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I’m wondering what welder to buy. I’ve never welded before, but have a ‘66 coupe I’m working on and want to try my hand at welding. I’m decently handy at wrenching and wood working, but never welded... Two questions:

1. What type? TIG, MIG, MMA...?
2. Any specific manufacturer/model recommendations?

Thanks!


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I had limited experience using only an arc welder over 20 years ago in shop class. I recently bought a titanium inverter flux welder from harbour freight. Very easy to use. Unlike older flux welders you can dial the power up or down instead of a two position switch. I was able to weld on thin sheet metal as well as 1/4 inch steel without issues. I know many here don't like the flux welders but I believe that the inverter style has fixed some of the problems people talk about.
 

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MIG for starters.

Lincoln, Miller, Hobart are the top three brands, can't really go wrong with any of them. Get a 120V welder if you don't have 220 in your shop.

That being said, I have the Eastwood Mig 135 which is a copy of a Miller. I've had it for about 10 years now and it's a nice welder. Has the same warranty and duty cycle as the Miller. Might be at a better price, worth looking into.
 
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I also have the Eastwood mig welder . And a tank of shielding gas
 

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I have an Eastwood 175 MIG, but advise against it. I'm on my third one, two have been replaced under warranty and now that the warranty is up, I'm stuck with it. They are just not as reliable as a Miller or Hobart
 

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I use the Hobart handler 140 and the 190, mig welders. use a 25/75 mix gas, .030 gauge wire, I have tried the .024 wire, did not care for it to much, 140 for the thin metal, 190 for the thicker metal, the 140 is a 110 volt, works great on the sheet metal work,
 

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I have an Eastwood 175 MIG, but advise against it. I'm on my third one, two have been replaced under warranty and now that the warranty is up, I'm stuck with it. They are just not as reliable as a Miller or Hobart
The Eastwoods look good, but being imports, they’re not repairable after the warranty. I’m not a gambler.

I picked up a new in box, Lincoln 180 for $300.00 on Craigslist, worth the five hour round trip!
 

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I don't weld, but it should be obvious from the replies that most folks go with MIG. Folks on the car shows also mostly use MIG. I've heard that TIG is harder to learn, but also from those shows, can produce really pretty welds.
 

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I have a millermatic 252 mig and synchrowave 250 tig. Both are overkill for what I weld, but I wanted to make sure I had the capacity to weld anything if the need arose.
 

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I don't weld, but it should be obvious from the replies that most folks go with MIG. Folks on the car shows also mostly use MIG. I've heard that TIG is harder to learn, but also from those shows, can produce really pretty welds.
Tig welding can make really nice welds, welds clean, and is really quiet and doesn’t generally produce “toxic” fumes. It is, however, much more expensive than mig welding. Tungsten elements require replacement and continuous sharpening/ shaping. Mig welding in comparison, is cheaper, easier but don’t inhale the fumes and smoke.
 

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MIG is definitely the way to go for automotive metal work. I have a 110V Lincoln MIG that I have had for about 25 years. I have beat the hell out of it and it never breaks. Only parts I have had to replace are consumables like contact tips. Don't use flux core wire - spend a little extra and go with CO2/Argon shielding gas. I originally rented a bottle from Airgas for $5 a month, but after less than a year I returned the bottle and bought one from them. $5 a month does not sound like a lot, but it adds up when it is for something you are going to keep forever.

I also have a 110V/220V Miller Synchrowave that does MIG, TIG, and stick welding. I got that since I wanted to play with TIG welding and have the larger capacity of 220V MIG. Definitely a lot more finesse required with TIG than the "point and shoot" ease of MIG welding. TIG opens up a lot more options as far as welding different types of metals as well as giving beautiful welds, but it takes time to master and the initial investment in equipment is several times higher than what you would spend on a MIG welder.

As the others have said, you can't go wrong with Lincoln, Miller, or Hobart.
 

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Miller 211 is also a good choice. It is a multi-volt (120V-240V) mig unit and is a nice compact size. Think it's capable of welding sheet metal on up to "3/8. I personally own one and love it!

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TIG will produce much nicer welds and better heat control, assuming you have the skills to make use of it. Plus a good TIG machine is expensive. MIG is the best way to get into welding and become okay at it fairly quickly. I've got a Clarke 160 (English welder) and it's been very good. I just welded in some subframe connectors and it did very well. It can also dial the heat back and do thin stuff like body panels.
 
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