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Welding Equipment Recommendations

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Welding Equipment Recommendations:

In order to keep things simple some hobby endeavors of mine are soon going to require some basic welding equipment. As it stands now I’ll probably go with a MIG welder first and then pick up an Oxy-Acetylene torch set a bit later. I’m leaning towards a Hobart 140 but am open to recommendations by the welders and fabricators here. As to the Oxy-Acetylene torch set which is the preferred option Miller-Smith or Victor? Thanks in advance for any help and Dolo I sure wish you and GT were both closer to where I live.

 

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In to follow this. I'm in the same boat and would like to see the recommendations.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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I've had a Hobart 140 for a couple of years. Its a good machine for intermittent use. Do yourself a favor and skip flux core wire and go straaight to 0.030 solid wire and 75/25 gas. This set up has built many steel targets, jeep bumpers, trailer repairs and modifications. up to 1/4" material its just fine by me. Thicker than that is doable with some patience and care to keep things clean between passes, etc. It is limited in duty cycle, but that's where patience comes in...

I also have a small Victor O/A torch set. I always wished I had a bigger one. When something needs to get Really HOT quick a big rosebud is always a go to option. For these I would look on the used market. The regulators etc are all repairable.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

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Get one of them smart welders like the esab rebels so that you don't have to know what you're doing

 

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26 minutes ago, Sidecarist said:

I've had a Hobart 140 for a couple of years. Its a good machine for intermittent use. Do yourself a favor and skip flux core wire and go straaight to 0.030 solid wire and 75/25 gas. This set up has built many steel targets, jeep bumpers, trailer repairs and modifications. up to 1/4" material its just fine by me. Thicker than that is doable with some patience and care to keep things clean between passes, etc. It is limited in duty cycle, but that's where patience comes in...

I also have a small Victor O/A torch set. I always wished I had a bigger one. When something needs to get Really HOT quick a big rosebud is always a go to option. For these I would look on the used market. The regulators etc are all repairable.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

Yeah, the rosebud torch and brazing are useful, there's actually an O/A torch set from Eastwood that's pricy but kind of neat http://www.eastwood.com/cobra-gas-welding-torch.html but I'm leaning towards simpler medium duty equipment.

22 minutes ago, Capbyrd said:

Get one of them smart welders like the esab rebels so that you don't have to know what you're doing

 

It looks nice but is way beyond what I'd ever consider spending for intermittent use equipment. But I enjoyed reading about it so thanks.

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Out of my range too.  I know Miller has a few smart models out now too.  I think within ten years or so we might see those welders at a much more affordable price. 

 

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For the workload you are describing you might take a look at the Miller Multimatic 215. It's a great hobbyist rated MIG welder, pretty decent stick welder and a good starting point for DC TIG (steel). You can also get a spool gun for it to MIG aluminum. The 215 doesn't have the duty cycle of some of the larger machines, but its versatility and portability sold me on it for field use and some lighter shop work. I primarily run flux in mine (lots of field work), but it runs solid wire/gas equally well. Also it has the MVP plug system to plug into a regular 110v outlet (preferably a 20amp or larger breaker) or into a 220v outlet for higher heat settings. Best price I found was online. Cyberweld.com and a couple other online welding supply places usually offer free shipping and alternate between being $20-50 dollars cheaper than each other. Miller usually has some sort of promo going that gives a rebate if you purchase some accessories (like the TIG kit and spoolgun).

For oxy/acetylene rig the Victors are generally considered the gold standard, but I've used several smiths and never had any issues with them either.

Not sure where in middle TN you are but feel free to message me if you want to check out my 215 to get a feel for it. If it's outside your budget don't try it though, because you will want to get one.

I own/operate a mobile welding business and teach welding on occasion, so I'd certainly be happy to get anyone in the TGO family up to speed if needed.

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What type of projects do you want to build?

I started with a Lincoln 225 "tombstone" stick welder, the big red box units.   The old USA made ones are near indestructible, huge iron transformer.   Sometimes they're listed for 200-300 but I've seen as low as 75.00 on Craigslist.

The ones with an all black faceplate are the Chinese ones home depot sells now.

For a lot of thin work (1/16 or less?), or for less spatter, mig with gas is probably a better choice.  But I've built quite a bit with my simple stick welder and enjoy it.  It does what it's supposed to do, and the switch and dial are the only two moving parts!

 

Edit:  one consideration is whether you want 120 or 240v.  The Lincoln above is 240v.   To use it to full potential (225a), and likely anywhere above about 130a, probably needs a 50 amp breaker.  But I haven't welded anything that heavy... that'd be pretty thick stock.

Edited by BlessTheUSA

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We have Miller MIG, GTAW, and stick welders at work and Victor torches, never had any problems out of any of them.  Personally I have a Lincoln mig and for what I do at home as hobby I can't complain.  As already mentioned above, skip flux core and go with gas and solid wire.  Your welds will come out many times cleaner with less junk for you to clean up.

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@Danger Rane I appreciate the advice and might pick your brain to get started, I've read about the Miller 215 and need to stay with a 110V system. I'll price it and the Hobart together and look at the difference.

@BlessTheUSA I'm doing the hobby blacksmith thing and part of its building a lot of your own tools and storage racks. I've already got a list of things I want to do.

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ALWAYS buy bigger and better than you think you need. push your budget to the limit. been down that road for over 50 years cant count the times i ran into something and said wish i had gone just a little bigger or better.

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I've had pretty good luck finding decent units at pawn shops. I bought a cheapo mig and just use flux wire in it. I've got everything except a regulator to convert it to gas, but really for farm welding the splatter is not all that big of a deal. Made some plate racks. My son did most of those and learned quite a bit about welding. 

I also picked up a nice Hobart tig set up at the same pawn shop. It's actually a small inverter made by miller with the Hobart label. I've done quite a bit of thin sheet metal welding and brazing. I've got about $600 in it with a regulator and a couple of small tanks. I converted a large oxy tank to argon. It will also do stick welding, but I haven't tried that. I used to have one of those Lincoln tombstone welders. Probably a US one. Worked great but I never really could get the hang of using a stick welder.

 

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Miller has the best welders for the money IMHO. They have several models that are dual 120v/240v. 

For torches, I would recommend the Victor style. I bought a Lincoln torch set (gauges, hoses, torch, and accessories) from home depot for about $150.

The tanks you can either buy the smaller ones or lease the bigger ones. I have the larger ones and a five year lease with Airgas. It costs about $25-30 per tank to exchange.

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It's the same as the 140 but with a bigger transformer.if you can afford it or think you need the higher current for single pass welding on thick sections go for it.I looked at it but just couldn't justify it for what I do.

I do have a 250A stick welder for the odd big job though.

Feel free to PM me if you want to see mine. I'm a bit north of Chattanooga. 

 

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