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Looking to buy my first welder

General welding questions that dont fit in TIG, MIG, Stick, or Certification etc.

Looking to buy my first welder

Postby Hoghead » Mon May 15, 2017 6:26 pm

Been studying and watching videos for the longest now, am wanting to buy a welder and need advice where to start. I dont have 50 amp 240 run into the garage yet but do have access to a 30 amp dryer socket that I run my woodworking tools off of. If necessary the 50 amp circuit can be run.

My nephew and a buddy both have and recommend Miller Mig welders and advise to stay away from inverters. They both live too far away to just run over and try them out though. Was sold on the Miller multimatic 215 but the duty cycle seems short and will not do 6010. Then studied the Miller 252, which I like, but not sure about the digital adjustment displays and how long they might last. Esab Rebel 235 looks ok and I do like the idea of having a machine that can to multi process, but figure there must be a trade off of some sort for a machine to do everything. The Rebel is 2500.00 or so and I can still get a Fabricator 252i, which I really like the looks and duty rate of, for 1600.00 or so which seems like a much better deal. Im guessing the Esab, Tweco and Thermal Arc 252i are all basically the same machine with different paint?

So where does someone learning to weld again start out? I dont mind spending a lil cash on a good machine but would like to keep it around 2500.00 max. I just dont want one that the learning curve is so steep, or is so complicated to get set, that Ill get disgusted with it. Better off to get one with a couple knobs to adjust or one with all the bells and whistles and cool looking electronics that look like could eventually go out?....lol. Is not something Ill be using every day. Maybe a few times a week or sometime once a month or less. Any advise or recommendations are much appreciated.
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Re: Looking to buy my first welder

Postby Olivero » Mon May 15, 2017 6:46 pm

Well... You can get some pretty decent machines for 2500.

Maybe ESABS rebel is the answer for you, a bit of everything but nothing too fancy.

I have a Dynasty from Miller, I love it, never let me down even with its fancy electronic display.
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Re: Looking to buy my first welder

Postby Farmwelding » Mon May 15, 2017 6:48 pm

Some Questions to ask yourself:

What do you want to build?
What do you want to build it out of (aluminum, steel, stainless)?
Budget?
Size?

A lot of inverter mig welders are fine for the most part. The cheaper ones you may want to look out for since they may be a little out there(harbor freight for instance) As for the Millermatic 252-have one at school and I love it and holds up nice. Those knobs hold very well. If you want to have capabilities that are almost endless look towards a multiprocess. A powermig 210mp or multimatic 215 for instance. Before you decide though ask yourself those questions and post your responses. Hard to help without proper details. Thanks for asking and I hope you will eventually find the right machine for you.
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Re: Looking to buy my first welder

Postby Poland308 » Mon May 15, 2017 6:54 pm

Don't be afraid of inverter machines they come a long ways in the last five years. I chose a thermal arc 186 to use for stick and take work I also bought a Lincoln 210 MP. I've been very happy with both machines they each have areas they excel in. What do you think you will be welding on primarily?
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Re: Looking to buy my first welder

Postby Hoghead » Mon May 15, 2017 8:18 pm

Thanks for the responses. Will probably be welding 1/4 or lighter mild steel, angle iron, tubing, pipe etc., maybe as heavy as 3/8 who knows. Mostly just stuff around the house or farm. Am always seeing a use for a welder when doing home or shop projects. Never worked with stainless or aluminum before.

I really like the specs etc. on the Fabricator 252i and there are good prices on them. The Rebel too for that matter but the Fabricator will do the same things at about a grand less in price. But on such a machine with so many settings am not sure how hard it is for someone just learning to get it set just right. Or are the default settings on newer machines acceptable/usable? Man...when I welded in high school there were just a couple knobs and if it burned too hot ya just turned the thing down a tad...lol. Would like to eventually learn all three processes, always been fascinated by Tig but not before getting the other two down. Just want a machine that I wont outgrow in a years time and end up wishing I had bought something else....nor overly complicated to set. Warranties and customer service are important also should it ever be a need.
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Re: Looking to buy my first welder

Postby Poland308 » Mon May 15, 2017 8:37 pm

Buy a machine that has features you may not use! We will help you turn off what you don't need. Until you do need it, then you will be glad you have them. You can never over buy. But you will regret under estimating what you will tackle.
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Re: Looking to buy my first welder

Postby cj737 » Mon May 15, 2017 8:53 pm

The MultiMatic will run 60xx and 70xx rods. It also can MIG and TIG and MIG aluminum with a SpoolMate. The new 215 is about $1400 to get going, and you can spend about another $175 aftermarket to get set up for TIG with it. If you want versativility, it's a very hard machine to beat.

The fact that it is an inverter is actually a good thing. It will run all day long on your 30 amp service at the full 240v and produce excellent results.
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Re: Looking to buy my first welder

Postby Farmwelding » Mon May 15, 2017 8:54 pm

Overkill is under rated. Now coming from a farm background myself you are going to want for sure mig and probably stick to. With that said...powermig 210mp is my reccomendations. If you want a solid mig only machine a Millermatic 252 or powermig 256. My uncle has the 256 on his farm and it is a workhorse. A multimatic 215 is basically he same as the 210mo except blue and a little more expensive(but not too much)
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