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 Post subject: Mig welders
PostPosted: September 22, 2005, 4:11 pm 
Im going to purchase the welder im going to be using for my build and have a few questons.
Can i buy a gasless mig welder?
Which welders can i plug directly into the wall?
Should i buy used or new?
What other equipment will i have to buy? wire, spools, mask ect.

whats the total cost im looking at to get started?

All replys will be greatly appreciated


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PostPosted: September 22, 2005, 4:50 pm 
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Location: Charleston, WV
I have a Harbor Freight "Dual Mig" welder that can use flux core wire, or regular wire and gas. I have used it for the past couple years without any issues to speak of. It plugs right into the wall and runs on 110 household voltage. You can use flux core wire if you have to, but the welds are not nearly as clean and the spatter is much much worse. A weld done with gas looks almost polished and requires no finishing. The cost is a little more as you will have to buy a regulator and a bottle in addition to the welder. IMO it is well worth it.

Here is what I have in my setup, prices included.

HF Dual Mig welder- $170 (came with gloves and a hammer and spool of flux core wire)
Spool of carbon steel wire- $6
Gas regulator- $80
Gas bottle- $60 (costs $20 to refill it)
HF Autodarkening mask- $50
Leather Apron $15
Magnetic "positioners" (Strong magnets that hold things in place while you tack them, a must have IMO.)- $10

Total cost for everything around $400

If you go without gas you can have everything for about $150 less, but your welds will look like hell.


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PostPosted: September 22, 2005, 7:39 pm 
I bought a refurbished mig welder with gas capabilities, made by campbell housefeld, after a while I bought a used gas tank and a good regulator. Auto darkening mask, gloves, and materials

welder $200
mask $60
tank $30
regulator $50

total without consumables $340

I pay $16 for argon Co2 mix, and $5 for a roll of wire

gas makes the welding easier and look better, the auto darkening mask is also an amazing piece of equiptent and is worth the additional $$$, same with an adjustable regulator. The welder came with a non adjustable one, and it never gave the right shielding and left lots of slag.


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PostPosted: September 23, 2005, 12:24 am 
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I bought a little Linclon welder from Home Depot.
Runs on 110v, plugs right into the wall.
Can weld up to 1/8th inch sheet or Steel.
Came with 2 lbs spool (too little, you run out right in the middle of a job, get the 10lb spool)
Has a little hand sheild mask (junk but it works in a pinch)
Small hammer (big enough to squish Flying coackroaches)
Extra tips (2 or three included)

NO GAS...and, yes chetcpo is correct, my welds look like hell. I got good penetration and it passes the hacksaw-hamer test, but the an't elegant.

The price was cheapish....maybe 2 franklins and change. An Extra Franklin I could have gotten the gas option....SIGH. Elegance is worth a Franklin.


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PostPosted: September 23, 2005, 1:40 am 
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Location: Laveen, AZ
With a gasless welder using fluxcore wire it will get much better penetration for a given power setting but there will be a LOT of spatter and much more smoke while you're welding and balls of stuck spatter to clean off afterwards. One advantage of fluxcore wire is that the shield is less prone to being blown away by a breeze, such as from a fan or the wind. This means a fluxcore welder is much more suited to being used outdoors.

On the other hand, welding with a shielding gas will result in quite a clean finished weld where a run over with a wire brush will get it close enough for primer. However, one will not get as much penetration of the weld at a similar setting.

What this means to me is that if one chooses to buy one of the cheap Harbor Freight type welders then one should probably go gasless and endure the cleanup but with a welder of more than 120amps one should be able to use gas.

I would recommend wearing a respirator or charcoal mask when electric welding, and would think it's almost a requirement when using fluxcore wire.

FWIW, gasless welding is not really. The fluxcore wire burns off the flux as one is welding and that created a smokey shield.

-Steve


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PostPosted: September 23, 2005, 9:20 am 
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Location: Charleston, WV
Sven wrote:
<snip>



What this means to me is that if one chooses to buy one of the cheap Harbor Freight type welders then one should probably go gasless and endure the cleanup but with a welder of more than 120amps one should be able to use gas.

<snip>-Steve


You know I've read similar statements elsewhere and I truthfully, haven't experienced this. Having welded quite a bit, both with gas and flux-core with my HF cheapo I haven't had any trouble getting good penetration. I suppose it could be due to the fact I'm welding reletively thin stuff like roll cage tubing etc.

Granted I am an amatuer hack with a cheap welder, but my personal experience doesn't fall in line with the statement above. I think I get a better looking weld that is just as strong using gas. Perhaps my experience would be different if I were attempting to weld metal thicker than I should or if I had my welder's amperage or wire feed rate settings wrong.


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PostPosted: September 23, 2005, 11:56 am 
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Chetcpo
Out of curiousity what is the thickness of your roll cage tubing?
Does your weilder have any size thickness limitations?

PS I havent seen my welder for 8 months!!! My brother "borrowed" it for one of many projects he has going on. I miss welding....

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PostPosted: September 23, 2005, 2:41 pm 
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Location: Laveen, AZ
chetcpo wrote:
Perhaps my experience would be different if I were attempting to weld metal thicker than I should


Very true. I don't know the specs of the HF welder so I am talking in generalities and, as you say, it is at the edge of the welders capabilities where you will see a difference in penetration.

-Steve


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PostPosted: September 23, 2005, 3:21 pm 
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Location: Charleston, WV
mr.peabody.d wrote:
Chetcpo
Out of curiousity what is the thickness of your roll cage tubing?
Does your weilder have any size thickness limitations?

PS I havent seen my welder for 8 months!!! My brother "borrowed" it for one of many projects he has going on. I miss welding....


My cage is .095" thick 1.75" DOM. As for a maximum thickness I'm sure it has one but I have yet to try and weld anything thicker than 1/4 inch, and I only did that once while reinforcing my harness attachment points to the chassis. I have a stick welder I use for the thicker stuff.

I haven't seen my welder for over three weeks either. My co-worker borrowed it to fix his boat trailer. He used to be a welder by trade so I'm not too awfully worried that he will trash it.


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PostPosted: September 23, 2005, 6:46 pm 
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Damned family and friend that "borrow" our tools.

Chet
Thanks for the info...I was offered a loan of a TIG/Stick welder to do my chassis but it needed 220v.

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PostPosted: January 3, 2006, 7:14 am 
To build a Locost 7 from scratch you should buy a Mig welder either from Lincoln... Weldpak 100... ine was bought for about 450$ CAN or from someone else. It works on 115 volts (25 amp breaker) domestic AC current. You should get the gas adaptor for another 150 $ and then rent a gas bottle for about $60 a year. The amount of gas needed depends on the projetct and the way you work. I advise you against using gasless (core wire). It is difficult to get good penetration. Claims that a 220 volt (higher amp) mig welder is necessary to build a Locost are I believe exagerated. The type of welder (Lincoln Weldpak 100) I am using currently makes reliable welds on steel up to 1/4". On a Locost chassis I do not see many places where this thickness is exceeded. If I had to weld more than 1/4" mild steel (or stainless) I would use my old 225Amp. 220 volt stick welder, this is messy but you can count on the welds.

I cannot advise you on Mig aluminium welding and Tig welding because my experience is limited.

Philippe.
Hobby builder.


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 Post subject: Re: Mig welders
PostPosted: June 12, 2020, 8:01 am 
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Location: Spencer WV
I'm sorta going through this now, and while prices vary by region, I though I'd add what it cost me...

Already have a Lincoln WeldPak 100HD (110vac). IIRC, mine was the floor model at the local HD and I got it for around $400 on closeout when retail was $550ish. Was 5-10 years ago.

Back then, the conversion kit was another $100. Retail now is around $275 (seen them for over $300) although Summit Racing has them for $200 and I found one place that still says they'll sell them for just over $150. I found some Youtube videos and am building my own. So far it's going to cost me $90 for everything but the wire, tips and nozzle which will end up being around $50 more but I'll end up with a larger spool. That said, I'm not using a Lincoln regulator but some off-brand Chinesium one I got from a welding supply guy on ebay. I figure since I'm using an inert gas, I'll probably be OK. I'm not sure I'd do that with something like Acetylene.

My local welding supply store leased me a large (I think it's the "S" size) cylinder for $100 for 5 years. Fill with C-25 (75% Argon, 25% CO2) was $40.

So I'm in $450 for the welder, $150 for the gas conversion, tips and wire and another $140 (or $50 this year) for the gas which should last me at least a year if not longer.

One thing with the Lincoln conversion kit - it includes a new, smaller liner. From what I've read online, this is because running on gas it can't support .035 wire as it can on flux core. So to idiot-proof the conversion, they have you pull out the .035 liner and put in a .030 liner. I didn't bother with that as, if I need to swap back to flux core for some heavier work, I don't want to have to diddle with the liner too.

I bought the Lincoln back when we lived in the city and we had 40amp service to the entire house (that's not a mistype). Now I have 220 in the garage, but I've kept the lunchbox Lincoln because it's welded anything I've needed and I can run it off a little generator in a pinch. We're very rural now. My farmer neighbor has a big stick machine and just bought himself a TIG so if I find something that's too much for the Lincoln, we can work out an arrangment.

I also have an old HF flux machine that I probably should get rid of since I haven't powered it on in years. Have to say the Lincoln is a much better machine, but I weld enough that the extra $300 was worth it. HF was enough to get me by. Maybe on gas it will perform better.

I've had the helmet since then (10 years ago) and I don't know what I paid for it.

One trick that makes the HF machines much more tolerable is to put Lincoln wire in them (or Hobart or any name brand). The HF flux core wire frankly sucks in comparison.


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 Post subject: Re: Mig welders
PostPosted: June 16, 2020, 9:41 pm 
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I'll chime in on this one. Having worked in the welding field for 40+ years, I'm solidly in the Miller camp. But I have that luxury. Back in the '90's, I had friends that bought some of the cheap welders to work on their cars and stuff, and they were absolute garbage. From what I've seen in recent years however, I think that some of the "lower" quality machines are just fine for doing a LoCost. Running on 120v, and using .023", .030" or .035" wire with gas is not a huge outlay of cash for this type of project. Skip the Starbucks or Dunkin', and bag lunch for a while. It's one of the most important tools for the build. If you have problems with the welder, you have problems with the whole build.

The wire: I've seen the "penetration" thing come up a few times. Think of it like stick. Pipe guys typically run a 6010 root. It's rough, spatters like hell, and all but insures complete penetration of the root. Then they run 7018 for the hot pass and the cap. It has less penetration, but it lays in nice, and doesn't make a mess. With Mig, the same applies. With a given set of parameters, the flux core will typically yield deeper penetration, at the cost of spatter and flux inclusions, and residue that typically needs at least a wire wheel and grinder to clean up. Bare wire will yield a nicer looking weld with less absolute penetration. However, we are typically talking about tubes that are 16ga or 14ga, with brackets occasionally in the 1/8" to 1/4" range. Even the lower end machines are capable of running hot enough, especially with .023" wire to run a bead right on the edge of blowing through, basically full penetration. You will have to watch your duty cycle, however, if you are making longer welds.
In all of the fabrication and certification work we do, we have found that the Lincoln L-56 is probably one of, if not the best wire out there for this type of work. It is an ER70s-6 wire, which means it has lots of deoxidizers to help insure a good weld Hobart has a line that is supposed to be as good, but I have not had a chance to test it yet. I have a few spools of L-56 to go through, but I'll try it after that. They also have a line that is made in China, and it sucks. I was talking to Omterry on here about this when he bought his Miller, which came with a roll of the Chinese Hobart wire. His welds were ok, but nothing to write home about. He attributed it to inexperience. One Saturday he ran out of wire mid-weld. He went to the Orange Box store, which in an odd twist actually carries the Lincoln L-56, and bought a 12lb. spool. He called me later that day and sent me some pictures of the welds with the L-56 vs. the Hobart. The new ones were wetted in at the toes much better, the reinforcement was much more even and flat. Less spatter too. One other important note. Buy a bunch of the clip on wire cleaners they have. Keeping dirt and crap out of your wire feed tube, rollers, and liner will go a long way to keeping your welds running smoothly. And blow the machine out once a year or so. Metallic grinding dust does not mix well with electronic boards in welding machines. Ask me how I know. (It was actually a four year old, $5,600 Miller XMT-450 from a VoTech someone gave me because it didn't work. Pulled it apart, and the carnage from the shorts on the boards was staggering)

The machines: As I stated above, I think a lot of the lower end machines out there are up to the task of building a LoCost. That being said, If you think you may be doing more with the machine after the car, I'd pony up for a Miller 211 or better first, or the Lincoln equivalent second. After the initial "Warranty" period, you are going to want to have access to the distributor for parts, consumables, advice, etc. You will have a machine with a better duty cycle and not be struggling with trying to push a machine to do what it was never designed to do.

Hope this helps.

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 Post subject: Re: Mig welders
PostPosted: June 17, 2020, 8:04 am 
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Dismantalus
Thanks for the heads-up on the China made Hobart wire. I always thought it was all USA wire. Went out and check my Hobart reel, made in "Italy". Seem OK? I will have to try the Lincoln wire.
I would like to add one comment to the excellent remarks. Keep a cover over the welder when not in use. Goes a long way in keeping the dust out of the welder internals.
Davew


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 Post subject: Re: Mig welders
PostPosted: June 17, 2020, 9:20 am 
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Dismantlus, pipe welders lay a 6010 root pass because it has OUTSTANDING fast freeze up characteristics. The fast freeze is the main reason the weld looks so coarse.
6013, or 7018 both have a lot more flux on the rod and a MUCH MUCH slower freeze rate. As a result you get a much smoother weld profile.

Think of them like fast or slow drying paint. Slow drying paint will self level.

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