Welder Recommendations [Archive] - SaabCentral Forums

: Welder Recommendations


cjhutch
20th July 2008, 01:40 AM
I have decided to start a project car and this will be my first time doing some extensive welding. In short, I used to suck at welding and just gave up and would have my uncle or friends do it for me. I decided I want to build a Z car and it's going to be the first car I build entirely on my own. That means I needed to learn how to weld so I had one of my friends give me some lessons and I must say using a MIG is quite easy. I won't mention what happened when I tried to pick up the TIG. :cry: Now I need to know what brand of MIG would you guys recommend for automotive work. My friend has a really expensive Hobart welder and his dad had it before him so he was no help when it came to getting something under $1000. I'm looking for something in the $300-$400 range or cheaper if possible.

900t
20th July 2008, 01:54 AM
There are crazy cheap ones on ebay... sure they are crap made in China but at the price it might be worth the risk.

cjhutch
20th July 2008, 02:35 AM
That was one thing I was considering, but I wanted to make sure parts were available to purchase in the US and not have to go online and purchase the part if something were to break. There is a Harbor Freight right down the street from my house, but I have read spotty reports on the Chicago Electric brand that they sell. On the other hand Northern Tool is right down the road from my job and they have a pretty wide range of welders. I just really don't know what to get in terms of amperage. Like I said the only welders I have used are really expensive shop types and you could probably weld support beams with those things. I just need something that would fit nicely in my garage and I can move around easily.

Cuba
20th July 2008, 04:55 AM
Tig...........

TooMany2cvs
20th July 2008, 10:25 AM
This has recently been discussed on another forum... Consensus amongst those with clue? Cheap MIGs are useless. They're a damn sight more difficult to get a half-decent weld from, and they die in no time at all.

You'd be best off trying to find an auction at a local workshop, farm or similar that's closing down, and get a good used one.

dougsaab
20th July 2008, 10:27 AM
I've been using mig welders for over 20 years, and when I bought my first one I couldn' afford much. I saw an ad in the local paper for a mig welder(british made) with bottle for $250, so I bought it. It worked OK for a few years, but it started to develop problems with the wire arcing inside the tip, thus welding the tip shut. I searched at least 10 local welding supply houses around here, and nobody carried the tips. I decided the best thing to do was buy a Lincoln(they've been around over 100 years), so I went down to Lowe's and bought a Weld-Pak 100(~$400). It was set up for running flux core wire, which I thought was a dirty looking weld. I welded 5 minutes with flux core, and hated it. I immediately went and bought a conversion kit for gas mig, and I already had the bottle, so it only cost $100 more to convert it. That was 1996, and I've welded just about anything automotive with it without a single problem. Best money I ever spent, and by doing side jobs for people, it has paid for itself a few times over.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v226/dougsaab/PA080002.jpg

Si
20th July 2008, 02:23 PM
^^^^what he said, i've got a mig+gas, probably about 200 and it's lasted a good few years, but for the first time i've just experienced what Doug said, the weld wire melted to the tip and blocked it, hopefully i'll be able to get a replacement. Mines a Sebora.

cjhutch
20th July 2008, 02:57 PM
Cool, another guy recommended a Lincoln to me the other day at Home Depot. Cuba, thanks for the tip on the TIG, but as previously stated my experience with that was not great at all. I figured I should get very comfortable with MIG before I go on to that. My friend knows how to TIG so if I need anything to be really clean and strong I will have him do it for me. He's going to weld in the new crossmember for me because that will need to be as strong as possible for the kind of power I'm going to make. :cool:

dabrig
20th July 2008, 05:31 PM
I have a little Clark 100E that has served me well for over 15 years now. Of course, I only use it occasionally and it's really only good for steel under 1/8" (3mm) thick. Although it's supposed to do aluminum too, it never gave me good results.

I've been spoiled with Miller 200s and 250s at work, so anything less is a bit of a compromise. However, the Clark is not too bad for an inexpensive unit.

Lincoln also makes decent welders and is probably a little easier to get support for than Clark.

For any welder, though, some rules: make sure that the material to be welded is CLEAN, that the metal fits well with minimal gaps, and that you take the time to practice on similar scrap pieces to refine your technique rather than jumping right into your job and making it into scrap. If you weld every day, you will develop the right instincts, but you can't just walk up to a machine (even an "easy" process like MIG) and get good welds with nothing but luck.

ragtopcav
20th July 2008, 09:16 PM
Tig...........

Agree, if you are skilled and knowledgeable.

On the other hand you can make a robot MIG weld very well which means even a really inept human can make a good job with one. Have off board gas supply [you can get flux cored MIG welding that is OK] and practice on a few things that don't matter - fix or make a garden gate for example.

Cuba
20th July 2008, 09:56 PM
On the other hand you can make a robot MIG weld very well which means even a really inept human can make a good job with one.

My mate used to work on the Landrover chassi welding line in England. He told me some pretty hairy stories about fixing the robots while they are still welding :o How would you like your ear spot welded to a Landrover :lol:. They weren't supposed to, but stopping the line was super expensive and as a result the guys were encouraged to perform some really dangerous tasks.
You're right a MIG is perfectly suitable. Just a matter of getting the appropriate size/quality...horses for courses and all that.

Jim Mesthene
21st July 2008, 08:57 AM
The I G in MIG or TIG stands for Inert Gas.

Flux core wire is not Inert Gas.

cjhutch
21st July 2008, 05:13 PM
What do you all think of this one? I like the fact that I can convert it to run on gas and basically have two welders in one. I also like that the stand is included. I saw it at the store today and it was very sturdy and not some cheap throwaway stand.

Clarke 180EN Wleder (http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200311890_200311890?cm_sp=Customer%20 driven-_-Recently%20Viewed-_-Search%20Page)

Tomarse
21st July 2008, 05:24 PM
What do you all think of this one? I like the fact that I can convert it to run on gas and basically have two welders in one. I also like that the stand is included. I saw it at the store today and it was very sturdy and not some cheap throwaway stand.

Clarke 180EN Wleder (http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200311890_200311890?cm_sp=Customer%20 driven-_-Recently%20Viewed-_-Search%20Page)

I have a clarke 150en and it is great!. Really good for the price. The wire feed works well, it is nice and solid and i think nicer to use than my mates similar specced snap-on one.
Go for it. I use mine on gas as I find the gasless very messy - though the gasless is handy when you run out of gas with a couple of inches left to do! :)

dougsaab
21st July 2008, 06:54 PM
220 volts might limit your usage, since they don't just plug in anywhere. My 110 volt unit can go with me to a jobsite and plug in anywhere there's power, since 110 is more readily available.

cjhutch
21st July 2008, 10:08 PM
220 volts might limit your usage, since they don't just plug in anywhere. My 110 volt unit can go with me to a jobsite and plug in anywhere there's power, since 110 is more readily available.

This isn't going anywhere but the garage and I already have multiple 220 volt outlets because originally that is where the washer and dryer were connected. The previous owner used the garage as an in-law suite and it has plumbing and there was an electric stove in there. It's great having a garage with a water fountain and air conditioner in it for those hot summer days when I want to work on the car. I think I'm going to pick up that welder tomorow and give it a shot. The guy told me I have 15 days to try it out or I can return it and not have to pay any restocking fee.