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What's the best pick for my first welder?

Discussion in 'General Truck Discussions' started by K-Note72, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. K-Note72

    K-Note72Well-Known Member

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    Like the title says, I'm new to welding and gonna need to get A LOT of practice in before I do any autobody work, so I'll be looking for a welder soon. I did a little research, and got the impression that:
    • MIG and TIG are the most widely used, but TIG is supposed to be more difficult
    • MIG boils down to gas and gasless(flux-core wire) systems
    • Gas MIG is the go-to for doing sheet metal and autobody, and flux-core just burns right thru or warps the metal
    • Flux core works better in outdoors or windy environments, on jobs that don't involve thin metal
    The problem with the gas systems is they're so spendy. Does anybody know of a decent gas MIG that isn't gonna cost me more than my car?
     
  2. HALIFAXHOPS

    HALIFAXHOPSBeerening at its best!

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    Tell you the truth my buddy got a gas mig from HF and I actually like using it works really well.
     
  3. K-Note72

    K-Note72Well-Known Member

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    Do you happen to know what model it was?
     
  4. 65 sporty

    65 sportyWell-Known Member

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    If you have never welded you are going to want a MIG, MIG you can weld thinner steel than flux core. I just read that MIG will do down to 24 gauge sheet metal, flux core only 20 gauge sheet metal. You still have to watch your amperage with either or you can warp or burn through thin metal. Wire diameter matters also as far as thickness of material to be welded. MIG is so easy to learn, just get some scrap and practice.
     
  5. HALIFAXHOPS

    HALIFAXHOPSBeerening at its best!

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  6. K-Note72

    K-Note72Well-Known Member

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    If I weren't limited to 120v I'd have a lot more options to choose from. We don't have any 240 hookups here. A few guys from another forum suggested an eastwood 135, since it's an inexpensive unit that's gas, can run 120 and has good reviews, it's my frontrunner option so far (plus it comes with regulator & hose)
     
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    • 7mopar

      7moparWell-Known Member

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      Will not take long to discover more than one will be needed. Welding plate and sheet metal with the same welder can be done but will not be purchased at HF and will not come cheap?
       
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      • K-Note72

        K-Note72Well-Known Member

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        Since my first use for it will be sheet metal, I'll for now focus on one best for doing that. For something bigger (and less tempermental) like plate, I could get a flux wire machine later on down the road
         
      • 7mopar

        7moparWell-Known Member

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        Just try not spending more for 2 possible machines as one that can do both jobs. The can get pricy.
        Miller use to make a good daull purpose at a reasonable price.
        Consider where parts can be had regardless what you buy.
        Drivers, rollers and nozzles dont last for ever. Get something that has some adaptability.
         
      • K-Note72

        K-Note72Well-Known Member

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        From what I'm finding out though, for any bigger jobs where spatter and temp management isn't critical, the flux core machines work just fine. Welding brackets, spring perches, etc. The flux machines tend to be cheaper too. Main thing is I need a MIG to do autobody work, first and foremost. I've been looking for machines in my price range that can run both gas & flux, but almost all of them either put out too low amps to do bigger jobs, or are only rated for 240v. At best I have one solid option
         
      • 7mopar

        7moparWell-Known Member

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        I would not consider anything less than 240 volt. They are cheaper to operate and run cooler. Gives a longer duty cycle. Which means more weld time and less cool down time. My range of welding is from 18 gauge to 3/8 plate. Any thing thicker gets tacked and taken to a local welding shop. He gives me a good rate as all prep and assemble has been done.
         
      • K-Note72

        K-Note72Well-Known Member

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        But like I mentioned earlier, we don't have any 240 hookups here, not in the garage where I'll be working at least. It has to be 120
         
      • 65 sporty

        65 sportyWell-Known Member

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      • 7mopar

        7moparWell-Known Member

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        Flux core to me = cheap but dirty. I would prefer gas any day.
        This is from an old ac/dc stick welder. I have welded mig, tig and old inersheild. Also oz and acetylene.

        Do your research. Visit a few rentals. If a community college is close take an adult ed class in welding. Most colleges have equipment most will never be able to afford but it is a cheap way to get exposed to whats available.

        You honestly have no 220?
         
      • K-Note72

        K-Note72Well-Known Member

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        Our community college does teach welding classes, but they're reserved for the technical career programs. They don't do open instruction courses

        Don't ask me why we don't have 220-240 hookups, Gramps musta never thought it was necessary when he built the place back in the 70s
         
      • 7mopar

        7moparWell-Known Member

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        If satisfied with lights and small power tools and apparently he was. Not that as you are finding it cannot be worked around with 120. Depending upon the amount of time and equipment used a 220-240 hook up will cut energy consumption. If that is a concern.
         
      • K-Note72

        K-Note72Well-Known Member

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        I did prod about the 240 bit, and while he didn't wire the garage with it, he has the pumphouse wired for 240. It's a case of splicing into it and running a line back into the garage and setting up a hookup somewhere. He's not too inclined to do the work, and I'm no electrician (he was an electrician back before the .com days). He keeps tellin me "better off just to keep lookin fer something that runs off 120. For workin on your car that should work just fine"
         
      • 7mopar

        7moparWell-Known Member

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        He is the boss. 120 it will have to be.
         
      • K-Note72

        K-Note72Well-Known Member

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        Now you see my predicament. To be fair, the circuit keeping our fresh water flowin is the last circuit I wanna go messin with
         
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