In market for budget welder

dan_m

Member

Equipment
BX2380
Jul 9, 2020
78
32
18
Georgia
Thanks for the input everyone! I want to clarify a few things. My current 110v flux welder only has low/high settings and wire speed knob - it's at least 10 years old and was only $70 back then. It works for what I've needed to do (repair mesh on trailer, weld some 3/16" flat and 1/4" flat.) I will mostly be working on > sheet metal and <= 1/4". I do have some projects in mind that I want to make using up to 1/2" thick. Currently I weld outside with 110v. I have a spare 30a breaker for 240v in panel. When I bought current house, moved laundry upstairs from garage/basement (unfinished) and ran new breaker for dryer. I just need to wire in new 240v outlet to the existing breaker. Before doing that, I need to make an area safe for welding so as not to catch anything on fire. Mostly, I'll be working/practicing outside on 110v until I get an weldsafe area. That is why I wanted a dual power multi-process welder. Seems like it's more a personal preference for flux wire, gas wire or stick. when I mentioned so many welders available, I meant brands not types of welding (though there are many of those). I did look into taking class part-time at local places but it won't fit into my schedule (4-5 days week from 5p-10p). I would like to take classes but welding wont be a profession, just a hobby. I don't see need for stainless or aluminum - would it be nice to have in case? Yes, but it's not a need at this point.

Seems to me I should stick with flux core and get a welder that also does gas mig and one that can run on both 240 and 110. If I can't find a decently priced one that does both, I'll probably go with dual power flux welder that has better controls than the one I currently have.

I once heard if you can't be a great cutter or welder, be a great grinder. I'm better than average at grinding ;)

Thanks again!

Dan
 
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ACDII

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B2410, L352 Loader, Woods BH70-X backhoe
Oct 21, 2021
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Look into a Clarke 180EN or whatever may have replaced it. I have one, it comes with the gas regulator and can use either gas or flux core. Has 6 power ranges and wirespeed, along with a tweco style gun. It uses 220v, but does weld up to 1/2" if beveled properly.

I made this using that welder, no gas, just .030 flux core wire. 3/8" plate to 1 x 2 bar.
IMG_7493[1].JPG


I haven't welded for years when I made it, so the welds are a bit sloppy, but my more recent welds are looking better.
 
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CGMKCM

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RVT-1100C, ZD323, L4760
Jan 26, 2021
130
56
28
Randolph county N.C.
I have an Everlast multi-process welder MIG, Tig (DC only), and Stick. Not as inexpensive as some on Amazon but less expensive then Miller, Lincoln, ESAB products. Mine is the MTS 251i.

My local Community College has welding classes on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. cost was $125 for four classes. I asked if I could use my welder and the schools consumables and the instructor said no problem. It was a good way to figure out the settings of the machine and inexpensive practice.
Everlast
 
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PoTreeBoy

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L35 Ford 3930
Mar 24, 2020
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WestTn/NoMs
Talk about targeted advertising! Since surfing the net on this thread I'm getting ads for the YesWelder watching Modern Marvels on freevee (used to be IMDB).
 

Dieseldonato

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B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
545
301
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Pa
I have an Everlast multi-process welder MIG, Tig (DC only), and Stick. Not as inexpensive as some on Amazon but less expensive then Miller, Lincoln, ESAB products. Mine is the MTS 251i.

My local Community College has welding classes on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. cost was $125 for four classes. I asked if I could use my welder and the schools consumables and the instructor said no problem. It was a good way to figure out the settings of the machine and inexpensive practice.
Everlast
I like my little everlast as well.
 
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jimh406

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I don't know who told you that stick was easier, but ease of use and speed is the reason MIG exists. Most machines have a chart that gives you starting points.

If I was you, I'd stay with the machine you have and practice unless you simply want a new toy or want to learn a new process. Avoiding gas makes your current machine good for outdoors as well.

Based on your description, your current welder should be able to do all that you want. Although 220 is mostly required for aluminum, a 110 machine should be fine for most steel projects. Of course, a 110 is generally more portable both to the type of outlet and also the components required. A machine with more adjustments can be helpful if you know how they work, but typically one MIG setting can do what a different setting can do and compliment each other. Wire speed and power are relatable.

There are a lot of used quality stick machines out there. Not as many MIG machines, but some.

Sorry, I can't help on those brands. I'm assuming they are all made in China, so they are likely very similar in cost and quality. If you want something maybe a bit better, I'm partial to Miller.
 
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dan_m

Member

Equipment
BX2380
Jul 9, 2020
78
32
18
Georgia
Talk about targeted advertising! Since surfing the net on this thread I'm getting ads for the YesWelder watching Modern Marvels on freevee (used to be IMDB).
Welcome to technology. That happens when you're logged into an account (google/gmail, amazon) that supports advertising. If you log out of accounts, it will help ease those directed advertising. If you do searches for products while logged in, you'll start seeing ads for related products.

Dan
 

Bugzilla46310

Member

Equipment
2022 BX2680 198? AC 916H
May 22, 2022
40
44
18
Demotte, IN
My old Linde mig welder finally gave up the ghost after about 40 years a little over a year ago. It did a decent job. I replaced it with a Lincoln 180 mig and am amazed how much better the welds are. I believe you can get the spool to do aluminum also. Not sure if it can use flux core, but I never usethat. Also have a stick welder. I was real good at turning rods orange until I got an auto darkening hood. Now I only turn them orange occasionally!
 

WFM

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Equipment
L3800
Apr 5, 2013
902
181
43
Porter Maine
Lots and lots of good advise here.
I have five Miller machines and one Lincon. (I like miller)
Look at craigslist or Feebay , lots of companys closing and lots of inventory , used inventory is being sold. One machine I have is 1988 but I also have a 2022 machine. I think many of older machines weld much better then alot of new ones. They were built to last. Nothing wrong with buying used at a faction of the new prices. I have seen Miller prices increase Alot in the past year (20 or 30%) on machines I looked at a year ago.
I'd reather buy a used quality machine then a new china one. Just my 2 cents.
 
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chim

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L4240HSTC with FEL, Ford 1210
Jan 19, 2013
1,196
274
83
Near Lancaster, PA, USA
I'm not a trained welder. I have had welders at work coach me some. I've been gluing stuff together ever since playing with an old Lincoln AC tombstone with 6011 electrodes in the early 70's. Years ago I bought a Millermatic 175 and used it with both gas and fluxcore. It worked fine for a lot of projects.

About two years ago I wanted a stick machine for the bigger things so I bought an Everlast PowerArc 200STi inverter. Nice very lightweight 120/240. My go-to electrodes have become 7014. Very happy with both welders.

Most recent helpful addition was a Hypertherm Powerax30 AIR that I got as a bonus from my employer before I retired.
 
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RCW

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Apr 28, 2013
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Dan_m - there’s a bunch of talented guys here. I remember seeing some of chim’s projects years ago. Does great work.

WFM is a real expert in this field. He’s posted a couple of his projects too. Amazing is all I can say….;) He knows what he’s talking about.
 

WFM

Active member

Equipment
L3800
Apr 5, 2013
902
181
43
Porter Maine
No expert here. I've worked with some over the years though. Millrights (which I am Not) that could weld whatever. Stick, mig, tig, arc, and throw in pneumatic and hydraulics which they could do it all. I always wished I knew more.
My dad was a proficient saw filer and was able to cut out a row of teeth from a single cut or double cut band saw blade that had hit a spike or fence insulator in the log. Cut it out. Tig in a new section. Aneele ,quench, stretch and make the blade run like new. He was a talented man. I'm not sure now days saw filer is even a job any longer.
 
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OrangeKrush

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Equipment
BX2680, LA344 with Piranha tooth bar, LP PF 1242, LP Rear Blade, KK 60" BB
Nov 15, 2020
881
386
63
Indy
No expert here. I've worked with some over the years though. Millrights (which I am Not) that could weld whatever. Stick, mig, tig, arc, and throw in pneumatic and hydraulics which they could do it all. I always wished I knew more.
My dad was a proficient saw filer and was able to cut out a row of teeth from a single cut or double cut band saw blade that had hit a spike or fence insulator in the log. Cut it out. Tig in a new section. Aneele ,quench, stretch and make the blade run like new. He was a talented man. I'm not sure now days saw filer is even a job any longer.
Never heard of it.. you may be right!
 

CGMKCM

Active member

Equipment
RVT-1100C, ZD323, L4760
Jan 26, 2021
130
56
28
Randolph county N.C.
Lots and lots of good advise here.
I have five Miller machines and one Lincon. (I like miller)
Look at craigslist or Feebay , lots of companys closing and lots of inventory , used inventory is being sold. One machine I have is 1988 but I also have a 2022 machine. I think many of older machines weld much better then alot of new ones. They were built to last. Nothing wrong with buying used at a faction of the new prices. I have seen Miller prices increase Alot in the past year (20 or 30%) on machines I looked at a year ago.
I'd reather buy a used quality machine then a new china one. Just my 2 cents.
Don't disagree with anything you posted. As a buyer beware note, lots of commercial three phase equipment is being sold on FB, Craigslist, Ebay etc. Most folks do not have the ability to run that equipment at our homes. So I would say pay attention to what is being offered and ask if it is single phase or three phase.
 
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coast40

New member

Equipment
L2250, Bobcat 331, Mitsubishi BD2J
May 16, 2022
14
1
3
Oregon Coast
Don't disagree with anything you posted. As a buyer beware note, lots of commercial three phase equipment is being sold on FB, Craigslist, Ebay etc. Most folks do not have the ability to run that equipment at our homes. So I would say pay attention to what is being offered and ask if it is single phase or three phase.
Very good point. Many machines being auctioned from closed shops are 3 phase, too.
 

D2Cat

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L305DT, B7100HST, TG1860, TG1860D, L4240
Mar 27, 2014
10,640
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No expert here. I've worked with some over the years though. Millrights (which I am Not) that could weld whatever. Stick, mig, tig, arc, and throw in pneumatic and hydraulics which they could do it all. I always wished I knew more.
My dad was a proficient saw filer and was able to cut out a row of teeth from a single cut or double cut band saw blade that had hit a spike or fence insulator in the log. Cut it out. Tig in a new section. Aneele ,quench, stretch and make the blade run like new. He was a talented man. I'm not sure now days saw filer is even a job any longer.
WFM, you can list all 5 welders on your implement list !!! ;)
 

dan_m

Member

Equipment
BX2380
Jul 9, 2020
78
32
18
Georgia
Lots and lots of good advise here.
I have five Miller machines and one Lincon. (I like miller)
Look at craigslist or Feebay , lots of companys closing and lots of inventory , used inventory is being sold. One machine I have is 1988 but I also have a 2022 machine. I think many of older machines weld much better then alot of new ones. They were built to last. Nothing wrong with buying used at a faction of the new prices. I have seen Miller prices increase Alot in the past year (20 or 30%) on machines I looked at a year ago.
I'd reather buy a used quality machine then a new china one. Just my 2 cents.
I've checked FB market place and local craigs list, the higher end stuff (miller, lincoln electric, etc) are still asking way high prices. I'll keep searching

Failing that, I'm thinking about the PrimeWeld Mig180 is the new top contender.

Dan
 

coast40

New member

Equipment
L2250, Bobcat 331, Mitsubishi BD2J
May 16, 2022
14
1
3
Oregon Coast
I'll offer my opinion. A used major manufacturer mig machine. Forget flux core unless you weld in the wind. 220v, 180 amps min. to 250 amps. Get fully variable wire speed and amp settings for fine tuning. I see Lincoln 180s for $400-525 on CL in Atlanta; I don't know where in Georgia you are... For heavy stuff get an arc machine. Consumables availability and quality should be a concern. Tweco is the standard. Lincoln, Hobart, Miller, Esab. I have no experience with China brands. I started with a 110v Lincoln SP100 and now also have two 250 amp migs (Esab, Lincoln) and a tig (Miller).

https://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/tls/d/atlanta-lincoln-electric-180-welder/7492118400.html

might need regulator- $400 https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/tls/d/marietta-lincoln-electric-welder/7493608890.html
 

dan_m

Member

Equipment
BX2380
Jul 9, 2020
78
32
18
Georgia
I'll offer my opinion. A used major manufacturer mig machine. Forget flux core unless you weld in the wind. 220v, 180 amps min. to 250 amps. Get fully variable wire speed and amp settings for fine tuning. I see Lincoln 180s for $400-525 on CL in Atlanta; I don't know where in Georgia you are... For heavy stuff get an arc machine. Consumables availability and quality should be a concern. Tweco is the standard. Lincoln, Hobart, Miller, Esab. I have no experience with China brands. I started with a 110v Lincoln SP100 and now also have two 250 amp migs (Esab, Lincoln) and a tig (Miller).

https://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/tls/d/atlanta-lincoln-electric-180-welder/7492118400.html

might need regulator- $400 https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/tls/d/marietta-lincoln-electric-welder/7493608890.html
I do 110v flux welding outside right now. Eventually, I'll add 240v and go inside and using gas, but that's not an immediate goal.