ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Gear > Equipment
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-18-2012, 12:29 PM   #16
Mambo Dave
Backyard Adventurer
 
Mambo Dave's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Pompano Beach, FL
Oddometer: 4,727
I was in the same boat, and with the same considerations, as the OP is just about a year ago. Harbor Freight prices sure seemed good, but thank goodness I went for the Lincoln HandyMig.

I didn't think I'd need it at the time, but it soon became apparent (between home practice with flux core and the welding class I was taking with pro equipment) that going for thin wire and a shielding gas was the only way I could do what I needed to do.

So, HandyMig, an auto-shielding helmet from Harbor Freight, leather jacket and gloves from a welding store, a 30 cubic foot bottle of shield gas (the HandyMig comes with a regulator!), and ... I think that was about all I needed on that end.

I know I now sound like everyone else, but I was on a severe budget and still the HandyMig was the better option, and right tool, compared to Harbor Freight flux core welders.
Mambo Dave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 12:34 PM   #17
mendoje
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Oddometer: 235
Another good thread on mig welders

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=807617
__________________
2004 BMW R1100S / 2003 Ducati M800Sie / 1986 R80 G/S / 1993 Suzuki RMX250 / 1981 BMW R100RS (Sold ) / 1977 Kawasaki KE100 (1st Bike )
mendoje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 01:27 PM   #18
tdvt
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2012
Location: NEK Vermont
Oddometer: 202
I have a small Miller MIG & have tackled most all of the projects that you have on your list. I bought mine new at a welding house & while it has served me well I would like something larger. So, I'd look for a quality used machine.

You can also forget about welding aluminum with the small rigs as while the machine is capable (electrically speaking), as was already pointed out, the wire feed isn't up the the job. The aluminum wire is just not rigid enough to be pushed through the liner. A welding supply guy I was talking to likened it to "trying to push a piece of cooked spaghetti through a straw". Tried it anyway, he was right.

Before I bought my Miller, I had used a very nice small Lincoln on a job & called Lincoln to find out where I could buy the same machine locally. He went on to explain the the box store versions (which looked exactly the same but different model #'s) were NOT the same machine internally & could not recommend buying one. This was a few years ago so maybe the box-store quality is better but I don't think I'd count on it.
tdvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 04:02 PM   #19
larryboy
Paint it black.
 
larryboy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: Über Alles,Ca
Oddometer: 13,704
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsalman93 View Post
By garage projects I plan on building a steel heavy duty bumper for my truck and maybe making a roll cage if time and money allows it (and skill ). I would like to buy a cheap trailer for my bikes (seen on craigslist for super cheap), but we'll see. I have heard that you can weld aluminum if you use a different wire and use a mixture with helium and something else (argon?). True? It may not be pretty, but is it doable, assuming that it is as thick as, say, a motorcycle frame
I know that if I were gonna get a TIG that would allow me to make all sorts ridiculous things to lower the resale value of my bike, but the cost of getting a TIG is pretty high and from talking to people it looks like it would be a pretty difficult to learn and would be better learned after having some experience beforehand. that's just a majority of opinions that I've heard, if your opinion is any different I'm all ears.. I'm not really looking to get stick, as all of my project work would be done in a clean garage I would like my welds to be as clean as they could be (not trying to win any beauty prizes, but still).

I don't know you're getting your info, with practice spool gun aluminum welding can look just as good as TIG, stick welding is cleaner than MIG without spatter.

Honestly, if you want to build a bumper a stick welder is the best choice and can be near free to buy...make sure it can do DC, a must for a beginner. Once you get good enough the slag peels itself as you weld a bead and there is virtually zero cleanup and no spatter.

I weld for a living and have all the best stuff...for aluminum I grab the spool gun off the MIG, for stuff I don't want spatter on I use the TIG as a stick welder and MIG for everything else, it's extremely rare for me to TIG anything.

For home I have a Miller 210, no spool gun and the oxy/acet for clean TIG type welding.

Edit; When I was on a tighter home budget I had a 110v flux core MIG and did tons of stuff with it, but it was best for outdoors in cold temps to help out on the duty cycle, summer welding was very frustrating as there was more time spent letting the machine cool down than actual welding.
__________________
Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die. ~Lewis Carroll~
larryboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 04:58 PM   #20
jsalman93 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
jsalman93's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2012
Location: Pasadena, SoCal
Oddometer: 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Not quite and if you think through the problem, you'll immediately understand why. All the lower priced MIG units PUSH the wire from the welder to the gun. Small diameter aluminum wire just isn't strong enough. It will just bunch up inside your welder. You either need to have a MIG gun with pulling rollers or a spool gun--where the spool is actually in your hand and spooled locally to the weld. So if aluminum is a goal, you know you need to go to a TIG--keep that in mind.

Spouted by people who either want you to believe they have some god-like skill or who haven't done it. There is nothing magical about TIG. MIG and TIG both use an inerting gas, they both use electricity to melt the metal, they both have a current setting to control the heat. The difference is that you're holding a tungsten torch AND a rod and on most TIG setups, you get a pedal to control the heat. It's no different than driving a car--controlling a throttle AND steering at the same time.

In fact, the heart of what most people call a TIG is really nothing but a universal welding power supply. A TIG welder is a giant power supply, with AC or DC switching, variable current control, some gas-flow controls and arc-start controls. Everything else depends on what you connect to it.

I can connect a spool-gun to my Lincoln, set it for AC, dial a current setting, set the gas controls and do MIG welding. I can shut off the gas, use flux-core wire and do plain wire-feed. I can put a claw on the cable, put old-fashioned sticks in there and stick weld. I can put a tungsten torch on there, switch it to DC-negative polarity, turn the pedal back on and do stainless. Toggle it over to AC and it's an aluminum welder. What costs so much is all those switches and controls that get left out of lower cost welders.

The MOST expensive thing is buying two or three other welders before you get fed up and finally buy a TIG. Honestly, it sounds like your projects really can get by with a MIG. The only reason I'd still suggest considering TIG is that after welding all that stuff with a TIG, you'll finally be good enough to tackle projects you don't mind people seeing. In the end, the only thing that makes you a better welder is lots and lots of welding. So if you think you'll be limited to steel and working on the projects you listed, run...weld...be free! If you honestly think it will advance into more specialized stuff, it might be wise money to hunt for a used TIG and save the money in the long-run.

I know..not the answer you want to hear. I didn't either...so I did it the dumb way.
It's okay, It may not be the answer that I was looking for, but it's definitely helpful advice nonetheless. I can already feel my wallet getting lighter

Well I would be fine spending time learning with the TIG, but the price difference between the two does seem a bit large? I really would like to be able to progress and be able to make something that I'd be proud of, I just can't afford to spend $1000 on a TIG right now. I think if anything I might scour craigslist and if the price difference is doable, I'd opt for the TIG.

This is really becoming more and more of an option the more I hear from you guys
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200579823_200579823?cm_mmc=Google-pla-_-Welding-_-Wirefeed%20Welding-_-29999&ci_sku=29999&ci_gpa=pla&ci_kw={keyword}&gclid=CMSD-Jut17MCFUKd4Aod82oAxQ
__________________
"Underneath this bucket of rust and bolts beats a heart of pure arthritis"

2006 Yamaha FZ6
1992 Suzuki Gs500e (in progress)
jsalman93 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 05:15 PM   #21
Donkey Hotey
De Jo Momma
 
Donkey Hotey's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: 20 Mule Team Trail (Palmdale, Ca)
Oddometer: 10,472
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsalman93 View Post
...I might scour craigslist and if the price difference is doable, I'd opt for the TIG.
Be very careful. I went that route. I got a 300 amp Lincoln for $800. It had the torch and pedal but, not water cooler for the torch. The guy told me he used it with a garden hose hooked up and just let the water run out in the flower bed. Nice idea until you try it. I ended up spending another $600 or so on a used water system for the torch, and more on tips and tungsten electrodes.

After all that crap, I learned about the difference a square wave machine makes. If I could do it all over again, I'd buy a brand new, square wave Miller for $3-4K...really.

You CAN find TIG (and MIG) machines in the LA craigslist but, make sure it's:

  • Single-phase: you can't do much with a three-phase welder unless you have three-phase power.
  • Has the torch, pedal and water cooler system. Air cooled torches suck. They're too hot to hold in only a few minutes. Pedals are expensive. Replacement torches, hoses and cables are expensive. Heck, the nylon jacket for the hoses and cables is over $50.
  • Is small enough that you can actually hook it to your electrical panel. My Lincoln wants 80-90 amps of 240V and if I were actually using it anywhere near max load, it should be on a 100 amp breaker--minimum. You may discover that your brand of electrical panel doesn't even OFFER breakers that large or that your house service won't supply it.
With all that said, a MIG still isn't a bad machine. Heck, a good friend with a similar TIG setup to mine, bought a 115V MIG just so he could take it anywhere and do repairs and fabrication. There really is no right or wrong answer but, there is also no free lunch.

edit:
This looks like a solid package for the money...if it's a single phase unit (meaning: you can use it at home). A couple of torches, all the cables, a pedal and a cooler for the torch:
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac...409345572.html
I'd say $1200-1400 is a fair price for that package if it all looks good and works.
__________________
Greg

Donkey Hotey screwed with this post 11-18-2012 at 05:25 PM
Donkey Hotey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 05:23 PM   #22
larryboy
Paint it black.
 
larryboy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: Über Alles,Ca
Oddometer: 13,704
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Single-phase: you can't do much with a three-phase welder unless you have three-phase power.

Not true.
__________________
Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die. ~Lewis Carroll~
larryboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 05:32 PM   #23
Donkey Hotey
De Jo Momma
 
Donkey Hotey's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: 20 Mule Team Trail (Palmdale, Ca)
Oddometer: 10,472
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryboy View Post
Not true.
I'm all ears. If the transformer is wired for 480V three-phase, how is that going to work on 220-240V single-phase?
Donkey Hotey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 05:36 PM   #24
larryboy
Paint it black.
 
larryboy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: Über Alles,Ca
Oddometer: 13,704
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
I'm all ears. If the transformer is wired for 480V three-phase, how is that going to work on 220-240V single-phase?
Inverter/converter. Most people don't know this, thus you can steel three phase stuff on CL all day long.
__________________
Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die. ~Lewis Carroll~
larryboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 05:44 PM   #25
Donkey Hotey
De Jo Momma
 
Donkey Hotey's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: 20 Mule Team Trail (Palmdale, Ca)
Oddometer: 10,472
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryboy View Post
Inverter/converter. Most people don't know this, thus you can steel three phase stuff on CL all day long.
Well...YES...he could buy a phase converter. Considering a cheap 30 HP rotary phase converter costs (on the low side) $1500 by itself and it only puts out 50A 220V 3-phase, I'm not sure how cost effective that is unless he needs the power for other 3-phase equipment too.
Donkey Hotey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 05:47 PM   #26
larryboy
Paint it black.
 
larryboy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: Über Alles,Ca
Oddometer: 13,704
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Well...YES...he could buy a phase converter. Considering a cheap 30 HP rotary phase converter costs (on the low side) $1500 by itself and it only puts out 50A 220V 3-phase, I'm not sure how cost effective that is unless he needs the power for other 3-phase equipment too.

Hai, you're the one said you can't do it.

__________________
Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die. ~Lewis Carroll~
larryboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 06:13 PM   #27
sailah
Lampin' it
 
sailah's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Turning expensive metal into scrap
Oddometer: 5,366
I'll say you can't run three phase welding equipment. I bought a miller square wave gold star 300 and tried to run it off a phase converter but no go. My nuclear electrical engineering riding buddy said the electrical signals coming off the scr wasn't accurate enough.

I've heard similar stories about three phase. I have a phase converter currently and a vfd but my welder is single phase
__________________
We're not out here to rough it. We're here to smooth it . Things are rough enough in town.

Nessmuk
sailah is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2012, 08:37 AM   #28
Schlug
JockeyfullofBourbon
 
Schlug's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: put something on and stay in that position.
Oddometer: 7,305
I feel like I need to clarify some things:

There is a tremendous difference in both skill and cost of equipment between welding MIG and welding TIG. I know some people here have downplayed it, but I think they're being a little cavalier.

If you're going to weld up some brackets for the work bench or maybe repair the ear on your crash bars that you snapped off, you should buy a MIG machine, a quality machine with shielding gas. And you should either take a one-night-a-week, six week course at the local community college or you should muck with the machine quite a lot welding up 1/8" flat stock until you can make a nice full penetration weld. Buy some 1/8" flat stock from where ever and weld it and bend it until the weld won't break.

The problem with MIG welding is that any schlub can but two pieces of flat stock together, lay a nice turd of weld on top of it which looks good, smooth and straight, but has zero penetration and won't hold for 100 miles. So once you get the MIG machine, learn how to groove your welds and how to test them until they are good. With a 110 buzz box you aren't going to weld anything very thick or heavy unless you have a lot of time and a lot of finesse. If you can afford a 220 machine and have the power, you'll be doing yourself a favour.

TIG welding is a much better method because you can weld thick and very thin metals and, although the technique required is more challenging and the equipment is more expensive. A good TIG machine is expensive. The tungsten, the cups, the torch, then mini torch, then button backs, then--- you get the idea-- it all adds up. Once you realise your 25 dollar Harbor Freight hood blinds you everytime the cup gets in the way of the sensor, you'll soon be buying a new hood with 3 or 4 pickups. That being said, if you can do it, and you can take some classes, learn to free hand and walk the cup, you will have a very useful skill under your command. Notice the difference between this and simply buying a MIG, hooking up a bottle, flipping your hood and giving it a go.

If you want to weld aluminum you need a high-freq machine and that's really costly unless you stumble on one for sale at an estate. I've NEVER seen a MIG welded aluminum joint look as good as well made TIG joint. Never ever. Same with stainless.

Stick welding is far from ancient, outdated technology. Probably 90% of the welding done in this world is still stick. Why? Because it's portable (unlike a MIG unit) and it's inexpensive and it's easier to learn than TIG welding. It will still take some time to learn. Again, it won't take long to make a decent looking 3-pass fillet weld with 5P. But having that weld free of undercut and porosity and IP is another issue. Still, if I were welding a heavy front bumper I would do it no other way. You can fill heavy-wall joints with a TIG machine with lots and lots and lots of passes. Again, a 220 machine is what you want.

In terms of cost and skill, cheapest and easiest to most costly and difficult.
MIG
Stick
TIG.

Orbital.

In that order..
__________________
"So what makes this protest different is that you're set to die, Bobby?"
--May well come to that.
"You start a hunger strike to protest for what you believe in. You don't start already determined to die or am I missing somethin' here?"
-- It's in their hands. Our message is clear. They're seeing our determination.
Schlug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2012, 08:54 AM   #29
Donkey Hotey
De Jo Momma
 
Donkey Hotey's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: 20 Mule Team Trail (Palmdale, Ca)
Oddometer: 10,472
Well, yes, your points are all correct. My issue is that the very first thing they tend to teach in the welding classes is gas welding. When you move to electric welding, nothing feels or works like that again...until you come back to TIG.

Gas welding came naturally to me. I like the control over the heat and where I put it.

MIG and stick always feel like a vehicle with an on or off throttle and they only steer when the throttle is on. The whole process feels very out-of-control to me.

Sure, once I get a "throttle" setting I like for this particular "road" I can navigate it pretty well. The problem is is that you have to drive the same road a few times to find that throttle setting. TIG puts that throttle back in your control. You can put the heat where and when you want it.

As you said: MIG and stick can give the APPEARANCE of a good weld without it actually being sound. You're still suffering the same problems of penetration and/or blowing out the material but, you have little control over those factors in the middle of the weld. Need more heat in a particular area of a stick or MIG weld? Your only choice is to leave it there and build up more material than you wanted. TIG solves all that.
__________________
Greg
Donkey Hotey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2012, 09:04 AM   #30
Ryel
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Ryel's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Portland, Oregon
Oddometer: 231
I bought my MillerMatic many years ago and it has srved me well with CO2 and tri gas but in hind sight I wish I had gotten a TIG inverter and gone through the learning curve on tig. much smaller and easier to get around to the job and 120vac is everywhere and my miller is set up for 220.
but, it is easy to set and use, just don't forget to turn on the gas
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment."
Ryel is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 07:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014