Is it a good buy?

Old 11-05-04, 10:13 AM
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Is it a good buy?

I have never welded in my life, but would love to.

I work out of my garage, doing little inventions from time to time, I usually need to weld aluminum or steel sheets together, or weld bolts, screws, nuts, etc. to them. So far I have been screwing everything together which is a serious pain.

I don't know what MIG, TIG, Shmig, etc. really means, but here's my question:

I have seen this machine on eBay:

And was wondering if anyone could comment if this would be good for me or not, keeping in mind that I want to keep this simple, I much rather not have to use gas (sounds complicated), I just want to be able to turn it on and do my couple welds a month (for very cheap).


Thanks a lot!
Old 11-05-04, 10:32 AM
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The ad says mig but the machine says arc. Arc welders use electrodes (welding rod) while Mig uses wire (on a spool). Most Migs welders I have used needed a gas also. I hear that there are models now (for home use ) that do not need gas. Sounds like you want a Mig welder for your work. It is best for thin metals and tacking on nuts and bolts. Arc welders need more heat to work and thus you burn through thin metals. Go to a Big Box store such as HD, Lowes ,Sears etc. Tell them what you are doing and they will show you the machine you need. The price at E-bay plus shipping is as high as getting one locally. Plus you'll have a place to get parts (never heard of that brand). Good luck in whatever you do.
Old 11-06-04, 10:10 AM
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Recommend name-brand equipment

For starting out, only plan to weld mild steel (as opposed to tool steel, like the metal used to make wrenches). Aluminum, cast iron and any other non-steel material have special requirements, making them much more difficult to weld successfully. Master mild steel first.

Thicker metal requires more powerful (and more $$$) equipment. For a 110 volt MIG, stay with steel that is 1/8" or thinner. Steel can be MIG welded with shielding gas, such as CO2 and solid wire (which is less expensive). It can also be welded with flux-cored wire (more expensive) and no gas.

The next item needed is education. Many hobby welders go to the local home center, get inexpensive equipment and become frustrated when it does not work right. Welding is more TRAINED than LEARNED. Practice brings improvement, especially if there is someone who can help correct mistakes. Reading more books is not the answer.

Find the nearest commercial welding supply store and visit it. Get the store sales reps to show you all of the 110 volt MIG welders and explain the differences between them. While you're there, check out the safety gear you must have: gloves, helmet, collar protection; especially the auto-darkening helmets. Ask the rep to explain why the welders in the store are more expensive than the ones at Home Depot, even though both are Lincoln branded.

Most 110volt MIGS will run 0.023, 0.030 or 0.035 wire. I run 0.030 flux cored wire in order to be able to weld outdoors with it. If the rep asks what you intend to do, tell him that you intend to weld together bed-frame angle iron to build tables as well as thin tubing to make chairs.

While you're there, check out the angle grinders, used to clean and shape the welding area to remove paint and rust.

By the way, what do you intend to use to cut the metal to length? A hacksaw will work, but it's mighty slow. There are several other tools available. Perhaps you already have them.

To economize, see if the welding supply store has any used equipment. Web sites such as Ebay will sometimes have these items as well.
Old 11-06-04, 10:36 AM
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I typed in the name of this welder CHIFWELD, came up with 1 and only one web page. It showed a picture of the welder and shows NO TORCH(mig) only a stinger(clamp type for holding welding ROD)(ARC). This would be hard for someone with no welding knowledge to learn on, especially if used on thin metals. Most all of your local welding supply stores will have used equipment. Your local community or technical college will also have a 45hr course that will teach you about welding. You can read all the books in the world and not be able to weld when you get through. Hands on is the ONLY way to learn.

Good Luck and post back with any questions you may have on this or future projects.
Old 11-06-04, 02:13 PM
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Compared to mig and tig welding, shmig welding is difficult to learn..........

Everyone pretty much summed it up.
As far as the specifc welder you linked to I have an almost identical unit that I bought at a garage sale in new condition for $15.00 CDN.
The owner said it didn't work because all it would do for him was cause the rod to stick to the metal.

I have a mig that I use with both solid wire, flux core and flux core with gas plus a stick machine. When I tried to use this little thing it took a great deal of concentration and practice to make it weld without sticking.
Now that I have it figured out it will make a good machine for repairing chairs or someone's bed frame away from the 220 volt power it takes to run my bigger units but I would have to say that if you are learning to weld from sratch, you would be deeply dissapointed.

As far as bang for the buck a 120 volt mig unit with flux core wire would likely serve you well.
One thing to look for is a machine that can be used with gas if you can find one in your price range.
A gas capable machine can be used with flux core wire but would have the connections if you find that you want to expand your capabilities.
Old 11-06-04, 09:52 PM
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I was handicapped in my DIY activities by being limited to building with wood, or drilling and screwing steel. So.........I took a night course at a local community tech college and learned how to weld.

I have a Hobart Handler 130 or 135, a 110V machine, and I have built many things with it. I started out using flux core wire, because it did not require gas, and it works great outside when there is wind, also works great on rusty metal. But, it does deposit slag, and therefore cleanup and painting prep is more intensive.

Now I use CO2 as a shielding gas, and solid core wire (about 1/3 or less the cost of flux core), and no slag, and minimal cleanup for painting. I've built utility trailers, boat dock ramps, pig cookers, can crushers, smokers, etc. with this unit and I love it.

Hope to get a Hobart 175 (220V), when I move in a couple of months and have access to a 220V power supply (Mama's gonna miss that electric dryer for a while ).

If you get serious about this you will end up buying a porta-band saw, angle grinders, and more. But man, what you can build is limited by your imagination!

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