for the guys who weld themselves

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by stircrazy, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. My welder was ripped off from my storage locker while I was selling my house so I need to replace it. It was a sweet 230 am AC/DC +/- stick.

    I noticed a few people on here are using a mig for ther builds, is that because it is what you have or do you prefer it over a stick? and if so why?

    I was thinking of getting a stick/tig combo, but not sure if I want to spend that much money.

  2. zapper

    zapper Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Check out

    it is a pretty good site as far as being user freindly and explaining the advantages of different processes or types of welding

    I say that what it boils down to is that MIG is as about as simple as it gets for laying a bead. You can use a self sheilding wire or add a bottle of sheilding gas to non sheilded wire and get a clean slag free weld.

    Buy as big a machine as you can afford even if you need to partner up with somebody. You will just about always be able to step down to thinner material welding with a big machine but stepping up to thicker with a little machine is difficult

    There are several homeowner/hobbist 110V machines that will weld 3/16" but you just about have to step up to a 220 rig to go thicker (Single pass)

    Look at the option/capibilities to add on welding with Stainless wire or adding on a Spoolgun for aluminum later down the road

    As far as stick TIG combos go I have an old Econo TIG, I don't know if it is the machine or me but the TIG is too hot for as thin as I was hoping to be able to weld. TIG has its uses but many of them can be overcome with MIG

    In the perfect world I would get a large multi process machine and add a wirefeeder for 90% of what I do. Save the stick welding for rusty jobs and big fills, use a spoolgun for aluminum and just have a TIG to play with when I want to be mesmerized puddeling metal

    My biggest problem, after lack of money, is that I don't weld often enough to stay in good form. About the time that I finish a little project I get back into the groove and start to lay good beads and by then it isn't fun any more, it is just another job.[​IMG]
  3. ya, I have been stick welding for about 20 years now, and played with tig a bit, and I use a mig all the time, but only for tacking then I go over it with the stick. mostly as it was my buddys 110 mig and not realy good for anything other than sheet metal and tacking.

    I like tig for thin stuff, and for when you want a pretty weld.

    so I am going to get a stick for sure, just trying to figure out if it is worth getting a multi process that will do all 3?

    My Dad who has welded all his life thinks I am nuts and just get a stick again as there is nothing you can't do with a stick..

  4. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I've made a living for 20+ years welding. Welders have come so far over that past 20 years it's unreal. Each of them have their place, that's for sure.
    If I had to pick only one, it would be hands down, a MIG on gas. TIG is great but its slow, and any decent MIG in the right hands can lay a bead that rivals that of a TIG. TIG does have it's place such as motorcycle frames and other areas where penetration is crucial. Stick was known for penetration, but that rule really does not apply as much these days as it did years ago, unless your talking about specialized welding. MIG seems to be the all purpose do all set-up and for anyone who welds in their garage or shop, it can't be beat for ease of use, economics and output. Continuous welds, provided you have a 100% duty cycle, no sticks to change, no slag to chip, can weld ultra thin if you know how to do it and thick with multiple passes. And the ability to weld both aluminum and stainless.
    In my own opinion, today's MIG's are a great choice.
  5. the iceman

    the iceman Smoking Fanatic

    I've got both stick & wire fed. I tend to use the wire fed for most things.

    Once you decide what you want you may want to check out these guys...
    They seem to have some decent prices.
  6. erain

    erain Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    the new wirefeeds are awesome, we do a ton of welding at our repair shop here in minnesota... from re-arching trailers to heavy repair welding and aluminum welding. dont know if i could go back to a stick, at least not for general purpose welding. yes there are spots where a stick is better but those spots are far and few inbetween. nice job doing research before ya buy!!![​IMG]
  7. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    for all around home use and small shop mig is the way to go.
    like zapper said miller has got alot of good info on there site.
    check out the mm 211 its a get it all done machine for most of us
  8. dirt guy

    dirt guy Smoking Fanatic

    Most here would be best served by a medium-sized mig welder (220) on gas. It offers the easiest, cleanest and cheapest welding available. Even the most inexperienced can weld well and have good looking welds.

    I have a Lincoln Ranger for remote welding, a 500 amp Miller in the shop, and a mid-range Lincoln mig. They are assisted by a plasma cutter and an oxy/acetelyne rig.

    I most enjoy gas welding, it's a dying art form. I usually don't have the time or am welding thicker pieces than what gas welding is capable of.

    I gues that was a long way to say if I were in your shoes, I'd be buying a mig/gas rig.[​IMG]
  9. I have been selling welding supplies for 18 years now, and I stongly recommend the MillerMatic 211 using argon/co2 gas. It is a MIG Welder that can be powered by 110v or 230v, it comes with both plugs. When powered by 110v, it will weld 3/16" thick material in a single pass. When powered by 230v, it will weld 3/8" thick material in a single pass. The machine comes as a package with everything you need except a cylinder of sheilding gas.

    You can pick one up at your local welding supply store for about $1000.

    If you want somethig a little less expensive, I recommend the MillerMatic 140. It is powered by 110v and will weld 3/16" thick material in a single pass. They are around $700.

    Whatever you decide to do, buy either a Miller or Lincoln machine. There are alot of cheaper brands out there, but you get what you pay for.

    I bought my Lincoln 125 MIG in 1994 and I have never had any problems with it.

    Hope this helps.
  10. zapper

    zapper Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    We just got a Miller 211 at work after "loosing" a 145 to the local theives. I wished we had a smaller wire to push through it to help me out welding a 18 gauge door jamb the other day. Could be my lack of practice and weld speed that gives me fits trying to weld thin stock. It is only like a 20% duty cycle machine though (I think) so long heavy beads could be a problem.

    A little tip for stick welders is to try some "MG 500" rods. I think they are 60 series (could be wrong it has been awhile) I have heard them called "Maintainence Rods" and they are a little pricey actually I think they may be high as hell but they are like idiot proof. If you can strike an arc and keep it going, the rod just about does the rest. Even the slag will curl off by itself on a good bead. I think Grainger used to have them and I think I have got them at Pye Barker and other welding suppliers.
  11. soarkrebel

    soarkrebel Fire Starter

    I have both a Mig and Stick. I have a Miller 210 and love it.
    I have a Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC as well but I use the 210 a lot more then the stick.
    Speed and easier all the way around.
    I started off with a cheap Century 110 unit and I enjoyed it but wasn't anything compared to Miller.
    You get what you pay for and a Miller or a Lincoln will last a lifetime.
  12. Ok, so I found a place today that refurbishes welders and sells them. they have a millermatic DVI that they put a new drive motor in and redid the drive wheels and are putting a new power switch in (they had an emergency repair and took the one out of it so they could get some one else up and running.

    so after talking a bit, I can get it for 800cdn, and they were a 2000.00+ unit new.

    anyone have experiance with these units?

  13. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Never used one, but have seen them. Should handle anything you throw at it, within reason of course[​IMG]. 800 sounds like a good price. I don't think you would regret getting it. Once you go mig, you never go back LOL.
  14. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    800 for a dvi is in the ball park but i would go up a notch to the 211 and have a 3 year warrenty. i have welded with both these machines & both run well.
  15. ya, I looked at that but the problem is up here the 211 is about 1500.00 so a little out of my range. I am going to go get the DVI this morning.

  16. zapper

    zapper Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I would have to research it, but I doubt that you could find a current model or equivalent for the same money. The problem is that any current model is gonna have just a little more of something either amps, knobs, gauges, do hickies or whatever, to make a real comparison harder. And then you will go nuts trying to figure out what you want. (Happens to me every time)

    Maybe not quite a steal, maybe you could find better on e-bay or craigs list or elsewhere. But not a bad deal either.

    Not much help am I?

    I sure am glad I ain't the one doing the shopping.

    I don't think that any working Miller would be a bad buy
  17. silverwolf636

    silverwolf636 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I've been welding for 30+ years. I have a friend that owns a welding supply store and sold this to me: Lincoln 140c. I learned on stick but thru the years got into MIG. Being old school, I had it embedded in my head that if it isn't at least 220v it ain't goin to cut it. I couldn't have been more wrong. Well after getting this, I found out different. I've used this thing for -alot- around the house. I've beefed up my Jeep frame, built smokers, welded crack lawn mower frames and decks, it does everything I need here. If I ran into something that was too heavy for the welder, I would preheat. You can also get the alum whip for this. You may want to check out the duty cycle though.

    Just my 2 cents worth...

  18. did I mention it was 800 CDN, and it has a 400 amp bernard 15 foot gun instead of the original 10 foot m10 they came with.

    anyways told them I would buy it and I picked up a 120 cuft bottle and a reg yesterday as well as a 10lb spool of 030, 3 .030 tips, 3 .035 tips, two new shrouds, some new golves (mine are kinda ratty) some nozzle gel, and a magnetic gun holder (always wanted one of them [​IMG])

    I should be able to pick the unit up on monday, so then I will have to start looking for some steel to turn into something.

  19. dirt guy

    dirt guy Smoking Fanatic

    Congrats on the purchase, Steve. I look forward to some awesome builds from you!
  20. ya, 99% of my experiances is sticking, but I used little migs for tacking. I was going to get a new stick and a little mig like that as a set, then I would have had tig, mig, and stick, but the bugget couldn't take the price of a tig/stick combo or to buy a stick and a mig, so I wanted to get one welder that would do anything I can throw at it (well at least what my old stick would have done). this dvi will run off 220 or 110 so I can take it with me somewhere, and it will do 3/8 on a single pass. and anything under 120 amps is a 100% duty cycle


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