Point of no return - Millermatic 180 or Lincoln PM 180?

Discussion in 'Tools and Fabrication' started by Gusb, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Gusb

    Gusb

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    I'm buying either a Millermatic 180 or a Lincoln Power MIG 180 by the end of week. I've done all the comparisons on the sites, talked to whoever I could find to talk to and I guess I'm leaning toward the Miller. They both seem so close. Should I just buy whichever one is cheaper, decide which color I like or what?

    The Lincoln has 5 Position voltage and the Miller is infinite but from what I can tell from my research most fine tuning is done with the wire feed anyway. And the Lincoln comes with a few more tips, wire, etc.

    The only thing I can conclude is that the Lincoln seems a little more "industrial" in old world build quality, etc. and the Millermatic maybe works a "little" better in real-world functioning/actual use?

    Any opinions appreciated. BTY - the best price I've seemed to find (Northern California) is at the local Airgas.
     
  2. Dirtsquirt

    Dirtsquirt

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    big blue

    Big blue all the way baby..:D

    I would find out how much the spool gun is for each.
    You may find you want to dable in some aluminium at some point.

    There would be no decision for me.
    Perhaps the future cost of a spool gun will help you drive your decision.

    GL. YOu will most likely be happy witih either selection
     
  3. CruisinGA

    CruisinGA

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    I have the Miller. I have friends with the comparable Hobart and Lincoln.

    Infinite voltage is nice. My machine also generally welds better. (so they've said).

    Blue all the way. :D
     
  4. Super Tico

    Super Tico

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    I run a Millermatic 180 autostart.............Great rig !
     
  5. fj40charles

    fj40charles GOLD Star

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    Having only 5 voltage taps on the Lincoln is a BIG deal and I would pass because of it.
    Hobart Handler 187 and 210 each have 7 voltage taps which is very nice. 5 just does not cut it when it comes to voltage selection. Yes, you can change the amperage with wire speed, but you can only do so much with only 5 voltage taps.

    Also, where do you get the impression that Lincoln is more "industrial" than Miller?

    Miller has one of the best warranty/support out there. Just hope you never need warranty service from Lincoln.

    I would not let a few extra contact tips sway your decision. I'd buy the welder from a reputable dealer below.
    weldfabulous, weldingsuppliesatioc, brwelder, cyberweld

    http://www.weldfabulous.com/Shop/Control/Product/fp/SFV/32435/vpid/4543672/vpcsid/0/rid/126707
    http://store.cyberweld.com/millermatic175.html
    http://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/servlet/the-1894/MILLER---MILLERMATIC/Detail
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  6. Gusb

    Gusb

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    Miller it will be. Thanks for clearing that up!

    From the Lincoln website, were else :D

    I never cared about the extra tips, wire. The local Airgas dealer seems to be almost as good as the web pricing (five min from my house, no shipping, etc.). They want $149 for the tank (55?, 1st C-25 fill free) and I guess I'll look for the $89 Miller cart (they have a $93 Radnor). Only wire they seem to have is the "Radnor" brand and I'm starting with the lighter stuff so I may go looking for Hobart, etc. Not sure how to tell you're getting the better quality wire on their packaging?

    Another smaller local shop seemed to be much higher, price-wise, but they have a nice selection of Miller parts.

    Thanks for all the info everybody.
     
  7. fj40charles

    fj40charles GOLD Star

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    I'd get a 80 cubic foot cylinder as a minimum. I don't think it will cost you that much more than a 55CF.
    80 CF cylinder is good for about 4 hours of continuous welding. See how much a 120 or 150CF costs.

    For reference, you can buy a brand new 80 CF cylinder delivered for $147.xx
    80 CF WELDING CYLINDER tank bottle ARGON NITROGEN - eBay (item 390030254372 end time Feb-16-09 20:27:26 PST)

    Radnor brand wire is fine. Supposed to be made by Lincoln. Hobart HB-28 wire is very good, but hard to find. I really doubt you'll notice much difference in the wire.

    I'd skip on the cart. Build your own. Perfect for your first project.

    Don't go too crazy on the Miller parts. You can get all of the parts you need online from various places for much less than the dealer. Mig wire will be much cheaper too.

    Final point. Ask the mgr at Airgas if you can give you any additional discounts since you're buying lots of stuff from him
    Buy the .030 roll of mig wire. I wouldn't recommend you use .035 for your little welder.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  8. Awl_TEQ

    Awl_TEQ Supporting Vendor

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    I vote Miller - my 180 works great and all our machines at work are Miller also.:cheers:
     
  9. Dirtsquirt

    Dirtsquirt

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    Support your local supplier

    I payed a couple of dollars more from my local supplier, than i would have buying online.
    But those guys are gonna be there (you hope) When you are trying something different and are a resource that is invaluable and convenient.
    I say you hope .. cause if everyone buys online how are they gonna stay in business.
    PS when i bought my 180 autoset a month ago. I got em to throw in a Big roll of .030
    Enjoy!
     
  10. green71fj

    green71fj

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    I've used both,both are good.but i prefer the miller.
     
  11. fj40charles

    fj40charles GOLD Star

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    I did and they still treated like crap. I spent almost $1600 on a Millermatic 210, 150CF cylinder, 33 lb roll of wire, gloves, consumables, and helmet from my local welding supply. They quickly forgot that I was a customer and offered lousy service/support and told me they did not "need" customers like me. After that statement, I've yet to step back into their store in over 3 years and will buy elsewhere.

    I have plenty of local welding shops that I can buy from, but most do not have what I need in stock so I end up having to order and waiting for it to arrive. I'd rather order from home, get it delivered, and pay less for what I need. Go try to buy some tungsten electrodes that are not red or green at the local welding shop. Better yet, price out a 10 pack of tungsten electrodes at a local welding supply and report back.

    I get better service/support from buying from online dealers. If you very lucky if you local welding shop has the items you need.

    Many people complain about Airgas. I've had very good luck with them. Maybe, I have a good manager I deal with.
    Get good prices and I'm able to get the mig wire I want/need.
     
  12. Dirtsquirt

    Dirtsquirt

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    Sorry to hear that.

    My experience has been totally different.
    I have been buying from my local supplier for 20yrs.
    And have had not 1 bad experience.
    I buy for my work from them also. I have never ordered
    anything but red and green Tungsten as we only weld
    aluminium and Stainless 300 and 400 series.

    I guess that since I buy for my work from them and have
    a little more than a casual relationship with them I may get
    better treatment than most.

    It kinda cool how the world has gotten so small due to the
    internet..
     
  13. Gusb

    Gusb

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    Dirtsquirt / fj40charles...

    I went back to the 2 local shops (Airgas and the smaller local Aeris) yesterday and just sort of checked them out again. I tried to be nice and sort of hint I had been checking prices but Aeris quoted high anyway. I think part of the problem is some of the store front places don't invest any time/effort in looking at the big picture out on the web, and adjusting their businesses/attitudes accordingly. I'm going to pay a bit more, but if the local Airgas hadn't given me a decent quote I'd be ordering online.

    Should pick everything up today.

    Thanks again for the helpful advice.
     
  14. haystax

    haystax

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    Miller all the way - love my 251

    Unless it is Detroit Diesel powered and older than hell, then go with the Lincoln :D
     
  15. Gusb

    Gusb

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    Extension cord?

    Picked up the 180.

    Got the 55 cylinder because Airgas wanted another $100 for the 80. They said I could pay the difference later and trade up.

    Passed on the low end cart for now - see the temporary old steel copier stand I rigged attached. It's got inside storage and wheels anyway. :D

    Got the wire/gas more or less installed. Will try some of my first 18 ga butt joints on practice steel over the weekend.

    Now I need a short extension power cord (10'-15'). Should I just go to the hardware store and put one together? What wire should I look for - should it be more or less the same as the Miller power cord or heavier?

    Thanks
    welder_day1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  16. fj40charles

    fj40charles GOLD Star

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    Nice job on the cart. I wouldn't spend the extra $100 for a larger cylinder. Just buy a used cylinder on craigslist and keep the 55CF cylinder for a backup.

    You should be able to buy some 10 gauge cord (10/3 10 gauge, 3 conductor) SOOJ cord at any decent hardware store.

    Or you could buy a 10/3 cord at homey depot and just put different ends on it or buy a factory made 25 footer for about $70 shipped.

    Instruction on how to make an extension cord.
    HOW TO - make a 220V extension cord - WeldingWebâ„¢ - Welding forum for pros and enthusiasts

    Have fun with the welder!
     
  17. haystax

    haystax

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    I built an extension cord for mine with parts from the local supply shop. A 4" or larger steel box works well for the female plug of the cord. A little bulky but bulletproof.
     
  18. Gusb

    Gusb

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    First welds

    Attached are images of my first welds (all butt joints, .023 wire, 18 ga). Not done under the influence of alcohol or medication, though it may look that way. :grinpimp: Next I'm going to grind a bit and cut a few apart.

    A few dumb questions:

    When I turn off the MIG welder, do I just close the main valve on the tank or should I be purging the gauges somehow?

    Do these beads seem large? I'm surprised at the weld contour and the amount of metal that seems to be getting laid down (for 18 ga)? And in most cases, if I get good penetration, there's much more of a "radius/metal" filler showing up on the backside than I thought there would be. These seem like strong welds but it also seems like a lot of metal to grind down, etc.?

    I cut a sample from the rusty, pitted bed on my FJ40 for a test that seems to be one of my best first welds. I'm I kidding myself or does this mean I can probably weld to my old bed without completely replacing it with a new panel?

    Thanks for any feedback.
    first_welds.jpg front_back.jpg old_new.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
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