Welders and welding

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BigMike
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Welders and welding

Post by BigMike »

As some of you know I work for an industrial gases company and a large part of our business is selling welders and welding supplies. Tom Scott asked via PM if I could help him with selection of a welder for his shop and I said I would be glad to. Let me start by saying I do weld in my own shop but have never welded for a living or even for pay so I am by no means an expert. Tom also mentioned it would be an interesting discussion if we had a thread on melting metal so I'll kick it off with an answer for Toms question.
Toms said he would like to be able to weld up to 1/4" steel, and maybe some aluminum and cast iron. Steel is easy and fairly inexpensive. Mig has the advantage that it is fast, versatile and relatively easy to learn. Stick is slower and has a steeper learning curve but has the advantage of no need for shielding gas so can be done outside or in windy conditions. To Mig 1/4" steel requires the need for 240 volt primary power........110 volt is generally only recommended up to 3/16". Stick can range from 18 gauge an almost unlimited thickness.
My suggestion to Tom would be a Millermatic 211. The 211 has the ability to weld from 20 gauge to 3/8" in a single pass, can run on 110 or 240 power, is fairly portable(weighs about 85 lbs) and can run either gas shielded wire or flux core. We sell the 211 for around 1100.00 to 1150.00. Hobart makes the Handler 210 which is a very similar machine just less bells and whistles. I don't have access to sell Hobart so it would take a web search for pricing.
Tom also mentioned that he would like to have a stick machine. I think the best money spent here is on an older Miller Dialarc and Lincoln Idealarc, AC/DC would be best if you can find one. I have seen these bought for anywhere from a few hundred up to 6 or 800.00 depending on condition and leads.
Aluminum is a toughy. To Mig aluminum you "almost" have to have a spool gun and Mig is too hot for thin material and it takes a fair amount of horsepower for thicker. I usually tell my customers if they are only going to weld aluminum once in a while pay someone with a Tig machine.
Cast iron works ok with stick or can be done with Mig but the last roll of CI wire I sold was over 400.00 for 10 lbs. Brazing also works for CI.
I did not mention the Asian brands because my personal opinion is the money is better spent on a used American unit or keep saving until you can buy the unit you want. I also did not mention new Lincoln equipment as I will not sell their equipment because of their business morals....which suck! There are some other lesser known brands out there that make fine equipment but my experience has been that if it's not Blue, Red or Gray people don't want to take the chance.

I hope this helps......I am sure I am missing some major points so bring them up and I will address them the best I can.
Lastly I know I appear to be a tool snob and I don't mean to but I have to admit.......I am. I by no means judging anyone that has different expiriences than I have.
I'll stop wandering like a drunken sailor and just hit submit :lol:

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Tom Scott
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by Tom Scott »

Mike - Thanks! Your answers make sense, and you saved me a bunch of Googling!

I thought a sticky for welding questions and projects would be a good thing for the Coffee Shop. We can have people like Mike guide people like me that are less experienced at welding. Maybe if Mike or someone else that is good has a job they are doing they can show us some of the important steps like joint prep, alloy choice, etc.
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SWilliams
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by SWilliams »

Tom, Welding is fun...

For a LOT of help take a look at
https://www.youtube.com/user/weldingtipsandtricks - Jody knows his stuff.

https://www.youtube.com/user/ChuckE2009
has some good info in the later videos.

Every process has it's strong/weak points. For a new weldor, MIG is by far the easiest to learn. Stick then TIG. If you know how to gas weld then TIG becomes a LOT easier.
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EricR
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by EricR »

BigMike, I too work in the same field as you (I'm an O2 filler) and you are in my thinking 100% correct on your post. I have an older Miller 210 but the newer stuff I just the cats rear end lol.

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Tom Scott
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by Tom Scott »

Steve - Thanks, I will check them out.

I learned on TIG in a shop many years ago and have done a bit of stick as well. Have never tried MIG.

I no longer work in a shop environment. The only welder I have now is a cheap Crapsman 100A AC stick, and it is frustrating after using real machines in the past. I have made some good welds with it, and I have ground more than a few out and started over too... :oops:

For a number of years I worked directly with ironworkers everyday, so I have been exposed to much of the important part of joint prep and proper tacking, etc.

So, I have some background, but want to start scanning CL for a better machine. Just torn on a better stick machine (with DC for sure) or a MIG. The MIG is probably the most useful, but I feel like having a decent stick machine is like a right of passage, just gotta have one! :lol:
2135, (at parent's)
1872, 46", 50C decks, Haban dozer blade, 450 snow blower
2182-1, Kwik-Way Loader, 3-pt & rear pto, 442 tiller
2182-2, 54" deck, 551 snow blower
<><

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Tom Scott
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by Tom Scott »

Oh, BTW, Steve did not make a typo, he knows his old school terminology...

Spelled differently to differentiate between man and machine:

Welder: The welding machine itself.
Weldor: The operator of the machine.

I'm not sure if this designation has fallen out of use, but I first read it in a LIncoln welding book. Made the written paragraph much easier to follow, no guessing if the noun was referring to man or machine.
:beer:
2135, (at parent's)
1872, 46", 50C decks, Haban dozer blade, 450 snow blower
2182-1, Kwik-Way Loader, 3-pt & rear pto, 442 tiller
2182-2, 54" deck, 551 snow blower
<><

9803412
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by 9803412 »

Big Mike
Well done on the write up about welders. I have a Miller 175 mig that I've owned for about 10 years great machine. I also agree when it comes to aluminum it's not worth the $$$ to have the equipment to do it yourself. Well done write up!

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BigMike
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by BigMike »

Thanks guys, glad I could help.

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dag1450
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by dag1450 »

Good info there Mike! I have Stick welder and have found a good muti purpose rod for the stuff i mess around with. I saw these at sears the other day and says right on the package good for "buzz boxes. Maybe some one could clarify what a buzz box is and does. What is nice about these little packs of rods is it not big money to try different sticks. One thing i did find strange.....no real # like traditional rods ?
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by SWilliams »

Buzz box is the nickname for an A/C stick machine because it tends to buzz while welding. The machine that earned the name was the old Lincoln tombstone machine.

Those are "US Forge" branded Eutectic Corporation electrodes, not the normal number series rods. They are basically sold as a easy to select and use rods. Just select the usage and grab a rod.
Eutectic makes a LOT of specialty welding stuff, all VERY good.

http://www.castolin.com/en-US
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BigMike
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by BigMike »

That is interesting Steve, I would have never guessed those being Eutectic.
We sold US Forge when I worked at the hardware store. I used the cast iron rod and it worked very well.

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Merk
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by Merk »

I'm been looking at a Lincoln 180 dual mig welder.
Is this a good welder?
Anyone have this welder?

I'm trying to find a welder to do anything from body panels to 3/8 thick steel.

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BigMike
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by BigMike »

Merk, as you probably saw in my initial post I don't have anything to add on the Lincoln but I have sold a fair number of Millermatic 211s and have not have one person have an issue. I even sold one to a major RR for field use and I figured it would last a few months, its a year and a half later and the guy still is using it for the purpose they bought it for.
I would not turn away from the Hobart Handler 210MVP either.....very similar machine to the Miller, tap voltage instead of variable is the main difference.
I have 3 small Lincoln migs and all have given me flawless service considering their heritage(one was pulled from a dumpster when given up for dead) so even though I don't have hands on expirience I would doubt you would be anything but happy with the Dualmig 180.

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Jeff in Pa
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by Jeff in Pa »

Mike, maybe you can help me out. This past Saturday I purchased a Hobart Combo AC/DC welder ( AC/DC stick, TIG and plasma cutter )

Here's the picture from the CL ad
Image

info plate
Image

Any chance you know where to get a manual? I have emailed Hobart but no response.

let me know if you need any other info
Thanks
Jeff
125 & 125 with hydraulic lift

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BigMike
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by BigMike »

Jeff, not sure if you saw this but I posted this on OWWM,

"Jeff, I don't remember the specifics but when Hobart sold the lower end machines went to ITW(Millers parent co.) and the higher amp machines went to Thermal Arc(Thermadyne then Victor Technologies now Victor/ESAB).
Hobart is in Troy Oh and if they have anything are great to deal with. If Thermal Arc got it it's a crap shoot."

I called Hobart and it had in fact gone to Thermal Arc. I called Thermal Arc and they have nothing. It seems that what ever they took over they immediately discontinued or discarded.
Looks like your best hope is someone will have a copy.
You may ask on welding web too.

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Jeff in Pa
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by Jeff in Pa »

Thanks Mike. I did see your post but didn't realize it was the same "Big Mike".

I attempted to join the Hobart welding forum ( WeldTalk ) last Saturday but still haven't heard anything back from them.

Jeff
125 & 125 with hydraulic lift

LFR
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by LFR »

My dad just bought a hobart 210 mvp for the shop. Shelled 900$ for it but It's awesome. It welded a new d ring on a loader bucket no problem at all. We only have flux core but it sure laid a decent bead for a newbie. I'm better than my dad! He breaks it and I fix it. We got a welding cart and a auto darkening shield and it is awesome
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by DaveKamp »

Hey Guys-

Sorry I haven't been around much (time flies when we're having kids) I've been doing a lousy job of keeping up with the forums, and frankly, not so great at keeping up with all the projects at home, but that happens with work and family...

Anyway, on the subject of welders... I believe the HOBART shown above, MAY have been made by some other, and most likely much newer than it looks, probably solid-state SCR type output control... so look through all the common industrial multi-process machines of the '80's, you may find a match, and if so, the internals will be likely be identical. Some manufacturers opted to augment their lines with models larger or smaller than their bailywick, and did so by 'brand engineering'... Airco was mostly brand-engineered...

As for good welders, one need not dispense large volumes of cash to get a really good welding supply- if you want a serious-duty stick or MIG system, but don't have a big budget, look to older industrial three-phase machines, and then do a web-search to see if anyone has converted them to operate on single-phase power... many can be, and most can have every bit of the original design output, and in all cases, an industrial-grade machine will stomp a commercial/consumer grade for duty cycle and durability.
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by vince_o »

Hey Mike I keep getting this add poping up on my FB page. What do you think about this for real thin stuff? My ranger is still running fine incase I want to build a building or a bridge some day. Well with in my price range
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BigMike
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by BigMike »

Vince, I believe that is the same machine we sell under the Real Gear name. It is an Asian built copy of a Lincoln SP-135. Good machine for 300.00 understanding its 1/8" limit.

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Re: Welders and welding

Post by Jlaws »

Mike , I know your welding guru and I usually wouldn't contradict you but I've got a Lincoln SP-135 and they'll weld up to 1/4 with good penetration .
I see a lot of cub cadets while going down the tracks , its a shame I can't pull over and ask about them .

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Re: Welders and welding

Post by vince_o »

I just need someone small for like hoods fenders, puild up a clutch disk slot, ect. I never could get that hobart to work right. It would weld good, but for some reason it would keep bird nesting at the feed spool.
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by SWilliams »

Bird nesting into the liner or off the spool? Into the liner is usually that the drive rollers are either the wrong size for the wire or the tension is to high. If it's off the spool the spool tension is low.
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DaveKamp
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Re: Welders and welding

Post by DaveKamp »

This thread's been quiet for a while... I'll wake it up a bit...

I started my 'home shop' welding using a Lincoln 225 "tombstone buzz box"... and yeah, they buzz, but the reason they get the 'buzz box' name, is because they're AC output only... not even DC rectified, so they're very 'audible'.

This was augmented with the appearance of an 'original' Hobart Handler. At the time, it had no model 'number', because it was the ONLY "Handler". I believe they developed it originally as a portable wire-feed unit, and then figured out a power supply to put in. I used 0.035" gasless wire, and between these two, all my early Cub Cadet repairs and modifications, as well as many, many other pieces of metal modulation occurred. I discovered how much a guy could do with a cutting torch set, a four-inch grinder, a fist-full of wheels and wire brushes, and those two welders.

I'd had many opportunities to use other welding equipment, and when I got to college, I did some work as an intern where I had to cut coupons for the certification process... and in doing so, I also had to weld my own coupons. Seein's how I'd spent lots of time screwing up welds with a stick already, I was pretty handy with an electric arc... but after using the equipment in a manufacturing environment, I realized what the actual difference between a welder, and a SERIOUS welder is.

Duty cycle... the ability to take on a heavy task, and to stay on it, not stopping to rest and cool off. It was an awesome little machine to have around, portable, and would run on 120v... as long as I had a really good outlet and NO EXTENSION CORD.

I know every time I used my Hobart Handler, that I was exceeding it's duty cycle. I totally ignored it's ratings. Interestingly enough, I never burned it up. I had a diode and a couple of capacitors fry once, but an easy fix and it was back in operation again. What I DID notice though, as it got hot, it would get really weak. I noticed the Lincoln Ranger 8 in my company service truck would, too... and I saw it in other machines. Oftentimes, problems of weak-knees welders is a result of the leads, ground, parent metal, or electrode holder, but when it comes down to separating men from boys, the welding power supply is the utmost responsible for being a steadfast beast.

I wanted a serious welding supply... I wanted to dig a hole through 1/2" plate with a MIG wire, and same with a 7018 rod as big around as my little finger. Of course, MIG requires Constant Voltage design, and TIG and stick requires Constant Current. I also realized that (being prior to inverter-type machines) if you want a big power machine, you need big... and heavy. There's simply no replacement for ferrous displacement.

Over the years I've gathered up surplus machines... 3 phase stuff. Nobody wants it 'cause they don't have three phase, so I figured out a way to run 'em on single, and I took to posting the process. If you look at the welds in my project pictures, most of them were done either with ER-70S wire from a Miller CP-200 MIG supply with a 10A feeder that I got for $75 bucks, or with a 7018 rod and an SRH-333 I got for $50.00. Really... the wire, gas, and small parts cost more than the machines. The 333 is a beastly thing that won't suit your garage well, unless you've got a dry or oven you'd like to stack on top... but the CP-200... rolls around like any other 'non portable'.

IMO, there's only one thing that anything in the sub-$1000 class could do to beat the value in these converted machines... that's portability. Every other category simply cannot be beat.
Yes, I'm a Mad Scientist... but I'm usually happy, even when things ain't goin right.

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