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O/T Wire Fed Welders-How Difficult to Use?

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by whiz white, Feb 23, 2008.

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  1. whiz white

    whiz white Strong Supporter of Trapshooting Banned

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    The MIG/TIG welders of today are a joy to use compared to the stick welders of the past.

    Like you, it was a requirement when I attended SDSM&T in the mechanical engineering discipline. Then we had to learn AC & DC stick welding, as well as gas.

    I bought myself a Xmas present last year with a new Lincoln MIG. I don't use it much, do doing a good job could be difficult. Fortunately, these welders make it almost impossible to do a bad job if you pay attention.

    Hope this helps.

    WW
     
  2. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    If you compare them to 7018 AC EZ rod or 7024, no, they're not as easy. If you compare them to other sticks, yeah, wire feed can be easier, if you adjust the controls properly.<br>
    <br>
    I would suggest you look at taking a general welding course at your local community college, like a night class. I took one as a refresher last summer. I've never TIG welded before, so i wanted to refresh my memory and try TIG as well. Wire welding should be part of any general welding class today.<br.
    <br>
    As for wire welding itself, the big isues are speed of the wire feed, and if you're using constant voltage or constant current, and their settings. You'll also learn the optimal distance the wire should be from the surface, your speed, the angle the gun should be at, etc. It's well worth the time and effort to take a class. It will prevent frustration and bad welds. You'll also get an idea of what you'll be wanting in way of a machine.
     
  3. shutnlar

    shutnlar TS Member

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    IMHO, having done both, the wire feed is easier to self learn and to use. The 110 volt machines will handle any home projects you'll probably do.
     
  4. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, I think you're better off with a 220v machine. The 110 will work for a lot of home hobbiests, but the 220v works better, has a better duty cycle, etc. After trying one of the new 110v machines at the same settings as a 220v, I could see a difference. The 220v machine "handled" better for welding.
     
  5. sako2115

    sako2115 TS Member

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    Heck, I found I could easily put metal together "kinda pretty like, not expert" with a 110 V Lincoln MIG "on the gas"...not "on the flux alone" but "on the gas" which was like cheating almost!!!
     
  6. bigbore613

    bigbore613 Active Member

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    Cheap migs are much like stick welders. I have had my Miller 110 for over 20 years . It is gas and the wire is only hot when you pull the trigger. I can teach a 10 year old kid or trappy to use it in an hour. Jeff
     
  7. J.Woolsey

    J.Woolsey Member

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    Steve, I will answer you this way, it takes a lot of practice either way you choose to weld. Mig welding is cleaner and faster. Mig welding machines hate dirty, rusty or painted surfaces. Proper prep is a must. A good one is more expensive, You will need to rent/lease an Argon bottle. I would say given what you state that you would be just as well off with a conventional AC/DC SMAW welder. If production was issue, a Mig would be in order.
     
  8. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Well, there is wire made that will burn through nasty surfaces, but the welds are downright fugly looking.
     
  9. Inspector 12

    Inspector 12 TS Member

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    Seems like many of the "inexspensive" 110 volt machines use flux core wire and not gas. They don't do so well in my experience. We have a Lindy 225 which at the time we bought it was the largest 220 Volt single phase machine you could buy. What a great machine. We have since picked up a 110 volt machine that uses gas (Lincoln I think?) and it works ok on thinner materials and is quicker when needing to make a quick spot weld or buzz lighter material together.

    Like others have stated, wire feed is much easier to self teach than stick, especially with the advance of training materials supplied by the equipment manufacturers.
     
  10. hoggy

    hoggy TS Member

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    I've done all kinds of welding in my 34 years as a shop sheet metal worker. Anything from 18ga through 1/2" plate. Personally I've liked the Miller machines better than Lincoln. Other people I've worked with liked Lincoln. It's a matter of personal preference. I presently just own a Miller econotig, Tig (heliarc) welder. It can stick weld too. But tig is much harder to learn than Mig(wire feed)and is mostly for lighter gage SS or aluminum. I have to agree with others that you are much better off with a 220 machine. Once you get the welder set up for the job you're doing wire welding is fairly easy. It's the getting the settings right that sometimes is difficult. Under the lid of all welding machines is a list of setting that you go by to get in the ballpark of the machine you're using. No 2 machines work identical. Also very important is to use the right gas with the right wire for the metal you're using. Someone said argon but that's not going to work very well if you're welding Galvanized or black iron. Learning which gas you'll need is easy to look up. We normally stocked TriMix, CO2 or Argon and sometimes an argon co2 mix, depending on the material. I own my own bottle but can only get it filled by the place I bought it from. Most only want to rent them. A bottle of gas lasts me a long time is why I bought it. Stick welding for home may be a bit more of a fire hazard. Hope this helps.
     
  11. ouch

    ouch Member

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    No offence but those 225AC Lincoln welders you find at Tractor Supply or like places are the hardest welder you could possibly try to learn on. The 7018AC rod Brian mentioned does make it easier.

    Buy a name brand machine, I've used Miller,Lincoln and Hobarts small machines they are good. I would trust Mikes opinnion on the HTP. Which ever you buy make sure it has a "Contactor" so the wire is only electrically charged when you pull the trigger.

    Also get one with a gas kit. You will use gas Argon/Co2 almost all the time. If 220 volts is availible where you want to weld get a 220 machine.

    One last suggestion, Get an "Electronic Quick Change" Variable shade welding helmet, A pair of thinner TIG welding gloves for your trigger finger and wear a regular thick glove on your other hand. With good equipment and some practice you can weld most anything around the house. Richard
     
  12. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    During my career, working with all kinds of welding machines, some stand out for various reasons. I've held certifications using all the mentioned brands of welding machines plus. Steel mills, bridges, powerhouses, nuclear power plants to mention a few. Lincoln and Miller are the most promoted and popular machines out there but my personal choice for my garage/shop is the Hobart Mig 225 wire machine. Hobart is the workhorse or the "Timex" for the industrial world of welding machines, it takes a licking and keeps on ticking! In metal laden dusty air or damp environments the Hobart requires less maintenance with less down time than any I've used. A very important consideration whether you have one man or 150 men welding.

    "One last suggestion, Get an "Electronic Quick Change" Variable shade welding helmet," Great suggestion Richard!

    Another great suggestion for a beginner learning to weld with a mig machine! Buy a machine a notch above your intended welding purposes, it will give you a much longer service life without trouble. Such a choice does the work with less effort and lasts longer as a result. Hap
     
  13. blizzard

    blizzard Active Member

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    Hey Hap- Just so you know, Miller bought out Hobart 5 or so years ago. Their machines are now essentially the same. Also, to the original poster of the thread, the Miller Welding website has great discussion boards for entry level stuff. Remember: Safety First.


    Blizz


    AWS CWI


    AAS Weld Tech.
     
  14. code5coupe

    code5coupe Member

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    I've been in the welding profession since 1964, and I've certified in just about all the disciplines, and in Stainless Steel, aluminum, nickels, titanium, etc. Here are my personal opinions;

    The 110V units weld thin guage steel just fine...up to about 1/8". Any thicker and you'll want the added amperage of a 220v unit.

    Get a name brand; Miller, Lincoln, Hobart. My personal preference is Miller, but this is based on using their industrial machines over the decades. I have a Millermatic 130XP at home and it is a dandy little unit.

    Get the kit to use gas. A bottle of Steelmix and solid wire make excellent welds IF YOU ARE WELDING INDOORS. If you are welding outdoors, you'll have to go with a spool of fluxcore wire. The slightest breeze will disrupt the weld if you are trying to use gas outside.
    Get an auto-darkening welder's hood. They are more $$, but are worth every penny.
    Take an adult welding class at the local college/high school. It will be worth it. Get an angle grinder and abrasive pads/stones. Use it to clean anything you are going to weld DOWN TO BARE STEEL.
    Lastly, budget $1000 for your equipment.
    Do NOT think you are going to weld aluminum for this amount of outlay...you aren't. For aluminum, you'll need lots of amps and a spool gun.

    Go for it!!
     
  15. blizzard

    blizzard Active Member

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    Bray, this one isn't for you, but for the other welders monitoring this thread, check out this one on e-bay. If this thing actually goes for a grand, it's a heck of a deal. URL above.
     
  16. skeeljc

    skeeljc Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    I own a Lincoln 110v 100 amp MIG using gas. Excellent machine for hobby work - anything up to 1/8 inch. It will make larger multi-pass welds if you pre-heat the parts. Don't be concerned with the low duty cycle. I used mine to make Skeels Wheels Carts on a production basis. The wire feed MIG's are easy to learn. I recommend taking a class or reading a good book. There is a degree of skill involved. My welds looked great when I was welding on a daily basis. Now they are o.k. when I weld maybe once a month.

    Jim Skeel
     
  17. over the hill

    over the hill Active Member

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    And to think some would find this thread non interesting?

    Where could you get this much advise from experts free?

    Viva TS.com

    Regards Gerald
     
  18. JerryP

    JerryP Active Member

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    I've had a Hobart Handler for about 15yrs. Never given me any trouble. Will weld up to quarter inch with one pass. No doubt 220v welders are better but 220v is worthless if you move it around. I use CO2 because it's all I need for the general welding I do. The other types of gas are expensive. The most important thing I've learned is to grind the parts to be welded shiny clean. Can't get a good weld otherwise. I think the mig is easier than a stick welder and I don't have all the slag to deal with. Another important thing to remember, which I always forget, take the wire out of the welder and store it somewhere dry if you don't use it much. It turns into a rusty mess.
     
  19. bigbore613

    bigbore613 Active Member

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    Do not want to hijack the thred, but my old auto dark helment took a dump on me and I need to repace it. Which do you guys use and like? Thanks, Jeff
     
  20. ouch

    ouch Member

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    Bigbore 613, I use a Jackson that was purchased many years ago. It has held up great, But I treat it like a prescision insturment stored in a steel box, I try not to grind alot while wearing it ect.

    Some day I'd like to replace it with a variable shade style. Sometimes I struggle to see in poor light conditions and other times need more shade. This condition seems to have carried over to my trap shooting also. I'm sure age has nothing to do with it. Richard
     
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