MIG welder

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  #1  
Old 05-05-20, 03:43 PM
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MIG welder

We talked about this when I asked about fixing the hole in my lawn roller.
I want to reexamine the topic of a mig welder. I re-evaluated the HB $119 mig welder as a waste of money. If I'm going in for penny, in for pound so to speak.
Hobart makes what is considered a very good beginners unit that is very versatile. The
Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V. $500.00 (yes I said price was a big limiting factor but again re-evaluating)

However, maybe I should think about a 115/240 volt unit. Although I only have 115 service (actually 240 but only 115 wired) I do have a generator capable of 240 v.
Coleman Powermate 5000 watt.

Do you think the generator can handle a 240v MIG and is 240 v that much better than 115 v for an occasional user like myself? Again the generator could handle both voltages.

Again I don't want to get involved with gas although this unit can use gas.

Any comments?
 
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Old 05-05-20, 03:50 PM
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I don't want to get involved with gas
You already know my position, if your going MIG without gas you might as well get the cheapest welder you can buy cause that is the type of welds your going to get.

So to be fair, what is your anticipated use?

And just to level set, this is my set up, Miller 211 MIG & Miller 165 TIG.

The cart was the first project after the new equipment!

https://imgur.com/eu6zIw6
 
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Old 05-05-20, 04:00 PM
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Very limited at this point, but I can see my self finding uses later on. At the very least one of my boys will be able to us it. That's part of the reason I'm upping the cost limit.

Buy my main question is the 110v vs 240v and use of the generator. Does using 240 via the generator make that much difference? And now that I think of it I wonder if the RYOBI inverter / generator at the cabin could handle the mig. But at 20 amps I don't think so.
 
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Old 05-05-20, 04:06 PM
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So that is back to useage.

My first 110 welder, back in early 80's, was fantastic on auto body, could really dial it down. The few times I was welding thick material, just took a few more passes.

Current welder is 220, ok, so I am still doing light weight work, so the extra amp the 211 produces really doesn't do me any benefit!

Now with the TIG it replaces the MIG for thin work!
 
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Old 05-05-20, 05:01 PM
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OK thanks for the info. It'll help me make a decision.
 
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Old 05-05-20, 05:38 PM
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I'll try to answer your question in short. 120 vs 240 depends on your needs obviously. Therefore your welder depends on your needs.

Now, my opinion. I have Lincoln equipment. Its what I was taught on in trade school in the 70's & its what I've always used, so I am a bit partial (Ford vs Chevy).
I have a Lincoln 125 wire welder from Home Depot that I bought in 2001. I've used it a lot, but most of what I tinker around with is smaller stuff. Seldom thicker stuff.
I also have a 230 Lincoln stick welder that I use occasionally for the thicker stuff.

In short, for what I do, just piddling & for most of the material that I work on, If I could on have only one machine, I'd take the 120v wire welder.

Now, my opinion is not to take anything away from Miller cause they are certainly & without a doubt a good machine. I just prefer Lincoln equipment cause its what I've grown up on & have had very good results. (Again, Ford vs Chevy)
 
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Old 05-06-20, 01:38 AM
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Go find a local gas/welder supplier, talk to them, the guys I know will talk your ear off with information, great source of help!
 
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Old 05-06-20, 04:08 AM
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Dixie thank you for the narrative. I also did a little welding in high school and always liked it. But never pursued it. Don't know what brand they had.

Between the info from Marq and you I think the Hobart unit seems to fit my needs. Talked to my younger son and mentioned it to him. His first thought was, why the hell do you want a welder. But when I told him, that I'm buying it for all of us (4 boys) he said sure why not. LOL

It may be a little while before I actually make the purchase but I think my mind is made up.
 
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Old 05-06-20, 04:34 AM
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Nothing wrong with Hobart. Its a very good machine as well. I am sure you'll be happy with it. Hobart, in my opinion has always focused more on their gas based wire welders than the total electric welders. They have probably been the industry leader in gas wire welders.
 
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Old 05-06-20, 05:22 AM
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For a very long time I only had a 120v MIG welder and is great for material less than 7 or 11 ga (about 1/8" - 3/16" thick) and you can weld up to 1/2" thick or more if you allow the machine some time to cool. The huge benefit to 120 v is you can weld anywhere. No need for a high amperage 240v power source. For occasional or home use I would not even consider 240v as a 120v welder can easily handle welding a mower deck, lawn roller, shelf brackets... and most other things around the home.

The limitation of a 120 v welder is the duty cycle at higher power. If welding thin metal where you have the welder turned down then you might be able to run a bead as long as you want. If welding thick metal and have it cranked up to maximum you might only be able to weld 20% of the time. For example you could weld a bead for 20 seconds then have to stop for 60-90 seconds with the welder on but not welding to allow it to cool. If you go over most machines will simply stop welding and you have to cycle the power switch and start again with no harm done.
 
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Old 05-11-20, 12:01 PM
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OK guy’s, I’d like to bother you one more time.

Marq, I value your comments. And I understand your advice concerning using gas as a flux barrier. But I’m not at that stage to want to go that far. Maybe later. LOL

I ready to pull the trigger on the HOBART 100559 MIG welder. Except last week it was listed at $499.99 and now it’s listed at $629.00. Yikes! And it’s not so much the $129 increase as it just galls me to pay a higher price when it was just that much cheaper a week ago.

Anyways, using the Amazon comparison listed at the bottom of the page is another unit at half the price. The Forney Easy Weld 261 for $229. Obviously it’s not the same quality as the HOBART. But at half the price and according to all the reviews it may fit my needs. The reviews are impressive along with several YOUTUBE’s. Also comparing the user manuals between the two, the Forney unit actually gives instructions on how to weld and how to adjust the infinite voltage and wire feed speed. Both have handy charts attached to the unit. The Hobart unit does allow for gas if I want to. The Forney does not. The Forney unit only weight 19# vs 57# (I guess that has to say something). The Hobart can handle steel, stainless and Al., where as the Forney is only for mild steel. But I wonder just how good the Hobart can do thin stainless and Al? Hobart is 2 year warranty, Forney 6 months.

So what I’m asking my fellow DIY’s, if only given the two choices and knowing that I only need (want a toy might better describe it, LOL) this for minor things and knowing I have no experience or know how on using the equipment what is your opinion for someone like me?

I’m really torn between the two. My inner cheap side says do you really need to spend that kind of money? While my sense of wanting decent tools make me want the higher end. But do I need it? And by the way I’m 70 years old; just how much welding am I going to do? LOL
 

Last edited by Norm201; 05-11-20 at 02:45 PM. Reason: price correction 529 to 629
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Old 05-11-20, 01:19 PM
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On the face, with basic, limited reading, I think the Forney should be fine for your application. The reviews seem to be excellent, even while sometimes I am skeptical of some reviews on some items.

My search revealed that this can be bought at Home Depot although my store is out of stock & only gives an option to be notified when the item is in stock. So it doesn't say when it will be in stock. My point? Is it an item that you can readily get parts & supplies for in your town? I'm not sure if the spool of wire is "generic or interchangeable" with other machines. If not, & its a special spool for example, where will you have to get the wire, etc?
As long as you can get parts & accessories for the Forney, although I have no experience with that name, on the face, it seems like its a good beginner machine. It says it will weld up to 1/4" steel & for piddling, I am not likely to regularly encounter anything much thicker for piddling.
Lincoln, Hobart & Miller are all common machines & you can get service, maintenance, parts & supplies for those anywhere that handles welding supplies &/or service. Forney, I don't know about.

Personally, if I could get it locally, I'd try to do that & check out the dealer for warranty options, service & supplies.

Hope this helps.
 
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Old 05-11-20, 01:37 PM
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Dix, yes it does help. I forgot that the Forney is a HD carried product. I'm going to see what it takes to get spare parts. Oh by the way the Hobart unit is available through Tractor Supply. So that's another avenue to keep in mind. Damn I missed my chance at that $500 price.
 
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Old 05-11-20, 01:44 PM
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I can not find the Hobart model number you listed. Should it be model #500559? The Forney is actually their Easy Weld 140.

I would find out what consumables (gas nozzle, tips...) the Forney welder uses. Those are parts that you will have to replace occasionally and you want to make sure you can get the parts. If the Forney uses the same parts as a brand name (Miller, Lincoln, Esab, Hobart...) then your golden for life. If it uses proprietary tips then buy a good batch of spares up front in case that brand disappears.

Since you won't be using it a lot getting the less expensive machine sounds like a good option. It has a 30% duty cycle at 90 amps which is pretty good. Because of it's smaller physical size you may only be able to use 5 pound spools of wire but for occasional use around the house that will be plenty.
 
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Old 05-11-20, 02:14 PM
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Except last week it was listed at $499.99 and now it’s listed at $529.00. Yikes! And it’s not so much the $129 increase as it just galls me to pay a higher price when it was just that much cheaper a week ago.
Check your math. It is a $30 increase, not $130.
 
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Old 05-11-20, 02:46 PM
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If I wrote $529, my mistake. It was listed at 629. But I just checked and it's not up to $695.00.

I corrected the 1st post.
 
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Old 05-11-20, 04:42 PM
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The Hobart 125 does flux core or gas but does not come with the regulator for around $350 online

The Hobart 140 (which I think is the one you posted but the number was wrong (500559) ) is available from tractor supply for $530

Northern tool also has it for $530 and you can use a handy dandy $20 off $100 coupon.
 
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Old 05-11-20, 05:00 PM
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Well tonight I pulled the trigger and actually made the purchase. With thanks to you all and all the great comments both good and bad my wife pushed me to get the better unit. It's probably overkill but what the heck, why not? Both Dix and PD's comments had me leaning towards the Forney unit. But when I saw how the prices were escalating on the Hobart unit, I said I'd be second guessing myself if I don't go that route.
So this evening I bought the Hobart from Tractor Supply. I had to go there to order it but that removed the $20 delivery charge and it will be delivered to my door step. At the very least I can cook a hot dog on it. LOL
 
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Old 05-11-20, 05:15 PM
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You wont go wrong with the Hobart. Glad it worked out for you.
 
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Old 05-11-20, 06:26 PM
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As a side note, always buy NAME BRAND WIRE never any generic or HF crap. You can thank me later.
 
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Old 05-15-20, 01:16 PM
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Arrived today.

Now to learn to use it.


 
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Old 05-15-20, 01:20 PM
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If you can, take a class or get some instruction from a welder. That way you can skip having to unlearn any bad habits like most of us that were self taught were prone to get.

Either way I'm sure you'll be happy with your purchase!
 
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Old 05-15-20, 03:19 PM
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I've already got a welder and seeing your new one got me excited. There is nothing like a new toy/tool.
 
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Old 05-15-20, 03:27 PM
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In the long run you made the best decision, that Forney piece of crap would eventually be sold on Craigs List and then the better unit would be purchased.

I have always, and will always say, tools are an investment not an expense.

Weld away!
 
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Old 05-15-20, 03:51 PM
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Marq,

And if I get good at it and find enough things to do I might even go with then gas.

Reading through the manual I noticed that there are two different wiring hook ups. As it stands now using fluxcore wire the electrode is wired as negative. If using solid wire (with gas I assume) you switch electrode to positive.

So my next major job is to buy a decent welding helmet and gloves. And some extra wire. I can get a 4" spool or an 8" spool. Do you think HB will have decent stuff? What brand of wire is considered good vs junk?
 
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Old 05-15-20, 04:46 PM
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Tractor supply sells Hobart brand wire.
Again... back to my preference, I buy Lincoln wire... but I am partial to Lincoln.

I'd buy a couple of small spools & see if there is a difference or preference for you. Then once I found what I like, I'd always buy the large spools.
I dont want to get to technical with you at this point but just know that, just like when using a stick welder, you have many different type stick rods for different applications. So, just know that there are different wire types for different applications. You'll learn these things as you progress. But, for a beginner, Just get some wire & play with it. Its not really "that" expensive. However, if you want to, you can try to do some basic research.

In all honesty, If I have something to repair with a wire welder, I just figure out the metal, thickness etc & get some basic info... set the wire speed & temp setting, then just weld it up with whatever wire is already in the machine. But, I want to stress that there are different wires for different applications... just know that for future reference.
 
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Old 05-15-20, 08:23 PM
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Congrats on the new machine! If you're yhinking of instructional videos, Jody Collier has a website called Weldingtipsandtricks.com and youtube videos at his WeldingTipsAndTricks channel. Jody was recognized by the American Welding Society for certifying more than 500 welders.

If you ever think about using shielding gas, pure CO2 is an option. You can find 20# bottles pretty cheap to own not rent, and CO2 is cheap. Downside is it welds a little hotter and spatters more than argon-co2.

Have fun!
 
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Old 05-16-20, 12:39 AM
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For a MIG consumables are pretty generic, personally Ive never noticed any differences in the wire brand. What I have noticed is if the wire sits unused for periods of time, you can get a little flash rust on the wire that will mess up your welds and you just unspool it so the smaller spools will have less waste!

Gloves are nothing special, a bad habit but I tend to weld small jobs without!

Helmet, mid level (hobbyist) auto dimming is what you want, makes viewing soo easy!

A decent leather apron, don't want a hot spark on the privates!

Carts are nice to keep welder handy and can be the first project.

 
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Old 05-16-20, 04:30 AM
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Geez I feel like such noob and totally out of my element. But I'll learn.

Thanks Marq,

That's the kind of info I need. Good point about what level of helmet to get.
I was going to just cobble together a 2 x 4 with wheels, at least for the time being. But I like the idea of making a cart.

Cyclzen,

I'll check out those videos in the near future. Thanks.
 
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Old 05-16-20, 07:15 AM
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like the idea of making a cart.
Saw this on Harbor Freight

https://www.harborfreight.com/welding-cart-61316.html

I can't make it for that price.
 
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Old 05-16-20, 07:55 AM
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I can't make it for that price.
I agree, they are fairly good carts and will even hold your argon tank in the rear which you will end up getting sooner or later.
 
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Old 05-16-20, 01:47 PM
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Making it is what it's all about.

Here are some inspirations, items I've fabricated over the last couple summers.

https://imgur.com/kidPQuo

https://imgur.com/c7qpC8w

https://imgur.com/bdpWZ7P
 
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Old 05-17-20, 05:05 AM
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>>Making it is what it's all about.<<
Agreed, this is how you learn the ins and out of the craft. And get an appreciation of the effort and knowledge it takes to do the job well.

Marq1, I like your low profile skates! And even more I admire your shop!

 
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Old 05-17-20, 05:22 AM
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I agree, but at this point I just need to get basic supplies and practice. Maybe later I can build a custom stand. But at the price I think it's worth it.

I love your floor. I have a similar garage floor. Aren't you afraid of chipping it with all the equipment? I have pads under everything.

I opted for the brown with lots of flec in it.
I always fear dropping small screws and the like. I can never find them due to the pattern.
 
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Old 05-17-20, 05:52 AM
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Helmet, mid level (hobbyist) auto dimming is what you want, makes viewing soo easy!
My son has an auto dimming hood but he uses his daily. I just have a couple of non dimming hoods. My question is would the battery go dead when there are long periods of non use?
 
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Old 05-17-20, 08:38 AM
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My question is would the battery go dead when there are long periods of non use?
I would think so just like most other battery powered stuff. The bigger problem is most of the cheaper hoods aren't designed with any way to replace batteries. The better quality and more expensive hoods have replaceable batteries.
 

Last edited by Ron53; 05-17-20 at 09:21 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-17-20, 09:00 AM
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aren't designed with any way to replace batteries
I wont say one does not exist but I have never seen an auto dimmer that does not allow you to replace batteries, mine has 2 or 4 AAA.

Like anything else they will go dead. In the fall they come out so that seems to at least keep them from leaking.

And if you noticed, everything has urethane casters, no issues. I really need to swap out my floor jack, those steel wheels could do the most damage!

I have dropped a few hot blobs of molten metal on the floor, I now have a heavy rubber mat at the weld table, kind of slows them down!

 
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Old 05-17-20, 09:39 AM
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My question is would the battery go dead when there are long periods of non use?
Most auto-darkening helmets sold nowadays are solar-powered. No batteries needed.

Here is a cheap one that I like a lot: https://www.harborfreight.com/red-de...met-63121.html
 
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Old 05-17-20, 09:42 AM
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I knew some of them were solar powered but it still utilizes battery, doesn't it?
 
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Old 05-17-20, 12:01 PM
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Mine has two large coin/watch type batteries and a solar panel. I always thought the batteries powered the screen and the solar panel was used to sense the arc.

In case you are worried, the clear plastic window of your face shield provides the important UV protection. So, even if your lens doesn't darken your eyes are protected from burn. You may be temporarily blinded by the light but your eyes are not harmed. The darkening feature is only there so you can comfortably see your work and does not provide the UV protection.
 
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