Well- since we have a shiny new review section, I guess I'll review my shiny new Welder! It's Lincoln Power Mig 180 Dual. The 180 Dual is a rather versatile machine. Not only is it convertible from MIG (GMAW) to Flux Core (FCAW), it is also capable of dual input voltage, 120V or 208-230V.
I have had my Lincoln Power Mig 180 Dual since May. I went a little overboard on price this time, but I figured:
1)I'm gonna treat myself for a change
2)It's powerful enough for any project I will ever have so therefore I will never have to buy another
3)Lincoln had a promotion that netted me a bunch o' goodies with the purchase (more on that later)
4)Income tax. My fairy godmother savings account! LOL
5)I subsequently sold my old welder for $350 to help offset the cost.
So- armed with about $1000.00 plus applicable governmental gouging, I tripped off to my local welding supplier. Was there a wallet in my pocket, or was I just happy to be there? ;)Please note- I'm not rich by any stretch. I recognized the situation for what it was- all the stars had aligned for a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity that was NOT going to be repeating itself in the foreseeable future.
I'll begin with the basic specifications, as copied from Lincoln's own documentation:
120/1/60 or 208/230/1/60
120V: 30-140 Amps DC
230V: 30-180 Amps DC
SOLID WIRE SIZE RANGE
CORED WIRE SIZE RANGE
WIRE FEED SPEED RANGE
DIMENSIONS (H X W X D) 14 in x 10.15 in x 18.16 in (357 mm x 258 mm x 472 mm)
NET WEIGHT 64.000 lbs (29.030 kg)
Weldable material thickness ranges from 24ga to 1/2". As is with any convertible machine, the thinner metals are best welded in GMAW mode, and the thickest in FCAW. This isn't a Lincoln thing, this is welding 101.
Some random thoughts-
I have used almost exclusively Lincoln welding machines since I learned to weld, and this machine is just wonderful. I love how Lincoln made this one (and the rest in this series) feature tool-free changeovers. Normally, switching processes would require a hex key or two, maybe a screwdriver. Not this time baby! The gun/cable assembly is retained with a thumbscrew, as is the wire guide. The drive roller wheel is retained with a slick little rotating retainer clip. The drive roll tensioner is an easy to finesse knob, and the spool brake is a wingnut as before, as are the output cable connections.
The Settings reference chart inside the access door is now full colour and very easy to read. Since this machine is so versatile, you could easily get lost trying to figure out baseline settings without a good reference chart.
The dual input voltage is just the cat's arse. Not only can I feed this 120 or 208-230v, switching over is easy. The unit ships with two detacheable power cords. Pick the one you need, plug it in, and burn. Goofproof. The dual power is a massive benefit to me. I'd rather use 230v when possible- more powerful and yet more efficient. But a dedicated 230v machines loses a LOT of portability. If you're not in range of the proper outlet, forget it. You ain't welding. I have a 230V plug in my garage, near the door. If whatever I'm working on can be brought nearby, fine. If not, I can plug in to any 120V receptacle wherever I need to be. Golden.
I LOVE the continuous heat control. Instead of the control being stepped (switch between settings), the heat control on this thing is infinitely variable from it's lowest setting to it's highest. Quite like a volume knob. Infinite heat control. Bonus.
This machine has plenty of power, makes a very stable arc, and the wire drive system is as smooth as a baby's bee-hind. Even with a couple of burn-backs, I've not had a bird's nest yet. Beauty.
No review would be complete without a negative point and I do indeed have a complaint. The unit ships with Lincoln's new Magnum Pro gun and cable assembly. At a glance, it looks just like the old Magnum 100L, except for the twist-lock connector for the trigger wires at the machine end. Sure enough, removing and replacing the gun and cable is made easier in that you no longer have to feed the gun trigger wires thru the front panel to the old spade connectors inside. Fine. But- I discovered that while it LOOKS just like the old 100L, ALL the consumables are different. The threads in the tube, Gas diffuser, contact tips, and nozzles are different. So- the VAST supply of spare diffusers, nozzles and tips wouldn't fit! AAARRRGGGHHHHH
I contacted my Lincoln dealer and had a long conversation with him. Unfortunately, this IS one of those cases of a manufacturer trying to force you into buying more stuff. The Magnum 100L and the Magnum Pro are completely interchangeable as far as ampacity and the cable termination are concerned.
Since I had all these accessories including a brand new, never used Magnum 100L gun, I did the following. Where the trigger wires exit the gun, there's about 6" of wire before the twist-lock connector. I cut these wires and installed both male and female spade style quick connects. These are the same spades the old 100L used to connect to the board inside the machine. Now, I can plug my 100L gun into the twistlock connectors, and use all of my NOS 100L consumables with my 100L gun. Problemo solved. If you do not have a stockpile of 100L stuff that you are too cheap to discard, this will not affect you.
The package is very nice and sturdy, and like all the newer series features a full length aluminum carry handle. The access door hinges are upgraded from the old lunchbox style, too.
Oh yeah- the aforementioned goodies I got in the promotion. A very nice canvas Lincoln duffel bag containing the following: An automatic variable shade helmet ranging from DIN 9-13, with a "grind" mode. A treated cotton welding jacket. A pair of leather welding gloves and a pair of leather "steelworker" gloves. They are high-dexterity "Mechanic's" style gloves, but leather and more durable for fabrication. A pair of safety glasses and a sticker sheet were in there, too. O- and a really nice leather doo rag, too!
The bottom line? Recommended if you can clear the bucks. I did, because 1) I know darn good and well I won't be able to do THAT again, and 2) I won't have to. I know Lincoln quality. This machine WILL last a lifetime.