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Author Topic: MIG Welder, what to look for?  (Read 782 times)

glort

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MIG Welder, what to look for?
« on: May 11, 2019, 08:16:35 AM »

For the first time in 3.5 years, I got enough motivation today to build a new burner.

 I love welding but the old machine has spat the dummy on the wire feed side and the erratic delivery of the wire had everything looking like Bird shit.
I could not get it right and I know the gun and the feed mechanism is buggered so not surprised.
Mrs came home unbeknown and heard and saw my frustration and has insisted i buy a new machine before I really loose the plot.

Just wondering what the knowledgeable here recommend as features to look for?
I don't need a big machine, most of what I do is light  but I want something decent, gasless and with a torch i can easy get parts for like tips.

I also saw on flea bay they have spool guns which look like I could hook them up to my old machine. It has the hard wired rather than the bayonet connections for the torch. Given it just seems all the wire feed side is stuffed but the rest is OK on my old one, I was wondering if I could just get one of those and resurrect the old girl?

I still want a better new machine, I bought this one cheap about 25 years ago as a get me by and i couldn't count how much welding I have done with it. I wouldn't think 100 spools  of 1Kg wire was out of place. I usually keep 2 in the cupboard cause when I use it, I use it a lot. 

The other question is would a TIG be worth it?  I know I'd have to buy gas which would be a pain and I have had no trouble with gasless welding but any great advantage I might use with a TIG?  No plans to do ally in the foreseeable future.

ajaffa1

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2019, 09:37:17 AM »
Hi Glort, my only advice is to bit the bullet and pay good money for a welder that will do everything you want it to do. I regularly borrow a welder from one of my neighbors, I`m too mean and poor to buy my own.  :laugh:

The machine he has will do stick welding, Mig welding and Tig welding to around 180 amps, I should be seeing him tomorrow and will ask him for the make and model.

Bob

LowGear

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2019, 01:16:30 PM »
Hi glort,

I don't know squat about welders but I do know a great neighbor when I hear about one.  You might consider moving closer to Bob.  I hope his neighbor enjoys the complimentary lunches or getting his lawn mowed.

Welders and wire rust beyond belief here in Hawaii.  There are few things that feel better than running a good bead.  And few things that can cause the pistol to go off faster than an erratic piece of crap welder screwing with that near Zen flow of energy.

I'm with Bob on spending a couple of extra bucks and getting the unit you want and will use.  You'd being doing your partner a favor - really!  Not quite a "I'm doing this for you, Honey" but still a favor.

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glort

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2019, 01:26:21 PM »

As much as a tight arse as I am, I'm not going to skimp on this buy.  You are right Casey, running a good bead is very satisfying and i can do it well on my fathers machine and I could on this one but today was disappointing and frustrating. Just too many things wrong now for it to work right.

Just wondering if there are particular things I should look for?
One thing I might pay attention to is a dial for power settings. The old one has 3 switches with 2 settings on each one and it's often frustrating to find the right setting for power. Of course every time you change them you have to change the wire speed again. That's always been a drawback with this machine.
You would think 6 settings would be enough and it is, just flipping the switch combos to find it isn't always easy or fast.  maybe I should have just rewired the panel with a rotary switch.

A friend of Mine has one of those multi Function machines. I think from memory it does TIG, MIG and Plasma Cutting. Might  do  stick as well. I did use in many years ago when it was pretty new for the plasma Function and it was VERY good.  He was using it for TIG but it didn't have a pedal which the time I tried to tig with it I found awkward.

oldgoat

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2019, 01:46:28 PM »
Putting a new liner might make all the difference to the feed problem. I have a Lincoln with the 6 settings as well as a lot of other bells and whistles and you still have to adjust the wire feed on every setting.

glort

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2019, 02:54:20 PM »

The liner has come out of the fitting in the gun which isn't good but the drive rollers are iffy as well.
always a dodgy setup I thought but it has worked but is a pain in the arse to thread new wire that's for sure.  Thats why I was wondering about a Spool gun,
Has everything that's dodgy on this welder built in and would just use the thing as the power supply.

I think I can get another cheapo regular Gun for about $0 which i'll try but I still want a new machine that has better power supply and frequency as well.
My fathers is a good unit and the difference in his and mine is chalk and cheese feed issues aside.

It's something I get enough use and pleasure out of to justify getting a decent machine I like using instead of the all I could afford at the time one I should have upgraded years ago.

Then again, I'll probably put a new Torch on the thing and love it.

38ac

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2019, 05:07:55 PM »
 MIG and gassless is not possible, but appearantly you are one to call all wire fed processes MIG? The flux core process is. FCAW .  Technicalities aside I have never in my life seen cheap and good go together as pertaining to a welder. Realize that I made my living welding for 15 years and I am a bit of a nut about quality tools so my opinion of shop tools is very canted, especially welders. I have a Miller 252 in the shop for wire fed processes and. 300 amp Miller for stick,and TIG.  Parts and piexes for the torch and guns are everywhere and cheap. All that being said if you were satisfied all these years with a shitbox welder why go to any extra expense now? Buy another cheapo and be happy another 25?
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glort

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2019, 05:15:26 PM »
MIG and gassless is not possible, but appearantly you are one to call all wire fed processes MIG?All that being said if you were satisfied all these years with a shitbox welder why go to any extra expense now? Buy another cheapo and be happy another 25?

Thanks for that very helpful post Butch even though I seem to have caught you at the wrong time of the month.

38ac

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2019, 06:31:38 PM »
 I don't get the reason for your sarcasm?  A MIG welder is not a intershield wire welder that is simply a fact that you or anyone esle can fact check with an internet search or a trip to a real welding supply shop. Helps when shopping to use the right name but suit yourself
 The other statement is my way of saying why change at this stage of the game when you have been satisfied using low quality machinery for this long until it became unusable?

I am no challanger to your kingmanship here I could give a rats rear about it.
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mikenash

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2019, 07:15:40 PM »
Google "BOC"

I think they're Australian anyway.  They'll have a branch in every decent-sized city

Buy a medium quality wire-feed MIG with auto gas-feed/wire feed combined adjustment

Put up with a bit of annoyance while you learn to use it

Consumables like liners, tips, sheilds are on the shelf at BOC & are cheap

I have a $2400 one at work does everything from light stuff to 12mm wall pipe

For out-in-the-paddock or funny-metal stuff I have one of their 180A portable stick welders - will run 4mm OK.  Cost about $500

Got about ten years out of the last stick welder and have had the MIG for maybe six so far without problems.  Biggest issue with it is stopping the "boys" at work adjusting things and buggering it up

Just be aware the MIG won't put up with welding galvanised stuff as the stick will - you'll have to get it really clean

Buy an aerosol can of anti-spatter while you are there

My $0.02

Johndoh

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2019, 09:08:01 PM »
We have BOC in Ireland as well its British oxygen company
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38ac

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2019, 09:44:27 PM »
 BOC used to be in the states also. Then Linde either purchased BOC or the other way around and all what used to be BOC here was renamed Linde. As you said BOC/Linde keeps consumables around for whatever they sell.  Miller makes some very low priced wire feeders and they use pretty much the same wear parts as all the others, that means the buyer will always be able,to keep it going either with OEM parts or China knock off parts on EBay.
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ajaffa1

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2019, 11:43:42 PM »
One of the biggest problems with all welding equipment is the rental contract on the gas bottles, oxygen, acetylene and argon. Here in Grafton the only supplier is BOC so they can charge what they like. In an effort to avoid these costs I have experimented with gasless mig where the welding wire contains a flux. Takes a bit of getting used to but gives good results and you are never going to run out of gas again.

GasWeld used to sell welding equipment with small gas bottles you could buy rather than hire. These could be swapped out when empty just as you would with the LPG bottle on your barbecue. Might be worth a look if there is a GasWeld near you.

Bob

38ac

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2019, 11:59:44 PM »
That's a fact in most places here also Bob, locally we have a bit of competition here and we have the option of owning the tanks.  What has gotten real high is acetylene gas. Next time I run out I am switching to propane.
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mikenash

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Re: MIG Welder, what to look for?
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2019, 12:28:38 AM »
Yeah, I have LPG/oxy in the cutting plant at work - heaps cheaper

BOC is expensive for the gas hire if you don't use it much?  In response to that the local NZ Safety engineering place here does an own-your-own bottle system.  I guess you'll find one anywhere for shield gas