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Welder choices

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I have decided to upgrade from an AC Stick unit to a Mig
As I plan on doing some frame fabricating I have eliminated the Hobart handler 135 as too small, 3/16" in one pass. So now I have 3 to chose from the 175 1/4" in a single pass the 210 3/8" in single pass or big momma the 250 w 1/2" in a single pass
I think the 250 may be overkill But I need the opinions of our experienced welders here to make a choice.
How much capacity do I really need?
They will all start out at the same 30amp with the ability to weld 22guage steel But what would you consider the max need for fabrication and general maintenance

Greg B
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Good questions. I'm in the same boat. I'm going to be doing a lot of cutting and welding, and want a machine that is up to the task without breaking the budget.

You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me!!!
66 200 3-spd Coupe - emberglo, daily driver
65 289 4-spd Conv - Rangoon Red (what else)
66 Shelby - Red and Ready to be Restored
I can't boast for MIG but I will tell you that I have had a professional welder do some work on my car and he used my welding machine because he said it was perfect for the particular job I needed. I have a Campbell Hausfield flux core wire feed welder that was $150 at Home Depot. Stick welding with 3/16 is major overkill. I used to build power plant components 20 years ago and used stick welding for everything, but the steel was all at least 1/4 thick. For sheet metal, it's just too much heat even with 3/32 rod. I didn't have much experience with sheet metal and wire feed welders so I hired a professional early on to replace a floorpan. Since then I have learned to weld sheet metal with the wire feed and it works very well. I have fabricated and installed subframe connectors, replaced some floorpans, etc with it and it works great. The welder uses .035 wire and has a low/high setting and the speed is adjustable (which also affects heat). Its cheaper than MIG and does the job beautifully.

Tracy Blackford
Corona, CA
Restoration of '65 "Black" ford fastback in progress
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Several years ago, I wanted to get a mig also. Believe me, I CHECKED everones welder out. I ended up with the HTP because the quality and features are out of this world! I bought the 140 amp version, runs on 120 volt, 30 amp ( although it comes with a 15 plug ) circuit for heavy jobs. It has reverse polarity, can stitch weld, has on and off time settings and has a duty cycle that'll flat out leave all the others in the dust. The sucker weighs 135 pounds because it HAS a real transformer that uses copper wire instead of aluminum and lots of iron in the core. Look at the other brands that say they'll do 140 amps and look at how much they weigh and their duty cycles, this should tell you that they skimped.

I would say that my HTP would compare favorably to commercial units from Lincoln ect. It's been worth every penny I spent on it and absolutely trouble free. You'll do yourself a big injustice if you don't at least look at them before buying someone else's unit!

In fact, we bought the same one at work.

You can do anything you want to......ONCE!
aka "my 66 coupe"
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I've got an offshoot of the original question. I've been toying with the idea of trying to learn to weld but have no idea on where to start.

My eventual goal is to be able to replace and fabricate pieces of sheet metal. The Mustang doesn't need this work now, but I envision a future where I have another car project that does.

Right now, I've got an older Blazer that has some rust spots and dents that I wouldn't mind experimenting with since I don't care too much about how it looks if I mess up. But, I have no idea where to start in my quest for learning this skill. Nor do I know what type of welding to learn (MIG, TIG, oxy-acetylene, etc.).

For those more experienced out there, where would you suggest starting? I've check classes at the community college -- unfortunately my day job interferes with attending them. Suggestions? Tips? Places to look for welding help in San Diego?


1966 V8 Emberglow Convertible
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I've got a Lincoln SP-125 Plus. I did the whole car and it worked good. The only place I could have used an SP-170 was when working on the frame rails but that wasn't a big deal. You just have to grind a grouve to help the penetration. I haven't used any other brands so I can't compare them. I would probably buy an SP-170 the second time around only because I could use it to build other things, like a rotisserie. The nice thing about the SP-125 is that it only requires 120V plugins so it's handier.


65 GT Coupe, dismantled waiting for resto.
67 Restomod Coupe, in assy.
69 Mach 1 S code, SWMBO say don't take it apart!
91 5.0 LX HB, driver.
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by stangs4me on 04/09/01 09:49 PM (server time).</FONT></P>
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