Looking to purchase a welder. Need some help.

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Jun 24, 2008
Rochester NY
Ok, I'm looking to purchase a welder so I can get started on my build. I'll start by saying that I have absolutely NO experience with welding or welders. I know enough to sound intelligent in a conversation and that's about it.

I would really like to stick with 110v, I know 220 is better but I'd need to run it and I really have no where to run it to nor any use other than the welder.

All of my welding will be done outside. I just don't have the space to have one inside. I know gas sheilding is better but would flux core work well?

I'm looking for a welder big enough to weld 1/4" plate. I don't think I'll ever need to weld anything bigger than that.

Now, price is the big issue. I'd like to spend less than $200. Now obviously I'm talking used. So what I'm really looking for is a few make's/models that will fit my needs so that I can search Craigslist and Ebay.

Also, any thoughts on welder/plasma combos? I've seen a few around here. They're outside what I really want to spend BUT if I can get them both I might consider it.
I know I'll need to get used. My main question was if there are any models I should be looking for. Anything that may fall near that price range used. Or even what specs I may need to look for.

Also, can you explain what you mean by "with no experience you don't need cheap"? Do you mean I shouldn't get a cheap one or That I could go bigger, more advanced?
For $200. and under you can get a 110 flux core welder. Now there is a couple draw backs to the cheaper units. They come with a light duty cycle, IE short weld time before you must let the welder cool. And you will not be able to weld thicker then 1/8 inch steel in a single pass.  Another draw back to the flux core welders is the wire is more expensive.  I have used these units before and they are OK at best. I can turn out a much better bead with a shielded gas unit.  To weld 1/4 inch steel in 1 pass with a 110 flux core welder, the welder will cost around 500. 

Here is my take on buying a used welder. You have to be careful when buying one used as it could have hidden problems, unless you are buying from a dealer. If buying from Joe blow off the street you really need to use the welder to make sure it works correctly. Here is an example of what I am referring to. A friend of mine bought a welder off Craig's list for 300. He couldn't get it to work right, so asked me to look at it, as he knew I could weld. After I got the welder set up correctly, I couldn't run a bead longer then 18 to 24 inches with out it shutting down.  He took it to the dealer here and it would cost him another 800 to get it fixed.
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