Is a MIG welder right for you?


Old 09-22-20, 06:02 PM
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Is a MIG welder right for you?

Could be, depending on your needs, wants and your welding ability. In another life (I'm 72, this was 50 years ago) I used to be a welder, then moved up to a welding instructor and finally to a welding inspector. (I've always heard if you can't do anything well they make you an inspector) Anyway I started out on stick welding, did a little tig welding (loved tig) and finally moved on to gas shielded mig welding.. Not to brag but I could stack the dimes on a good stick machine or a gas shielded mig machine better than most. Fast forward to age 65. I retired but still loved to weld and did a good bit on farm equipment, trailers, gates, etc. I owned a Miller 220 volt AC machine and loved it. Later bought a Hobart 220 volt AC/DC machine and loved it too. My eyesight wasn't what it was in my 20's but it was ok. After I left the country, sold my farm equipment and moved to the burbs I found myself with a little workshop in the back yard with 120 volt service. Since I didn't do a lot of welding anymore and welded almost no heavy stuff I decided to buy me a MIG flux core welder. It was a Lincoln machine, highly reviewed but I don't even remember the model number. I think I purposely blocked it out of my mind, I hated it so bad. The only thing good I can say it was user friendly. No having to strike an arch with a rod (which is easy with a little practice) and it was a dream to form and follow the puddle. Problem was the end result. After cleaning the weld I couldn't believe how ugly it was. Must be the wire I thought. Went and bought a roll of Hobart wire. Same results. Tried tweaking the wire feed speed and amperage. Same result. Went over to my neighbor who had a little Miller MIG and looked at his welds (he's a pretty good welder) and saw the same thing. VERY UGLY WELDS. I may not have the eyesight I used to have but I still know a pretty weld when I see it. A mig might stick stuff together with flux core wire but it sure won't give you a weld you can be real proud of. If you want a gorilla weld (big, strong and ugly) get you a mig with flux core wire. If you want a quality weld, get a gas shielded mig (and work indoors) or get you a good stick machine and learn to use it. My 2 cents.
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