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 What's a good welder?

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Murraymountain
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PostSubject: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeFri Jul 19, 2019 9:34 am

Alright, so I don't have a clue how to weld, what to look for in a welder, or the money to get a half way decent one, but I obviously have to get one. So, what would be a good welder (preferably one that doesn't splatter everywhere) for a beginner, and under $120?
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeFri Jul 19, 2019 9:47 am

225 Lincoln tombstone!!!

Seriously though, even though you said no splatter I think a 90 - 100A FCAW (flux core) welder is a good choice for a beginner. If you got a MIG you wouldn't have to deal with slag at all, but you would also have to purchase and occasionally refill a tank of gas for it as well. Not a huge deal obviously, but just something to mention. Also MIG requires a bit more prep before welding and can't be used very well outside with a breeze.

As far as brands go I've never used a cheaper store brand one before, but from what I've heard they're not bad at all, especially for a beginner. I really love my little Lincoln 100A MGAW/FCAW machine, so I would recommend that one if it was an option, but I think a store brand one would do ya just fine for learning and basic tractor stuff.

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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeFri Jul 19, 2019 9:55 am

Honestly I love my harbor freight 90 amp flux core. Splatter gets cleaned up with a wire brush usually, I have one that goes on my drill. They’ve since discontinued my 90 amp and now make a 125, but I’m sure it’s of similar quality. I’ve had mine for 4 years now and it plain kicks ass for the small stuff we do.

I did get a Lincoln 180 tombstone (buzzbox) which is an arc welder, harder to use but is very versatile. I haven’t used it yet because I bought it with bad cables, but I’m planning on fixing it up to use for my larger projects. They’re pretty common at farm auctions and typically don’t break. There isn’t much to go wrong on them
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Murraymountain
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeFri Jul 19, 2019 5:29 pm

Okay, well, if I was to buy one right now, I'd have to wait till October to learn on it. My grandfather did fab work for a little more than 40 years I think, so he'd know all there is to know about welding. So he could probably teach me on any welder out there, so, forget I said beginner. Anyway he lives in Florida and won't be here again till October, and he's just waiting on me to get a welder. He likes the Millermatic 211, but I've never had $650 in my life so that's just a distant dream.

I'd prefer it not to be flux core. For example... I'll be putting a scoop on the Mountain Murray, and I want clean welds all the way around, especially with that new paint. I know I'd have to paint the welds and maybe about a half inch away from them, but I'm fine with that. I just don't wanna use a quarter of a can to clean the paint up.

Would this one be any good? I know it's pretty small, but will it do the job?
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeFri Jul 19, 2019 5:56 pm

Well that's an Arc welder, so if you want no splatter that's not exactly a good option, haha. I really don't think a FCAW machine is a bad option at all. If you're concerned about doing sheet metal work, a sanding disk on an angle grinder will xlean any weld right up. Those things are like magic.

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Murraymountain
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeFri Jul 19, 2019 6:40 pm

Haha, I guess that shows how little I know about welding, I saw it wasn't flux core so just assumed lol!

But for prices like that, is it even possible to get a welder that won't splatter and still do a good job, or am basically gonna have to deal with it?

(if i get a flux core my grandfather will be like "You did what?!" lol!)
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeFri Jul 19, 2019 9:26 pm

Honestly, flux cored can be cleaned up and look decent.

I got a flux core/solid wire lincoln for around $300 brand new. Walmart sells a Century welder that looks to be exactly the same, probably some cheap er components for around $200 I think?

I havnt done and sheet metal work with it, but I think Ill be wishing I got the next model up with more adjustments.

Look at used welders, you can get a decent Lincoln, or Hobart for $2-400 that will do everything you need.
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeFri Jul 19, 2019 9:57 pm

Hate to tell ya, but you got to deal with the splatter in some form for that price. That is just how it works. Anything that has it's own flux on the rod/wire is pretty violent when it melts, it is boiling which is where the splatter is coming from. Maybe buy something in steps. I got an old stick welder I bought brand new years ago (ark welder), for $120 back then (20 years ago). 100 amp. Works great, a wide variety of welding rods to choose from. Just have to deal with the slag which means cleaning off the weld every time you weld. I plan on upgrading this welder to a scratch start TIG welder. For $100, I bought a couple months ago, a TIG handle and a starter kit of the consumables. $40 for the regulator. Next is a tank for the argon gas which will be another $100 or so and another $50 to fill it. Will be a scratch start TIG welder setup for welding steel sheet metal only. Can't weld aluminum with it. But is way cheaper then a dedicated machine what uses gas of it's type.
You could buy that stick welder you showed, then upgrade it little by little as you get better welding, but stick welding is pretty hard to learn, if you are just starting to weld. I would suggest to find a coupon and buy the Harbor Freight Mig welder to start out with, with an auto darkening helmet. The eye shield that comes with the welder is junk. You can find a coupon for the helmet too, $40. Just have to deal with cleaning the welds, part of learning I'm afraid.
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Doug
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeSat Jul 20, 2019 6:25 pm

At your price point, FCAW is your only option. But dont let spatter be a deciding factor, those machines cost hundreds of dollars more than FCAW or ARC, and as stated before require more prep work and practice.

FCAW is a great beginning point and can be entirely self taught easily. And, if you do put in even a minimal amount of prep work, can yield stronger than MIG welds with minimal spatter. Theres also anti-spatter sprays and nozzle dips to protect your gun and surrounding surfaces, and a majority of the time the spatter can be easily removed with a chisel or wire brush.

For $120, get that Harbor Freight welder and a cheap auto darkening hood, and just play around with it. Get used to the feel of the machine, and then when you do get the money to buy a decent used MIG youll have a nice backup.

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Murraymountain
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeSat Jul 20, 2019 7:17 pm

Okay, so yeah, I'm obviously gonna end up with an FCAW, and I do have some HF coupon books so I'll look through 'em tonight. I'll post up my options tomorrow.
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Murraymountain
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2019 10:06 am

Well, I guess "tomorrow" was pretty far away. But anyway, I don't have much of an option, matter of fact I don't have an option... The "125 AMP Flux Core Chicago Electric Welder". It says it includes everything needed to weld, but I assume the helmet is trash? Anyway for $100, I think it's a no brainer if shipping's free. If not then my grandfather would have to bring it up in October.

What's a good welder? P1110532

Here's my helmet options...
What's a good welder? P1110533
What's a good welder? P1110534
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2019 11:51 am

Definitely get an auto darkening helmet with it. The one supplied is just a fixed shade shield
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2019 11:57 am

Hazard Freight is cheap place to learn on stuff from sheet up to 1/4.  I had one for just gooing stuff back in the day.   I love my little used Hobart Handler 140 now that i have.  I can build all i need with it, if I need more I just Arc it.

Get an auto darkening helmet, plenty of ventilation, some 1/8" pieces of scrap and watch few youtube vids to get goin on practice. Smile

Also FYI,  grind off all galvanized before welding on stuff like electrical conduit, its poison to breath it Smile
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2019 1:08 pm

@AllisKidD21 wrote:
225 Lincoln tombstone!!!

Seriously though, even though you said no splatter I think a 90 - 100A FCAW (flux core) welder is a good choice for a beginner. If you got a MIG you wouldn't have to deal with slag at all, but you would also have to purchase and occasionally refill a tank of gas for it as well. Not a huge deal obviously, but just something to mention. Also MIG requires a bit more prep before welding and can't be used very well outside with a breeze.

As far as brands go I've never used a cheaper store brand one before, but from what I've heard they're not bad at all, especially for a beginner. I really love my little Lincoln 100A MGAW/FCAW machine, so I would recommend that one if it was an option, but I think a store brand one would do ya just fine for learning and basic tractor stuff.

I'll second the tombstone, I have had the HF flux mig, and have a lincoln 110 mig, but the miller tombstone I have is 220v & it welds anything with the right rods..... I am super lazy about cleaning up metal & it will weld strong welds thru paint & rust. Look for a used one on FB or CL. 110v will probably get you thru most tractor projects but I would buy 220v if you can find one.
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Murraymountain
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2019 2:27 pm

Well, I can't pay any more than the price of that one so I doubt a welder like you're talking about would even be close to affordable for me.
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2019 3:40 pm

I would seriously save your money, you don’t NEED a welder right now so save your money and atleast get something not Chicago electric

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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2019 3:49 pm

I've used a Hobart 125ez for years. Pretty basic machine but does a lot of work. It's held up well. Think that model may be discontinued now, not sure. I want to upgrade to a larger machine soon. But for starters it's pretty nice.
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Murraymountain
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2019 5:38 pm

@redzz02 wrote:
I would seriously save your money, you don’t NEED a welder right now so save your money and atleast get something not Chicago electric

Haha, trust me, I need one like yesterday. But I guess I can look at some other welders not at HF. I just tore the MM20 apart and just about everything needs some type of weld. So yeah, I need one pronto.
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2019 7:41 pm

For whatever its worth, I have seen those buzz boxes for $50-75. Never hurts to keep an eye out for one.
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2019 10:14 pm

I'd have to ask you what's your goal with the welder? Is it to

1-  sit it the garage to collect dust only to be used a few times a year to connect this little piece of metal to this other piece of metal.       -OR-
2- to be used a few times a month for building projects and improving metal fab skills.

If option 1 is it  then the harbor freight one will be fine. It will connect pieces of metal together when you need it.   (With limitations  but all welders have limitations. )

If option 2 is it then I would  up the welder quality.  As skills improve projects/builds improve and you don't want to be limited by your machine.  

I'm not saying to go out and buy a name brand bigass welder that has a whole bunch of knobs and buttons that can weld 5/8 plate continuously. And not saying a harbor freight welder is junk (cuz I do love my harbor freight stuff).
It takes a lot of welding experience and knowledge  to be able  to look at a weld and read it. A weld will tell u everything , is there to much heat, or not enough heat, wire speed, ect. A machine can create splatter but so does the operator and most of the time it's all in the settings but some splatter will all ways be there.
Few other things to consider- power source, duty cycle, material thickness, lead length, types of consumables  and warranty.

I've been running Eastwood stuff lately and been loving it.  My old welder was a clarke which back then wad made in Italy by who I think today makes everlast stuff. (This I could be wrong on).

Good clean metal and a good ground connection helps alot.
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Murraymountain
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeWed Jul 31, 2019 10:44 am

At the moment definitely #2. I need to make winch mounts, fab up exhaust, a crap load of reinforcements, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Not to mention the street build next year...

At this point, I am looking for a welder that does not cost more than $100 including shipping, one that can lay a continuous bead, and one that can weld at least 1/8 inch plates.

The welder in that link I posted a little ways up... I know it's more than $100, but will it lay a continuous bead and weld 1/8" plates?
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeWed Jul 31, 2019 2:40 pm

Here is the specs for the welder from their website.
Says max thickness that it can weld is 3/16  with a max amp out put of 125amp. With that in mind the duty cycle is 90amp at 20% (duty cycle is how the machine performs at a given amp draw which really gets converted to time).  So welding with this machine at 90amps you can weld for 2 minutes continuously  in a 10 minute time period and that's on 20amp supply line. (No extension cords or 15amp circuits).
There is other variables to but not going to get that in-depth with it.
All machines are different and at 90 amps I'd guess that about where you would be at welding 1/8 in plate. But that's just a guess.
Most cheaper welders have a poor duty cycle but really running a 2minute long bead should get you somewhere between 1ft and 2 ft long of a bead. What's a good welder? 20190710
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Murraymountain
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeWed Jul 31, 2019 9:29 pm

@Murraymountain wrote:


Would this one be any good? I know it's pretty small, but will it do the job?

Something I pulled out of an earlier post. Will the one it that link be better than the HF one?
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeThu Aug 01, 2019 11:41 am

If you arent in a hurry, just keep scouring the local Craig's and FB messenger for welders. They always pop up around here for sure, and most are darn near new if used by a hobbyist who lost interest or upgraded.
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Murraymountain
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PostSubject: Re: What's a good welder?   What's a good welder? Icon_minitimeThu Aug 01, 2019 12:54 pm

Well, #1, I am in a hurry, and #2 I don't use those sites. School starts in 19 days, my "most used" mower is completely apart and I can't move forward until I have a welder. Not to mention learn how to use it. In the mean time I'll look around for one but I'll most likely end up with the one in the link.
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