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Looking for input a new MIG machine

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Looking for input a new MIG machine

Postby BlueDiver » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:42 pm

I have a few projects coming up that is going to require more than my normal amount of welding. We have an aluminum crewboat that needs some fab work as well as the possibility of building a 10'x30'x3' material barge. Because I work mild steel, stainless, and aluminum pretty interchangeably I haven't been too interested in getting a MIG machine. TIG /stick works pretty well for the amount of weldment I have to lay.

I will be welding 5000 series aluminum up to 3/8" and steel up to 1/2". I'm not too preferential on brand but I want to get the most bang for my buck regarding duty cycle and ease of use. I don't want to go all out on a super heavy duty machine made for a welder working that machine all day every day but I want something that can handle the amount of work I want to throw at it.
Push/pull gun? Spool gun?

What is everyone using? Any advice? etc.... Thanks!
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Re: Looking for input a new MIG machine

Postby Poleframer » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:17 am

A- What welding machine(s) do you have now?
B- How much can you afford to upgrade?
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Re: Looking for input a new MIG machine

Postby cj737 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:26 am

Here's an example of a small but capable MIG machine:
https://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/ ... set-907614

Add a Spool Gun (make sure its rated for running 5356 wire as not all are) and you are all set.
https://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/ ... eet-301272

This is purely an example, there's lots of brands of smaller MIG welders running 110/220v. Even small machines that will run aluminum. I like the versatility of the smaller unit.
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Re: Looking for input a new MIG machine

Postby BlueDiver » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:16 am

Poleframer wrote:A- What welding machine(s) do you have now?
B- How much can you afford to upgrade?


A: Lincoln Squarewave 175 /Miller Bobcat 250 /Burco Mosa 200. I do all my in shop fab work off the squarewave. Mostly only use the Bobcat for u/w welding and burning (when required,which ain't often!).

B: I'd like to keep the whole package under $2k if I can. I normally send this stuff out once it maxes my machines capabilities but in this case I think I have enough to do to justify the buy. Plus, I get a new toy! I'm not scared of a used machine either.
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Re: Looking for input a new MIG machine

Postby BlueDiver » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:18 am

cj737 wrote:Here's an example of a small but capable MIG machine:
https://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/ ... set-907614

Add a Spool Gun (make sure its rated for running 5356 wire as not all are) and you are all set.
https://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/ ... eet-301272

This is purely an example, there's lots of brands of smaller MIG welders running 110/220v. Even small machines that will run aluminum. I like the versatility of the smaller unit.



I will check that out! Thanks for the heads up on the 5356. That is exactly the kind of info I want to hear!
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Re: Looking for input a new MIG machine

Postby BlueDiver » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:44 pm

cj737 wrote:Add a Spool Gun (make sure its rated for running 5356 wire as not all are) and you are all set.
https://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/ ... eet-301272


Is there a specific reason to use a spool gun for aluminum vice the standard spool in the machine? Is it because the wire is too soft to push through the liner?
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Re: Looking for input a new MIG machine

Postby cj737 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:10 pm

Yes, spool guns pull the wire where hard wire is push. 4043 0.030 wire bends if you stare at it. 5356 is slightly better, but it still doesn't "push" really well.
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Re: Looking for input a new MIG machine

Postby BlueDiver » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:13 pm

Anyone have any knowledge on the suitcase welders? Miller X-treme 8vs or 12 vs? It looks like those will run off any power source and have a pretty good duty cycle. Also looks like they will run aluminum wire direct without a spool gun.

Am I reading this wrong? I have a Bobcat 250.... maybe that could be the ticket. Any help would be appreciated.


Don
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Re: Looking for input a new MIG machine

Postby MinnesotaDave » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:18 pm

cj737 wrote:Yes, spool guns pull the wire where hard wire is push. 4043 0.030 wire bends if you stare at it. 5356 is slightly better, but it still doesn't "push" really well.


Spool guns don't pull, they push just like a regular mig - but they don't have to push very far and the barrel is straight.
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Re: Looking for input a new MIG machine

Postby cj737 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:40 am

BlueDiver wrote:Anyone have any knowledge on the suitcase welders? Miller X-treme 8vs or 12 vs? It looks like those will run off any power source and have a pretty good duty cycle. Also looks like they will run aluminum wire direct without a spool gun.
Don

My buddy has a 12VS. When I asked him about this very topic some time back, he said, "yes, it will run aluminum. But, you need to run pretty heavy diameter wire and swap the liner. So I bought a spool gun to plug into my PipePro."

You can always call Miller directly and they will give you the best answers on configurations, settings, and setup for any of their machines.
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