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    Default Mig welders

    I'm thinking about getting a mig welder to do some repair work on my car projects. I've never "mig'd" before so I don't know what to get or even if a mig is the right thing to get.
    any advice appreciated on use,brands,power ratings etc, cheers Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by gypsy1 View Post
    I'm thinking about getting a mig welder to do some repair work on my car projects. I've never "mig'd" before so I don't know what to get or even if a mig is the right thing to get.
    any advice appreciated on use,brands,power ratings etc, cheers Dave
    There's a huge range out there. Most will be ok for lightweight bodywork. Your biggest issue is going to be they are *very* expensive to upkeep. the gas bottle will be about $150 a year in rental, even if you never use the welder

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    Something like a 150 - 200amp Lincoln or Cigweld will set you back around $1000. I would recommend a Mig over an Arc or Tig welder. Arc tends to be quite messy and Tig is a black art. I would scoot down to your local industrial/commercial tool supplier and have a decent chat.

    If you can, avoid gasless Mig welders. I tried one once and found it too be average at best.

    As I mentioned, for something worth having that has a decent duty cycle, don't expect to much change from $1000.

    Have fun,


    Chris.
    Last edited by DjB8V; 16th April 2011 at 09:30 PM.

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    agreed with the above but will add:
    *unless you are on a budget, spend the $1000 and get a good brand eg CIG. i bought a cheap brand (SIP) and the amount of time spent frigging around with crappy hardware on the gun is very frustrating
    *better ones definitely have better control of the wire feed and arc, and that really does make welding much easier.
    *gas welders can do more things BUT you have two bottles to rent, and are require more nuanced technique. migs produce good welds with virtually no practice.
    *welding sheet metal with a mig, however, is tricky. then again, welding sheet metal with anything is tricky
    *my mig is max 150A and that is more than enough for anything you will ever do on a car. i have welded 3/8" plate brackets with it with ease.
    *even with its mediocre quality, the mig is one of the most useful things i have ever purchased.

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    Thanks for the replies, I have a arc welder & I can do a reasonable weld on heavier steel but not light material, hence the "mig" thought. I was thinking gasless as I wouldn't use it enough to justify the annual bottle cost. Feedback I got today was that the gasless ones have improved a lot over recent times so might be ok. It would be used mainly ( at the moment) for panel repairs & that is beyond me with an arc, but if I put in plenty of practice time I might get good enough

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexander View Post
    *my mig is max 150A and that is more than enough for anything you will ever do on a car. i have welded 3/8" plate brackets with it with ease..
    Don't be fooled. MIG welders have the ability to lay down a weld that looks perfect but has little or no penetration. If you want to weld thicker sections (>5mm) you need to ask "can it weld in spray transfer mode?" This is usually the domain of 3 phase machines with 0.8mm (or thicker wire). For panel work, 0.6mm wire and a 15A machine is fine.

    I don't like the Lincolns we have at work either. They tend to splatter too much. Whereas the old ESAB 250 (15 years old) lays down clean welds every time.

    Visit some panel beaters and see what they use.

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    Many smaller Mig welders are capable of either gas or gasless use. You just need to change the wire to a different type and switch the polarity of the leads. With this facility you can hire a gas bottle for doing thin panel work and at other times run the machine gasless for rougher jobs on thicker material.

    Be careful not to be seduced by the maximum output of a welder. More important in panel repair is the lowest setting possible and the fine control capabilities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelr View Post
    Be careful not to be seduced by the maximum output of a welder. More important in panel repair is the lowest setting possible and the fine control capabilities.
    Exactly, and that's where the ESAB's have it over the Lincoln's at work. I can change from 0.8/0.9 down to 0.6mm and control the wire feed accurately. Whereas the Lincolns are just brutal. That doesn't mean every Lincoln is the same however. Do your homework. I'm just disappointed with the models I bought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelr View Post
    Many smaller Mig welders are capable of either gas or gasless use. You just need to change the wire to a different type and switch the polarity of the leads. With this facility you can hire a gas bottle for doing thin panel work and at other times run the machine gasless for rougher jobs on thicker material.

    Be careful not to be seduced by the maximum output of a welder. More important in panel repair is the lowest setting possible and the fine control capabilities.
    Great advice.

    I have a Lincoln SP 170T. I just shut my eyes and pay for the gas annually. It's sooo much easier to weld.

    Just be aware welding sheet metal with any welder needs a degree skill and you will have a steep learning curve. Surgical cleanliness of the steel and an earth clamp that is as close as possible to welding site helps a lot.

    The SP 170T has stepped current control and stepless wire feed control. Because the current is swithed in steps sometimes it hard to spot on with current.

    Ideally get a welder with with continuous current and speed controls. The later version of my welder has this. Also buy a machine that has back up and spare readily available.

    The best MIG I have used bar none is a Kempi, but no one can afford them.

    Stay away from the Bunning specials and the $200 ebay specials.

    BOC, Unimig and Lincoln are all good brands.

    If don't want to hire gas, Hare & Forbes sell disposable cylinders. But once you weld with gas you won't go back to gasless.

    I found initially that the manufacturers suggested setting seem to be too high in current and I kept blowing holes. Later on as skill increased I realised they were correct and needed to get correct penetration.
    Try to learn using the recommended current/wire feeds and not to throttle back.

    In spite of Peter T says I really like the Lincoln.

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    Gasless is rubbish once you have tried gas...

    Check availability of tips, get an industry style torch if you can...
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    A week ago I bought a 150 amp gasless from Repco for $500. Gasless is shite.

    Getting some gas for mine ASAP, Gasless is just like an arc welder except with less control, don't even bother.

    Repco sell little disposable gas bottles for $50, good if you don't do much welding and don't want to pay the HUGE rent on a real bottle.

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    Default Trade Tools Mig

    I watched a professional car restorer use his ?175? amp Trade Tools Direct mig on an old Mini, it went very well. He also rhapsodised on it's quality and ease of use and low price. And they occasionally have it on special.

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    Thanks frankthezapper, just had a look at that online & it looks good as it is gas/gasless , price is good at $400 so will check it out soon. cheers dave

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    Default MIG Welders

    Hi All

    My MIG is a WIA 150. Was not cheap but a good quality MIG with a good hand piece that is easy to use
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    Icon3 ...a comment from someone who knows zip about welding :>)

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsy1 View Post
    Thanks frankthezapper, just had a look at that online & it looks good as it is gas/gasless , price is good at $400 so will check it out soon. cheers dave
    Dave,
    I can speak as a complete novice, which in this instance may actually have some value i.e. my experience has nothing to make comparisons with.

    With the work I'm currently undertaking on my car I found too many occasions where I had to rely on someone else when it came to fixing rust. All too often I was let down, and this delayed my progress. Out of shear frustration and with no welding skills at all behind me I bought myself a gas/gasless mig. I did a whole lot of reading (highly recommend this site >>> http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/ <<< ), and after a few pratice welds got stuck into my car. My welds are not pretty, but after a bit of cleaning up they'll pass. I haven't done anything structural only light panel work, but now find the welds are improving, I better understand the whole process.

    I bought a NuWeld 150 from Glenfords Tools, with an Auto darkening mask (additional) throw the mask that comes with the welder in the bin, mig welders pliers (invaluable), and extra tips and wire, all up under $600.00. I should add, this is for use at home so I limited myself to something that would operate on a 10amp household circuit.

    So, with zero experience I'm getting a result, no doubt a more professional piece of equipment would yield better results. For my needs I'm more than happy to have my independence and be getting on with the job.

    Cheers
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    Thanks chris, good feedback, looks like that could be the way to go, cheers dave

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    Default What's the difference?

    Haven't got around to getting a mig yet 'cause finances have tightened up, however, I had a look around while we were at Primex a while ago. Spoke to the state manager? from Unimig & he told me they will be releasing a new Mig 180 around mig August @ around the $400-$450 inc mark. I'm assuming that Unimig is a good brand & the price seems very good. Question is, he said it's a "transformer" model as apposed to a "inverter".
    without being very technical ( which I'm not) whats the difference & would I notice the difference in using it , cheers Dave

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    what ever you do dont get gasless. theyre a total waste of time and money. for the same price you can find a decent condition second hand gas MIG on gumtree.
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    Electric welding machines of all types convert relatively a high voltage and low current supply into the releatively low voltage and high current that you need to weld with. This conversion used to be done with transformers, which for the high power welding machines require involves heavy steel frames and thick heavy windings. That is why welding machines used to be so heavy. More and more, newer machines use inverters to do the conversion electronically. Inverters are expensive, but light in weight. More importantly, they are smoother to use. I don't know what makes them smooth, maybe they produce a slightly different waveform that is better suited to welding, but they are certainly nicer to use. Having said that, a transformer machine at a good price may well do everything you require of it.

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    A lot of imprecise comments on this topic. Don't really want to add to the problem, but here are a couple of comments.

    Peter T is right, have a look at the lowest amp or arc force settings and the fine adjustments available. This will be much more important when working on thin metals like your panel work. No matter what sort of machine you buy, make sure it comes with a recognised mig gun - Tweco #4 is a good choice and every welding shop in the country has consumables for them - liners, diffusers, shrouds, tips, micro switches etc.

    Next trick is to make sure you have the right rollers for the wire you are using. Check it out.

    As far as gasless mig welding is concerned, it has it's places, but unless you are doing production based structural fabrication, you don't have it. LN25 flux cored wire is brilliant in drafty situations where you simply cannot maintain a gas shield.

    There are a lot of welding power sources available now that will run arc, mig and tig setups. Tig welding is an excellent option for light gauge metals (panel work) as the specific heat input is much lower than either GMAW (mig) or MMAW (arc). However, you really need to get some pointers before trying. Also, avoid thoriated electrodes, we will probably find in generations to come that the small amount of radioactivity in these has been a problem.

    So, in short, for successful mig welding, you need to match the wire, gas, rollers and welding gun to the job. Having done so, your job will be much simpler.

    Peter T is also right when he talks about the old Essab welders. When I worked in a privately owned engineering shop in Tasi, we used to actively look for those machines (450amp) at clearance sales. At peak I think we had 45 Esab welders in service and they were fantastically reliable machines. From memory WIA actually bought out the design, but not certain.

    It really is a case of horses for courses. If you don't think you are likely to do much mig welding, don't buy one. In stead buy yourself a 240V inverter arc welder (CIG caddy[blue], Fronius[red] etc.) that will run a high frequency tig torch, get some lessons and go that way.

    Cheers.
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    I would go for a name brand product with a service back up.

    BOC, Unimig, Lincoln etc etc.

    Avoid Chinese brands with no support or service back up.

    I purchased a Lincoln 170 amp unit which has been fantastic.

    Having stepless current and wire feed rates makes fine tuning welding much easier. Many cheaper units have a three position switch for current control.

    You should be able to purchase a good machine for $600 to $900 . A self darkening welding helmet makes life easier.

    I just wince and pay the cylinder rental each year - gas makes welding so much easier.

    Cleanliness is next to godliness in mig welding. Clean both surfaces until shiny (wire brush or angle grinder) and make sure the earth is close to the weld site - a magnetic earth clamps helps.''

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    I purchased a mini mig 120 - been great & i'm a complete novice.

    Gasless its been fine up to around 3-4mm steel (2 passes with v welds though) & a bit tricky.
    Sheetmetal - HAS to be gas, gasless just blew holes in everything, once i had gas it was fine.
    Around $700 i think mine was - from TotalTools, highly recommended

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    I have to go find this thread everytime someone mentions welders :p I should bookmark it! Take a read here about mig/tig welders and the cheapo chinese one... particually scroll down and read the posts by "inverter_weld".

    http://www.woodworkforums.com/f160/c...07/index2.html

    good stuff right ??

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    I'lol echo a few of the remarks made by most here - except for one.....

    I have a Unimig 170 amp unit. Step ups for current, continuous adjustment on the wire feed - as RobMac mentions, continuous would be great for the current.....

    Mine will take gas - came with the regs, etc - but 99% of the time I use it with flux-cored gasless wire & achieve perfectly acceptable results. Those that say gasless is a waste of time are not being fair or accurate - but to be fair, gasless got a bad reputation as many cheap welding units were sold under the pretence of being gasless (without a gas capability) - the problem was/is usually the quality of the machine, rather than the gasless wire.

    I do a fair bit of welding outdoors (or at least I used to), where gas is difficult, and I tend to use my welder sporadically - large amount of work over a week or two, then nothing for 4-5 months. Bottle rental would be a joke for me. Most of my work is 2-6mm plate, but I have successfully used it on 1mm sheet with few issues. I am a mostly self-taught welder - I've had a few tips over the years from good welders, but it's been mostly "practice makes perfect" as my teacher....

    Using gasless wire takes a bit of practice & creates a bit more splatter - but if you can make a good weld with a gasless mig, then you'd be great using gas......


    ***Opinions will no doubt differ - I can only relate my experience..... And nothing I've welded has fallen apart yet, to my knowledge

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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat200 View Post
    I'lol echo a few of the remarks made by most here - except for one.....

    I have a Unimig 170 amp unit. Step ups for current, continuous adjustment on the wire feed - as RobMac mentions, continuous would be great for the current.....

    Mine will take gas - came with the regs, etc - but 99% of the time I use it with flux-cored gasless wire & achieve perfectly acceptable results. Those that say gasless is a waste of time are not being fair or accurate - but to be fair, gasless got a bad reputation as many cheap welding units were sold under the pretence of being gasless (without a gas capability) - the problem was/is usually the quality of the machine, rather than the gasless wire.

    I do a fair bit of welding outdoors (or at least I used to), where gas is difficult, and I tend to use my welder sporadically - large amount of work over a week or two, then nothing for 4-5 months. Bottle rental would be a joke for me. Most of my work is 2-6mm plate, but I have successfully used it on 1mm sheet with few issues. I am a mostly self-taught welder - I've had a few tips over the years from good welders, but it's been mostly "practice makes perfect" as my teacher....

    Using gasless wire takes a bit of practice & creates a bit more splatter - but if you can make a good weld with a gasless mig, then you'd be great using gas......


    ***Opinions will no doubt differ - I can only relate my experience..... And nothing I've welded has fallen apart yet, to my knowledge
    Your using gasless wire on metal greater than 2mm ?? You should be fine then, I found it just "messy" on thicker metal. Just wait until you try welding car panels with it ...............................

    I'm pleased your using the gasless wire out in the open, the chemicals in that stuff are nasty. Don't ever read the warnings on it unless you want to scare yourself

    Try some car panels with both gas and gasless and let us know how it works out. I'm the biggest tight @rse you'll ever find ... and I"m paying $180 a year rental on a bottle I think that says a LOT

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