Beginner Welders

elcaprerunner

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I am a student at Mt. SAC in Covina (well actually Walnut). I am taking fabrication/welding classes and plan to make a career of it. It is my first semester and the only welding experience I have is in my class. So far the whole semester up untill a couple of weeks ago we have been stick welding (boring, can't build a prerunner with a stick welder), and we were just recently tought MIG welding. I love it! I asked for a MIG welder for Christmas. Now here comes my question. Can anyone recomend a good MIG welder for a beginner? (I tried a search and nothing came up) At school I use a Miller, I forgot what model but it is 220 volt, blue (all Millers are blue though aren't they), and all of the readouts are digital, which I like alot. I was thinking about a 110 volt but I will have no use for it, it does not get hot enough to get good penetration. I am also looking for something under $1200. What does everyone use in their garage (220 volt)? And what did all of you big, badass fabricators start out with? I will be using this at home in my garage, not in a shop or anything. Also, what kind of wire should I use? I will mostly be welding mild steel. And about electricity: Everyone who runs a 220 volt in their garage, if you use it on a regular basis how is it on electric bills? And can your electrical system handle 100% capacity MIG welder? Or do you think I would have to get a lower capacity for my house? Any electricians out there? What problems would I look out for with a basic electrical system and a 220 volt, 100% capacity MIG welder?

Wow that was alot, but I am sure alot of you guys have experience in this subject. Thank you in advance.

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Bonzen

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I'm not an expert, but I've seen clean prerunners built with a 135. (Lincoln & Hobart)

Fish has a 135 Miller, it does good but sometimes has problems. Not sure why.

If you can afford it, get a 220....whatever brand you like, a 220 throws a nicer bead I think and gets better penetration, especially if you are welding DOM or chromoly. Thats just my experiance.

Wire and all that, well I dont really know, I have always used L56 .25 wire, you can get a spool at home depot for like 8 bucks.

Alright, someone else take over here.

-Ryan

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cleartoy

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Im running Miller 175amp MIG 220V. I run .035 copper wire with a steel mix(25% Argon\75%CO2 mix).

It never blows circuit breakers, is easy to use. Its small size makes it easier to store, wheras the next step up(the 210 which we have 3 of at my work) is large.

I run 11lbs spools of wire which are about $25.

Get a helmet, nice set of gloves, and you are ready to start.



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Curtis Guise

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I bought a Lincoln 125 or 135 (just moved and don't have it here yet, don't remember the exact model #) for about $600 or 700 with everything about 6 or 7 years ago. I built my entire race truck with it. Never had any failures at a weld. It lacks on power if you need to weld 1/4" thick or more.
 

fishd00d

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Yup I have a Millermatic 135 and it does pretty good. I figured out that its nice to have a full spool of wire or it welds like crap lol....also it does good most of the time now. But if you are going to buy a new one get a 220 for sure. The 135 has plenty of penetrating power upto and including 1/4" but the 220 is just nice.

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AZmiik

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If you are looking for a small unit a miller 175 or a similar box is the way to go. They are supposed to do 3/8 plate in one pass but I wouldn't try that. I wouldn't worry about running anything in you house at 100% duty cycle because your not going to get something that will do it for less than $1200. As for gas and wire 75/25 makes a pretty bead but you will get better penetration with 100% CO2 and it is a lot cheaper. Wire depends on what your building I would say ER70S-5 would work well for most things. That has a tensile strength of 70,000 psi and should be plenty strong enough. Remember a key to MIG welding is clean everything you want to weld and then clean it some more. Also get a product sheet one your wire and use the proper stick out and volt amp setting.

Mike
 

Kritter

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Buy a bitchin welder from the beginning and it should last you a lifetime.

Kris
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Ryno

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I have a Lincoln 155. It's a 220, I run a lead cord from my dryer, and it does great for everything I do. I just got done doing a buggy frame, and it took me about 10 minutes to dial it in for .120 wall, and it rocks. DEFINITELY buy a 220 machine, worth the extra couple hundred bucks. I also have the 25/75 mix.

Ryno

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elcaprerunner

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Two more questions:
Where is the best place to buy?

Does elevation matter? The elevation where I live is 6,000 foot elevation, and it snows in the winter, will these two things be a problem?

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ACID_RAIN28

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yes it does...........

in the winter you and your welder will be very cold.

in the summer, you and you welder will be very cold.



(in my opinion the less air the better) Zero air i belive would be the best enviromen, no sheilding gas. but don't quote me on that.

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01_el_tiburon

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ive seen a lot of good used welding machines on the bargain trader magazine they sell at 7-11 nad such but dont know if buying used is a problem..


el tiburon

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WeldnFab

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"Where is the best place to buy?"

The best place is http://www.cyberweld.com
The best service and free shipping and the best pricing anywhere!!

Build it right the first time......then the second, third and fourth...etc.
 
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