View Full Version : Welder Advice

03-13-2005, 09:42 AM
Hello All -- I'm working on a TR3A frame off and am looking for advice relating to MIG welders. I'm interested in a 115V application and am considering Lincoln, Miller, or Hobart. I'm a newcomer to welding and am looking for the easiest setup to start with. Any advice out there about what setup to go with?

Bruce Bowker
03-13-2005, 10:16 AM
Brands names start arguments but I have a Lincoln TIG. Very happy with it. Others will say only machine to get is a Miller. Sort of like PC/Apple or Ford/Chevy discussions.

But I will say don't get a too simple machine unless this will be the ONLY welding you will do and then "throw it out" so to speak. If you really think you will be doing more go for a nice unit perhaps a bit larger than you think you will need. 115 volts may restrict you a bit though.

There are a few good welding books. I would highly recommend reading first(reading a lot). Also some good information on various websites.


03-13-2005, 03:24 PM
I got a Harbor Freight Welder (https://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=6098) for my TR3 project. I got the 230V version of the one linked which was about $30 more. Don't sell these units short. They give you good bang for the buck, and might be just what you need. You'll have to get a gas bottle and regulator, but you'll have to get that anyway. And, I don't recommend welding with the flux core stuff. It's messy and splatters all over the place. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hammer.gif

03-13-2005, 05:11 PM
I have a Hobart Handler.120v and it will handle anything on my TR4A. I'm not loyal to any brand,but, I would second the "don't buy a cheap one" comment.
I would also reccommend a gas shielded type. I'm currently running mine with the gasless wire and not using gas,(for monitary reasons) but Im not very happy with the welds as compared to using gas.Just like martx-5 said.
The key to good welds isen't in a certian brand welder but in knowing how to "trim it" and get it in proper adjustment.
One class through your local vocational school is worth a thousand redone welds.

03-13-2005, 07:25 PM

I've been shopping and have pretty well settled on the Hobart Handler line, too. They just appear to offer the best value and latest features. But, there are other good brands in similar price range. I believe Hobart is made by one of the other major manufacturers, maybe Miller.

Duty rating is one of your main considerations. In other words, how long can you run the welder each hour before giving it a break. Some 120V have 20 or 30% duty cycle ratings. That means basically you can't weld 80 or 70% of the time, must "give it a rest". 230V often give a much higher duty cycle, and the priciest welders can run almost continuously.

MIG is probably the easiest type of welding to learn. The suggestions abouit books are a good idea. Also, you might consider a class at a local community college, if that's an option. It would help you get up to speed quickly and you might even be able to work on your own projects in class.

Finally, I agree with the suggestions about gas shielding. Flux core wire (gasless) is primarily intended for outdoor use, where a breeze would blow away gas shielding. It's not nearly as neat and requires a lot more finish work (if that's important) than gas shielded.

Have fun shopping!


03-13-2005, 07:55 PM
The Hobart Handler is a nice little welder. It will handle pretty much anything you ever need to do on a car, and maybe a little more, but not much. Last time I checked Hobart made their own small welders. Lincoln and Miller have pretty decent little welders too. If you have 220 where you are going to be welding I of course recomend a real welder, that way if you ever decide to do something thicker than about 1/8" you easily can.

03-14-2005, 12:39 AM
When I moved over from the UK to Minnesota, I sold my old welder and bought new here.

I went to a local welding shop (the pros use). They recomended the Handler 175 230V for all that I needed. They had several models from all the makers available and were setup to try them all out.

I have used this without a problem and would recomend it without hesitation.

I had to re wire the garage for the compressor anyway so I added an extra 220V socket for the welder.

If you are doing bodywork, use gas and a welding wire called easygrind. (great for thin sheetmetal). I think you can only get this at welding suplliers not your local home depot.

Good luck


03-14-2005, 09:43 PM
I have an older Miller 130 MIG machine, 115V range 30-130 amp
I agree with all above. Although for amateur garage guys 115V has always worked for me. I also have an acetylene rig for heavier cutting and brazing. I would say if you're getting one don't even mess with the flux only models. Also consider total costs of tank lease and deposits can get expensive if only for a couple projects. May be better finding a buddy with a rig or paying a pro. Took two years of night classes to become just "capable" : ) Little more to it than melting two pieces of metal together. Good luck. I found all kinds of uses around the garage & house for them. I would also consider used machines, name brands are pretty tough, see lots of them still on the job older than me.

03-14-2005, 10:24 PM
I bought a 120V Millermatic and by the time I got everything I needed, went way over a grand! Recommend the auto-darkening lense. The cotton welder's cap (Comeaux) was the best part. Now I can fit in with all the coon-ass welders around here. The call me "Bro". I belong. Seriously, MIG is not that hard to learn, but very hard to be good. Still practicing......


03-14-2005, 11:05 PM
I bought a $100 gas bottle that lasts at least a couple of hours welding (THats a few weekends work for me.

If I need gas for aluminum or stainless, they just swap it and charge me for the refill.

The Auto darkening lense are worth it, helps when you need that extra pair of hands.

Don't forget the gloves and appron.


03-14-2005, 11:29 PM
Since no one seems to have mentioned it, I'm going suggest you consider a small, inexpensive 220 volt arc welder such as this Hobart:

https://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/s...amp;R=200304603 (https://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=6970&productId=200304603&R= 200304603)

If you have an electric dryer in your house, this welder will probably plug into the same receptacle.

Sears and others sell similar units. These welders are very handy and simple to use for welding steel down to 1/16" (or thinner if you have a steady hand).
For very light gauge steel, I use a small set of oxy-acetylene tanks. I have a MIG, but I rarely use it because I don't have the gas bottle and the flux core wire isn't very good (as mentioned by others).
One other thing...if you are planning on welding aluminum, the light duty MIG welders do not have the feed mechanism in the gun, and so "birds-nesting" of aluminum wire is a common problem. I have a small Lincoln MIG at work and it is almost useless with aluminum, even with the Teflon liner kit. For welding aluminum, you'd need a MIG that pulls the wire (instead of pushing). These are pretty expensive.

03-15-2005, 12:13 AM
I've been using the Hobart Handler 175 with C 25 gas for several years. Works great. I bought an inexpensive auto darkening helmet from Harbor Freight and it really is well worth the money. Get some halogen lights on a stand to illuminate your work. Go to the scrap yard and get some steel and practice. Weld some pieces together, put it in the vise and beat on it till the weld breaks and learn.

03-15-2005, 09:03 PM
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gifI've got a Hobart Handler 175 as well. Cost me $840, out the door with a bottle and 10lbs of wire. The thing is great. Don't waste your money on the cheap-HF welders. I've known people who had them and they were crap. Hobart is made by Miller. Biggest difference I've seen between them is the amperage control. The cheaper welders have only a couple of settings, while the Miller and Lincon units have infinate. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif