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Author Topic: Best entry level welder for fab?  (Read 4197 times)

Offline luke000

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Re: Best entry level welder for fab?
« Reply #10 on: Dec 25, 2015, 19:00:59 »
Not trying to argue with anyone here, but In my opinion, go for a gas shielded mig and not Flux core only. You'll be happy you did in the long run. Also, it's a bummer garage sale season is over. I've seen some pretty good buys at garage sales and estate sales.

Don't be afraid to buy used IF you can see the owner strike an arc with it. I've never owned a HF welder, but I have heard about garage enthusiasts that are happy with them. The only thing is to make sure that you can buy consumables with ease (contact tips, nozzles ect.) That's why I recommend a name brand as well.

Another important thing to remember is personal protective equipment. Don't be afraid of a $20 fixed shade flip hood, but if you are dead set at $300, you'll need to buy at least a little gear which can take some funds. 

As far as learning to weld, it's all about hood time, but check out weldingtipsandtricks.com

That site is a great resource for welders, new and old alike.

I definitely agree with hurco, you will be much happier with a full gas shielded MIG set up rather than flux core. I would look for a used name brand machine on craigslist or estate sales too, one that already comes with a gas bottle, because getting the gas bottle with any new machine will throw you over your $300 limit.  Still dont throw out the idea of a oxy-acetylene welding set up instead of MIG, at your budget it would probably be the most useful thing that will grow with you.   
"Anything free is worth saving up for."
"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."

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Offline DohcBikes

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Re: Best entry level welder for fab?
« Reply #11 on: Dec 25, 2015, 19:06:57 »
Thoughts on this?

http://m.harborfreight.com/180-amp-dc-240-volt-migflux-cored-welder-68886.html?utm_referrer=direct%2Fnot%20provided

And what's the major different between this and the 170 amp? Because it's 100 bucks cheaper
Seriously?

What am I, chopped liver?


The Harbor Freight MIG180 is an excellent entry level machine. To hell with the haters. They have probably never used one and have no idea how well it works. $289 with a coupon.  Avoid the MIG170 simply because the 180 is that much better. Best feed consistency and power delivery of any HF welder by far.

I will add that I have owned both, so I am speaking from experience.

Get a 4wheeler magazine and look for the coupon, the magazine coupons beat even the inside track club discounts by far.

As far as consumables go they are interchangeable with major brands.
« Last Edit: Dec 25, 2015, 19:19:43 by DohcBikes »
burning bridges sometimes light the most productive paths

Offline J-Rod10

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Re: Best entry level welder for fab?
« Reply #12 on: Dec 25, 2015, 19:19:44 »
I definitely agree with hurco, you will be much happier with a full gas shielded MIG set up rather than flux core. I would look for a used name brand machine on craigslist or estate sales too, one that already comes with a gas bottle, because getting the gas bottle with any new machine will throw you over your $300 limit.  Still dont throw out the idea of a oxy-acetylene welding set up instead of MIG, at your budget it would probably be the most useful thing that will grow with you.
Good advice, but, if you look to buy one with a bottle, make damn sure you have the paperwork on the bottle. Otherwise, it is more or less a big paperweight.

Online Hurco550

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Re: Best entry level welder for fab?
« Reply #13 on: Dec 25, 2015, 19:21:44 »
No kidding, an expensive paper weight
"If you want safety and sanity don't mess around with choppers to begin with and don't come crying to me for recommending something that broke down the line. You're going to be the "builder" so use your own judgment and build to you own personal levels of safety and sanity." - Chopper Handbook
1988 tw200, the swamp donkey: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=75455.0
1975 RD350 Road Racer: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=70652.msg833688#msg833688
1976 GT250 Rebuild: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=64973.new#new
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Offline irk miller

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Re: Best entry level welder for fab?
« Reply #14 on: Dec 25, 2015, 19:22:08 »
Good advice, but, if you look to buy one with a bottle, make damn sure you have the paperwork on the bottle. Otherwise, it is more or less a big paperweight.
Why?  I've never had an issue.  AirGas has never cared where the bottle came from, as long as it's a good bottle.

Online Hurco550

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Re: Best entry level welder for fab?
« Reply #15 on: Dec 25, 2015, 19:23:37 »
You haven't gotten the "wrong guy" there then. They have to be certified every so many years. Do you rent your bottle or own it? If you rent and exchange, the cert is on them.
"If you want safety and sanity don't mess around with choppers to begin with and don't come crying to me for recommending something that broke down the line. You're going to be the "builder" so use your own judgment and build to you own personal levels of safety and sanity." - Chopper Handbook
1988 tw200, the swamp donkey: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=75455.0
1975 RD350 Road Racer: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=70652.msg833688#msg833688
1976 GT250 Rebuild: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=64973.new#new
Full Custom Pit Bike: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=66954.new#new
"much ingenuity with a little money is more profitable and amusing than much money without ingenuity" - Arnold Bennet

Online Hurco550

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Re: Best entry level welder for fab?
« Reply #16 on: Dec 25, 2015, 19:25:25 »


Still dont throw out the idea of a oxy-acetylene welding set up instead of MIG, at your budget it would probably be the most useful thing that will grow with you.
Agreed, and this would be a "down the road" investment. They are worth every penny IMHO.

https://www.google.com/search?q=cobra+torch&sa=X&biw=360&bih=264&tbs=vw:l&tbm=shop&prmd=svin&srpd=6455406931566241838&prds=of:1,num:1&ved=0ahUKEwj8merKk_jJAhXEMj4KHSSzCpYQgjYI3gMwAA&ei=n899VrzOOsTl-AGk5qqwCQ
"If you want safety and sanity don't mess around with choppers to begin with and don't come crying to me for recommending something that broke down the line. You're going to be the "builder" so use your own judgment and build to you own personal levels of safety and sanity." - Chopper Handbook
1988 tw200, the swamp donkey: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=75455.0
1975 RD350 Road Racer: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=70652.msg833688#msg833688
1976 GT250 Rebuild: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=64973.new#new
Full Custom Pit Bike: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=66954.new#new
"much ingenuity with a little money is more profitable and amusing than much money without ingenuity" - Arnold Bennet

Offline irk miller

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Re: Best entry level welder for fab?
« Reply #17 on: Dec 25, 2015, 19:32:31 »
You haven't gotten the "wrong guy" there then. They have to be certified every so many years. Do you rent your bottle or own it? If you rent and exchange, the cert is on them.
I exchange bottles.  They don't refill them and give them back.  Is that the same as renting?

I do both MIG and O/A.  I can do most anything people use TIG for with O/A.  Now that TIGs have come down in price, I might actually get one.  In the past, I always relied on work TIGs because I didn't have the money to buy one myself.  Especially the water-cooled variety.

https://www.google.com/search?q=cobra+torch&sa=X&biw=360&bih=264&tbs=vw:l&tbm=shop&prmd=svin&srpd=6455406931566241838&prds=of:1,num:1&ved=0ahUKEwj8merKk_jJAhXEMj4KHSSzCpYQgjYI3gMwAA&ei=n899VrzOOsTl-AGk5qqwCQ
  Funny, we were chatting about one of these.  They show up on eBay used for around $200 now and again.

Offline teazer

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Re: Best entry level welder for fab?
« Reply #18 on: Dec 25, 2015, 20:32:29 »
I bought a cheap welding set off ebay plus bottles and that it a good set up for me.  Now I have a TIG on order because somethings are better TIG welded.

Offline J-Rod10

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Re: Best entry level welder for fab?
« Reply #19 on: Dec 25, 2015, 21:19:30 »
Why?  I've never had an issue.  AirGas has never cared where the bottle came from, as long as it's a good bottle.
My Air Gas will not touch a bottle that 1. Is not theirs. 2. Does not have paperwork.

The local Welsco is the same.