used welder recommendations? (1 Viewer)

Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
1,580
Location
tejas
gents.
anyone willing to read a brief explanation and help me wrap my head around what i should think about buying for a welder? i am thinking to finally pick something up used and start teaching myself to weld.
long story short is i did some "sculptural welding" with oxy-acetlene (and oxygen tank and an acetylene tank) i guess and i really enjoyed this. i also do design build so my welders have shown up with stick welding rigs that are more like machines as i remember?
are these two different types of stick welding setups?
also i have seen friends with WIRE FEED type rigs which i guess are more convenient (?) for smaller thicknesses? or it is a "cleaner" (?) way to get a job done for thinner steel?
anyway can anyone get me sorted here?
plan is to do some structural gauge welding for a frame for a small structure. and then likely do some weld up on some furniture.
THANKS for any help!
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Messages
9,804
Location
Salt Lake City
Get one of the multi-process welders that are out there now - stick and MIG. Lincoln and Miller both make great ones. HF makes one too in their in house brand, haven't used one but it appears solid and less money that red or blue. Also nice that they go between 110 and 220 for convenience or thicker material.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
958
Get one of the multi-process welders that are out there now - stick and MIG. Lincoln and Miller both make great ones. HF makes one too in their in house brand, haven't used one but it appears solid and less money that red or blue. Also nice that they go between 110 and 220 for convenience or thicker material.
Regarding HF house welder, the green vs orange brands both have them but at different price points... is the orange Vulcan worth the added cost than the green Titanium one?
 

e9999

Gotta get outta here...
Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2003
Messages
17,533
Location
US
your question implies a lengthy answer as there are pros and cons to all different types of welding given your specific needs such as thicknesses and metals. There is an enormous amount of info out there on that and numerous videos on how to get started. You should really spend some hours learning about this before you buy your first welder.
The (over?)simplified way I look at it is that MIG is the easiest to get started with, and fine with moderate thicknesses of steel; it is also fast. Stick and TIG are harder to learn. Stick is better for heavy duty welding of thick parts; and I find it the hardest to master. It is inexpensive to get started with. TIG is more precise but slower. If you are working a lot with aluminum, you may need some deeper research into the best process.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
1,580
Location
tejas
Get one of the multi-process welders that are out there now - stick and MIG. Lincoln and Miller both make great ones. HF makes one too in their in house brand, haven't used one but it appears solid and less money that red or blue. Also nice that they go between 110 and 220 for convenience or thicker material.

THANKS. i've seen those. very nice advice.
pricey little buggers though. maybe i can try to find a rental here in town and start that way. i'd have to find a screaming good used deal to be able to swing one of these i am afraid...
 
Joined
May 3, 2004
Messages
2,270
Location
Utardia
AvE did a review of the Vulcan MIG welder and seems to think it's a pretty good deal for the money.

I wish this welder had been available when I bought my MillerMatic 175. I may replace my MM175 with this...

 
Joined
May 3, 2004
Messages
2,270
Location
Utardia
Per multiprocess units, I want to have AC TIG capability and there aren't very many multi-process machines that offer AC TIG (ESAB Rebel 205 AC/DC, Miller MultiMatic 220, everlast power pro seem to be it). While having everything in one welder is nice at the outset, my experience with stuff that offers multiple features in one unit tend to be lower quality than buying individual units with specialized tasks.
One thing to note, is that the ESAB and Miller multiprocess machines do not allow the use of a Water cooler for TIG torch, so you'd either need to run air cooled only (not really an issue, torch gets too hot about the time you hit the duty cycle of the machine) or you fabricobble together a water cooler (aquarium pump and home depot bucket).
 

e9999

Gotta get outta here...
Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2003
Messages
17,533
Location
US
Attractive notion as multiprocess machines can be, in particular for cost and space savings, it is also possibly a liability in that if one bit fails you may lose the use of all processes and end up in a standstill. Whereas with a couple of separate machines you are much more likely to have at least one going. And could sell one and keep the other. Pros and cons both ways...
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
958
I’m struggling between a Lincoln pro-mig 180 “new in box” off CL vs a titanium 170 from HF... quasi equal money. I have 220 in garage... mostly need for body work, but I also need to do a heavy duty frame repair or ten... only one shackle has snapped off so far but surely more repairs are looming...

thoughts?
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2017
Messages
329
Location
Grande Prairie, Alberta
I've looked at this extensively for myself.

Certainly, if your serious about electric multiprocess welding, you shouldn't buy a used one, or not one that's very old.

The old electric welders were big and heavy, and might have been more rugged for farm use or something.

The Lincoln tombstone is an ARC welder, unchanged for many years.

The new welders are inverter, and much smaller. Multiprocess is the way to go. That HF Vulcan 220 welder looked ok when I saw it, but even with all the discounts in, it isn't much less than the comparable Lincoln multiprocess at Home Depot.

And you're getting less quality and parts support than Lincoln for a little less initial price it doesn't seem like a deal to me.

The Lincoln Multiprocess might take the cheaper Vulcan consumables?

The Miller multimatic is more money still, but your consumables are less, a good choice if you become serious with it.

Hobart is owned by Miller, and I don't see a multiprocess in their lineup, but it seems to be decent quality for welding too.

After grappling with all these choices, I decided on a small Hobart oxy-ace kit for myself, truck-portable for my expected field use without a generator.
 

PAToyota

Keystone Cruisers
SILVER Star
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Messages
2,285
Location
South Central Pennsylvania
And you're getting less quality and parts support than Lincoln for a little less initial price it doesn't seem like a deal to me.

This is what I've always come to. Supposedly HF is working on better parts support for their products, but that remains to be seen. I know I can count on Miller, Lincoln, and Hypertherm to support my decades old machines when I need it.
 
Joined
May 3, 2004
Messages
2,270
Location
Utardia
This is what I've always come to. Supposedly HF is working on better parts support for their products, but that remains to be seen. I know I can count on Miller, Lincoln, and Hypertherm to support my decades old machines when I need it.

I can't count on my local welding store to be open after 6pm or on weekends when I can get there.

My MillerMatic MIG gun needed a replacement liner and switch. LWS store wasn't open when I could get there, and also didn't have the parts in stock. So I ordered online (which was also cheaper than the LWS quoted me even with shipping). While the parts came in Miller packaging, the package said very clearly: "Made in China". I feel that unless I am using the welder for my regular paycheck, there's no reason to go with Miller or Lincoln, especially with how the LWS stores price gouge. If I could get welding gas online, I'd never set foot in AirGas, PraxAir or Norco...

The equivalent parts for the Vulcan machines were on the shelf at HF tools for a fraction of the price of the Miller parts.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom