91 posts / 0 new
Last post
Richard Cooper
Richard Cooper's picture
mig welders

I am looking at mig welders MILLER, HOBART, LINCOLN I have not used one much, I usually used a stick but would like to have a mig around 180 amp. I am in need of some feedback on different migs to decide which brand to go with. Thanks for your input

Wayne Keith
Wayne Keith's picture
Hi Richard,

Hi Richard,

I am not familiar with many brands of welders, I know the Lincoln I use works just fine. It turns down real low to weld thin metal. It's an SP-175 Plus. It's not the cheapest welder out there, but I don't think you should try to save a few bucks on a welder, when you will most likely be building several gasifiers and other projects.

Richard Cooper
Richard Cooper's picture
Do you run your welder as mig

Do you run your welder as mig with gas or use flux wire

Chris Saenz
Chris Saenz's picture
Wayne runs 75/25 argon/Co2

Wayne runs 75/25 argon/Co2 gas, it makes a much better weld than the fluxcore. Only issue is wind, you need a calm day or shelter from breezes.

Chris Franklin
Chris Franklin's picture
I use a 75/25 mix on my

I use a 75/25 mix on my Miller mig welder and 100% argon on my Tig. You can always set up simple temporary wind screens with tarps or pieces of plywood. Most of the large things I weld has to be done outside my barn and so I don't have any sheltered structure. I can usually come up with a way to drape tarps around and knock off all the wind (not too close or sparks will burn thru) . It's best if you weight the bottom of the tarp with a piece of pipe or 2x4 so that it doesn't blow.

Martin Payne
Martin Payne's picture
A lot of folks (including me)

A lot of folks (including me) think "blue" (Miller) rules in MIG and TIG, "red" (Lincoln) in stick. After fooling with a cheapo MIG years ago, I now have a Miller 110V that I can weld 1/4" with, and a Miller "suitcase welder" that can use flux core or MIG and which is powered by a DC welding generator.

But I am sure Lincoln makes a wonderful MIG, too. It's just that the two companies seem to have focused more on one or the other, at some point back. Go in most fab shops and you see Miller MIG and TIG machines. Look on the back of most any weldor's truck and you see the venerable Lincoln stick machine with the Continental engine.

Like Wayne sez, whatever you do, don't go cheap on a welder - look for used or save until you can afford a new one. Someone told me one time that you never regret getting the finest in tools. I try to stay out of HF, even though some of those tools do hold up, now. And I want to cry when I find the Craftsman line at Sears being encroached on by a cheaper, import brand. I think we need to make the highest quality tools, right here in the USA - it's a strategic think. Enough soapbox!

Wait, one more thing. I have seen pics/heard of folks welding in T-shirts, no gloves, etc. It is best not to do that - in addition to getting thermal burns (which take your mind off the bead, among other things), the welding arc will eventually give you skin cancer, just like other UV. You need to cover up, fully. Best to wear a 100% cotton, longsleeved shirt, even when it is hot. And learn to wear gloves on both hands - I use one glove when blacksmithing or oxyacetylene cutting, but I glove up fully when arc welding.

Richard Cooper
Richard Cooper's picture
Thanks for your input, Been

Thanks for your input, Been looking around and reading pros and cons it is down to millermatic 211 which is dual power 110 / 220 or the Lincoln 180 Dual which is also 110/220 you can just switch the plug and plug into the correct power outlet. Probably can do most of the gasifier work on 110 power. and I can run either one off a inverter in my dually if I need to use it out on the road. My boys both say go BLUE and are both certified welders.

Gary Graham
Gary Graham's picture
Sounds good... since you are

Sounds good... since you are here in the USA, get something that is made here. I just found out the Daytona Mig Co (I thought was from Daytona, Fl) is from Italy and the supplier is now out of business. Good thing I only need a gas regulator for now.... I always wondered why the Lincoln MIG tips only went in about 1-1/4 turn. It must be metric. LAL (live and learn)

Steve Unruh
Steve Unruh's picture
For our International friends

For our International friends ESAB brand is the way to go for quality. Google search this and read.

Steve Unruh

Martin Payne
Martin Payne's picture
Daytona was my first.

Daytona was my first.
By coincidence, my first MIG was a Daytona! What was that, 20 years ago now? I think it was a lot better than the HF's of today - there were some neat things about it, and it was affordable. But the torch and internals were built like a toy, not a tool, and before long it gave me problems. I sold it at a garage sale. It was a pretty red, though - Italian thing I guess. I've been real happy with the 110V Miller, I can weld 1/4" material in one pass, perhaps not code, but good enough for my purposes. It's great for square tubing fabrication, 14 gauge or 11 gauge.

Chris Saenz
Chris Saenz's picture
Hey, don't knock the HF

Hey, don't knock the HF welder until you've tried it. I have one and like it. It's a piece of junk sure, but for less demanding welding it would be just the ticket. Buy every budding welder one for Christmas, to get them started. Don't build a gasifier with it though, you will be fighting pinholes and using thicker materials just for the welder's sake.

Martin Payne
Martin Payne's picture
Sorry Chris, I respect that.

Sorry Chris, I respect that.
Nothing worse than getting a new toy and someone else says its no good. Keep up the good work.

Chris Saenz
Chris Saenz's picture
Don't apologize! I know full

Don't apologize! I know full well it's a piece of Chinese junk. But it has it's place, namely in the hands of a novice welder. The alternative is often to learn on an arc welder (I did that too).

Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom's picture
I'm 67 years old. I have been

I'm 67 years old. I have been welding for 50 years. Get a good gas shield unit, When they are set right they are
as easy to use as a hotmelt glue gun.

Wayne Keith
Wayne Keith's picture
Hey Dave,

Hey Dave,

The first few gasifiers I built was with a stick welder .

I almost lost my religion welding these drums and ammo cans!!!

Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom's picture
Torch welding works well but

Torch welding works well but it sure gets hot after awhile.

Gary Graham
Gary Graham's picture
Down time

My system is offline for a couple of weeks because I had to get a new regulator. Over the summer, i went to flux cored wire and left the regulator laying around where bugs could get to it and some little critter brought in mud and made a nest in the tiny passages. I am going to try a combination pressure/flowmeter off ebay.

Don Mannes
Don Mannes's picture
My Matco has stitch control

My Matco has stitch control for thin metal where I can variably set the weld time and stitch off time. This does a nice job of welding thin metal without burn through by letting it cool off between pulses.
Don M

Lester Freeman
Lester Freeman's picture
I have 4 welders in my shop.

I have 4 welders in my shop. 1 Lincoln 225 AC/DC 2 Miller Bobcat portables and my favorite is a Miller 211 Mig that is 11o volt or 220 volt that is capable of 20 ga. to 1/8 inch. The 211 is easy to use, just dial in the gauge of steel you are welding. I use it to teach welding to the new guys.

Gary Graham
Gary Graham's picture
Need some help

Don, that Matco with the stitch timer looks good.

I got my new regulator/flowmeter today and tried doing some gas welding on some really thin stuff (metal banding material). This stuff looked like swiss cheese when I attempted to weld using flux cored wire, so the gas certainly does make a difference.... However, I am still having an issue with either the rust or my wire speed or gas flow... I have to really brush the rust off to get a weld that don't have burn holes. I would like to weld through the rust to save time, but if the metal is rusty, it just don't come out as smooth. Is rust removal always required as standard prep ? It don't seem to be as big a problem on thicker metal, but is much worse welding thick to thin if rusty.

Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom's picture
Clean the metal. You will

Clean the metal. You will save time in the long run. I use a sanding wheel on a 4" angle grinder.

John Cleveland
John Cleveland's picture
I spent a good chunk of

I spent a good chunk of yesterday welding cooling fins to the core. What a boring and seemingly endless job! I started out with my flux core mig. This did okay but was slow and the welds just didn't impress me. So I got out the stick welder. I had good success with 6013 rod at about 80 amps. As long as I kept moving it didn't burn through the fins. It was faster and prettier than the flux core mig. I am convinced a mig without shielding gas is one step away from worthless!

Lou Wright
Not being a welder, I don't

Not being a welder, I don't know anything about various rigs. While looking for a welder within my financial reach, I ran across a fairly new Lincoln SP100 mig welder. Would this be adequate for building gasifiers?

Eric Stegmann
Eric Stegmann's picture
cleaning a weld area is 80%

cleaning a weld area is 80% of the time involved in welding, clean metal means less amps to punch through the rust and therefore less heat is transferred to the base metal

john i wonder if there is a flux core equivalent to 6013.
a shallow penetrating flux core wire would be nice especially for me i don't have a barn or a garage.

Eric Stegmann
Eric Stegmann's picture
john not shure what your

john not shure what your using now but lincon has a innershield NR 131 and 152 for thin metal the 152 is an all position wire
might be worth a try

John Cleveland
John Cleveland's picture
Hi Eric. Since my last post

Hi Eric. Since my last post on this topic I bought a new MIG welder. I got a Northern Industrial (from northerntool.com) MIG 135. It is set up with 4 heat settings, variable speed, and shielding gas. It was $340 plus freight. I really like it . No problems welding thin materials so far. Much better machine than the Harbor Freight flux core mig with 2 heat settings I was using before! Best regards.

Eric Stegmann
Eric Stegmann's picture
I just bought an extension

I just bought an extension for my welder 75ft of so that hurts

Mike Carey
I live in an area that

I live in an area that recieves a tremendous amount of lightning strikes. My neighbor has replaced 2 well pumps in the last 3 weeks. Most mig welders amd plazma cutters have circuit boards in them. I try to remember to unplug my machines as soon as I am done for the day. Hopefully that will save a few $$$ some day.

Michael Edens
Hi all, My uncle got me into

Hi all, My uncle got me into hf, a few years ago, i have some wood working tools from them Yesterday my 12.5 surface planer broke a main drive belt. I though no problem I'll just go get another one. This mechine is only a couple years old.so when I called them for replacement parts the co. caid that they no longer make this planer, and they have no parts. I though what the h. Now I know some of their junk is sort of ok????, but i would not buy any longer anything made in CHINA, all their stuff is just junk.bad thing is that they still sell this same planer, in my store. small things are ok but the biger things, I don't trust them. you can be your own judge but when it breaks will you be able to get parts next day or even next month. answer is probly not. I am going to buy a mig or stick welder but I will stick with Red or blue from USA. I'm michael with a sour taste for hf....

Matt Ryder
Matt Ryder's picture
Well here is my 2 cents on

Well here is my 2 cents on the welder. Since I do this for a living now dont buy a cheap welder!!! I have one it is a Campbell Housefeld and when I have the cash to buy the Miller I want. Im going to body slam that POS on the floor. LOL.

But it is all I have right now. I wish I would have waited and saved just a few 100 bucks and got the Miller to begine with. I think the Hobarts and the Millers at the consumer grades are the same thing they just have different paint jobs. But when I buy mine it will be blue.

Not to defend HF but I have bought some stuff there that has held up. My little horizontal band saw is one of the best investmants I ve made. But sometimes you do get what you pay for.

Matt Ryder
Matt Ryder's picture
BTW dont forget to flip the

BTW dont forget to flip the polarity if you run with gas.

Matt Ryder
Matt Ryder's picture
We just about have the

We just about have the capital to get a new welder. So today when I was at our weld supplier I priced out the MIller 180 220 v and the Hobart equivalent. They look identical other than there piant sceam. However, they do differe in that the Miller has a fine adjustment on the heat. Rather than a mutli position switch it has a riostat type switch. It is a 100 bucks more but Im going to get it rather saying later "man I wish I would have bought the MIller".

Peter Coronis
Peter Coronis's picture
Mat, Over the years i have

Mat, Over the years i have owned almost all the different brands. I personally like ESAB equipment & wire. If you would like to know more, let me know.

Peter

Chris Franklin
Chris Franklin's picture
I went ahead and purchased

I went ahead and purchased the .023 roller kit and wire for my Miller 210 mig this week. I've welded all of my gasifier thin metal to date with the .035 and have had very good results but decided to make it easier on myself and get the .023 set up. I'll be using it on the heat transfer box, filter box, condensate tanks etc. Look forward to seeing how it performs.

Wayne Baker
Wayne Baker's picture
I have used both Miller and

I have used both Miller and Lincoln; IMO I thought that the Miller ruled over Lincoln. I am saving up to buy a Miller and will be getting rid of my Lincoln.

One of the important things is too make sure you get a 220v. The 110v seem weak, fine for auto body but not heavier metals.

Another is Duty Cycle - get one with a higher Duty Cycle.

My Lincoln only has a 20% Duty Cycle and that means for every 10 minute window - you have 2 minutes of welding and 8 minutes waiting for the welder too cool down.
I am always waiting on my Lincoln too cool so I can get a good weld going again. It stinks when you are on a good run and the weld craps out. :(

I have used TIG and TIG has become my favorite form of welding; very easy with great weld qualities. I am also saving up for a good TIG unit.

Kyle Townsend
I have run up on a miller 211

I have run up on a miller 211 auto-set at a fairly decent price. Do you guys think this machine would be adequate to the job?

Also, it comes setup for 0.30. However, the literature says it has some kind of dual feed capability and that the gun will also work with 0.23.

What will I need to add to run 0.23? Just some tips and wire?

Since I am new to welding, I am kind of flying blind on this one. I see people talk variously about 0.23 and 0.24 wire and tips. Are these actually the same thing, or not?

Is it safe to assume that I will want to run this with 100% CO2 gas to build the gassifier out of steel?

John Cleveland
John Cleveland's picture
Hi Kyle. I am no expert but

Hi Kyle. I am no expert but can probably answer your questions. To run 0.23 wire you will need to unscrew the tip currently installed and screw in one for that wire size. You will also need to reverse the wire feed roller inside the access panel on your welder. This roller has two grooves...one for 0.30 size wire and larger and another groove for the thinner wire. This is very easy to do. Once those two things are done you should be good to go. As for gas, you will want 75% argon and 25% CO2. Hope this helps.

Kyle Townsend
Thanks John.

Thanks John.

Carl Zinn
Carl Zinn's picture
And I think the polarity is

And I think the polarity is reversed for gas vs. flux core. Right?

John Cleveland
John Cleveland's picture
Good point Carl. Yes the

Good point Carl. Yes the polarity is reversed when running flux core, although I forgot to do that one time and really could not tell a difference myself. I don't run flux core much....only on the rare occasion I run out of gas early on a Saturday morning and don't want to wait for Monday to roll around to resume work!

Kyle Townsend
Anybody know about how much

Anybody know about how much wire of each type you can expect to use while building a "stock" Keith gasifier?

Chris Saenz
Chris Saenz's picture
Hi Kyle,

Hi Kyle,

I was with Wayne while we built mine. He didn't have to weld all of it but he came close. I don't think he changed the spool of wire. He might've while I wasn't looking. Now we did burn through some argon, practically a whole 4ft tall bottle. Try to get a shielded area to work in so you can conserve that stuff. Wayne works in an open shed where it all blows away pretty quick. Mostly it works fine, but on windy days it can be a challenge.

In comparison I burned up over 12 pounds of flux core wire on my first gasifier, and that was not as involved as the Keith style. I think you burn more pounds of the flux core because it's not solid metal. Plus my cheapo welder wasted a lot of it as spatter.

Richard Cooper
Richard Cooper's picture
Finally got my welder, it is

Finally got my welder, it is a Lincoln 180 Dual so it will run on either 110 or 220 just change the cord to the one you want. It is not the cheapest one but, I do like that I can run it off a generator or power inverter in my truck. Lincoln has a rebate going on now for some modles, I am fighting with them about my rebate because they say I had to buy it from a retail store not online. The rebate flyer does not say you can not buy one online, it says you have to buy it from a Lincoln dealer which I did. Overall though it is a great welder, very satasified with it. My Lotos 5000d plasma cutter on the bottom of the welder cart great machine for the money.

Darren Curtis
What is a good size for the

What is a good size for the argon bottle? I am thinking about buying one from tractor supply and wanted to get the right size. I will be building a WK gasifier but other than that, just small stuff.

Chris Saenz
Chris Saenz's picture
Wayne has a small one that he

Wayne has a small one that he keeps on the welding cart and a large one that he takes to the supplier to get refilled. He can fill the little one at home using the big one. That way he gets the best of both worlds, fewer trips to the store and a nice portable bottle. If you live close to your supplier then just get the little one, but be prepared to refill it often.

John Cleveland
John Cleveland's picture
I have the little fire

I have the little fire hydrant sized one and get about 2 hrs welding between refills. Costs me 30 dollars to refill. Wish I had got a bigger one to begin with.

Darren Curtis
Thanks, Chris and John.

Thanks, Chris and John. sounds like I need one of the larger ones if I want to weld for a while without gong to the store.

Kyle Townsend
Another welding virgin

Another welding virgin question

Trying to get my welding setup in place, and am brand new to all of this. I understand I will be running 75% Argon 25% CO2 through the MIG welder. Do I use 2 separate tanks and some kind of mixing regulator, or does the gas supplier put the premixed gas into a single bottle? If it is already premixed what "color" or bottle do I need (I notice they come in versions for argon and for CO2, and there appears to be some kind of color code).

Sorry for the super-newbie questions.

Wayne Baker
Wayne Baker's picture
Gas is mixed in a single

Gas is mixed in a single bottle. Not sure if they are color coded; my supplier uses brown for the mixes....75-25 or even 100 argon. There will be a sticker on the bottle telling what % or mix is in it.

Kyle Townsend
OK. Thanks. How big of a

OK. Thanks. How big of a bottle do I need in order to avoid frequent trips to the supplier (which is some distance away) ?

Oh, never mind. I see some discussion about that, above. Sounds like the ideal setup would be a large one and a small one.

What kind of connecting setup do you need to fill the small one from the large one?

Wayne Keith
Wayne Keith's picture
Hello Kyle,

Hello Kyle,

Below are my big bottle, little bottle and the connection.

I usually refill the little one 10-15 times before I refill the big one.

Pages