Noob searches for and buys a welder (2 Viewers)

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Shielding gas always seem to run out during a project or on the weekends when the welding shops aren’t open. I’d go with the biggest bottle you can afford. Most beginners gravitate towards the 80cu ft or 120 cu ft.

I’d check prices on both the bottles themselves and the cost to refill them. Also check to see if your welding supply shop does bottle upgrades so that if you find you want a bigger bottle in the future you only pay the cost difference to upgrade bottles. Where I’m at the cost difference between filling an 80 and 120 is only a couple of bucks.

When I first started I bought a 200cu ft. A year later I upgraded to 330cu ft. 3 of them:doh:
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TYM4FUN

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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!
Shielding gas always seem to run out during a project or on the weekends when the welding shops aren’t open. I’d go with the biggest bottle you can afford. Most beginners gravitate towards the 80cu ft or 120 cu ft.

I’d check prices on both the bottles themselves and the cost to refill them. Also check to see if your welding supply shop does bottle upgrades so that if you find you want a bigger bottle in the future you only pay the cost difference to upgrade bottles. Where I’m at the cost difference between filling an 80 and 120 is only a couple of bucks.

When I first started I bought a 200cu ft. A year later I upgraded to 330cu ft. 3 of them:doh:
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Thanks to the both of you. I put together the welding cart yesterday, and I will just get the biggest bottle that will fit the cart, which is slightly less than 7" across.
 

TYM4FUN

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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.
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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

Any projects or practice yet?
 

e9999

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don't overlook the option of using CO2. Very inexpensive to refill at a beverage company IME. Bead maybe a bit more spattery, though.
 

Romer

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Any projects or practice yet?

No, as soon as I got it my work got this huge project we have to complete by the end of the year, been working 60+hour weeks. I didnt help me get the broken bolt out, but I only had 110V at the time. Garage now upgraded to 220V

Have to come up with some projects first though :)
 

TYM4FUN

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Ok, gas supplier delivered my bottle today! I found two scrap peices of metal, one 16ga, one 18ga, and gave it a try. 1st pass on the right, second pass on the left with 120v.

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Rusto

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This noob is about to throw down on a welder as well. Hobart Handler 140 MIG Wire welder.
I have 240V in my garage for my air compressor, but I think the 140 will do everything I need for years. It's my first welder, so I don't want to break the bank.
Still have to get the bottle, the wire spools, helmet, gloves, etc..

Hoping to get everything I need to start working metal for around $1,000.

And like @TXSunDevil - then I'll get ready to spend some money. Knowing that I'm getting a welder has turned every piece of scrap metal I see into a potential piece of a project.

First up - welder cart. Thinking of picking up an old fender from a junk yard around here for practice as well.
 

e9999

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^ I have the Handler 140 as well. I like it, it's a great machine. Not used it much but it did well when I did. When I bought it a few years back it was the best for the buck IMO and I would recommend it. But admittedly, I chose it in large part because I did not have 240V in the garage. Had I had it, I would have likely gone dual voltage instead. Just more versatile in general, I think, and I'd like to have the extra juice.
If I had to buy another welder today, I would seriously consider an inverter-based machine too.
 

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