Hf Welder Input For First Timer

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by mickeykelley, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Oct 23, 2017
    mickeykelley

    mickeykelley Member

    Republic of Texas
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    The last time I welded was back in my early 20's with a stick and was nothing to brag about. But with both the CJ, T3C and wagon, I really need to get something to be able to do my own stuff. Things like making the winch bracket, repairing body sheet metal, trailer tailgate hinges, seat repairs, etc and working on small stuff around the place. I've been looking for a while now and then today HF offers a one year return offer so it's got me interested in this unit ProTIG™ 165 Welder with 120/240 Volt Input. I know this is like asking who's the prettiest and we all have our preferences, but at the price and return time frame, it looks attractive. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Oct 23, 2017
    GeoffreyL

    GeoffreyL Active Member

    moorestown, nj
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    For what you're doing I would recommend a small mig, not tig. You could get by with a 140 unit, but might be happier with a 185, 210 etc (if you have 220v). I suggest getting a name brand (Miller or Lincoln) second hand and make sure to use it with a bottle for best results. flux core has its place, but not in body work. I have a miller 140 that runs on 110v that I got with a cart, bottle, and full spool of wire for $400 and I have been more than happy with it. It will weld everything I do no problem which is the stuff you list.
     
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  3. Oct 23, 2017
    Focker

    Focker Rust Never Sleeps Staff Member Sponsor

    Tri-Cities WA
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    I don't think I'd do $600 on a HF unit.

    I picked up an used Lincoln Weld Pak 100 with a bottle, gauge, helmet, gloves, extra tips and extra wire off of CL for $225. I know it's a little one, but it got me started cheap...I love it. Now upgrading won't hurt so much since I've been getting better at my welds.

    I have friends who have the big guns if I need to do any major frame work.
     
  4. Oct 23, 2017
    Cap-n-Cray

    Cap-n-Cray I want to do this again.. Staff Member Sponsor

    Bainbridge...
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    TIG is fun, but MIG you can train a monkey to use. I like my MIG, but the TIG is fun... :D

    I bought the biggest MIG I could afford. I still use it today... :)
     
  5. Oct 23, 2017
    TIm E

    TIm E Sponsor Sponsor

    NW Arkansas
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    Agree with the above. TIG is not for the beginner and is slow. MIG is fast and easy to learn. Best value is a lightly used name brand (Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, etc.). Even better if you can get one with the bottle included as they can be several hundred $$ new.

    More versatile if you can get 220v, but the 110v units are quite capable too for most home shop type projects.

    I have a Miller Diversion 165 (TIG) that I purchased new and a Lincoln 180 Pro (MIG) that I purchased NIB on CL for $450. Very happy with both machines for their given applications.

    Definitely get the shielding gas, flux core is for farm/field repairs and windy conditions.
     
  6. Oct 24, 2017
    DrDanteIII

    DrDanteIII All work and no jeep makes jack a dull boy Sponsor

    Milford NJ 08848
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    Having used mig and tig, I will say that tig is awesome, and make beautiful welds, but it is slow and much more finicky than mig. A good mig can make nice strong welds quickly. I'd like to have both, but since I only have 1, it's a mig.

    I just saw this unit. Only caught my eye because I've wanted a miller 211 for years now, and this seems pretty comparable, with a ~$500 price difference from the miller on the open market which is roughly half.
    MIGMax™ 215 Welder with 120/240 Volt Input


    HF's vulcan line seems pretty new. But the 1 year money back satisfaction guarantee makes it relatively low risk. I've had a cheap Chinese mig welder for 10+ years and gotten good service out of it, within its limitations. Its very tempting.


    Another note: do you have 240V available? If not, do you plan to add it? If the answer to both of those is "no", skip the dual voltage unit and jut get the biggest 120V welder you budget allows. Otherwise its like getting the jeep and never locking the hubs.
     
  7. Oct 24, 2017
    Cap-n-Cray

    Cap-n-Cray I want to do this again.. Staff Member Sponsor

    Bainbridge...
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    Can I use that??? (y)
     
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  8. Oct 24, 2017
    DrDanteIII

    DrDanteIII All work and no jeep makes jack a dull boy Sponsor

    Milford NJ 08848
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  9. Oct 24, 2017
    DrDanteIII

    DrDanteIII All work and no jeep makes jack a dull boy Sponsor

    Milford NJ 08848
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    Yeah, just turn the dial-y thing in the middle of the wheel. :rofl::D
     
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  10. Oct 24, 2017
    earlswrench

    earlswrench Member

    Atlanta, GA
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    I have to say, I am the king of HF tools. Most of the random things I have are from Harbor Freight. For example, the plug in impact wrench (at like $30 with the 20%-off coupon) I have abused for several years now. Still runs like a champ. But I do NOT think I'd trust a HF welder. The problem is that welding is about 50% work and 50% touch. If you're trying to get better on an inferior machine, every tic in the machine is going to screw you up. I'd trust myself to do a few things on a cheap welder, knowing where my talent and the machine's capabilities meet. But there are plenty of things -- especially TIG -- where quirks in the equipment would frustrate the living h-ll out of me.

    My suggestion is to scan Craigslist in your city and nearby cities. I bought a Hobart Handler 180 for $450. It has treated me right for years now. The best part with a used brand name welder is that you can always sell it for pretty much what you bought it for when you want an upgrade. If you're dying to go new, Northern Tool sells the Hobart Handler 190 with the aluminum spool gun for like $800 (FREE SHIPPING — Hobart Handler 190 Flux-Core/MIG Welder with Included SpoolRunner 100, 10ft. Spool Gun — 230V, 190 Amp, Model# 500554001 | MIG Flux Core Welders| Northern Tool + Equipment). When it goes on sale, it gets closer to $700. This is the biggest steal in welders today. A Hobart is just a Miller with a couple of plastic pieces inside instead of metal pieces.

    I do agree with the other posters on the 220v idea. It's always better to go higher voltage and work your way down. Unless you have to travel a lot with the welder, it's a much better idea to put a 220v line in your fuse box.
     
  11. Oct 24, 2017
    mickeykelley

    mickeykelley Member

    Republic of Texas
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    Are you saying my jeep has hubs?:shock:

    I remember the old guy who introduced me to welding as a teen, could lay a beautiful bead with a stick. It just flowed like a painter laying a thick bead of caulk. Can that be done with a mig?
     
  12. Oct 24, 2017
    mickeykelley

    mickeykelley Member

    Republic of Texas
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    I do have 220 ability now and when we move to Durango and I get a shop instead of only a garage, it will have 220 also.

    Is there ever a need to have stick ability?
     
  13. Oct 24, 2017
    TIm E

    TIm E Sponsor Sponsor

    NW Arkansas
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    Yes, yes it can. With a bit of practice, even a novice can lay down really nice beads with a good quality MIG welder.
     
  14. Oct 24, 2017
    Cap-n-Cray

    Cap-n-Cray I want to do this again.. Staff Member Sponsor

    Bainbridge...
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    A novice trained monkey... :D:rofl:
     
  15. Oct 24, 2017
    Glenn

    Glenn Kinda grumpy old man Staff Member Sponsor

    Apopka, Fl
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    That totally depends on what you attempt to weld. If you get a wire feed with enough amps you wouldn't need to use a stick. You are wanting to weld from a range of thin sheet metal to maybe 1/4" to 3/8"? Something like the Hobart that was mentioned should fit that bill just fine. As noted a Mig is much easier to use than a stick but...with shield gas you can't have any air movement such as a fan or wind blowing on you.
     
  16. Oct 24, 2017
    GeoffreyL

    GeoffreyL Active Member

    moorestown, nj
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    A decent amp Mig machine can do anything a stick can do. I have a small 140 amp 120v mig since i dont have 220 and a gaspowered miller bluestar stick welder for thicker stuff that is beyond the 1/4" or 3/8" capacity of the Mig.I got the Mig for $400 like i said and the bluestar for $300. I also have a lincoln 140ish 110 unit with a spool gun I picked up for $300. I love my blue machines, they would all be blue if I could afford it.

    Another thing to think about: the main line machines can be repaired by a competent welding supply store, HF stuff is junk when it breaks.
     
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  17. Oct 25, 2017
    47v6

    47v6 junk wrecker! Sponsor

    Washington DC.
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    Get a mig. It will do anything you want really. hobart lincoln miller etc. TIG is not so good for sheet metal. If you only have one welder, get the MIG.

    I have an old Airco mig 60% duty cycle at 200 amps or so. Its big. I got it for 400 bucks on craigslist. It will weld the thinnest sheet metal to1/2 inch plate with no issues. Doesn't make the most beautiful welds, but I am not a trained welder anyway.

    I also have a miller square wave 180 TIG. Also craigslist and that I bought for 600 bucks. came with collets and tungstens and filler rod. It will also arc weld. Its capabilities are well above my skill.

    I used to have a lincoln ac/dc stick. That was good for rough farm style welding. There are plenty of guys that could make beautiful welds with it and if I had some training , maybe me too.

    I got all of them on craigslist and never paid more than 600 bucks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017

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