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Cheap stick welder verses pricey MIG, opinions ???

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I read previous posts on the subject of which type is better or prefered, the MIG seems to be the prefered. However, I have the opportunity to buy a Lincoln AC225 220v stick welder for about a 1/3 of the cost of a new MIG welder. It also comes with a stitch attachment and assortment or rods.

My question is, should I buy this or pay three time more for the MIG? I have no welding experience, but I self teach very well on most new subjects.

Opinions PLEASE!!!

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If you're going to do sheetmetal work get a MIG! The arc
welder isn't very good for sheetmetal work, but it can be
done... I'm using a Lincoln 100, it's a fluxcore welder
that works for most all jobs. Also, if you really want a
arc welder you can pick them up cheap at auctions.
Jason, IMHO the mig welder is the way to go. I too, had little welding experence, but with my gas mig welder (110) I can weld like a pro. It just takes a little practice, usually getting the wire speed correct. With the mig welder, I've been able to fill in rust holes in very thin metal with a copper plate as a backer. I'm really glad I got a mig, just my .02 worth. BTW, my entire mig setup with gas was under $400.
For automotive use, save up for a decent mig welder. I did an awful lot of research before I bought a mig welder. I spent way more then i had planned but I tell you what, it was worth every penny! I ended up with a 120 volt 140 amp HTP mig welder. I can do eveything that an expensive Lincoln pro welder at a lot less money. I can stitch weld and can reverse the polarity, which helps out a lot.

Also a mig welder is a lot easier to weld with then a stick. Take your time, learn as much as you can, ask a lot of questions in reguard to performance of each brand you look at.

An important feature to look at is duty cycle. This is basically a percentage of time you can use the welder in a set time period for a specific amp setting. Some welders have big amp ratings as a come on, but have a horrible duty cycle. This could mean, out of 1 minute, you could only weld for 15 seconds and have to let it cool for 45 seconds before welding again! This would be a 15% duty cycle. This was just an example to make you realize it in real life!
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Don't do it! Get the MIG and get one that you can use gas or flux wire.
If you have never welded before then stay away from a stick welder,plus for sheet metal work that you would do on your car it is not the way to go. A good Mig is what you should save for(Miller,Lincoln,Hobart).
Mig is a good system to learn on, with a little practice you will be running some nice beads.
What are your thoughts on the Craftsman 80 amp Gassless Welder ? This is the least expensive new MIG I can find. I've seen some welders on that claim to be new, but they've been off-brand, possibily reconditioned ones for the same price range as the Craftsman. I have a somewhat limited buget and don't want to spend too much on a welder, but don't want get a POS either.


I will disagree with the others, in so much as laying a good arc (stick) bead isn't hard. But it is typically reserved for welding steel plate 1/4" and thicker. Very few automotive parts are that thick.
At $229, it may cost less than some others, but it is still a big chunk of change for a limited budget. And after you do your gasless welding for a while, you will be sorry you can't upgrade.

Flux core is messier, more difficult to do, and produces an uglier weld.

Eventually, you will want to upgrade. My advice, spend a bit more now for a flux-core welder that can be upgraded to gas later.

Shop around for one in the $300-400 range and use it with flux wire, then when you're ready you can add gas for another $100 plus the gas bottle.
Wouldn't I be able to upgrade the Craftsman 80 amp Gassless Welder with the Harris Calorific Shielding Gas Kit ?
Before there was VMF I bought a Craftsman MIG with the gas option. I've used it for 3 or 4 years with very good results. I had some welding experience before and I knew MIG was the way to go. I wish I would have bought a miller, hobart or lincoln with a better duty cycle. Depending on how much welding you need to do I would save another 2 hundred and buy a better welder. Don't make the same mistake I made.
How much welding do you need to do on your project?
Any of your buddies need welding done on their cars? Split the price between you and him.
Just an idea.
Good luck.
Remember the more heat and speed ranges you have the more you can adjust your welds to meet your needs
I had a little exp with a stick welder before I purchased my mig. The mig is alot easier. I tried the flux and gas also. You can not beat the gas. What ever you do make sure you get a mig that use gas later. It is well worth the money.
How much welding do I need to do on my project?

Well, the best I can tell what needs to be replaced is the tail light panel, both sides of the roof right behind the quarter windows need about a 10" X 15" patch each, and eventually the RH front inner apron (under the battery). The rest of the car looks pretty good. However, I haven't yet had a chance to look under the carpet, but from under the car there is no rust or rust-through, so I think I may be safe there, won't know for sure until I look.

Looks like the consensus is you agree, save up your money and get a good one. This can be a lifetime purchase (I know mine have been )

What are you going to do with the welder?

FWIW, with the exception of continuous welding, a AC/DC stick welder can do nearly everything a MIG welder can do (even weld sheet metal)......the major exception IME, is doing quality non-ferrous welding.

Once you get hooked, welders can be as addictive as Mustangs....*G*
Hey ask if there is anyone in your area that you could borrow their welder for a day or 2. Just have everything ready and maybe they would even help out. If I was closer I would be glad to lend a helping hand. Check out the posts for spot weld cutters. You will need some.
Looks like we were typing at the same time. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif My previous post has what I need to do. Not a lot, but like you said I'm sure I'll find or make-up other projects just to use it. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

Buy the stick and then buy a MIG. You need 1/16 rods with low heat to weld sheet panels. Unless your "Welder Supreme" you'll pull your hair out using a stick on sheet. You can never have to many welders. The sticks a "deal" so buy it. You already know what a MIG is going to run. the fella that says the Craftsman 80 gasless wirefeed is a good "MIG". Correction. The very definition of MIG is using an inert gas in the welding process. So "gasless" wire feed is not MIG. BTW...I found a deal on a Century MIG welder. Works great. A Babboon can MIG weld....
You can rent a Miller Mig from many of Millers dealers so you can try one to see how you like them(you will) .Your near Seattle? Central Welding Supply is listed on Millers web site as being a rental outlet
Check out the infamous auction site. Two years ago I got a 155amp 155GS Century (I know, not the best) for $379 with gas regulator. It was factory reconditioned and has worked perfectly. Being 155amp duty cycle is not a factor when running it a 70% compared to running a Lincoln 100amp unit at 100%.

I see that they are still available, item=1837678602

It is amazing how many things you will weld up once you have one handy.
The Auto Hobby Shop here at McChord does have a welder, although I'm not sure what type, I just remember seeing it on the rate $heet (approx $4/hr DITY or $40/hr having someone there do the work). Without having any experience, I didn't want to go there, cut my taillight panel out, and end up having to have them do the welding so I could drive home. I just thought It'd be easier for me to buy one and practice and get the feel for it on scrap, and then not have to worry about stall fees, time, and feeling rushed.
I think I'll take bodyputty's advice and buy the stick welder, work with some scrap, see how I like it, and then buy a MIG when I can afford it.
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