Do the small MIG welders work?


Old 09-22-04, 01:00 PM
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Do the small MIG welders work?

I've been reading as much as I can about MIG welders before jumping in and purchasing one. Everyone's comments are very helpful. It appears to me that the smaller (110V) MIGs are very limited in their use and some have even said they are not worth buying.

I don't have 50A service available to run a stick welder or a larger MIG so my question is, are the small machines good for welding steels beyond sheet metal or will I find myself "frustrated" with them as some have stated in their posts?
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Old 09-22-04, 05:41 PM
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All the advice given here as you have probably read is that a small mig will let you make sparks and even do a fairly good job of welding very thin material.
You would also have read that the frustration comes with trying to weld beyond the machines capabilities, which are pretty low.

My older Millermatic 150 can weld 1/8" material nearly non stop and only requires 220 volts at 20 amps.
Also keep in mind a lot of the 120 volt migs require a 20 amp circuit as well.

Let us know what you get and how it works out.
Old 09-22-04, 09:26 PM
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The 110volt MIGS are very limited. But they can weld some thicker steel with a few passes. But I would go with a 220volt box myself. Like Greg said most 110v boxes require a 20amp breaker, as well as most 220v boxes. So, you could still get a 220v welder that will have a more power and run off of the same circuit as the 110v
Old 09-23-04, 05:16 AM
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Thank you both for your comments. 20A service is no problem, I have both a compressor and a table saw that run 220V/20A service in my garage. I'll take another look at the 220V machines. I must have just missed the 20A part....

Old 09-23-04, 05:59 PM
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I have a Hobart 135 20a/110v MIG and I'm real happy with it. I do mostly automotive stuff but I have welded 3/16 angle iron without any problems. A lot depends on what kind of work you plan on doing. I have yet to run into a job that it can't handle. I'm not saying that it can handle anything but it is a very useful piece of equipment which suits my needs perfectly. I've used several different consumer grade small welders like Century, Lincoln and Hobart and the Hobart just feels the best to me.
If you're anything like me choosing the right high $$ tool can be stressful

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Old 09-26-04, 11:57 AM
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Since you have the power for it the Hobart HH180 is a good simple machine.
Old 09-26-04, 08:33 PM
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I have used a 110v Hobart MIG welder, and it had no problem with 1/4 inch angle iron. The welds weren't pretty, but they had good penetration. A clean ground connection was a must.

The machine did well on 16 ga black iron, also.

The machine was owned by a company I worked for, so maintenance was suspect. I suspect that some of the problems I had could have been cleared up with a new wire guide.

The main thing to remember is to use the shortest length and largest wire size extension cord possible. One project required a dedicated generator in tow behind the welder on a roof to eliminate the extension cord.

Depending on the price spread and intended use, I would seriously consider a 220 V machine, unless 120 V portability is a main concern.
Old 09-27-04, 03:49 PM
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A few TIG questions

A TIG is way out of my range for now but I've seen some info on folks using DC inverter stick welders with a tig torch. I have an old MIG that has a crapped out wire feed and I was thinking about buying a cheap TIG torch, renting an argon cylinder and trying it out. Any ideas? I've only done Mig and stick welding and I understand that the homemade rigs use "scratch start". From what I gather, aluminum welding requires AC and sophisticated heat control which I wouldn't have. Just wondering and trying to pick up some info. I'm primarily interested in aluminum welding but I do a lot of sheetmetal also.
My buds are keeping a close eye on this project...
Old 09-28-04, 03:29 PM
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Thanks again

I wanted to say thanks to all again for the great feedback. I've now started looking at the 220V machines. Seems the three to choose from are the Lincoln SP-175, Hobart 175 and the Miller 175. Prices are close. Hobart being the least expensive. Any real difference in quality is a mystery to me. Lincoln and Miller have more adjustments to them to dial in output. Are there others? I know Miller now owns Hobart.

I'm curious about the comment that someone made about putting in a 40A dedicated line to a 115V machine and how it worked "better". If it's designed to draw 20A, then the plug is such that it will fit a standard receptacle (15A or 20A - slight difference in the two but not so important for this discussion). A 40A service would require larger wire (8ga I think for 40A, versus 12ga for 20A) and a different plug altogether. And the thing only draws 20A. Or am I confused???

Old 10-08-04, 03:46 PM
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Been running a 110 mig

I realize I'm only an amateur, but I have been running a Century 110 mig and getting good results. I installed a 20 amp outlet in my shop and have done quite a bit of fabrication and many repairs. Unfortunately Lincoln bought Century and changed my welder, which I understand had the highest output for a 110. Recently I started doing some aluminium work.
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