Want to get a small welder

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Posts: 1558
Joined: 05 Apr 2009, 08:37
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Want to get a small welder

Post by bobberboy »

It seems like a lot of you guys out there whether by trade or by otherwise are welders. My dad taught me to weld with a stick welder in the 70's and it's a good skill to have for someone who likes to invent stuff. I've been thinking about getting a small home welder and wonder how they work. I am sure there is a lot of opinion out there and I don't want to start a controversy but am interested in a recommendation. Welding aluminum would be the coolest, but even if it was just steel would be ok too. I see 115v welders at Menard's and the HD. What's the deal with them? I don't have 220v in my garage so that's not an option for me.

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Loggerhead Mike
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Joined: 29 Aug 2008, 09:29
Location: franklin, nc

Want to get a small welder

Post by Loggerhead Mike »

ive got a miller mig. its one of the smaller ones but i havent came across anything it couldnt weld. stap'd it and the tank to an old mac tool cart and its a breeze to move wherever

you can buy the spool gun and gas to weld aluminum w/ it


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Want to get a small welder

Post by bassboy1 »

Can you get 220 out there at all? That will really open up some capabilities. Trying to do much of anything aluminum with a 115 volt machine is probably more of an exercise in futility than anything else. It will kinda sorta work on certain things, but once you get the opportunity to try both, you'll understand the difference.

Also, a 115 volt machine is going to be somewhat limiting on thicker steel. For light tubing and all, it would be fine, but realistically you aren't going to get much more than 1/8 steel out of most 115 volt machines, running solid wire and shielding gas (flux core will get you above that, but who wants to run that stuff in the shop - it is an excellent process, and has it's purpose, but for in the shop work, it isn't necessarily ideal). Sure the machines claim on the box the capabilities, but when you start looking at the fine print (that isn't necessarily included in the box), you'll see the conditions at which these test welds were done. Let's just say they aren't normal operating conditions. You wanna have a little fun, start emailing Lincoln and Miller about that. If they respond, the answers they give answer every question but the one asked.

If you could get 230 voltage, something like the Millermatic 211 is an excellent machine. Has 115 and 230 volt capabilities (115 at a lower output rating), direct hook up to a decent spoolgun, pretty decent power size, etc. I think the Hobart 210 series (could be 210, or 211, don't remember) is probably a similar machine, with a lower price tag. I would imagine it would be fine for hobby use.

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