Originally Posted by Jman6631
thjakits - The "sound" of those test welds was not clean, it was stuttering spattering and not smooth, but once I slowed down and was starting to control the bubble a little better it seemed to smooth out. What I have no idea of is the penetration. I cut them open and just couldn't tell.
....what un-initiated weldor (?) does not know about is the sound of MIG, when it works as INTENDED!! It is NOT a continuous arc like with stick or TIG, but a serious of starts and interruptions when the wire melts and "drops" into the weld. IF you have a continuous contact it will also melt the wire but things are going way too fast and you will not get the penetration you need - this sounds smoother as there is no cut and "re-strike" - which sounds like bacon!
Mind you - this is with the regualr gas ones!! With a core-wire I think all bets are off!
Your concern about price - I think, you just should bite the lime and buy yourself a used, but good Gas-MIG. Gas is the least of the expenses!!
CORE-wire is a LOT more expensive than regular Mig-wire. Talk to a welding shop, maybe they have a old medium rig for sale (even ask your Lincoln or Miller distributor - though they will not have used ones - maybe some industrial size ones
!! BUT they have a long client list and might be able ot guide to a shop that recently upgraded equipment. I am sure they would tell you as you are potential future customer!
As mentioned before - stick works, but for THIN stuff, stick is no less expensive than a MIG and a lot harder to master!!
Nowadays Stick seems to have dropped and gained a "Cheap Spark Box" reputation - there is still a whole industry very dependent on stick!! You get all kinds of sticks and you can run all kinds of currents, BUT that requires quite a sophisticated "spark box" = NOT cheap!
IN ANY CASE - IF you insist on a stick, then get yourself an INVERTER_STICK-BOX!! They use WAY less electricity, are light (you can carry them to the work up a ladder if you need), and can be converted (..usually) to TIG!! The ONLY "detriment" you won't be able to TIG Aluminium with them, as you need AC for that adn the Inverters usually run DC.....but I bet they help a LOT welding thin stuff!! THey also do 110/220 V..... The Miller one I have is the Maxstar 150 STL - check it out on their website!!
Look at it from this angle; You CAN try to muck around with the cheap stuff, but to 99% probability you will waste TIME (...and TIME is money!!), by having to grind out your weld and repeat, waste MONEY on buying new wire and most likely repeat until find out your box is no good and buy the GOOD one anyway!!
So get the good one right away, get NEW wire or sticks and practice until your welds are clean all the way through!! The parts you have you can cut into a million pieces and weld them back up!
Once you get a decent bead with 6011 or 6013 electrodes (sticks) - consider to use 7018 on your bus - they are about twice the price with limited shelf-life, but weld extremely well, there is not enough weld on the whole bus to drive you into poverty with the 7018s....
But - look around, you might get lucky and get a decent used "above basic" Miller or Lincoln Gas-Mig for the price of a new inverter....