MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use

   / MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use #1  

snpower

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Nov 12, 2010
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430
Location
Charlottesville, Virginia
Tractor
John Deere GT235, GT 275, 1025R
I’m fascinated by welding… I do a fair amount of repair and thought I’d try to learn the basics. Removing a stuck bolt, repairing a mower deck… I’m sure they have 1,000 uses.

Eastwood has one on sale right now, seems well received. Unsure what to look for… 110v is all my house has right now.
 
   / MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use #2  
I have a Titanium 125 DC wire welder from HF. I love it when on sale $149.
Look it up on YouTube it is a good beginning welder for the money.
I think it weights around 14 pounds works on 120VAC.
I used to have a Champion 90 flux core wire welder weight around 45 pounds and just no penetration on 1/4 in metal.
 
   / MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use #3  
Yeswelders still seem to get good reviews. I have the older MIG205 which will do MIG, flux or stick on 110 or 220. It's about $350 or they have a similar 110 only for about $160.
 
   / MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use #4  
Unsure what to look for… 110v is all my house has right now.
I suggest start cheap to get a feel for what this is all about. You will be better prepared to choose a pro quality welder - if you ever decide to move up to that.

Flux core will do the work you are talking about. The limitation is welds don't look as nice as mig with gas shielding - but a mig system is more complex to store, move around, set up. I've used flux core exclusively for 15 years for my farm repairs, and don't see a need to go to mig. Nobody is going to critique the beauty of my welds.

The HF Titanium 125 DC mentioned above is an inexpensive, quality flux core welder. Amazon lists several comparable welders. I bought an Amico $150 dual voltage FC welder there. Two years experience now and I think its excellent. Project Farm on YouTube has comparisons of several welders in the under $200 category and Yeswelder is among the brands he likes.

Dual Voltage even if you don't need it now, is well worth considering. It can weld heavier material. Definitely avoid AC-output flux welders, including HF's cheap one!
 
   / MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use #5  
before going with gas make sure you can get some at a affordable price. For us it is a issue is also the reason I went with stick .... and we also always convert our welder to 220V I get better result with it, not saying you can't do it on 110V.
 
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   / MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use #6  
We have 5 welders and I find myself reaching for the titanium 125 from HF most of the time.
 
   / MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use #7  
Word of caution from me... Don't buy any welder online, buy one from your local Harbor Freight. I weld professionally and I run HF almost exclusively. They have the best guarantee and yes they are Chinese (Taiwanese) but if it fails for any reason, you can return it within one year for a replacement plus you can extend that warranty up to 3 years.

You buy ANY welder online, and it pukes, you are screwed. I actually have 3 HF units, I have their Pro-Tig TIG welder with an Everlast water cooler and a CK Worldwide water cooled torch and 2 HF Plasma cutters, the 65 Amp model I use on my CNC plasma table and the 45 amp model I use for general cutting in the shop and even the Pro-Tig and the plasma cutters will run on 110 volts (at reduced output), not that I do as we have 220-1 as well as 220-3 in the shop.

For me, their guarantee as well as their pricing mad me switch from Lincoln and Hyper Therm to HF and HF's plasma cutter consumables are light years cheaper than Hyper Therm. I got lucky and sold both my Lincoln Square Wave TIG and my Hyper Therm plasma cutter and I've never looked back.

The HF mid range MIG machines are all convertible to shielding gas btw.

As with tractors, always buy local with welding machines. In the long run, if they fail, you can at least return it and get a new one (How HF handles their warranty).... You buy online, you are basically hosed.

All the newer solid state welding machines are mostly made offshore today, even Lincoln has the bulk of it's components made offshore and same applies to Miller. They are all IGBT machines today. The old school transformer machines are for all intents and purposes, obsolete and the IGBT machines are much more efficient as well which is important when you are paying for electricity.
 
   / MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use #8  
If you wait for a HF sale, that's when the prices are better. I also am inclined to trust the HF reviews more so than some other places.

I'm more of the notion to recommend that you invest in what you really want instead of buying a really cheap machine and then having to spend more later. I had a cheap MIG 20 years ago. The duty cycle was awful. Then I bought a Hobart 185 which has suited me fine.

Welder technology has changed since then so I can't say which particular welder you ought to consider buying today, but as a general comment, try to buy what you actually need once and be done with it.
 
   / MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use #9  
I would recommend this one, Amico: Amazon.com

I also have a Titanium 125 DC wire welder. The Amico welder burns hotter. The Amico will also trip the 110 ac breaker where the Titanium welder does not trip it (both were set at 110ac/20 amp).

If you ever get 220/240 wired up, the Amico also will serve you better. IMHO
 
   / MIG Welder for Beginner/Light Use #10  
One thing about HF reviews, they post all of them, the good, the bad and the ugly unlike Amascon where they only publish the gushy reviews and nothing else.

I did a review on some knockoff Stihl plastic weed trimmer blades (from China not Stihl) that weren't worth a darn and my review got rejected 3 times because as they said, 'It don't meet our guidelines'.

Now, I no longer even try, why bother.

The other thing I do now if I buy anything from Amascon is, I look to see where the item is made and if it's China or over there somewhere, I pass on it.

Just bought a number set of screw machine length drills and they were Chicago-Latrobe and I was good with that but Amascon kept putting up their China brands anyway.

Far as HF welders are concerned, they are all produced 'over there' but I will say that HF does exercise pretty good oversight on them and their guarantee is really good as well. Like I said, I've used it more than once in the past and it's always seamless.

I was talking to my local store manager the other day and she told me that if you return anything (welders or other tools) for whatever reason, they will exchange for a new one or refund your money and in the case of welders and plasma cutters, they do get returned to HF and refurbished, I presume at one of their warehouse locations.
 
 
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