valve each time you are done welding. Why? If you have a tiny leak somewhere, then you will weld one weekend and come out the next weekend to an empty bottle. Of course you will inevitably forget to open the valve when you start welding and wonder why your welds look like complete cr@p. (Yep, I done that many times) My advice is to create a startup routine: I always open the valve and plug the machine in at the same time. Once the machine is running I check the settings and hit the trigger for a couple (2-3) seconds to purge the line of oxygen. Lastly I clip the wire with about 1/2" sticking out and I'm ready to go!
 
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