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Old 01-12-2019, 02:22 PM   #1
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Buying a welder. What do I need.

I'm not 100% sure what I am going to buy for a welder, I'm probably going to buy a harbor freight inverter mig welder, they seem to be getting fairly good reviews, and I can't really afford anything better.

Aside from the welder. What am I going to need to get going? and do you have any recommendations?
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Old 01-13-2019, 05:41 PM   #2
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I'm using my buddies Lincoln SP-135 and recommend it if you can find one used. Check Craigslist, I usually use www.searchtempest.com it's a decent search engine.

You'll need to either rent/lease or buy a bottle of shielding gas, just like propane. A decent helmet, gloves, leather arm covers if you're welding upside down, and a spool of wire, and mig pliers. Harbor freight gloves and sleeves are holding up ok. I used old car parts and junk metal to play with trying to learn the technique and welder settings. Also get a good wire brush, a right angle grinder, flapper discs, ear protection, wire cups/wheels, and safety glasses and face shield. Go here: https://benchmarkabrasives.com/colle...d-grit-10-pack code is FREEMIX, $10 shipped, they work awesome, wear gloves, they work awesome on your fingers too.

I gummed up the tip a couple times, neighbor told me to get nozzle gel, it keeps welding spatter from sticking.

I get my spools and gas from northern tool, not sure if you have any near you. They're open 7 days a week, so if you run out of gas on Sunday, you can get more.

I sat around and watched a bunch of YouTube welding videos but they're usually done with new metal and clean everything. Not to applicable with what I'm assuming you'll be doing.

If you're going to be working with rusted metal, you can't lay down a bead like they did with fresh metal. You'll blow through and create a porcupine on the backside. I learned to create a small cherry, let the red die down, another cherry, etc.

Good luck man!
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:19 AM   #3
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I agree with everything Hotwire said.

1 addition, my opinion. I wouldn't waste money on a harbor freight unit, but rather look on craigslist or fb marketplace for a quality used welder, a Miller/Lincoln/Hobart.

Here is reasoning. #1 you'll probably never be able to sell it later, #2 as your skill level grows and you understand how you never wanna live without a welder again, you will appreciate the quality unit. and not have to buy twice.

I've only used 2 brand welders. Lincoln and Hobart. I own a Hobart handler 140 which is biggest 110v they have. It welds 1/4" plate very nice. I bought it used for around $400 and can't say enough good about it.

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Old 01-17-2019, 08:38 PM   #4
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Just throwing this out there....

I agree buy a name brand. Miller/Lincoln/Esab/Hobart (I'm partial to Miller myself)

I bought my Millermatic 210 MIG several years ago off eBay from Indiana Oxygen.

They were awesome to deal with (they have 118000+ feedback @ 99.8%) and shipped my machine very quickly. If I am ever in the market for another machine it will come from them.

The other thing to strongly consider is duty cycle. Buy the highest duty cycle your budget will allow.
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:58 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input guys, I never thought about the possiblity of trying to sell it, and your right I never would impressed it was as tenth of what I purchased it for.

I have started looking a slightly higher end welders, and I'm kinda pissed I wasn't looking at them earlier when I found this Lincoln Electric rebate.


It did get me thinking though to hold off a bit for a good sale or rebate, I want to try and get all the supporting stuff first, so when I do get a welder I am ready to use it. Not to mention I'm not going to be able to use it until spring anyway, since my garage is more of a carport.
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:50 PM   #6
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Buy the biggest you can afford and buy a name brand. First one I bought as a 110v Snap-on. Problem with that was it required a dedicated 30 amp outlet with special plug. I quickly traded it in for a 230 amp 220v unit and I still have it 25ish years later and love it. It's seen a lot of use too. Miller and Lincoln are very nice. I have a Miller 200 amp inverter TIG, don't use it much but it works very nice. You'll need steel mix gas, if you plan on using it a lot get the largest tank you can. Most places only sell small tanks. You have to purchase the tank and they refill it for a fee. I was also told by the re-filler to beware of buying a used tank, larger ones are rentals only and owned by the welding companies, if you bring one in to be filled they can report it as stolen.
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