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Old 06-08-2015, 12:00 AM   #1
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Buying a welder... Need advice

So.... Yeah I need a better welder.
I currently I have a 70 amp ac **** box welder that cost me $60 from princess auto. Don't buy one.

I don't want to discuss brands, I already know what brand I want.

There is several different welders I'm considering. I have experience with stick welding.
The welders I am considering are all DC inverter type welders. I need to be able to weld 3/8 inch sorta easy

I will list the specs. Below

200 amp stick. 35% duty cycle at rated current. $400
140 amp stick. 35% duty cycle at rated current. $230
140 amp mig. 35% duty cycle at rated current. $400
200 amp mig. 35% duty cycle at rated current. $625
200 amp mig/tig, 175 stick. 35% duty cycle at rated current. $850

The last two probably won't happens.... But who knows.
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:43 AM   #2
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I can only hope whatever brand you are going for is a "good" one because the brand can and does make a very big difference.

My personal pick would be a gas shielded, wire fed mig of at least 140 amps (more if you can afford it). I routinely weld 3/8's + with mine in a single pass plus I can dial it back to handle very light gauge sheetmetal chores and everything else in between. One other mig benefit (to my mind) is that a mig nozzle is small and can be squeezed into spaces that are hard to access with anything else. And there are a LOT of hard to get to places on a bus. I spent part of yesterday doing just that and it easily saved me a couple of days worth of PITA disassembly time. I love my mig.

Just my Dois centavos worth.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
I can only hope whatever brand you are going for is a "good" one because the brand can and does make a very big difference.

My personal pick would be a gas shielded, wire fed mig of at least 140 amps (more if you can afford it). I routinely weld 3/8's + with mine in a single pass plus I can dial it back to handle very light gauge sheetmetal chores and everything else in between. One other mig benefit (to my mind) is that a mig nozzle is small and can be squeezed into spaces that are hard to access with anything else. And there are a LOT of hard to get to places on a bus. I spent part of yesterday doing just that and it easily saved me a couple of days worth of PITA disassembly time. I love my mig.

Just my Dois centavos worth.
This is good advice!
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
My personal pick would be a gas shielded, wire fed mig of at least 140 amps (more if you can afford it). I routinely weld 3/8's + with mine in a single pass plus I can dial it back to handle very light gauge sheetmetal chores and everything else in between.
What amperage is yours rated for?
All the 140 amp mig's I've seen say they are only good for 1/8 in. Single pass.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:52 PM   #5
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I welded 1/4" steel pretty easily with a free Lincoln Electric stick welder. Link: Lincoln Electric AC225S Arc Welder-K1170 - The Home Depot

I haven't used it extensively but it is real powerful. 220 volt unit.

If not that, then I reccommend anything by Hobart. I only have a 120 volt / 125 amp unit from them but I have run probably 30 lb of flux core through that, maxing the unit out on 1/8" steel, exceeding the duty cycles all the time and it still works great.
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Old 01-13-2016, 11:03 PM   #6
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Well, I bought another crappy buzz box welder after all.
$30 bought me a Chicago electric 120/240 volt 70/140 amp welder.
I have already torn into in and will be modifying it extensively for the sake of trying.
The cord that came with it was 16ga, it's now 12ga.
I will also be reworking the voltage selector switch so that I can run 140 amps at 120 volts. This is only possible as that primary winding is 4 tap.
I will post pictures I promise.
I can also improve the duty cycle by adding a fan as there is not one. I will also be adding a heat sink to the transformer. I will also try converting it to DC if I can find enough capacitors for free.

Thanks for the advice every one! In the end I was leaning towards a lincon migpak 140, but they go for $500 used here and that just was not happening any time soon. The welders I was talking about before were Everlast, I like them.

I think I will be happy (for now) with my new (to me) welder. When I have a real shop, I will buy a real welder.

I must also say in defence of my previous welder that it is actually preaty good for what it is. It loved I built and repaired many things with it, I just need to be able to weld 1/4 in.
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Old 01-14-2016, 01:12 AM   #7
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Being able to get by with what is available is an important survival/life skill.
Weld on!
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