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Unread 06-05-2015, 08:47 PM   #1
RDaniel2405
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What limitations does a 115v, 120v MIG welder have?

I was just curious to see what people think of 115v/120v MIG welders. I have been looking online at welders (reviews and videos) for the last few weeks and bought one online today. Actually spending 4+ hours today watching welding videos online. I use to weld quite often in the past on things with a bigger MIG welders but have never personally owned or used a small MIG welder.

I guess what what I'm looking for is some input from people who have more time with smaller MIG welders. I bought a welder in preparation for a axle swap, because I wold like to do most if not all the work. Like welding brackets on an axle, outboarding rear shocks, and rear spring relocation. And doing some customization to utility trailer. Basically did I buy a welder that is not powerful enough?

Did i pull the trigger too soon and get over my head?

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Unread 06-07-2015, 04:18 PM   #2
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Some are better than others: you can probably do what you want with that, but the effort you have to put into weld prep goes way up, more than anything. You might find yourself needing some major weld bevels and multiple passes on some stuff that would just be a single-pass affair with a bigger welder. Also, it depends on the welder: the 110v units from Lincoln and Miller are a heck of a lot better than some of the harbor freight and Northern Tool offerings. I used for for quite a while, I ended up just getting a crackerbox lincoln to do the bigger stuff with...
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Unread 06-07-2015, 09:11 PM   #3
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Well this is the welder I got, an Eastwood 135. http://www.eastwood.com/mig-welder-1...5a-output.html One reason I got a 120v welder is because I'm just renting this house for now, but It does have 20 amp circuit breakers for every circuit. I just really want to do the work on my jeep myself.

I was already kinda thinking for axle brackets, just tacking them and then taking the axle to a welding shop. I guess I could do that for the other stuff too. Get them in place, tack them on and then have AAA tow my jeep to Hoyt 4x4 in St. Pete. That's probably the only place near me where I would take my jeep to.
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Unread 06-08-2015, 08:06 PM   #4
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A much bigger aspect is the weldor who is doing the work rather then what voltage the machine works on. A 220V unit isnt inherently better, put out more amps, or penetrate deeper then the latter as some claim. If you understand volts and amps then you know that by using 220V the machine is simply splitting the load between two hot legs of power and reducing the demand on each. This allows machines to draw more but does not mean that you will do so in every welding situation. The brackets and frame thickness we generally deal with are within the range of a good 120V machine particularly if you have access to both sides.
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Unread 06-09-2015, 08:17 PM   #5
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I plan on going to my local welding shop to pickup a few things. I have a Miller auto darkening helmet, but wanted to pick up a nice pair of cloves and maybe a welding jacket. Also while I'm there I will probably get a good brand solid wire roll and flux core wire roll and see how much a bottle of gas will cost. I want to and will do quite a bit of practice welding before I start on my jeep. Like I said, I have some experience welding, just been awhile and most of my experience was helping friends of mine build demolition derby cars, so nothing really had to look nice.

Thanks for the insite, I feel a little better but I do understand that I need more practice.
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Unread 06-09-2015, 11:27 PM   #6
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You can use solid wire if you're on the bottle.
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Unread 06-10-2015, 01:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fratis View Post
A much bigger aspect is the weldor who is doing the work rather then what voltage the machine works on. A 220V unit isnt inherently better, put out more amps, or penetrate deeper then the latter as some claim. If you understand volts and amps then you know that by using 220V the machine is simply splitting the load between two hot legs of power and reducing the demand on each. This allows machines to draw more but does not mean that you will do so in every welding situation. The brackets and frame thickness we generally deal with are within the range of a good 120V machine particularly if you have access to both sides.
That's all true, but generally along with the hop to 240v, you most likely just end up with a bigger welder to begin with... There's no reason to make a 90 amp welder run on the higher voltage, so they just leave it in the 120 world. If you have a machine that is 240v, you can pretty much count on it being a hotter machine than pretty much any 120v..
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Unread 06-10-2015, 07:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fratis View Post
You can use solid wire if you're on the bottle.
Yea, I want to get some experience with flux core wire and probably mainly use that on a trailer when I get one. But wanted to use solid wire and 75/25 argon co2 gas on my jeep, and jeep parts.
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Unread 06-10-2015, 09:42 AM   #9
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With good prep work and good welding, a 120 machine can do lots of things. If you're welding thicker metals, bevel them good. And possibly run multiple passes. I know guys who have built entire vehicles on 120v machines. I have 220 now, and It does make things easier. But good prep and technique are still key.

I'm not the greatest welder by any stretch, I do feel more confident with 220 on thicker metals, but I try not to let that make me lazy and skimp on prep work, good fitting joints, and taking my time running the welds.

With flux core, make sure you drag the gun a bit, instead of pushing. And if you need to resume a weld or connect up to a weld, make sure to chip off the slag and brush it real good before you run a new weld into an existing weld.
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Unread 06-28-2015, 12:45 PM   #10
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I would also add that you should visit your local weld supplier and talk with a consultant about the different wires. Flux-core runs hotter and although there is more cleanup, it's cheaper than gas. This is what I use in my Lincoln SP-100 and have built rock guards, under armor and a swing out tire carrier. But, I have been in metal fab and welding for almost 40 years.
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Unread 06-28-2015, 06:19 PM   #11
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I only use my miller 140 on thin stuff.. 10 ga and thinner, mainly 16 ga. I have found the with flux core wire you can weld a little thicker material. Duty cycle is a factor as well. You'll only be able to weld for very short periods, when it's turned up enough to weld 10 ga or thicker. I recommend a 30 amp breaker and no less than a 12 ga cord.. 10 ga cord is better. The longer the cord the bigger it needs to be.
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Unread 06-28-2015, 08:31 PM   #12
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I talked to a few people in my local cub. There are 2 guys who have done everything to there jeeps with a 120v welder and flux core wire. I picked up a small roll of Lincoln .030 flux core wire, and plain on getting some scrap metal for practice.
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Unread 07-07-2015, 08:33 PM   #13
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With a 120V, 135 I wouldn't feel comfortable welding anything that holds your life in its hands (Or others lives).

I WOULD weld :shocks mounts, bumpers, fender flares/tubes, Diff guards, Tube doors, spider gears, rock sliders, skids, and little brackets here and there with it.

I would VERY strongly recommend NEVER welding anything with a 120V such as, suspension links, brackets, roll cages, seat mounts, winch bumpers, Coil buckets, track bars, and track bar mounts. Under stand that if your welds on your track bar fails while going down the interstate doing 70 and u hit a family. Thats YOUR fault. Not worth it in my opinion.

If its a trail only rig that will get trailered to and from the trail. Its not as big of a deal, just stay under 35mph. The forces applied to a suspension going 70 mph will always be Far greater then any rock u slam into going slow.
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Unread 07-08-2015, 03:46 AM   #14
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If it fails its your fault no matter what input voltage your machine accepts. A 220v machine wont make you a better weldor. Penetration is penetration and can be had with either. There is no difference between a 220v weld and a 120v weld provided technique and penetration are equal. I would say that most of the material used in your WOULD weld category is the same as in your NEVER category. Again i think people are fixating on 'larger number always means better' even though they can't explain the difference.
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Unread 07-13-2015, 11:16 PM   #15
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I have a Miller 135 I use for lighter work. With .035 flux core I have no problems burning axle brackets. It'll make them glow. I usually use it strictly for body light work though as I also have a miller dynasty 200 stick/tig.

The key to it is multiple passes, flux core as it burns hotter and higher wire speeds.
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