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Beginner welder recomendations?


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Here's the conclusion I've come to about  the Miller vs Lincon debate. The difference is that one is red and one is blue. That being said if anyone says their blue is better than my Miller killer I will end them.

 

As far as beginner welders go.....

 

This following information is based partially off experience, and partially what I was told when I was in your situation.

 

Harbor freight: flux core welder is very affordable and runs extremely impressively for its price when ran with Lincoln wire.

 

Tweco welders: these are generally rebranded esabs. The local BMW carbon fiber plant construction and maintenance boys run them and love them. No issues. Same for the guys on the server farms. The fabricator 181i is definitely worth taking a look at. It is one of the most affordable options and it is a multi process machine with a lot of options. You can run (DC) TIG scratch start, pedal is available, MIG or (DC) SMAW off this unit. Being a Tweco (makes most replacement parts for the big guys) parts are extremely available. This is the route I would recommend but it comes down to your budget.

 

Lincoln: I have ran many of these small units and the low power MIG Lincoln's performance over the analogous Miller's are what make me a team red guy. Big box stores each offer a version of the 140 wire feed welder. They have different model numbers, but that only is so the stores don't have to price match each other. Same unit. These are affordable and are great for small (read sheet metal, 1/4" may be advertised but it is a stretch.) welding projects and run off 110 options. There is also another model number for the industrial suppliers and this welder has different drive rollers than the big box stores. I would buy from a local welding supplier as I like to keep my money local. They are over a hundred dollars more though. I went with the 180 dual as it allows me to run off of either a 110 or 220 power source. The power MIG 210 is the latest and greatest from them in the entry power range multi process machine. Like I said before you can get an optioned out Tweco for the same price as the bare bones package of this and those are industry tested and approved while the Lincoln is too new for much feedback. 

I'm partial to running Lincoln arc welders as it is a very versatile process and it is a skill I believe everyone should try their hand at. Cheap arc welders are available but I would recommend doing it out doors or getting some sort of fume hood/extractor and that is a substantial investment. Lincoln is fairly limited as far as promotions go. You can usually get a free (awesome model) helmet and gloves off them. Other than that I've never seen a price other than what Lincoln mandates. Never seen a sale on them either.

 

Miller: I'm not a fan of the auto set feature. These are very prevalent in the industry as promotions seem more common and they do make solid equipment. The company I work for got a buy one get one free deal on some 110v units from them. The larger 220v units run good enough for me. Very good welders just not my color. Might be worth taking a look at if you can get a deal on them. 

 

Shop around and compare prices. What's your budget like and what process are you looking for? If you want one recommendation for one welder with no other information than you want a beginner welder I say go with either a Tweco fabricator 181i or 221i. If you just want to lay beads for minimal cash go to Harbor Freight.

 

 

 

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Eastwood makes a a good welder at a good price. Great for a beginner.  You wont be doing any crazy stuff with it but they work.

 

Look around for used welders too,some welders can be crazy expensive and if you arent doing a ton of welding day in and day out save your dough.

 

We have a couple Lincolns at the shop. ESAB makes some nice stuff but again pricey. ESAB plasma cutters rock.

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1 hour ago, Fazzman said:

Eastwood makes a a good welder at a good price. Great for a beginner.  You wont be doing any crazy stuff with it but they work.

 

Look around for used welders too,some welders can be crazy expensive and if you arent doing a ton of welding day in and day out save your dough.

 

We have a couple Lincolns at the shop. ESAB makes some nice stuff but again pricey. ESAB plasma cutters rock.

Always wondered about those eastwoods. I almost bought a TIG unit from them when it was on sale. I second looking for used stuff.

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cheap welders are not good and good welders are not cheap, and I'm talking about the machines.......as for the people you can tell in 3 minutes if a welder is any good  then you can decide if they are worth the money.....

but to answer your question, decide what and how much of it you plan on doing with it foremost..... you can't make apple pie with only flour.....nor can you build a structural building with a buzz box.....

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21 hours ago, marcAtPIG said:

I have a new dedicated 220 plug installed in the garage. Can someone recommend a good beginner welder that will last me for a while?

Spend a little money and take a welding course, it will help you figure out what capabilities you want. If you will be doing heavier welding you may want a stick welder, if it is light sheet metal MIG is easier. It is all about what you want to do as far as welders go, the Miller versus Lincoln debate is like the DeWALT versus Milwaukee one, a lot of noise, but both will actually get the job done. My advice on purchasing one though is see what you have available to you in the ways of local support brandwise before you purchase. One brand may dominate your local area due to the support from a dealer/ service center.

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People seem to be missing one of the most important things when buying a welder the duty cycle , all welders have a duty cycle and what that means is a welder rated at 70% @ 100 amps will operate for 7 minutes use then need 3 minutes to cool down , it's out of 10 minute cycles so a welder rated 100% at 100 amps will run non stop at 100amps setting , also would like to say I use mig welder for light fabrication and stick for my more heavy duty and mobile welding tasks but everyone should learn to stick weld it's a great machine to have 

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Disagree about learning stick first. MIG is just so easy you can figure it out yourself in about an hour. Especially flux core. Also here’s the thing. Welding is not just a typical skill. It’s NOT like riding a bike. I learned to ride a bike decades ago. I can get on a bike any time and just go. You don’t lose it over time. With welding if you don’t do it almost every day, you very quickly get rusty, especially with stick and TIG. You can’t just grab a rid can and have at it. Best to burn a couple rods getting back in the groove. MIG however is so simple and easy it’s actually like that. I believe anyone can operate a MIG with minimal practice and get it right. It’s the perfect machine for weekend warriors that might not touch a welder for months. So for these reasons I suggest learning MIG first. Sure it will ruin you. So what.

Not a fan of “multiprocess”. Let’s face it though almost anything can stick weld so really we’re talking about the difference between say a MIG suitcase welder and a TIG. You can buy a top end TIG for $800 (AHZp) and a decent MIG for $300 so total cost for all three major processes is $1100. The low end ESAB Rebels start at over $1500. I still wouldn’t consider them good TIG machines compared to AHP. So you’re just getting a very expensive MIG. Plus you can customize and set up each one separately and repair/replacement doesn’t break the budget.

Big thing about TIG is the control. You can weld almost any metal, especially copper, aluminum at any thickness even aluminum foil, and even titanium. The downside is that it’s slow and has a very high UV output although if it wasn’t for that you could weld in a T shirt. A real TIG welder lets you alter the Positive and negative cycle to alter the cleaning vs welding effect and has HF start. The AHP has all that for around $800. In Miller and Lincoln you don’t see that until almost $3000. Even the ESAB multiprocess doesn’t have good TIG. Which is my point...different welders for different purposes. An all in one has too many compromises and kills the budget. You can also stick weld with these.

In MIG look specifically for AC and DC. A decent suitcase welder will run close to the AHP price although as mentioned a decent basic HF one sets you back about half that. Again it stick welds too.

Finally don’t forget brazing and torch welding. Both are like some kind of lost art. You can brake aluminum. It’s not as good as TIG but costs almost nothing other than materials and takes almost no training, same with most brazing. Torch welding is one of the best ways to weld cast iron with high nickel rod so worth doing even if it’s mostly forgotten. And torch sets are ridiculously cheap,

Which brings me to my final point. The thing about welding is that you really are talking about fabrication. There are a lot of tools in fabrication that you really need and hold their own. Even before welding you need to cut material and frequently bevel it, and grind welds flat. Also need pre and post hearing. This means saws, grinders, drills, and a torch. Possibly many kinds if benders, presses, rams, and lots and lots of clamps. You can do a lot of things with all of these tools without a welder but not vice versa. In fact with the correct tip the torch welds as well as brazes.

I’d suggest starting there first. Build up your fab shop first. Maybe get into 80/20 or T-slot stuff. I do a lot of fabrication all the time without a welder. Then MIG/stick and finally TIG, if you need it.

The big thing about stick is penetration. You can use a 6011 P6 rod and burn through rusty, crappy junk steel and still make good quality root passes. An engine welder is a go anywhere tool. That’s why you see one in probably half the service trucks on the road. It can do a lot and there are some truck rods but outside of steel it’s pretty limited. There are high nickel rods that do decent on cast iron, stainless rods, and some so-so aluminum rods. Stick welders do excellent on thick structural aluminum,

In MIG I used to scoff at it. It was for Saturday afternoon car shows only. But especially with electronic welders now we have dirt cheap teeny suitcase welders that can go anywhere. 220 is better but they can run off an extension cord! These are very fast and have quickly become the construction trade welder of choice. You can do aluminum but you have to run very fast and very hot. Very little smoke, very short learning curve. Biggest downside is bottles (except flux core) and you need to work at it for penetration.

Already commented on TIG. Need variable positive/negative and HF start. You CAN scratch start and try to get by on pure AC but essentially it’s going to suck. These “options” make TIG much easier when it’s already hard. With TIG the big advantage is ultimate control. You control the heat, filler material, and cleaning/welding. With a pure inert atmosphere small heat affected zone you can do so much with it. But it’s also a three handed welding process. Foot pedal for current control, one hand on the gun, one on the filler rod. Staring at a tiny puddle. Sort of the polar opposite of MIG.

Lots of comments too about what amounts mostly to Chinese made machines. I’ll just say this. Miller, ESAB, and Lincoln are making them in the same factories.!i wish they bring it back here. There are quality differences to be sure. Lots of YouTube reviews pointing this out. But especially now that welders are mostly electronic (MOSFET, SCR or IGBT) build quality is drastically improving on the cheap machines. It’s getting hard to ignore say an Eastwood when performance is as good as Lincoln and maybe ESAB. The downside is repairs.’But that’s less critical on a DIY machine compared to say a CAT mechanic. And less of a big deal for the weekend warrior compared to a guy that is welding 4-8 hours a day, 5+ days a week. Operating hours are drastically less.

That being said, also suggest shopping used market. Not EBay. More like Craig’s List. Ideal is to find a big expensive but older Miller or Lincoln but at the new Chinese made buzz box price. Don’t discount looking at the welding supply shop either.

Agreed about Tweco. If you are unwilling to risk your purchase on Chinese made machine (Harbor Freight, Hobart, Everlast, Eastwood) and you’d rather risk it on a machine made in China it’s not a bad way to go.

As far as Red, Yellow, and Blue, Red and Yellow lately have been coming down in price with some very competitive machines compared to the past. Blue is still crazy high.

Another thing to think about. Priced a generator lately? Look at the price of an engine welder that just happens to have say a 20 kW generator as well. Often this is much cheaper than a dedicated generator. And often the wife will happily say yes to the generator when it was no to the welder. It’s a win-win. Course you need that 220’receptacle to be a plug now!

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  1. On the off chance that you like to work with your hands and are looking for a novel feeling of the network, at that point welding might be for you. It's both a workmanship and a science. From fundamental creation to cutting edge mechanical autonomy, present-day welders mix exchange abilities with innovation to work more brilliant, not simply harder. 

    The aptitudes you'll learn as a welder are likewise versatile and downturn safe. There are innumerable open doors in an assortment of ventures that lead to worthwhile and compensating professions.

I will recomended this 7 welder for Beginner

  1. MILLER ECTRIC 120/240V AC WELder for MIG welding. ...
  2. AHP ALPHATIG 200X 200 AMP TIG WELDER. ...
  3. Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi-Process Welder. ...
  4. HOBART 500421 STICKMATE LX 235 AC/DC WELDER. ...
  5. HOBART 500559 HANDLER WIRE WELDER. ...
  6. ESAB MINIARC WELDER. 
  7.  LINCOLN POWER 140C MIG WELDER.   🙃🙂
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