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I keep running into things I need little tack welds on. I've been tempted to go buy a cheap welder to get a few things done, but my vert will need the frame rails replaced in the next year or two so I'd like to get something that can handle the job. I've arc and acetylene welded before, but it's been about 8 years and I've never used a MIG welder.

Is it possible to get a good MIG setup, helmet, gloves, etc for under $600? If so please make some recommendations.

Edit: Thanks for your replies so far.

More Questions:

1.What amperage is the minimum I can use for Frame rails and such items?

2. I Ass-U-Me I should get a gas kit with what ever I buy, do you agree?

3. 110v would be great, but I have relativly easy access to a 220v circuit in my garage, any real reason to consider a 220v welder?

4. Brands, which are best and which are good enough? This welder will see light duty except for my HoosierBuddy style frame rail replacements some time next year.

5. Where is the best place to buy?

Thanks again!
 

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I bought a HTP 120 volt, 140 amp welder. It's great! I'd suggest you look at their web site and look at the specs and compare to other brands.

It may be more money, but you'll get a whole lot more of a welder with a lot of good features geared toward welding sheetmetal. Also If you do decide on a HTP, waite for a sale. They have very good sales! That's when I bought mine.

Mine has been absolutely flawless and one of the best and most satisfiying tool purchases I ever made even though I spent way more then I had planned. I don't regret the extra cost for a second.
 

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Tractor Supply has a nice Hobart 110 mig for about $450. This is bottle ready and will do a nice job.

Years ago I bought a cheap non-gas Italian mig and set a record in my weight class for booger welds.


110 is ok for car stuff, but you need the gas shielding. I'd stick with a brand name.

Jeff
 

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I own a Century MIG welder 240 volt. Its terrific. USA made and cost effective. I have seen the brand Daytona (just like the race track) for sale in Hemmings and at Carlisle. They have a USA made machine that is the least expensive that I have seen. I lucked out with my Century because I found it at a clearance center. It was a kit (helmet, and everything but the bottle) brand new and I paid $140.00. I even got an extra accessery set (helmet, gun,the works) because the box was ripped. Anyway...If you plan to weld for along time,I suggest a 240 V machine. They don't cost much more and they provide you a wider work capable range. You never know when you can weld a neighbors 1/4 inch thing-a-ma-bob for a favor in the future.
 

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Considering your budget you will probably have to go with 120...I picked up my 220 unit 3 weeks ago and paid $550 for it here.. http://fostertool.com/hobart175.html. I have been very happy with my Hobart...I find many people recommend Lincoln also. As for necessity...I did the floorpans in my truck last week with the welder set at the lowest setting and the wire feed moving slow...worked like a charm. I decided that althought I didn't need 220 to work on cars with, the potential exists for needing it in the future for other projects, and I rather just buy one welder that I know will be able to handle anything I will throw at it. Get a nice set of pigskin gloves...not the thin TIG gloves but not the real thick ones either...paid $12.50 or so for my Tillman 42L MIG gloves at a welding shop and they are mucho comfortable and fit the bill perfectly. I love the gas setup...but you have to factor in the price of gas....either you are going to have to rent a tank which will cost $30-60 or so, or buy a tank like I did at $150. Got mine at Garland Welding Supply...nice people and a decent price. It's a medium size tank...not too big to carry but not so small that I will have to have it refilled constantly.
A helmet...or should I say a GOOD helmet will set you back some bucks....I have an auto-dimming helment and it was pricey but it is great. Think it was around $200.
Don't forget that you will probably have to buy wire (paid $20 or so for a big spool of 23...and tips.
Was in Northern last week and they wanted $100 more than Foster tools for the exact same setup.
 

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It's pretty funny you posted this as this was ME about 6 months ago! I bought a 110v Lincoln Mig welder off the dreaded site that I won't mention for $375.00. It was new and came with everything you needed to mig weld except the bottle. Buying the thing is the least of your worries. It took me about 4 months 2 to 4 times a week for my mig welds to look like and (the important part) be GOOD STRONG WELDS! I had never welded before so I got the welders at work to "train" me. It was hit and miss for awhile, but with patience and some good teachers, I am glad to say that my mig welds are as good as some of the welders at work. Thats not me saying that, it's the welders! The whole trick is to learn to judge your voltage and your wire speed. If your voltage is alittle high, just speed up your wire speed as the increase in mig wire cools the weld. A good mig weld will be shiney after it cools. A bad or cold weld will be dull. It it's dull, grind it off and do it again. I only wish that I would have gotten a 220v but have learned how to get the metal hot enough (1/4" max for 110v) for a good strong weld. My best advice is to get someone to "train" you and practice, practice, and practice some more until your welds are shiny, you can't beat it apart with a hammer and your weld is uniform from start to finish. If I can do it, so can you. Do NOT buy a forgein welder as their parts are much more inferior than the USA made ones. I like my Lincoln, and we have Hobart and Miller at work. They are GREAT MACHINES and you can get replacement parts with ease. Century is a good machine as well, but I am partial to the first 3 that I mentioned. The reason that I got into it is I was quoted a price of $600 to weld in my floor pans and toe boards and that is with me taking the old ones out. I figured that if I was going to do that much work, I might as well learn for myself. If you are going to mig weld body panels and floor boards be sure to get the right gas bottle. Get a 75/25 argon/co2 mix. The gas is to blow out any impurities in the weld. It is a stronger and much prettier weld than flux core which you can weld with your welder as well. Flux core is a ugly weld and it splatters. I mig weld with mine only. If you want you can have my flux core spool,(thats how much I hate flux core!) The real key is to practice and get a strong uniform weld! Good luck and enjoy a new trade! If you have any more questions, feel free to email me or give me a call. 615-822-9482
J.W. aka "jayster428"

"Just remember, if it won't go fast when you want it too.....SPEND MORE MONEY!"
 

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Jason
You can borrow my Lincoln weld pak set up if you want to try it.
I have the weld pak 100 with gas conversion and a 20# tank. I have the auto dimming helmet from Harbor Freight, the $80 unit.
You can borrow it all and find out what you really want.
Dave

PM me if you want it.
 
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