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Mig Welder Suggestion

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.lawnsite.com/buttons/jump.php?i' started by Fierospeeder, Apr 30, 2001.

  1. Fierospeeder

    Fierospeeder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    Im looking into buying the sears craftsman mig welder thats selling for 500 bucks and can weld up to 1/4". My purpose is for bodywork and light fabrications. I was wondering if anyone has experience with the sears welder, i know they do sell a cheaper version for 300 dollars. I like this one because it runs on 120, my parents didn't want to spend a fortune in running 220 in the garage "cause were moving??" but we did have work done in the garage for me to have two 120 lines.
    Also the duty cycle is longer then the cheaper version and it welds up to 1/4 with one pass which however i haven't seen with other welders.

    I did buy a spotwelder on ebay for some of the welding of my beetle project, its a miller and uses standard 120v. It has two copper rods that are squeezed together where the weld is going to be. I know in the restoration of the beetle it is used in a lot of places but i do need the mig. Only disadvantage is the high cost.

  2. Alan

    Alan Member
    Messages: 1,185

    Stay away from Crapsman!! They over rate their stuff terribly. There's no magic involved in any of this stuff, you are only going to get so much output from any given power supply. Assuming 20 amp input at 120 volts and 24 volt output the most you could get would be 100 amps on the wire. Now maybe with real good joint preparation you could do 1/4" in one pass but I doubt it. You would have to do some pretty creative weaving to get a decent joint, if you could do it at all. I've got a Millermatic 130, which is a pretty good machine, but it's not capable of 1/4" plate welds in one pass. The highest voltage setting just isn;t practical for use, the arc gets wierd when you start pushing the limits like that. Look at Lincoln or Miller, but for your own sake don't buy Crapsman!
  3. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Regardless of which brand you buy, I would be hesitant to use any 120 volt MIG machine for 1/4" material, particularly structural welds.

    Alan's right about "maxing out" these little MIG machines: the "maximum" numbers that they advertise are a lot like capacity ratings for mobile cranes: technically true but somewhat misleading. We have a boom truck at my work which is rated for 4-ton capacity. By the load chart, that's at 5 feet from centreline of rotation. The truck deck is 8 feet wide, so that means it will lift 4 tons at 1 foot out from the side of the truck! Sure it will LIFT the 4 tons, but you can't do much else with it! The small MIG machine WILL put out the amps it says it will, but it's a little difficult to do much useful work at that setting. As well, it will wear out the machine a lot faster.

    I have a Lincoln SP-100 MIG (120 volt) in my home workshop, I use CO2 and .023 wire. Great for body tin, and anything up to about 1/8" thick. Any heavier, I go to the stick machine.

    For doing the work on your Beetle, a good 120 volt MIG will be an excellent tool. For fabricating work, either a 220 MIG or stick welder is suitable. Although the initial cost will be higher, a decent 220 volt MIG would make a good all-around machine based on the intended uses you mention.

    Just my $.02 (Canadian - works out to about $.01 US!)
  4. Fierospeeder

    Fierospeeder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    im probably gonna get the lincoln welder then,

    the lincoln weldpack 100 and get the mig gas conversion kit later on. I was thinking on getting this before the sears idea. I seen the welder at home depot a lot cheaper then what the welder is selling for in my catalogs.

    lincoln also says it will weld up to 1/4" with flux core wire in multiple passes, im probably not gonna weld that thick doing sheetmetal work 90% of the time.

    the sears welder is rated at 150 amps, thats why i was thinking the sears was a better choice when lincoln rates at 125 amps.

    thanks u guys
  5. Alan

    Alan Member
    Messages: 1,185

    I use flux cored wire almost exclusively in my little Miller. I don't remember what brand but it's .030 wire. It seems to dig in wellif you have some surface contamination. I tend to think of it as 6011 on a spool. It might be a bit brittle, but it seems to be at least as good as 6011 in that respect, maybe a little better. Slag comes off easily for multiple passes and it has a LOT less tendency to cold lap than hard wire does.
  6. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    This is drifting a little off the MIG topic (I'm referring to stick welding in this post), but you're right about 6011 Alan - it's really good at "cutting through" dirt & other surface contaminants.

    In the course of my job I work on a lot of things like loader buckets, snowplows, and quarry equipment. Often I have to deal with rust/dirt/limestone dust etc on whatever I'm repairing. It isn't always feasible to grind the area clean (In cases where there are 2 layers of material with dirt trapped between them there's no way to get in to grind at all) so I often run a 6011 "dirt pass" first, then finish up with 7018.
  7. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 712

    If you don't have a welding equipment and supply dealer near you, try Northern Tool and Equipment. They have lots to choose from, and their prices are pretty good also.

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