I only have experience, and very little actually, welding with a stick welder. I never welded enough to "get good at it". Today I stepped into the 21st century and bought a MIG welder. Once I get a bottle for it and the correct plug for my recepticle, and get some practice, I will be able to start putting some horseless carriage, and mini-dozer parts together.
Tommy, you will LOVE that mig! Once you get it dialed in you'll be amazed at how easy and smoothly it welds.
I bought a mid-range Miller box maybe 20 years ago and haven't seen my slag hammer since! I probably use the mig welder for 98% of the welding around here, and the other 2% is evenly split between gas and arc welding.
The only thing I really arc now is building up worn cutting blades and welding cast iron
I bought a 135 A wire feed about 2 years ago but have NEVER plugged it in. Maybe some day I'll get some Argon/C02 and learn how to use it
Something I really needed, huh? Does dust hurt it?
I recently downloaded free phone apps from Lincoln and Miller. They have recommended amperage and feeds for the various materials you will encounter. They also have data for TIG as well. They are a great reference.
I also bought a gadget off Amazon for welding through holes in light materials. I used it on a fender to close some extra taillight holes courtesy of the previous owner. This device looks like a telegragh key with a copper saddle on one end and a magnetic fulcrum. The “key” is threaded and allows you to adjust to the curve of the metal.
In regards to your gas bottle, bigger is better in that I sometimes ran out of gas when everything else was,fine. I have it all loaded onto the Harbor Freight welding cart that has multiple drawers.
Tommy, you are going to love it. I'm on my 3rd MIG set-up. As a full time mechanic, I would bet that I have used MIG welding more for broken bolt extraction than for fabricating. Especially the exhaust manifold bolts on modern engines. As for my welding abilities, I learn how to weld every time I plug it in
I took classes at a local community college and got some great insights into welding... I had one teacher in particular that taught me I was an artist, not a welder. I've always remembered that and view the bead as the tip of a paint brush.
I don't know how I got along without a welder now that i have one.
I'm with you...even with a complete machine shop at my disposal, the weeks following my purchase of a Millermatic were the most dramatic and satisfying weeks ever. What on earth did I ever do before I bought it???
I first started with a MIG in 1982, an ESAB from Sweden. Prior to that every panel I replaced on a car was welded with oxy-acetelene. I used Millers and Lincolns for 25 years or so, and since I retired I've owned a Harbor Freight 170 amp MIG. It has been a great welder. I have fabricated from scratch 3 full sized replica cars in 5 years, no issues.
I love wire welding but I weld so infrequent that I only own a small arc inverter welder. I found when I was younger that if you really don't use it often and take care of the wire plus the feed tube they rust up and clog.
Hi, I have to say I bought a harbor freight 170 amp welder also, it works great. I have a Miller 210 wire feed in my shop, but needed a smaller welder to do field repairs on the ranch equipment. It was on sale for $165. I just throw my 240v Honda generator along with welder in the ATV and off I go. I use it with flux cored wire, 035 size so there is no need for gas. So far works like a champ. I would buy extra tips, like any wire feed they tend to not feed smoothly after a few hours of work. Just unscrew the tip and clean, or replace with a new one. I'm not one to promote Chinese equipment, but for the price it's hard to beat.
I have a Hobart, handler 140 M.I.G. machine that runs on 120 volts and can weld up to 3/16 inch thick steel. I have welded 1/4 inch steel by preheating the work with a propane torch, a great addition to my shop.
I bought my Lincoln mig, then bought a rusted out 49 Ford club coupe to practice on. I replaced all kinds of sheetmetal patches, and in the process became a pretty good welder.
Which one did you get?
Flux core without a bottle is good, and you can weld heavier material than with gas. Flux core has great penetration but does leave slag that needs to be removed. It is also much more forgiving with rust thank MIG is, but the welds aren't as attractive as MIG. I've got a 180 amp 220v Lincoln I use for MIG. I kept my old lincoln SP-100 and use it for flux core. It's 120v so I can take it anywhere and don't need a bottle with it.
Another plus with fluxcore is you can use it outside with a wind, like you can a stick welder. You can't do that with MIG because the wind will interfere with the shielding gas.
Using 75/25 steelmix is pretty standard for MIG with steel. Some people use different mixes, like 90/10, but for general use 75/25 works great!
Always have extra tips for the specific wire size you are using!
Flux core runs the opposite polarity from MIG, your machine should have a diagram on the inside panel, or at least in the book, that details it.
There are some great youtube channels on welding. Jody at weldingtipsandtricks.com has lots of good info.
Have fun with it!
The one I bought, used, is a dual model so I have the option of using gas, or not. It's a 110 volt, foreign made unit.
The only bad looking part was the ground clamp that looked like an end from a very cheap set of jumper cables, so I replaced it with a much heavier one from Harbor Freight.
You can do a lot with a 120v welder. Over about 1/8" you'll need to use a multipass weld, but for most things around a T and general home maintenance that's fine. Have fun with it!
It's a good thing that I bought the welder cheap because it won't weld. After I bought the correct plug and welding gloves and leather apron, it feeds wire and the cooling fan runs, but no arc. I have checked everything that I can think of and cannot find a problem. I will return to the flea market on Saturday and have a prayer meeting with the seller.
Meanwhile, anybody had a similar problem and can suggest something that I might be overlooking? Thanks.
Tommy, I bought my first wire welder used and cheap, loved it, learned to weld but it broke in a few months. So, I bought a new one and kept going. One day I fixed the broke wire welder and loaded it up with stainless steel. So, now I don't have to load and unload anymore.
That happened to me with mine,it turned out I didn't have a good ground.
You have a ground problem. Always grind a clean spot to clamp on to....
Tommy, Some welders will only strike an arc when the trigger is pulled to feed the wire, I have one of each and I get confused sometimes and think something is wrong myself. Jim
Thanks Jim. I might not have tried it with the trigger pulled! If that works I will buy you a cup of coffee sometime.
Congratulations, MIG welding is such a gift. I didn't read every post but if someone else did not say it already cleanliness is like godliness for a MIG welder. Coming from the world of stick welding I did not inherently understand how clean things needed to be to get good welds. 40 grit flap disks for the grinder are a virtual necessity for prep work if you don't want to get hooked on them never try one!
Thanks everybody. Jim, PM me your address so I can send you something. That was the problem with my welder. It welds fine as long as I hold the trigger. I can't believe that I hadn't thought to try that. I'm glad to know it before I went to the seller this Saturday and got in his face.
I suppose I got a deal in the welder after all.
Good to hear all is OK with the welder, glad it was something simple. No further thanks needed. "Remember we are all in this together" from Red Green. Jim
Thanks. I hope to start getting in some practice tomorrow. I have a few small projects in mind to get in some "stick time".
Not much welding involved but I want to build one of these.
The stand, not the bike. I already have a bike, but no stand for it.
Next step tig, when you realize you have so many more options.
I bought the first wire welder I ever used extensively. I got a job at a little welding shop and this welder was there. Lincoln SP200. I’ve built handrails, miles of fence panels to spiral staircases with it. I got it from my old boss, or actually, he moved to Virginia and left his granddaughter there, whose boyfriend traded it and a trailer for a car. It was his neighbor’s trailer. The police recovered them both and he told me for the $180 impound fee for the welder and trailer I could have the welder because he’s retired. I just went and got gas and wire yesterday and daubed on a worn fender iron. Now to my speedster frame.
Turns out my first project will be a cart for my welder. This will be my cart by tomorrow afternoon.
Tommy, once you get a little practice with the mig, you will start to wonder why you never had one before. If you can, post a pic of the gauge/flow meter that came with your setup. Once I see the style you have, I can give you a few tips on proper setting of the flow rate. Most people run too high of a flow rate and waste their gas. If possible always weld inside out of the wind. No fans, while welding. One thing to remember when mig welding is to always weld a gap if possible. Mig has very little penetration, so by welding a gap, you will get a full penetration weld. For myself, its actually easier to weld a gap than a seam fit too close. On sheet metal a gap a little less than the thickness of a dime works good. Sometimes the gap will close as you weld this is caused by the shrinking of the welds or tacks. Have a grinder with a thin wafer wheel (about.040 works fine)handy and keep the gap open as you weld. By keeping the gap open it will also reduce warping of sheet metal panels to a minimum. Just practice and have fun. If you have any problems or questions, please feel free to e-mail me or send a PM message, and we will figure it out. I have a few hours under the hood, so not many things I have not seen ... have fun and be safe ....
Thanks Donnie. I didn't get a regulator with mine. I will have to buy one after the holidays. I like the looks and price of a flow meter.I will look forward to your help, especially if it helps me not to waste gas.
Most of my practice has been just running beads and I realized this afternoon, when I started attaching parts to the handtruck that I need more practice sticking stuff together. I had a kidney stone attack and had to walk/limp away from it. Maybe I will finish it tomorrow.