View Full Version : MIG welders

Mark Beiser
12-07-2003, 03:10 AM
I'm looking at getting an inexpensive MIG welder, but its been a LONG time since I used or owned a welder.

It will only see occasional use for replacing panels during restoration projects. Hopefully not for any accedent damage repairs. images/icons/wink.gif

My biggest question is if I should get one that uses gas, or if the gasless ones with flux core wire are ok?

If its best to use gas, wich gas is best sheet metal repairs?

Is nitrogen one of the gasses that can be used? (I use compressed nitrogen in my work, so I already have bottles and regulators on hand)

12-07-2003, 04:14 AM
mig welders are good. depends on what and where you will be welding, flux cores, gasless is just fine, it tends to work better outdoors or in drafty workspaces. and can be slightly more rust tolerant. gas welders use co2, and in windy or drafty places may not work well, due to the gas being blown away. Nitrogen? i have no idea if it would be safe to use or even possible to use.a quick search provided this


"Nitrogen can react to form certain compounds under the influence of chemicals, catalysts, or high temperature; therefore it is not used as a shielding gas in the welding industry."


12-07-2003, 02:45 PM
Although there are some deals out there from the internet, I finally settled on purchasing a "Lincoln" unit from Home Depot. It was the HD3200 model. Comes complete for both gas/non-gas operation. Has it's own wheel around cart (not very useful), face sheild, spools of wire and extra tips. I received a 10% off any purchase in the mail from Home Depot, I went to there store to buy the thing, and in the process signed up for their charge card giving me another 10% off my first purchase. The deal was I had to use the charge card for my first purchase but that was okay with me because it also came with six months @ no interest. images/icons/smile.gif The unit works great!

Regading the gas - Use a mixture of Argon/Carbon Dioxide. I bought a mid-size bottle (the first time you buy the bottle thereafter, just the gas). It cost me approximately $84.00.

By making the purchase the way I did, It cost me about the same I could find over the internet (including shipping), but I got what I wanted (a lincoln), from a known reputable outlet, and I was able to look, touch and feel the unit before buying and walk out with it in my arms.


12-07-2003, 03:01 PM
Mark, one more thing to consider is what brand of gun is on the unit. In my experience, the Tweco seems to be the better choice, and should the need arise for replacement parts, such as tips and liners, they're readily available.
I have a 220V, 200 amp unit, made in Sweden, that was given to me, that needs a new gun, and I can't find one anywhere! Probably why it was free.
My 110V, Solar brand, uses a Tweco, and I can buy parts at my local NAPA store.

12-07-2003, 06:23 PM
Jeff is right, however, most people don't have the opportunity to try out different types welding units, or the different types of guns available. One suggestion that has worked well for me is that I have taken several auto restoration classes at our local community college. These have given me an opportunity to try different types of welders and different types of guns. I've received some actual hands on time on each, trying out different welders and guns. The classes have allowed me to get a feel for each, and generally provided me an arena to see, discuss, and ask questions with instructors and others in the class, about what is available, pros and cons of each, ease of use, parts availability, potential weaknesses, etc.


12-09-2003, 07:22 AM
We have the same small Lincoln unit at work, that Don has (and we bought it at Home Depot too). It's fine with the inert gas bottle....not as good with the special (and expensive) wire that doen't require an inert gas. And the fumes from the non-gas wire are super-toxic!
We also have a "no-brand", bought from Harbor Freight and it's about equal to the Lincoln.
We use ours to do some aluminum welding (for our FIRST Competion robot), and if you are using aluminum wire, you *absolutely* need the low-friction liner in the feed hose (I think it's Teflon). Otherwise, it's "birdnest-city"!
At home I have an old 220 volt AC arc welder and an oxy-acetylene gas torch set. I could borrow the MIG unit for home use any time, but the arc or gas setups cover just about everything, so I've never really had the need.
By the way, I just welded a new left rear fender onto the post-crash racing Spridget using my oxyacetylene set. At the end, I ran out of standard gas filler rods, so I used cleaned-up metal coat hangers (I'm probably not the first person to do that with oxy-acetylene torches).

[ 12-09-2003: Message edited by: aeronca65t ]</p>

12-10-2003, 12:12 AM
I just bought a Hobart off an Ebay store. It was about $100 more than the Home Defect Lincoln which I already went thru 2 of. What a difference a real welder makes! I was so used to the no hold welds and jamming up wire from the "asian import" sporting a Lincoln decal I forgot what a real welder can do.
The Hobart flux core works better than the home cheapo lincoln ever did with the gas (Argon/CO2)
Whatever brand you consider, do NOT get it from a discount store. Go to a welding supply, ask questions. They are a great help.

Mark Jones
12-10-2003, 09:59 AM
I too have a Hobart unit. It's there 135 unit, which used 120V. I haven't tried it with gas, but I have used it with flux core once or twice just trying to learn. Wow, very easy to use. I laid down a reasonably good weld my second try. It has a good variable output, which allows for welding the light metal used on lbc's and metal up to about 1/8", if memory serves me correctly. Before I purchased this unit I did a lot of reading about welders and the point that kept on coming up was buy the biggest one you can afford because they tend to have better power and speed controls compared to cheaper models. Buy one from the big three names from a welding supply store and you won't go wrong, mainly because the store will be there for supplies, service and advice.

[ 12-10-2003: Message edited by: Mark Jones ]</p>

12-10-2003, 12:28 PM
Here's a third vote for the Hobart. I have had mine since '97, when I got my Sprite.
I have bought enough cheap tools (too many) to know when NOT to economize. The welding shop set me up with a 110 volt compact rig that has served me much more than I expected. Seems like everybody I know needs something welded. graemlins/savewave.gif

12-10-2003, 07:07 PM
I've got a 110 Amp Solar brand, (made by Century, here in the States), and having used Miller and Hobart 110V models, the main advantage I see to mine is that it has a rheostat to control the heat range, rather than a click stop switch. It also has both stitch and spot weld functions. I bought it about 11 years ago, and it has served me extremely well.

12-19-2003, 07:34 PM
Actually, I heard that alot of MIG welders lost their jobs when the Soviet Union broke up.

12-19-2003, 08:18 PM
graemlins/lol.gif this is the wrong forum for that graemlins/devilgrin.gif

12-20-2003, 12:14 AM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by lawguy:
Actually, I heard that alot of MIG welders lost their jobs when the Soviet Union broke up.<hr></blockquote>

Good one!

Actually, some of them are building Cobras now:


12-20-2003, 03:31 AM
( In my best Three Stooges tone of voice) Arc, Arc, Arc, Arc,Arc.

Jim Weatherford
12-26-2003, 02:57 PM
aeronca65t & others...

Having come from the Cobra World, I can only praise the Kirkham Brothers and Family for their good works and the highest quality Cobras ever built. Even Caroll Shelby uses their bodies for his replicas. The Family Kirkham have done much to bolster the image and faith in America in Poland and around the world. I have also met several of the Polish workers and they are dedicated and real fans of the American life.

It more about people than Cars, but they do both well.

Tom Rynne
12-27-2003, 11:18 AM
I have an HTP 140 welder I bought 12 years ago. It has all copper windings which makes it more robust than the cheapy ones with aluminum coils. It is fully adjustable for spot, stitch, etc. It is now doing it's fourth complete ground up B welding job without a hitch. It was pricey but, in my estimation, well worth it. The only possble drawback I have found is that when doing 1/4 inch or thicker it requires multiple passes. They do offer a 220 V model which would overcome this.

John Loftus
12-31-2003, 10:12 PM
I just purchased a Miller Millermatic 135 through an Ebay store and should have it next week. I considered the Hobart but after talking to a friend who is a professional welder, went with his recommendation on the Miller. He says the infinite voltage control is a good feature to have (which Bugeye mentioned too). Anyway, cost a bit more but figured it will be one of those lifelong tools.

Many years ago I spent 4 months using an arc welder all day long and got pretty good at laying down a weld. It will be interesting to see if any of this prior experience will come back when learning the MIG method. I hope it's like riding a bicycle or driving an LBC (you never forget!).

I found a comparison chart at the Miller website:



John Loftus
01-05-2004, 03:21 PM
Couple questions regarding MIG welding. I currently have a 15 lb CO2 tank (used for air brushing). I understand that Argon, Argon/CO2 or CO2 can be used for shielding gas. Have any of you used just straight CO2 and how does this compare with the Argon or mixed gases?

Do any of you use MIG to weld aluminum with success and can share setup tips?