Most people start out with a MIG welder. It is relatively easy and universal machine and with it you can achieve excellent results!
MIG welding process can be used on a wide variety of material types such as mild steel, low alloy steel, aluminum, stainless steel (if you are careful and don’t overheat), and on a wide range of material thicknesses. A variety of metal transfer modes is used in MIG welders, including axial spray, globular, short circuiting, pulsed spray and surface tension transfer. Some of these modes may require specialized MIG welders and/or specific shielding gas mixture.
However, as you gain in experience and seek to become an expert, you will undoubtedly be thinking about buying a TIG welder and expanding your skills. You were probably told when you were starting out that MIG welding is a far simpler process, and this is certainly true. However, the TIG option gives you far more control and much finer adjustment than the relatively simplistic stick/arc welder, and is therefore the natural next step for experienced welders. Once you are an expert at both kinds of welding, you can even simplify your equipment by investing in a multiprocess welder that can do everything.
Hobart Handler 210 MVP MIG Welder
Detailed Specifications from Hobart Brothers Company
Hobart Brothers company was founded in 1917 and is based in Troy, Ohio.
Hobart Handler 210 is reliable an high-quality machine. It welds 1/4″ easily, 3/8 – successfully, if you are experienced enough. The welder can operate with flux-core wire.
Input power at 240v is 4.2kw, 120v – 2.5kw. It is rated at 30% duty cycle. For sizing to weld on any setting, better to use a 10kw generator.
Working with the easy settings on this machine make it the easiest to learn for someone with no experience. A simple way to learn is to follow the settings provided for the metal and thickness shown on the label. Welding helmet that is clear until the arc starts and then darkens makes it much easier to learn an use.
Closest analog – Millermatic® 211 MIG Welder
Detailed Specifications from Miller Electric Company
Miller Electric is an welding and cutting equipment manufacturing company based in Appleton, WI. Among the professional welders Miller is a highly trusted company.
Miller 907612 is one of the best machines, I’ve ever tested. It comes with a Miller gun/lead, works great for 3/16″ and down material. The machine can be used on 1/4″ thick material effectively with flux core wire and good technique and prep/pre-heat.
Gas shield welding will cut back but not eliminate the splatter (compared with flux core welding). But if you need to eliminate the splatter, choose TIG. At the same time you can’t beat MIG for the quick and simple welding.
Amperage adjustment is often overlooked by first time buyers. In the basic machines you have about 4 settings and you need to adjust yourself to the setting. Continuously adjustable amperage setting allow you get what you really need.
The advantage of this machine is especially slick in adjusting for different wire sizes drive roll assembly. You just press in and rotate it. Moreover it is entirely metal and very reliable in operation.
Lincoln Electric is an American Fortune 1000 company-manufacturer of welding products founded in 1895. Lincoln is well-known for good quality welding machines.
Lincoln K2185-1 is extremely handy tool in small equipment garage/repair shop. I successfully welds up to 1/8 in. mild steel and comes with one year warranty on parts and labor. (90 days warranty on gun and cable).
Included: cable assembly and welding gun; work cable with clamp; flux-cored welding gasless nozzle; for MIG welding: gas nozzle regulator and hose; 1 lb. spool .035″ NR®-211-MP flux-cored wire; 2 lb. spool .025″ SuperArc L-56 solid MIG wire; three .035″ contact tips; three .025″ contact tips, welding handshield with #10 filter plate and clear glass cover plate; chipping hammer/brush.
This machine works perfectly, the settings on the welder door are close-to-ideal, and adjustments (if really needed) are very little. Welds looked clean with good penetration. Just one recommendation – buy auto darkening helmet.
Differences Between MIG and TIG
Where a MIG welder (Metal Inert Gas) uses a consumable rod, a TIG welder (Tungsten Inert Gas) uses a nonconsumable electrode. This might seem to be a fairly elementary difference, but it has important ramifications for the technique you use. The traditional stick/arc welder produces a lot of spatter and requires plenty of cleanup afterward. Its performance is simple to maintain but inaccurate at the best of times. Whether you are using a dedicated machine or a multiprocess welder, the TIG process is focused on making a neat and precise weld.
Advantages Of TIG
A TIG welder has the edge over a MIG welder in any situation in which precision and control are more important than speed. Even expert welders will use a stick/arc welder when they just need to weld something quickly. The TIG process is ideal for welding thinner metals of many different types. It is also great for when you need cleaner, neater welds. The better-contained gases of TIG allow even a multiprocess welder to create a stronger weld with less stress, cracking, and distortion at the seam.
Should You Buy One?
Any experienced welder will need to learn to use a TIG welder at some point. While a MIG welder is a great choice for many situations, you cannot beat TIG for precision, strength and neatness. A good TIG or multiprocess welder will likely cost more than a typical stick/arc welder, but the extra cost is well worth it. Spending a little more on higher-quality equipment is highly recommended in the field of welding. Not only will it be easier to use, but it will also last longer and pay for itself in the long run. Mastering the TIG process is a natural progression for any intermediate welder. It will greatly increase your skill and bring you into the realm of the expert.
Many DIY welders, contractors and professional welders are in the market for a high-quality used MIG welder in good condition – one that provides a lot of value for the spent. Purchasing a good used welder also makes sense for the beginning welder who wants to learn and practice their skills on a used welder before deciding if it’s a hobby, trade or general skill that they want to pursue.
These tips will give you clear pointers for how to find a good used MIG welder. Follow them and you’ll likely end up with a machine that meets your needs and one that leaves more money in your pocket.
Know what you are looking for
To know what you need requires having a handle on what type of welds you’ll typically be doing. Is the welder for use around your home where you’ll fix bike or motorcycle frames, weld a tail pipe, maybe replace a quarter panel on the car you’re restoring, and welds like these? If so, a quality portable welder will serve your needs – one with a maximum output in the 140 amp to 180 amp range. Quality portable welders in this class are made by Hobart, Miller Electric, Lincoln Electric and others.
If you plan to do heavy-duty welding on construction equipment, heavy-gauge trailer steel, pipeline, etc., then a larger welder in the 240 amp to 260 amp range is more suitable. The first principle of getting a deal is to read MIG welder reviews and make sure you buy a welder that will meet your needs, otherwise it is wasted money.
Know where to look – and start with Amazon
At any given time, for example, there are dozens of quality used MIG welders on Amazon, welders from leading brands like ESAB, Hobart and Miller Electric. You’ll also be able to evaluate the reliability of the seller in many cases, more so than is possible on classified sites.
Watch for local auctions
It seems like every year a good number of local farms, ranches, auto-body shops or fabrication shops are sold at auction – including all of the equipment. Look for auctions in your local paper or in the area’s farming weekly. Keep abreast of the upcoming auctions on the websites of auctioneers in your area. They will often list the pieces of equipment that are to be auctioned – or a simple call to the auctioneer will uncover that.
If you plan to attend an auction, first know exactly what you are looking for. Auctions typically have preview days where you can examine equipment first hand – always a great idea. Set your budget ahead of time and refuse to go over it. Don’t get carried away if the bidding gets hot!
Plan to do some maintenance
It is possible that when you purchase a used welder you’ll need to do some maintenance to it such as replace the contact tip, the part that often wears out most quickly. This is a normal part of welder maintenance and the tips are not very expensive.
Look for scratch and dent deals
Not exactly used deals, but slightly damaged equipment can represent a good bargain too. Simply make sure the damage is cosmetic or something that can be fixed so that the machine functions properly. If there’s a welding supply shop near you, a farm and ranch store, or another dealer, stop by and ask if they have any – or ask to be contacted in the event one gets damaged the next time a batch of them gets unloaded.