Welders, welding, and stuff

4runner DOA

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#1
Welders, welding, and tips.

I know there's quite a few guys here that weld so I thought I'd start a thread.

To get it going, if I was looking at light welding ( think light brackets on bumpers, tubbing wheel wells, or fixing cracks in skid plates) what am I looking for in a welder? Harbor freight has some sub 300 setups for flux core or mig/flux. I don't have a 240 outlet but I'm sure I can get someone to help me wire one up if I had to. I'm not looking to do any serious fab right now just some small projects I'd like to hammer out if I can get it down.
 

4runner DOA

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#3
I always hated flux core mig machines with only a few fixed settings. It can get frustrating. You might be better off getting a used machine that is twice as good for whatever your budget is for a new machine. I went overboard with my setup, but I have also used the shit out of it.
Like I said I'm not looking to do anything crazy where structural integrity is going to be important. I'm thinking light bar brackets on the front bumper. Rear dust light and rear camp light brackets on the rear bumper. Hinges for a table on the swing out. Maybe tub the wheel wells. Things I can just as easily drill and tap for bolts but would rather have welded and not have to hassle anyone that has a welder over.
 

AssBurns

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#4
Based on my personal experience, don’t just go for a “cheap enough to just get by” welder. I personally think the welder that I use is the perfect all around welder for garage use. It’s a Miller 211. It’s got the option for 120 or 240. 240 is much better to use, but the convenience of having 120v is awesome. It’s a Miller so it’s a high quality rig, but it’s small enough and cheap enough to not kill your wallet or take a ton of space in your garage.
I’ve used a few different brand welders and still think Miller really worth saving a few hundred extra bucks on good equipment that is super easy to find consumables. Lincoln is nice but just not as good as Miller. Never used ESAB, but I’ve heard everything from great to crap. Harbor Freight is cheap, but it just won’t last as long or run as well. I’ve considered getting a cheap welder for my own garage for quick fixes, but I don’t think it’s worth it unless you really get a good deal.
Don’t waste your time on something too small like a 140 IMO. At least get a 180, so you have room to grow into bigger projects.
I hear the newer harbor freight welders aren’t as bad as the old ones but that’s a lot of money to spend on something that’s harbor freight quality, when for a few hundred more dollars you can pick up a good used Miller 180 or 211.

But the biggest thing is going to be, get what you can really afford and start practicing as much as you can. A good machine doesn’t mean shit if you don’t take the time to learn how to use it properly. Look for deals on used equipment (especially if you can’t afford a newish Miller.) You can always pick up a used Lincoln or something and run it for a while then upgrade, but that might end up costing more money. You know the saying Buy once, cry once.
 

4runner DOA

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#5
Based on my personal experience, don’t just go for a “cheap enough to just get by” welder. I personally think the welder that I use is the perfect all around welder for garage use. It’s a Miller 211. It’s got the option for 120 or 240. 240 is much better to use, but the convenience of having 120v is awesome. It’s a Miller so it’s a high quality rig, but it’s small enough and cheap enough to not kill your wallet or take a ton of space in your garage.
I’ve used a few different brand welders and still think Miller really worth saving a few hundred extra bucks on good equipment that is super easy to find consumables. Lincoln is nice but just not as good as Miller. Never used ESAB, but I’ve heard everything from great to crap. Harbor Freight is cheap, but it just won’t last as long or run as well. I’ve considered getting a cheap welder for my own garage for quick fixes, but I don’t think it’s worth it unless you really get a good deal.
Don’t waste your time on something too small like a 140 IMO. At least get a 180, so you have room to grow into bigger projects.
I hear the newer harbor freight welders aren’t as bad as the old ones but that’s a lot of money to spend on something that’s harbor freight quality, when for a few hundred more dollars you can pick up a good used Miller 180 or 211.

But the biggest thing is going to be, get what you can really afford and start practicing as much as you can. A good machine doesn’t mean shit if you don’t take the time to learn how to use it properly. Look for deals on used equipment (especially if you can’t afford a newish Miller.) You can always pick up a used Lincoln or something and run it for a while then upgrade, but that might end up costing more money. You know the saying Buy once, cry once.
Guess I'll see how the job search goes the next couple months. If I land something then I can spend a bit more on something better. Just thinking I've got all this time to practice and do little things that something cheap will give me something to do besides play video games or clean all day.
 

AssBurns

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#6
Guess I'll see how the job search goes the next couple months. If I land something then I can spend a bit more on something better. Just thinking I've got all this time to practice and do little things that something cheap will give me something to do besides play video games or clean all day.
If you can find a good deal on something cheaper then go for it! But don’t expect it to be a great long term solution. If you really want to start welding and working on your own stuff, then I highly recommend getting something a little nicer even if it’s used. At this point, take advantage of your time and practice welding. I have a bunch of small pieces of scrap metal you can have to practice on if you want.
 
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#7
Based on my personal experience, don’t just go for a “cheap enough to just get by” welder. I personally think the welder that I use is the perfect all around welder for garage use. It’s a Miller 211. It’s got the option for 120 or 240. 240 is much better to use, but the convenience of having 120v is awesome. It’s a Miller so it’s a high quality rig, but it’s small enough and cheap enough to not kill your wallet or take a ton of space in your garage.
I’ve used a few different brand welders and still think Miller really worth saving a few hundred extra bucks on good equipment that is super easy to find consumables. Lincoln is nice but just not as good as Miller. Never used ESAB, but I’ve heard everything from great to crap. Harbor Freight is cheap, but it just won’t last as long or run as well. I’ve considered getting a cheap welder for my own garage for quick fixes, but I don’t think it’s worth it unless you really get a good deal.
Don’t waste your time on something too small like a 140 IMO. At least get a 180, so you have room to grow into bigger projects.
I hear the newer harbor freight welders aren’t as bad as the old ones but that’s a lot of money to spend on something that’s harbor freight quality, when for a few hundred more dollars you can pick up a good used Miller 180 or 211.

But the biggest thing is going to be, get what you can really afford and start practicing as much as you can. A good machine doesn’t mean shit if you don’t take the time to learn how to use it properly. Look for deals on used equipment (especially if you can’t afford a newish Miller.) You can always pick up a used Lincoln or something and run it for a while then upgrade, but that might end up costing more money. You know the saying Buy once, cry once.
This right here. I went with a Miller XMT 350 and a MIG suitcase. But, I also sold my street bike for funds and had a bigger budget. I was almost turned off from welding altogether when I started out with a miller 140.
 

85straight

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#8
Buy once cry once for sure @4runner DOA amd anyone else who sees this thread. Not only may you want to grow into bigger projects the machine will be more consistent in power and wire speed.
Can you build stuff with a sub par welder, sure. Is it ideal for a beginner, definitely not. You will have a much harder time learning with a shitty machine

Miller multimatic 220 is my dream rig, for house hold use. Mig, tig, and stick in one package, fuck yes

Over the last 5 years I’ve burned thousands of pounds of wire, all structural as you guys know. So adjusting to such thin material and different patterns of manipulation for fab projects is hard for me, as what I’ve been trained and seen first hand what works best for penetration and breaking strength is counter intuitive to what I see on a lot of projects
 

4runner DOA

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#9
Alright I'll bump my budget up a notch. Trying to get some random shit from the garage sold so that should help some
 

85straight

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#10

4runner DOA

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#14
I have a Lincoln 180, it’s perfect for me and I found it nib for $400 on cL. Hobart makes a fine welder too
That would be a great score. I'll just have to start keeping an eye open because deals like that flies quick around here.
 
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#15
Whatever you get, make sure it does mig and flux core or just mig. You’re going to want the gas, if not to start, then soon. So much cleaner
 
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#16
Buy once cry once as it's been said. We have a millermatic 211 at the shop that's blown the circuit board twice so I have lost faith with Miller. My Lincoln 210 mp has been bulletproof so far and I've even had to bring it into work to cover while the Miller went to the repair shop.
 

EL Maggot

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#17
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Lincoln...IG-and-Flux-Cored-Wire-230V-K2515-1/100670932
This is what Miah picked up last summer, have used it a few times, dam good machine they are usually on sale. He definitely didn’t pay anything near that though. Keep your eye on OfferUp and such, lots of good deals to be had
I've been eyeballing this one every time i go to HD for months. Been reading up on it and seems like it would be good to be able to grow on and do bigger projects but always difficult to pull the trigger on something like this. I'm gonna do some reading up on the Miller 211 as will.
 
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#18
When you’ve got your welder, get different thickness of metal scraps and practice. Pushing the puddle is another weld from dragging the puddle. So many little things, but it’s super easy. Also get a auto dark hood, don’t f around with the antique stuff. Hf is what I use and it’s fine , $50. Remember to wear long sleeves, to prevent weld burn. A grinder is your friend, I like flap discs over abrasive wheels. Metal prep is the most important part, clamp your work too. If indoors or not vented, fix that, don’t breathe that smoke. Oh yeah after welding shit is hot!!! Remember gloves and tuff shoes (sneakers get burn holes right through to the piggies). You’re going to get hooked in a big way. Enjoy
 

85straight

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#20
When you’ve got your welder, get different thickness of metal scraps and practice. Pushing the puddle is another weld from dragging the puddle. So many little things, but it’s super easy. Also get a auto dark hood, don’t f around with the antique stuff. Hf is what I use and it’s fine , $50. Remember to wear long sleeves, to prevent weld burn. A grinder is your friend, I like flap discs over abrasive wheels. Metal prep is the most important part, clamp your work too. If indoors or not vented, fix that, don’t breathe that smoke. Oh yeah after welding shit is hot!!! Remember gloves and tuff shoes (sneakers get burn holes right through to the piggies). You’re going to get hooked in a big way. Enjoy
And don’t use cheap consumables like grinding wheels
 
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