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Old 09-27-2007, 04:41 PM   #1
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Default Looking to purchase a welder ...

Construction on my garage begins tomorrow and I'm starting to shop for a welder. I want a MIG welder and don't want to spend more than $1000 (including gas conversion).

Any suggestions? I'm not intending to do anything really serious with it, but don't want a POS that will be difficult to learn with either. I can go 220V if necessary.

Anyone have experience with a Clarke welder?

Jay
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Old 09-27-2007, 04:51 PM   #2
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look into a miller.
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Old 09-27-2007, 04:52 PM   #3
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I LOVE CLARKE!! they are the ****.

My friend has their 220 with mig conversion. I like flux core (note my previous post) but his 220 is surprising powerful around $500 cant be beat (welder depot)

Look at warranties and how Clarkes compares to others
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Old 09-27-2007, 04:54 PM   #4
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see the current thread in the miata.net tools section

if you have no experience, a MIG w gasless fluxcore wire is the easy to pick up, IMO. that's how I started. not that I'm a seasoned pro or anything.

i would go ahead and run a 230V outlet now while it's easy. I'd probably run a couple for possibility of having a lift or compressor.
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Old 09-27-2007, 04:55 PM   #5
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I like ESAB
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Old 09-27-2007, 05:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
if you have no experience, a MIG w gasless fluxcore wire is the easy to pick up, IMO.
Honestly, I'd avoid a gasless MIG at all costs. They are somewhat easier to use from the standpoint that there is one less adjustment to make, however it is a much more time-consuming process over all. The flux (a thick, tarlike substance impregnated into the wire) makes a terrible mess all over the workpiece which is extremely tedious to clean up afterwards. Flux-cored wire also seems to spatter more than regular gas-shielded wire, again leading to more cleanup work.

Limiting yourself to a flux-core welder also means that you won't be able to experiment with aluminum welding in the future. (Though not the preferred method, gas-Mig welders can be used with aluminum wire by switching to positive polarity and using Argon). While some flux welders are limited to flux-core only, conversion kits are available for others to upgrade them to proper GMAW. You'll spend more doing it this way however than by just purchasing a proper gas-MIG welder in the first place.
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Old 09-27-2007, 05:36 PM   #7
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Jay find a welder and use at least one mig and one flux core. Personally I find flux easy to get off, hit it when its warm and done. Splatter isnt an issue with antisplatter gel, basically use it like an inkwell with any old pen, dip the tip weld for a while, dip again and keep going, no splatter.

Hit the weld with wire brush, and shes clean.
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Old 09-27-2007, 05:59 PM   #8
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I paid $175 (with a coupon) for my 220V 151T Mig. I think it will do most jobs that I will ever need it to do. I've welded bed frames, turbo manifolds, flower pot hangers, exhaust systems, etc. Don't forget gas bottles, regulators, wire, cart, gloves, hood, etc. They cost me more than the welder did. Learn with the 151T and if you ever feel the need to get a $1000 mig then just sell it used for $150 (who wouldn't pay $150 for a welder). At most you are making a $25 mistake.

Oh, there is no reason not to go 220V. I had never done anything like it before, but I mounted a socket right next to my breaker box without too much trouble. I built a 35' heavy gauge cord to reach anywhere I needed to.
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:18 PM   #9
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Thanks guys.
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:47 PM   #10
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Buy a automatic darkening helmet off ebay. Just a generic black one. Mine was under $40 shipped and it's great. Or you can pay $150 for a miller with an american flag on it.
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Old 09-27-2007, 07:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmcelwee View Post
I paid $175 (with a coupon) for my 220V 151T Mig. I think it will do most jobs that I will ever need it to do. I've welded bed frames, turbo manifolds, flower pot hangers, exhaust systems, etc. Don't forget gas bottles, regulators, wire, cart, gloves, hood, etc. They cost me more than the welder did. Learn with the 151T and if you ever feel the need to get a $1000 mig then just sell it used for $150 (who wouldn't pay $150 for a welder). At most you are making a $25 mistake.

Oh, there is no reason not to go 220V. I had never done anything like it before, but I mounted a socket right next to my breaker box without too much trouble. I built a 35' heavy gauge cord to reach anywhere I needed to.
+1, I have the 180 Amp version (they only sell the 170 now but it's the same damn welder.) Works really pretty well. Less than $500, I have seen them for $199.

Mark
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Old 09-27-2007, 11:21 PM   #12
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I also have the HF 151. I added 220 to my garage and made a long extension cord with parts from Home Depot.



Fluxcore is a waste of time. It's way easier to learn with gas.

If you have $1G to spend, then get a Clarke or a Miller. If you want to save some cash for other tools or something else for the garage, then get the cheapo unit.
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Old 09-28-2007, 08:47 AM   #13
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damn it i need a garage!
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:43 AM   #14
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I would spend about 600 on a good miller or even a lincoln, and then the rest of the money on accessories (gas, wire, clamps, gloves, hood, etc)

I like the Miller stuff, but the Miller vs Lincoln thing is like Ford vs Chevy.. They are both good welders.. just one is red and one is blue.
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:48 AM   #15
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PS: F some flux core.. why not just stick weld it..
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:18 PM   #16
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I have a Lincoln sp135 plus and I have been very happy with it for the past couple of years. I recently upgraded to Lincoln 175 plus and I'm just as happy. I'd recommend going for the 220v version if you can. If your budget is 1000 bucks, check out a Lincoln 215 mig or a Miller 210 mig. If you go this route, you probably will never need to buy another mig welder.

Don't waste your time with flux core. It works, but it's difficult to weld and the spatter looks like ****. Spend a little extra money now and you will be happier down the road. Check out ebay, you will find great deals on new and used welders all the time. I just bought my new Lincoln sp175 for around 500 bucks shipped to my door. Also, check out weldingweb.com. I think this forum is a great resource for researching welders and finding one that's right for you.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:31 PM   #17
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how do you guys like the HF gas capable one? i have the just flux core only one, and its had much better days
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:41 PM   #18
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The HF ones will start to lose power/duty cycle with age much earlier than the name brand ones. But they will get the job done until they eventually wear out (they all do it, the HF ones just do it faster).
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:17 PM   #19
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Would the 151T be ok to do some body work rewelding etc? Or is it to course, for something you want to look pretty, or is that something that can be tuned out?
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:25 PM   #20
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Look for either infinitely adjustable wire speed, and hopefully that for power too (EXPENSIVE) or the most steps you can get, but in reality you should be able to do whatever you want. JUST MOVE FAST!!!

That should be find for body work, although ideally you would have a tig. (Im fluxcoring my rocker panels this winter)
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