Yeti

School me on welders

Jim Anderson

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Jun 14, 2018
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227
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Meeker, CO
My son did some welding in his shop class this year, and now he wants a welder. I wouldn’t mind having one either, ha!

It would just be for light vehicle / garage / home projects.

Would a 110, gassless, wire-fed system work for us? What can this setup not do? What’s a typical price point? Can these setups incorporate a plasma cutter?

Thanks in advance,
Jim
 

Sytes

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Miller, Lincoln, or Hobart. 110 will work for hobby fun and basic welding. Thickness is limited and wire feed w/o a gas shielding brings more contaminates... however, for fun welding, mig wire feeds are a fun entry. Picture a glue gun - in this setting your pushing (or pulling) a puddle of metal. I dig the heck out of it!

Buzzboxes (same order of preference) are another option for 110. AKA Stick welding - Fun hobby with slag that is brushed off. The slag is a sort of shielding while the stick is running its bead.

Both are in the same price - general area for starters. I think Buzzboxes are more capable unless you hook up a gas shielding to the wire welder - If that route wire is the better route (IMO - of course)

If you can bump it up a bit with argon mix gas shielding for your wire welder selection - that would greatly improve the weld integrity. If you bump it up to 220 - w/ gas, you're ready to rock and roll with just about anything the welder is capable of throwing down.

Welding is fun as hell!

Edit:

Sorry got carried away and skipped your Q's: YMMV and this is simply IMO:

Anything going on a highway or involved with others around - I would not go with a 110 gas-less welder. If it's to build a go-kart for personal fudding around, it's still borderline on it's use. Others may disagree. It basically boils down to the integrity of the weld. If the integrity is compromised, the more likely the weld is to fail. Shielding of the weld is paramount for anything involving personal security/safety.

Thickness of metal for a 110 - maybe 1/8 - 3/16". I wouldn't trust it beyond.

Plasma is a separate component unless going higher dollar then options for other attachments are present, such as plasma. Though in most cases, (IMO) plasma's are their own unit.

Get into 220, and aluminum wheel guns are a boom! fun lightweight fabrication.
 
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220yotekiller

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Oct 15, 2017
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I learned on a 100 buzz box and they are ok for learning on, but they are smoky and sputtery. As he/you get better look into a Miller 250 series, very capable machines, I run one all day at work.
 

rjthehunter

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What's your budget for the welder? We might all be more helpful that way! Like 220 said, Miller 250 series if you're serious about it, but those are expensive.
 

Mthuntr

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In the Sagebrush of SW Montana
110 gasless for the basics will work but have major limitations on the thickness of metal (like less than 1/4" stuff) and how long you can use them before they get hot. For hobby work sure but anything serious I'd say nope and at that point you're probably wanting a professional anyway. The brands list by Sytes are going to be the better consumer brands and are going to cost around $500 for a basic Lincoln model. That said there are guys that are doing a lot with Harbor Freight Easy Flux welders (again limitations but for $200 it may be an option if he's just curious).

I learned on a Montgomery Ward stick welder which my dad just gave to me but it's a 220v. Personally I'd prefer a stick welder over a cheap gasless wire welder for the reasons mentioned about shielded welding.

Plasma cutters require a constant air supply and are a different machine. You're looking at $1000 for a basic Hobart.
 

BuckRut

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110-volt flux core welding would be almost worthless for anything. Even if the welder has the output capability you really can't even weld 1/8" plate due to input voltage limitations. Bare minimum settings for 1/8" would be 140 amps at 14 volts which is 1,960 Watts. With your 110 volt input that leaves you needing almost 18 amps. It is very unlikely that you have any more than 20 amps to any line in your garage.
 

geetar

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Jan 28, 2019
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North Carolina
Buy sooner than later. They are going up all the time. I priced a Lincoln the other day for our automotive shop and the guy at AirGas store told me the price would be based on what he had to pay when he placed the order. They were going up at a rate that was surprising him.
 

LuketheDog

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Nov 29, 2015
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Sedalia, Colorado
Hey thanks guys. This is good 👍 info. I appreciate it.

Welding is a blast! Get a quality machine in the 125-140 class for general small-time use, wire feed is fine, gas is nice. Just go slow and practice technique, good technique is the main difference between a pro and amateur. I did this staircase last winter with my 125 Hobart, fabricated everything myself from the stringers to the railings, it's mostly 3/16" and 1/4" material and I definitely would not do any thicker with that machine.

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stevejfarms

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SE Mo
Look at Harbor Freight. They have tons of options in all price points.
I replaced a 50 yr old Lincoln with a harbor freight 250 amp AC/DC and couldn’t be happier. Doubt it lasts 50 years, but I can buy three of them for what a new Miller costs. Two years in, so far so good.
 

Dakotakid

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Dec 13, 2014
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Following.
I have been stalking a 210 sized but it is likely overkill for my contraption building.
 

Addicting

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SW Michigan
If you can bump it up a bit with argon mix gas shielding for your wire welder selection - that would greatly improve the weld integrity. If you bump it up to 220 - w/ gas, you're ready to rock and roll with just about anything the welder is capable of throwing down.
Anything going on a highway or involved with others around - I would not go with a 110 gas-less welder. If it's to build a go-kart for personal fudding around, it's still borderline on it's use. Others may disagree. It basically boils down to the integrity of the weld. If the integrity is compromised, the more likely the weld is to fail. Shielding of the weld is paramount for anything involving personal security/safety.

This pretty much nails it on the head. I have a Lincoln 220v with Argon gas and wouldn’t trade it for anything. The buzz box got sold at auction.
 

schmalts

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As others have said, the gasless flux core 110V are a waste of money. Hate to say it but stick with stick... pun intended unless you can afford a bottle, and I would unless you want to stick with stick. I would look at the newer inverter migs that can also stick weld. I actually have 2 different ones, I keep one at my shop by my hunting land and the other in garage at home. Both are 220V and both can mig and stick and also mig aluminum (needs yet another pure argon bottle) and I have tested both doing the aluminum function without a spool gun. You can get into one cheaper than you think and get an off brand welder for under 500.00 that works like a 2000.00 welder did 15 years ago. With the inverter system they are lighter and more portable and with the inverter they stick weld like a dream. Don't get suckered into one that does DC/ lift TIG as well, because you just will not use that function. When it comes to TIG you really want AC/DC so you can do both steel and Aluminum. So again, I would get one that does MIG and stick. One that is a great budget welder that I tried was "yes welder" brand. Look at ebay and Facebook. But I spent a little more and got something a little better that had pulse mig and could do true spray arc. I am not sure what a bottle goes for these days but they have went up a lot in the last few years. I own my Co2 mix bottle but lease my Argon.
 
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J

Jason73

Guest
Built a fish house frame with my flux core 110. Yeah it's messy but if you aren't building a motorcycle frame where you need pretty it works just fine. The little I use it, it works perfect for me. Boat trailer cracked and there was the little 110 to get us back on the water. As stated you are limited on thickness of material but how often do you really need to weld more than 3/16"? Have fun!!
 

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