so when my dad passed away i got his old ac/dc welder
it's a miller ac/dc thunderbird. the picture is not mine but looks just like it.
will this do everthing i need for fabbing bumpers and sliders and small mods and other basic jeep mods or
would buying a small MIG to do smaller stuff and use the stick for bigger stuff be a good idea.
i'd really like to get into welding big time and not sure if buying a MIG too would be the right idea.
I'm by no means a fabricator, but I would thing the stick would work for most everything, but might consider a small 110v mig for body work, like sheet metal. other than that you should be fine with the stick. Sheet metal is doable with stick, but for the cost of 110v mig setups that might be worth the investment if that is something you are going to be doing much of.
why don't we just say it like this. REAL welders use stick welders because you can do anything with them. they have a learning curve to be able to strike an arc and hold it without welding the rod to the work, and you have to be VERY good before the welds look good.
Mig is easy to set up and use but you need a big one to do heavy steel and they are expensive.
A small mig buzz box would be nice for sheetmetal, I've never had much luck with a stick doing exhaust work.
Ideally if you can afford a good mig, I'd go that way. IMHO
stick welders you have to break off the slag on the weld and clean it. THey splatter like crazy and so do migs using flux core wire (without shielding gas)
you can usually get stick welders CHEAP in pawn shops, craigs list etc. because people buy them because they are cheap but then learn they are kind of a pain to use
I can't believe how easy it is to cut metal with a plasma cutter. Simply amazing. I didn't believe the thing would work at all just looking at it. After I got it set up, I was amazed, just standing there with all the iron powder all over my feet like sawdust.
There are a lot of good deals on welders these days. Look on ebay or craigslist.
I bought the miller welder new for about $1k. I've used it quite a lot for the short time I've had it. I like the fact that it can be used on 120 or 220v and that it can weld up to 3/8" material. It's actually the same as the miller 212, which is the much larger shop welder. The difference is in the size of the spool and the spool mechanism as I understood it.
I bought the plasma cutter on ebay. This was a pretty big chance to take, but I bought it for nearly $1k under list. It was new in the box.
The Hobard Handler 140 welder looks fine. It only runs on 120v, so the electrical hookup might be easier. You may need to run a 30 amp circuit since it draws 20 amps at full load. This limits the metal you can weld to 1/4in steel. You can weld thicker material, but probably would have to do multiple passes.
The Miller 211 I have will do 3/8in steel if you use 220v. It also can run on 120v. It has the same exact size wire handler it seems. It's still selling at just under $1k I see. That's the price the factory introduced it with.
I don't know about Hobard welders in general, but it looks good.
so i've done a bit more research and it looks like the Miller 211 w/ Autoset (which i could care less about) is where i'm headed (thanks ldg). i figure i'll bite the bullet, save an extra couple weeks, and get the last welder i should ever need. now its time to make that green...
I use the Autoset all the time and find it pretty handy. What it does is adjust the wire speed to match the amp setting automatically. You measure the thickness of the material you're welding, then set a single adjustment according to a table on the inside of the door. The table lets you chose the material type, shielding gas or not, and so forth.
There are expendables in the torch to buy, so I picked up a couple when I bought the welder. Not too bad. Then there's a wheel in the wire handler for different wire thicknesses. I have one additional wheel now for different wire sizes (each wheel handles 2 wire sizes, chosen by flipping it over in the install).
I've tried flux core wire and prefer solid wire with a mixed shielding gas. The welds are nicer. You'll have to buy a gas bottle. These can be found on Craigslist sometimes.
I installed a 50A, 220V circuit in the garage right by the door just for the welder. I happened to have already pulled a subpanel years ago, so I took over a dual breaker that used to be used by a hot tub I no longer have. The welder comes with a 50A connector, so that was a match. The welder only uses 25A at 220v.
I guess my only disappointment was that it wouldn't run off my 10Kw generator. The Miller rep said it may have been a phase / frequency issue. At any rate, I had to run a long cable to where I was welding from the garage. 125ft of #6 3 wire. Talk about a heavy extension cord. I think I paid around $300 for the wire, then still had to buy the ends. Once I did that, the welder was very happy. I still haven't figured out why it didn't like the generator. I checked the voltage and that was fine. The generator was running continuously rather than dropping to idle (a mode for power tools and so forth). I dunno.
Well, First I would like to say Hi to all. This is my first post for this site.
I too am new to welding (1 yr) and self trained (if you want to call it that). I sit in an office 9 hours / day but found help at the local machine shop. I take them my stuff to critic "and they do" as I sit and eat my sandwich lunch and drink a pop in my sweater vest in the shop. I started off with a 110v MIG and found the duty cycle was so short on 1/4 inch stock that I was very frustrated. I quickly moved on to a 220v. I shopped the local papers and craigslist to find mine. Found a guy that was closing shop and made a good deal for a Plasma cutter, MIG, drill press and torch set $1000. Added a 1934 Southbend lathe this past fall.
Here is what I have learned so far:
Too small and small selection of amps makes the 110v almost worthless.
Welding outside when there is more than a breeze causes the shield gas to float away and the weld is bad.
TIG is nice but again, think about what you are welding. 110v is good for sheet metal but the duty cycle on thick will drive you crazy. Go 220v
If you are going to weld in a breeze use flux wire on your MIG. More to clean but you will get a good weld.
If you buy a Plasma cutter. Try to find one that is not a contact strike. This is where you have to depress the drag cup on the metal to start the arc. I just added a $300 head to convert mine to self arc. Much better.
Practice and find someone to laugh at your work and give constructive advise. You will blow holes in things, drip hot lava down your leg and have welds with whiskers. But you will have to grind, heal and keep trying. If you do plan on turning your welds. You will see how much stronger a good weld is over a poor weld.
I have spent time on Super Duty sites, Chevy sites and TDI sites. THIS ONE has more useful information than the others combined! Now with that out of the way..
I am planning,,,and planning...for my project build. Like others I am restricted on voltage. I own my condo but do not wish to have 220V ran into the garage though it is in my place. So 110V it is for me. I spent some time on the big 3 sites. Here is what I came up with as possibilites:
SP-140T Wire Feeder 18ga to 5/16" (MP)
Power Mig 140C 18ga to 5/16" (MP)
Millermatic Passport Plus MIG/Wire kicks *** cause its small 24ga to 3/16"
Millermatic 140 auto-set 24ga to 3/16"
Millermatic 211 auto-set w/ MVP 24ga to 3/16" & 18ga to 3/8" aluminum
Handler 140 24ga to 1/4" limited on aluminum
They are all within $1,000 of each other. I want to do exhaust, frame, sheet metal and such. I also want to do aluminum such as diamond plate and angle. I have seen many of these mentioned in this thread. I suppose they all have their pros and cons. Space is a big concern of mine as I have a 1-car garage.
I am also thinking of getting a small stick welder for thicker metals. Neither site for these below say how thick they can go. Do any of you know?
I asked some experienced welders in my area some questions. They said to scrap the small stick welder idea...not needed for what I am going to do at this time. Then I compared specs and price to narrow the field down. In the order I think they are, number one to three:
1. Lincoln Power Mig 140C
2. Miller Millermatic 140 Auto-Set
3. Hobart Handler 140
I went down the same road. Not enough AMPS or Volts for a 220 and not enough room for everything. So, I worked around them. I bought a tool cart from Harbor Freight and stacked my Plasma cutter on bottom and welder on top. There was plenty of room for cables, tank and tools and it fits easy into the corner. As for power. I bought a 5K generator with a 30 Amp twist plug. I just cranked it up when I needed 220.
As far as the choices you listed. They are all good. If you plan to do aluminum you will want a spool gun. Around 600 and a bottle of Argon. If you have the means to do so. I would get 2 welders. Dedicate 1 to steel the other for aluminum. Switching back and forth can be a bother.