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There have been a handful of times when I've wished to have a welder and the ability to weld recently, so I think it's time to get one. I'm limited by a few things.

I only have 110 volt service to my garage. I could potentially run a 220 circuit if really and truly needed, but I don't think that's reached the level of a need yet. My air compressor runs fine from 110, and from a little bit of looking it seems that I can get a decent starter welder that will run on 110.

I don't plan on welding anything big/thick. Probably nothing thicker than 1/4" metal. My project list is short, and my spare time is shorter. If I need something thick and heavy welded, my neighbors have very nice setups. It's just hard finding time when we're both around and available. As much as I'd like a Hobart or Lincoln 140, realistically I'll only use this thing a few times a year.

I have a ton of credit card reward points I'd like to use, and those reward points limit me to either Home Depot or Sears.

I'd love to talk a basic welding class at the local community college, but I just don't have a ton of spare time right now. Maybe in the future, but for now it will have to be trial and error.

Thoughts? Thanks.
 

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There have been a handful of times when I've wished to have a welder and the ability to weld recently, so I think it's time to get one. I'm limited by a few things.

I only have 110 volt service to my garage. I could potentially run a 220 circuit if really and truly needed, but I don't think that's reached the level of a need yet. My air compressor runs fine from 110, and from a little bit of looking it seems that I can get a decent starter welder that will run on 110.
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I was EXACTLY in your shoes before I got my first welder. I mainly wanted a welder for repair jobs and the occasional small fabrication. I don't have a garage so all my welding is done outdoors. I only had 110V available and as a result I bought a Hobart Handler 140 and use .035 Flux Core wire.

The unit has served me well. There are times I only use it once or twice a year. That is another reason I opted to stay with Flux Core and avoid having to worry about my gas cylinder leaking down (which was a constant problem back when I had a small Oxy-Acetylene rig).

Later on I installed a 220V line and picked up an inexpensive AC/DC Lincoln tombstone welder for $150 on Craigslist. Call me weird but I just like using stick.

I wish NOW that I would have spent the extra to get a 110/220V multi-voltage wire welder because now I'm saddled with this 110V 140. Which, don't get me wrong, for a 110V welder it does a fantastic job on everything up to 1/4" and has never given me a lick of trouble. If you go with a 110V welder you will definitely need a 20A dedicated circuit. If using a 15A circuit you will likely constantly pop the breaker unless you keep the current under 90A.

Even though it sounds like you won't use your welder very often, you still want it to WORK when you go to use it. For that reason I strongly recommend that you stick with something from a brand name company. Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, etc. The last thing you want is to fight wire feed issues because of an el-cheapo welder. There are lots of decent deals on Craigslist for used small welders from folks who bought them and then ended up not using them or upgrading.
 

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I have a 26 year old Lincoln SP100 in my home garage and I have never wanted or needed anything larger. I ran a 25 amp 120V circuit to plug it in to because it would trip the breaker on the standard 15 amp household circuits. With proper preparation and multiple passes you can even weld heavy stuff with it. For example I have a weld on thumb on my New Holland 575E backhoe with a couple hundred hours of use and no sign of fatigue. I did have a significant bevel on the pieces and made 4 passes but it has held solid.

I call this gorilla welding. They are strong and ugly!





 

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There are thoughts that learning to stick weld first is the best way. You learn about watching the puddle, penetration, etc. It is way easier to get nice looking welds that do not hold for crap using MIG or flux core wire welding.

I watched AVE's video a few years ago. WELDING: THE BEST WAY TO LEARN! - YouTube If you can spare 25 minutes or so, watch it. At least he's entertaining. Also, Jody at Welding Tips and Tricks - TIG, MIG, Stick and a pantload of other info has some good videos. And there are lots of bad ones out there to avoid.

Good luck!
 

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There are thoughts that learning to stick weld first is the best way. You learn about watching the puddle, penetration, etc. It is way easier to get nice looking welds that do not hold for crap using MIG or flux core wire welding.

I watched AVE's video a few years ago. WELDING: THE BEST WAY TO LEARN! - YouTube If you can spare 25 minutes or so, watch it. At least he's entertaining. Also, Jody at Welding Tips and Tricks - TIG, MIG, Stick and a pantload of other info has some good videos. And there are lots of bad ones out there to avoid.

Good luck!
I've been stick welding for ~50 years, not and expert on it but I will say that first video was top shelf, IMO. :thumbup1gif:
 

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If mig is what you want you can’t beat a Hobart. Even their bigger 210 mvp model will run of 120 volt outlet or 220. You can use flux core of shielding gas and is a nice setup. We use my cousin’s who has the 210 and when we need to weld something on the farm we can run it off a generator in the field when we don’t have an outlet close. I have a miller 230 and a Lincoln stick which I hardly use anymore. You can find stick welders pretty cheap on CL but most are 220.
 

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Hobart makes some really nice 110 volt welders.
 

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Ill vote Hobart as well.
The Handler 140 was/is a great machine. I had one for a couple years before someone helped themselves to it in my garage. It was replaced by a Handler 187, which will get replaced by the 210 MVP.
I would REALLY like to get a new Miller inverter welder, but I dont need anything like that, and they cost quite a bit more than the old style.

Hobart and Miller are both part of the same company, so the Hobart welders use several of the same parts. It also makes finding consumables pretty easy, though Lincoln is also good.

Regardless of preference, the "Big Three" are the ones Id stick to if you want one to last. Miller, Hobart or Lincoln. Most of those can be found used for decent prices.

One last thing Ill mention, my Handler 140 and the 187 after were both purchased as "refurbished" units. They both had zero issues, but cost quite a bit less than a "new" unit. In my opinion, it was well worth it to save the money.
 

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I will say that welder's are allot like tractors when looking to buy. Whatever you think is best for what you need go one size bigger. I started with the Hobart 140 and quickly found how much I love to weld. I started to find projects and the limits of the 140, so I sold it to a friend and bought the 210. I think I'll be good for a while.
 

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Call me weird but I just like using stick.

Me too. If I could get someone else to chip my welds I would never use the mig.


I call this gorilla welding. They are strong and ugly!
Looks only matter in photos.:good2: frankly those welds looked fine.

I will say that welder's are allot like tractors when looking to buy. Whatever you think is best for what you need go one size bigger.
I completely agree which is why the stick welder is sometimes a good place to start. Things don’t have to be as clean, wind doesn’t matter and a mig will fool you into thinking you have good penetration with a pretty bead on top of the two parts.
 

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I guess by your post I would say buy the biggest 110/220 you can find. Now you can use it for 110 and if you want to run the 220 in the future you can just add the service to your garage. You will be already to go.

Good Luck!
 

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I'll second the Miller 211, although mine is the older transformer based unit instead of the newer inverter based unit.
 

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I have the Lincoln Mig 140 and have used it fairly regular for about 10 years now. It was a good price when I bought it and I only had 110 15A service so it met my needs.

In its years of service I replaced the fan which was inexpensive as I think the bearing was out and it became a bit noisy, was able to pick the part up in town without ordering to.

I’ve welded cutting edges onto skidsteer buckets and have yet to rip them off so I think it works well enough for my use. Any colour you choose you will have fun learning and creating
 

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I bought the Miller 211 inverter type and I'm amazed what it will do. I had some very small/thin piece of metal for the grill on the MC and I thought for sure it would burn through, but I used some copper backing and repaired the piece with ease. I have a small bottle of C25 for when I take it somewhere. It's only 28 lbs, so it's pretty easy to throw in the back of the Jeep or trunk of the car. I do have an old Lincoln tombstone, but haven't used it in a while.
 

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I am going to be a little different here in that I grew up on a Lincoln 230V stick welder and I now have a "off" brand that I love. I have a Forney brand 120v Mig welder and its pretty nice. I can weld up to 1/4inch thick steel and its to easy to weld clean beads. I have built a 15 gallon sprayer and done numerous auto and trailer repairs that have all held up great. I have even built my log splitter with it and its had no issues. I think for ease of use a gas less mig welder can't be beat. As others have stated a name brand will serve you well but I have not had any issues with my Forney.
 

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I use a Lincoln 225 ac/dc. like to do the higher amperage...I've got a welder just like the post with the backhoe...but I'd grab my Lincoln...some 7018 1/8 rods and bus that thing on about 140 amps making sure I had deep penetration into the steel...could go with the good ole 6011 on ac around 90-110 amps...like the deep penetration on critical hold parts....but this is my preference....
 

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I am going to be a little different here in that I grew up on a Lincoln 230V stick welder and I now have a "off" brand that I love. I have a Forney brand 120v Mig welder and its pretty nice. I can weld up to 1/4inch thick steel and its to easy to weld clean beads. I have built a 15 gallon sprayer and done numerous auto and trailer repairs that have all held up great. I have even built my log splitter with it and its had no issues. I think for ease of use a gas less mig welder can't be beat. As others have stated a name brand will serve you well but I have not had any issues with my Forney.
Forney is not an off-brand at all. They have been around for years. I remember going to a farm sale in the 70's to check out the stick welder they had. It was a Forney and went for $160, but looked like junk. So, I went to the local hardware store and bought a Lincoln 225 stick welder for $89. Sold it 20 years later for $300. Used it once.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for all the advice. I think I'm probably going to look pretty hard at a Forney unit. I'm well aware of the "get what you pay for" truism, as I'm on a JD site, but I just can't justify spending $500 or more on something I'm probably only going to use a few times each year. So far in my life, I've typically bought cheaper, lower quality tools to get started, and then upgraded to higher quality stuff once I wore the original out, or if it broke. That's served me well so far, so I think I'll keep with that. I'm sure the Miller 211 is a sweet unit, but I can't justify $1000 or more.

Just remembered that I do have a generac GP5500 that sits idle waaay too much, so I think I'll be able to use that instead of popping the breaker on my 15 amp garage circuit! Who wires a 15 amp circuit to a garage?? Wayne Homes apparently:banghead:

Thanks again for the advice!
 
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