3/16 or 1/4"

In_the_works

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Can anyone with some welding/fab experience give me a little advice here? I'm looking to get a MIG machine this week, and I'm trying to decide what brand/machine to go with. I'm going to be using it to build a bed/engine cage, and possibly some shock hoops. I guess my question is, will I ever need to gusset anything listed above with more than 3/16 mild steel? I'm gonna be running it off of household current, so 120V is about as high as I can go. Any suggestions?

thanks.

'96 F-150 4x4 ex cab
'02 Maico 250
 

ntsqd

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Re: 3/16 or 1/4\"

In your situation I would buy the machine rated for the greatest current at, let's say, 20% duty cycle. That will increase the metal thickness you can do in one pass at the expense of not being able to do it for very long. The flip side to this is that when you are welding thinner stuff, your duty cycle wil be greater.

E.G. brand X welder is claimed to be a "185", and it's current at 20% duty cycle is 130 amps. Brand Y welder is only a "155" but it's 20% duty cycle current is 150 amps. That makes brand Y the better buy in my eyes.

TS

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singlehanded

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Re: 3/16 or 1/4\"

better duty cycles also seem to make the price higher, but get the best for how much you spend.

midnight landscaper working overtime and I'm full throttle I'm full throttle tonight
 

hoeker

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Re: 3/16 or 1/4\"

i'd have to agree with ntsqd on this one. in a 110 v machine your very limited, get a machine that can weld what you want and be smart enuf to take your time welding on the bigger projects. over heating the machine will ruin it very quick. take care of it and it will weld good for a long time. personally i leave my miller 250 at home on race weekends and use a 110 v machine for repairs. they work well, but hopefully are a lot dumber than the owner for knowing how much work they can do at 1 time. 20% duty cycle is only 2 minutes welding out of 10, that's not very much.
just uppgraded to a miller 175 for at the track, 175 amps, 30 % i think. this is the smallest 220v machine they make, and it packs quite a punch. this is a very economical machine for the hobby welder that needs a little more power.

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In_the_works

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Re: 3/16 or 1/4\"

How about the lincoln 135? I think it has a 30% duty cycle and claims to be able to do 1/4" in a single pass? Any thoughts on Lincoln vs. Miller?

'96 F-150 4x4 ex cab
'02 Maico 250
 

singlehanded

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Re: 3/16 or 1/4\"

MIne has a 30% duty cycle at 200amps at 22volts. It a lincoln and I love it no problems and you can buy generic parts such as tips that are cheap and not made by lincoln. The 30% on the 135 is at what amp?

midnight landscaper working overtime and I'm full throttle I'm full throttle tonight
 

AZmiik

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Re: 3/16 or 1/4\"

The 135 is rated 20% at 90A. It has a max of 135 amps. Probably not enough to do much fab work. Remember if you have access to an electric dryer you have 220 single phase. Couple of parts and some cable and you have an adapter extension cord. So you might want to step up to something a little stronger because once you start welding it never seems to end.

Mike
 

elcaprerunner

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Re: 3/16 or 1/4\"

As I have been told by a few fabricators what to do with my 110v welder when I want to weld something thick... If it is too thick get enough penetration with one pass, make threee passes. Make one cover pass right where you would with a 220v welder, then make a pass above that first pass, then below it. That way you will get as much and/or sometimes more penetration as you would with one pass on a 220v welder. If you or anybody here stick welds you will know that is a similar technique as what is used in stick welding sometimes. And if you don't like the way it looks with three beads on the weld then you can just grind it down so you can't tell but it is still as strong.

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1992f150

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Re: 3/16 or 1/4\"

welding companies are sneaky s.o.b.'s, the avertised thickness will be for fluxcore wire, not mig.
I had a millermatic 135, and for 110v it was a good machine....the mig was smooth as hell but even welding 120 wall tubing it ran cold on max settings. I had to switch to fluxcore wire, especially after it wouldnt weld a thin trampoline frame that was too pathetic for me. With fluxcore wire you could weld thicker stuff, like .250 wall square tubing but it takes along time and you have to tripple pass it.
Now I have a lincoln sp 175+ (220volt) and its a night and day difference to what you can weld. No problems with this machine yet either. I considered the powermig, but for the price difference I could buy the sp175+, a used 220 arc welder that will weld any thickness I want, and have several hundred bills left over.

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dadomin8r

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Everyone I know that has a 110 welder, regrets buying it. If you are going to MIG a cage, you really need a 220 welder (after all, it is your head in there). If cost is a real issue, consider buying a good used one from a pawn shop. It may have some beat-up cables, but that stuff is cheap and you are way better off having the capability to get full penetration on one pass, not to mention the aesthetics. I have seen a portable 110V TIG welder (Esaab) that would do a pretty good job. It cost ~$1,000 new the last time I looked.

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DO NOT USE A 110 WELDER FOR ANYTHING, maybe a tack weld, but dont ever use one for anything else or you will pay the price at some point. I have over 20 years in race car fabrication and can tell you its not an option, just do it right the first time and move on to the next project, period.
 

In_the_works

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I was gonna leave the cab cage up to a pro. I don't trust my abilities THAT much. But it sounds to me like for what I'm going to be using it for, a 135 mig will work just fine. I'm just going to have to get used to only being able to weld 2 minutes out of 10.

'96 F-150 4x4 ex cab
'02 Maico 250
 

Kbach66

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Re: 3/16 or 1/4\"

Once you start welding, you probably won't realize the 2/10 duty cycle problem too much. I know for me when I'm welding cages or tube that half the time you're "welding" you're actually moving your body/arm/hand/leg/etc. around to get the best angle and position and that you're not actually laying down weld......
I could see the duty cycle problem being more noticeble when you're doing large plate or something like boxed arms or trailing arms. Doing these your on the trigger a bunch more.

Or maybe I've been doing something wrong this whole time!! : )
 

hoeker

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Re: 3/16 or 1/4\"

at fall crandon (sat) i ran 4 laps (that's 6 miles) on only 3 wheels. i had broken the lower ball joint, and the wheel left town. i was running for the championship, so i kept making laps. this did MAJOR frame damage on my truck. it took me about 8 hours to fix and involved cutting the lower control arm mount off the frame, moving it into location, and welding it back on. i did all this on a 110v machine, and it really welded nice. the newer 110's are WAY better than one from 5 years ago. i still think the miller 175 is the way to go for 800 bucks, but if you can't afford it, you can get by with less.

by the way i lead the entire next race (sun) flag to flag. beat the ever living out of my truck. had a 22 second lead at the finish. absolutely no problems with the welds, and i really didn't do much more than a butt weld on 3/16" material.

if your not that experienced it is always wise to leave the stuff that could kill you or save your life to a pro.

never forget about the duty cycle of your machine! you'd be suprised how little 2 minutes out of 10 is on a small project.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.rosshoek.com>www.rosshoek.com</A>

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