In market for budget welder

dan_m

Member

Equipment
BX2380
Jul 9, 2020
78
32
18
Georgia
I thought this would be best place for this question. I currently have an old (10+ years) harbor freight 90amp flux core welder (running hobart wire). I'm teaching myself and was told a stick welder would be easier to learn than flux core. There are so many welders on the market, looking for input. Currently I only do steel (not sheet) and looking to get a better, but not professional quality welder ($500 or so budget). Anyone have any opinions? looking at usual local sales places, the used equipment is high (miller, lincoln electric, hobart, etc).
I use 120V but will be adding 240v in future so I'm looking for dual power.
I also am wanting to get into tig (steel not aluminum) down the road after getting better at welding.
uses would be general projects around home (truck, trailer, tractor), incorporating steel elements in woodworking (frames/legs for tables, work benches, etc) for for 1/2" max thickness.

I'm considering the following, but open to others if anyone has any suggestions.
forney 180st
yeswelder mig 205DS
primeweld CT520D (also plasma cutter).

thanks
 

OrangeKrush

Well-known member

Equipment
BX2680, LA344 with Piranha tooth bar, LP PF 1242, LP Rear Blade, KK 60" BB
Nov 15, 2020
881
386
63
Indy
I could use this info also.. always wanted to learn welding but just never got around to it. Tuned In!
 

Dieseldonato

Well-known member

Equipment
B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
545
301
63
Pa
My younger brother has the yes welder 205, you won't be welding 1/2" single pass with it. It's a decent welder for a home shop that won't get used hard.
 

OntheRidge

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Lifetime Member

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Kubota L2501 HST ,BH77 backhoe, LA525 loader, Landpride 1260 rotary cutter
Nov 1, 2020
74
66
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25427
I thought this would be best place for this question. I currently have an old (10+ years) harbor freight 90amp flux core welder (running hobart wire). I'm teaching myself and was told a stick welder would be easier to learn than flux core. There are so many welders on the market, looking for input. Currently I only do steel (not sheet) and looking to get a better, but not professional quality welder ($500 or so budget). Anyone have any opinions? looking at usual local sales places, the used equipment is high (miller, lincoln electric, hobart, etc).
I use 120V but will be adding 240v in future so I'm looking for dual power.
I also am wanting to get into tig (steel not aluminum) down the road after getting better at welding.
uses would be general projects around home (truck, trailer, tractor), incorporating steel elements in woodworking (frames/legs for tables, work benches, etc) for for 1/2" max thickness.

I'm considering the following, but open to others if anyone has any suggestions.
forney 180st
yeswelder mig 205DS
primeweld CT520D (also plasma cutter).

thanks
No advice on welder, I am looking at getting a Fronius but a bit pricy. I have found the TimWelds youtube videos very helpful with welding tips. He also offers an online course for $60. Good Luck!
 

dan_m

Member

Equipment
BX2380
Jul 9, 2020
78
32
18
Georgia
No advice on welder, I am looking at getting a Fronius but a bit pricy. I have found the TimWelds youtube videos very helpful with welding tips. He also offers an online course for $60. Good Luck!
I have seen some of his welding videos and did just recently see about the classes.
I also learned from the weld.com videos as well.
 
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dan_m

Member

Equipment
BX2380
Jul 9, 2020
78
32
18
Georgia
My younger brother has the yes welder 205, you won't be welding 1/2" single pass with it. It's a decent welder for a home shop that won't get used hard.
Right now I have welded 3/16 and 1/4" on 120V. That's why I want a dual power welder so I can weld thicker metal using 220V. I have 220V breaker not in use, just need to run outlet. That'll be after I get better at welding basics and create a weldsafe area in my garage.

Dan
 

xrocketengineer

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX1880, FEL, Grapple, 36 in. Forks, 48in. MMM, Quick Spade, Ripper
Nov 14, 2020
449
311
63
Merritt Island, Florida
Well my experience is different, I tried occasionally for years with stick welders and it did not work for me. First of all, there are many different types and diameter sizes of rods. There are rods for AC current and DC current. Then you have the rod diameter depending on the amount of current that your are using for the application. Then, you have the rod type depending on the stress of the weld, 60, 70 etc. thousands of psi. Once you have all that squared away, you start to weld by striking a spark and then constantly maintaining the right gap and feed rate of the rod by hand. On top of that, the rods absorb moisture from the air and must be stored in a proper container when not in use.
I managed to make some welds but the process was slow ,very wasteful and the results questionable.
My learning process with the HF flux core welder was quicker and I could actually make some welds that were acceptable. Eventually, I got me a better MIG/flux machine with more settings and I have yet to use it in the MIG mode. I would not even bother to try a stick welder again. Good luck!
 
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Dieseldonato

Well-known member

Equipment
B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
545
301
63
Pa
Right now I have welded 3/16 and 1/4" on 120V. That's why I want a dual power welder so I can weld thicker metal using 220V. I have 220V breaker not in use, just need to run outlet. That'll be after I get better at welding basics and create a weldsafe area in my garage.

Dan
220v machine open up possibilities. But just realize yoir going to be doing multi pass on anything much over 1/4". I have a 140 amp 120v everlast I mig. I like it a lot on thinner material. Then I have a 250 amp machine. No name cheapo its does pretty good with 1/2"
 

ACDII

Well-known member

Equipment
B2410, L352 Loader, Woods BH70-X backhoe
Oct 21, 2021
581
357
63
Illinois
I have a Clarke 180EN I Flux core weld with. It takes a little practice getting the settings right, has 6 power levels and wire speed, but once you get them set, it welds easy as pie. I think there is a lot more to learn with stick welding than MIG. With MIG, wire speed is the most important, next is angle of the tip and then direction of weld.

I had sized a new PTO sleeve for my MoCo and had jammed the jack between the tire and PTO while turning yesterday, pressed right at the place the tubes were joined and snapped the weld clean through. Took it back to the bench, cleaned up the joint, ground a new angle on, and had to readjust the welder since I had welded thin sheet after welding the sleeve. I think this second welding I did is going to be stronger than the first one, the sizzle sounded much better and the welds look much cleaner.

Just takes practice and patience. Oh and good lighting too.
 

dan_m

Member

Equipment
BX2380
Jul 9, 2020
78
32
18
Georgia
220v machine open up possibilities. But just realize yoir going to be doing multi pass on anything much over 1/4". I have a 140 amp 120v everlast I mig. I like it a lot on thinner material. Then I have a 250 amp machine. No name cheapo its does pretty good with 1/2"
Most of what I will do initially will be < 1/4" so I'm fine with 120v. But I know I do want to use up to 1/2" in some projects so that's why I want to get a single welder that can do both instead of buying 2 welders.

Dan
 

hedgerow

Active member
Jan 2, 2015
138
91
28
Malcolm NE
I thought this would be best place for this question. I currently have an old (10+ years) harbor freight 90amp flux core welder (running hobart wire). I'm teaching myself and was told a stick welder would be easier to learn than flux core. There are so many welders on the market, looking for input. Currently I only do steel (not sheet) and looking to get a better, but not professional quality welder ($500 or so budget). Anyone have any opinions? looking at usual local sales places, the used equipment is high (miller, lincoln electric, hobart, etc).
I use 120V but will be adding 240v in future so I'm looking for dual power.
I also am wanting to get into tig (steel not aluminum) down the road after getting better at welding.
uses would be general projects around home (truck, trailer, tractor), incorporating steel elements in woodworking (frames/legs for tables, work benches, etc) for for 1/2" max thickness.

I'm considering the following, but open to others if anyone has any suggestions.
forney 180st
yeswelder mig 205DS
primeweld CT520D (also plasma cutter).

thanks
I have been welding and fab up things for well over fifty years. Learned on a Monkey Ward buzz box. If five hundred is your budget get that 220 plug in and pickup a old school used Miller or Lincoln AC-DC stick welder and you will be able to weld any thing. I never even had a mig welder until fifteen years ago I bought a 251 Miller as I was going to build a firewood processor. I still stick welded a lot of it. Yes there's a learning curve on a stick but if you use the DC side it's a lot easier.
 
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Dieseldonato

Well-known member

Equipment
B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
545
301
63
Pa
Most of what I will do initially will be < 1/4" so I'm fine with 120v. But I know I do want to use up to 1/2" in some projects so that's why I want to get a single welder that can do both instead of buying 2 welders.

Dan
I can weld thin with the 250a machine it's just not as nice as the smaller machine. I'm also lazy and have both welders so I keep the small machine set up for thinner material. If I only had one I'd rather have the bigger machine.
 

PoTreeBoy

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L35 Ford 3930
Mar 24, 2020
1,067
417
83
WestTn/NoMs
I think I'd look for a 110/220 inverter multi-process welder. These days they'll provide DC for MIG/FC, stick, and some will plasma cut.
Look at the Yeswelder MP200, it may max your budget. Amigo welders seem to get good reviews for budget welders.

FWIW, I started with a Craftsman (by Century?) 110 flux to repair my mower deck. 1/8" is about the thickest I've been able to weld with it. I wanted to handle heavier material, so I bought a Thunderbolt AC/DC transformer stick machine at an auction. It's a good stick box, but heavy. Later, I needed a mobile machine, and found a Honda EW170. It's DC only and has 4000W 110V so it'll run the Craftsman, grinders and double as an emergency generator. Sold the T'bolt to my nephew
 

ferguson

Member

Equipment
L3130
Jan 19, 2022
75
15
8
w.v.
Started as a wilder in a ship yard right out of high school /then to the sub plant in conn. /high psi pipe in power plant /have burned more wire then most people have sean / a 180 / 200 amp fluxcor welder will do for any home owner or farm / a spool gun for alum.& stanless / a 150/180 AC or DC buz box for stick for heavy steel 1/2' plus //just my 2 cents on the subject / have a hobart 210 mig with a spool gun & 70's vintage crafsman buz box /60 amp plaz cutter & a toch set in my gerage can build or fix any thing i need / welding like any thing practice makes perfuct
 
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torch

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B7100HSD, B2789, B2550, B4672, RC54-71B, 48" cultivator, homemade FEL and Cab
Jun 10, 2016
2,200
439
83
Muskoka, Ont.
I'm teaching myself and was told a stick welder would be easier to learn than flux core.
Not really. Wire feed is actually a lot easier, IMHO. The only advantage of stick is a better view of the puddle.

That said, if you need to weld 1/2", you need stick, at least, at your budget.

There are so many welders on the market,
Yeah, there's a reason for that. No one welder or welding type is suitable for al applications. Don't get rid of your wire feed machine.

But for general "farm" use welding carbon steel thicker than your wire feed can handle, with your budget, I would look at a basic 225A AC "buzz box" transformer type stick welder and E6011 rods for most applications (especially repairs, where the metal may not be perfectly clean and/or odd positions are necessary) and maybe E7018AC when for the finishing passes on thick metal.

But E7018 rods require careful storage -- they don't like humidity. They need to be kept in a sealed container and it's best if they are heated in an oven for a while before use* Real pretty welds though.

AC welding doesn't penetrate as deep as DC, tends to spatter more, but it's easier to control, especially for the beginner and especially in odd positions necessary during repairs.

Since you want to weld 1/2", just skip the 120v and go with 240V.

I also am wanting to get into tig (steel not aluminum) down the road after getting better at welding.
Completely different technique. Much closer to Oxy/Acetylene braising than stick or MIG welding. One hand is working the heat source and controlling the puddle, the other is manipulating the filler rod.

* Years ago my dad's shop was involved in welding reactor piping. Specs required that the E7018 rod go straight from the hermetically sealed carton into an oven at 250°F with a recording thermometer. Rods were removed from the oven one at a time just prior to use. If the AEC inspectors found the temperature record dipped then the whole batch of pipe would be rejected. But unless you are building a nuclear reactor in your backyard, I consider that overkill. ;)
 
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jyoutz

Well-known member

Equipment
MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade, 7’ cultivator
Jan 14, 2019
1,163
603
113
Edgewood, New Mexico
I thought this would be best place for this question. I currently have an old (10+ years) harbor freight 90amp flux core welder (running hobart wire). I'm teaching myself and was told a stick welder would be easier to learn than flux core. There are so many welders on the market, looking for input. Currently I only do steel (not sheet) and looking to get a better, but not professional quality welder ($500 or so budget). Anyone have any opinions? looking at usual local sales places, the used equipment is high (miller, lincoln electric, hobart, etc).
I use 120V but will be adding 240v in future so I'm looking for dual power.
I also am wanting to get into tig (steel not aluminum) down the road after getting better at welding.
uses would be general projects around home (truck, trailer, tractor), incorporating steel elements in woodworking (frames/legs for tables, work benches, etc) for for 1/2" max thickness.

I'm considering the following, but open to others if anyone has any suggestions.
forney 180st
yeswelder mig 205DS
primeweld CT520D (also plasma cutter).

thanks
I have an old Lincoln 220v arc welder. It always works and will weld most anything. It’s cheap, but not really portable, needing a 220v outlet. A good shop welder though.
 

Hatman

New member

Equipment
2020 L4060HSTC
Jan 23, 2022
3
2
3
Guntersville Alabama
I worked on pipeline construction for 2 1/2 years as a welders helper. I then went to Hobart Welding School in Troy, OH. I took oxy/acetylene welding/cutting, stick, stick pipe,mig,mig pipe, and tig, tig pipe. Plasma arc welding and cutting. You had to take a certification test in each class before you could go to the next level. We were in school 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I was there for about 14 months. In my opinion, if you are going to be welding mostly inside I would buy a mig wire machine. Use argon/CO2 gas as your shield. If you are welding outside stick would be better if you can't block the wind. Keep your rods in a sealed container in a good cabinet with a 60-100 watt household bulb to keep some heat on them. The perfect thing to have would be a rod oven if you want to spend the money. I would get a 240-volt machine. Good luck and practice, practice, practice.
 
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