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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: January 12, 2018, 2:56 pm 
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Joined: February 9, 2016, 8:46 am
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Location: New Jersey
From a theoretical standpoint, all of the above is true. From a "I've been down this road before" standpoint, your mileage may vary. I know many have had good luck with the cheaper, off brand machines. I also know people that have had, er "issues" with name brand equipment. What it comes down to is, buy the best you can afford, and preferably a name brand unit. If only because if it does have problems, you have someone to go to for service and parts, and the warranty does mean something. After that, the issue of 110 / 240 is again a matter of do you need it, do you THINK you may need it, and can you afford it, and can you power it. I can say for our shop (43 years+), other than one Westinghouse 300A shop machine (bought used, lasted another 25 years), a Lincoln Power Mig 350 (Decent welder, but a REAL pain in the arse to set up / dial in), and a RediArc Gas driven machine (NO ONE liked how that pos welded), all of our equipment has been Miller, and moving forward, I don't think I would buy anything else. Currently running a pair of Synchrowave 300's, a Synchrowave 250, a 32 year old Millermatic 200, and a Miller XMT 304 w/ spool gun.

I think it would be beneficial if you post what you do eventually buy, and your experience with it so those that follow have some real world information on your experience, what ever you decide to buy.

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PostPosted: January 12, 2018, 3:40 pm 
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Joined: May 27, 2006, 9:46 pm
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Location: BC, Canada. eh?
From the ease-of-use & setup perspective, I do recommend the Miller 190 with AutoSet. Setup simply doesn't get easier than that. Switch it to auto, dial the thickness of the material you're welding, and it does the rest. It automatically adjusts the power & wire feed speed, and it seems to do so remarkably well. I bought mine a year or two ago, and I've never taken it off "auto".

The fit, finish, design and build construction are truly outstanding, which pretty much explains why Miller is more or less the industry standard. The 190 is, however, a 220V-only machine.

BTW, the current crop of Miller machines also allow the use of a plug-'n-play spool gun for aluminum & stainless welding...

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PostPosted: January 13, 2018, 6:12 pm 
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Joined: November 9, 2007, 3:40 pm
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Location: Fort Worth, TX
nick47 wrote:
He brought it back with a giant spool of .030 wire loaded up. Turned out to make much better welds. I wouldn't go back to .023 now.


I don't have exact numbers as to where to switch but thicker wire carries more current into the parent material before melting. If you're dealing with something very thin it isn't desirable but I'd agree that it typically works out better. FWIW the chart on my welder says to turn down wire speed and heat about one step for each increase in wire diameter size.

I'm a fan of keeping 0.030" in the machine for typical automotive stuff - only bother with the thin stuff when I'm consistently dealing with less than ~20 gauge.

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PostPosted: January 14, 2018, 2:50 pm 
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Joined: January 31, 2012, 12:49 pm
Posts: 1483
Location: Louisville KY
Helpful buying tip --

Make sure your welder either comes set up for various wire sizes, or that you can get the parts for various sizes.

My Hobart wasn't set up (drive roll traction roller wire feed thingy) for a size that I wanted, and only then did I discover that Northern Tool (where I bought it) didn't have any parts beyond welding tips. My salvation was that the Hobart has a ton of common parts with a Miller, and the Miller ecosystem is considerable.

I know that HF doesn't tend to carry repair / upgrade parts for its stuff either (at least not for things like their drill press?).

Just a thought.

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