Welder recommendation

Atlas Knife Company

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Feb 16, 2010
Messages
3,608
I'm currently using a HF #94164 110amp welder. I get great welds on max heat with .030" wire, feed rate of just a hair over 6. It just isn't hot enough to handle .035" wire. How much difference would a 170amp welder make? Any recommendations or reviews of the newer, 170amp HF #68885/6 welder or the Northerntool.com

"Klutch Hybrid MIG/Stick 220SI 230V Multiprocess MIG/Flux Core/DC Stick Welder with Included 10ft. Spoolgun — 140 Amp DC "


It's almost triple the cost, but does a lot more including TIG welding and a spoolgun for Aluminum.

I'm willing to spend more to get a better welder. I'm not willing to spend more just to get a Miller or Hobart name on it.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2010
Messages
732
Bigger is better just ask the girls. And the old adage of you get what you pay for is also true for welders. My work had (still has) a 170 amp Lincoln it worked well with .024 solid. In my 200 amp Lincoln I use .030 solid for normal welding. .030 flux core is a lot different than .030 solid wire. It's a long term investment, it took me 23 years of custom fab work to wear out my last wire feed. Jess
 
Joined
Aug 3, 2008
Messages
405
I had a thermal-arc Fabricator 181i before my shop burned down and it was a dream to use. It would burn some serious wire very cleanly. I would skip the low end stuff for HF and NT. Never had perfect welds before I had this welder. It took about ten minutes with it and I was laying down what looked like stacked rows of dimes. It is a multi process machine and does them all pretty well. For the price its hard to beat.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2013
Messages
906
I'm currently using a HF #94164 110amp welder. I get great welds on max heat with .030" wire, feed rate of just a hair over 6. It just isn't hot enough to handle .035" wire. How much difference would a 170amp welder make? Any recommendations or reviews of the newer, 170amp HF #68885/6 welder or the Northerntool.com

"Klutch Hybrid MIG/Stick 220SI 230V Multiprocess MIG/Flux Core/DC Stick Welder with Included 10ft. Spoolgun — 140 Amp DC "


It's almost triple the cost, but does a lot more including TIG welding and a spoolgun for Aluminum.

I'm willing to spend more to get a better welder. I'm not willing to spend more just to get a Miller or Hobart name on it.

Thank goodness, someone with logic!

As far as I'm concerned it all has to do with what your end intentions will be. I picked up an old (newer generation) dialarc 250 on craigslist for $300. The welder is old school but I have it set up for scratch start tig. It's far more welder than I would ever hope to need, but one thing has me searching for a new machine; the machine itself is just too big for my shop...

In my research so far, the significant factor that separates these inverter welders happens to be the inverter itself... Mosfet / IGBT / other ; IGBT being what seems to be the quality technology. I've heard very good things about Everlast, Thermal Dyn, Hyl, Hobart (miller), and Eastwood, and I'm about to pull the trigger on one of them very shortly. I think that welder from NT sounds like a great deal too! I wanted to hold off on it at first, for more reviews, but it seems to have had a steady stream of satisfied customers.

One thing that's crucial with these inverter welders is duty cycle... I've gotten spoiled on the big miller welder, because I rarely touch those usage parameters...
 

Atlas Knife Company

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Feb 16, 2010
Messages
3,608
I don't think this is too bad for a Chicago Electric welder. I do minimal surface prep and get a pretty decent line, even with my shaky hands. I've tried to remove one of these welds before and trust me, it's solid. I had to beat on it with a 3lb. hammer and still ended up using a band saw to cut it off. This easily welds better than my friends $800 Hobart 115v welder and light years ahead of the cheap flux core welders that I've used. For .030" wire, I'd put it about the same as the 220v Hobart that Tracy Mickley has in his shop. It's when I try to use .035" wire that it drops off the quality scale. Sputtering, like z-z-zip-z-z-zip instead of the nice constant z-z-z-z-z-z-z of the .030" wire.

View attachment 490635
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2005
Messages
501
Zaph, Im not trying to knock any machine that I havent used (meaning the welders you are speaking of), and im not a pro welder but that weld would never pass a for me. Doesnt appear to have full penetration from low voltage. Dont know if its the machine or technique but you should cut one of those open and see how much penetration you have.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2011
Messages
713
I'm a welder by profession and in my opinion you could not go wrong with a Lincoln 180 mig welder. That is if you have a 220v outlet.
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2014
Messages
358
Zaph, Im not trying to knock any machine that I havent used (meaning the welders you are speaking of), and im not a pro welder but that weld would never pass a for me. Doesnt appear to have full penetration from low voltage. Dont know if its the machine or technique but you should cut one of those open and see how much penetration you have.
^ The truth, mig is good for the quick and dirty. The more power the better. Tig is like magic. Complete fusion. (limited to stock thickness) IMHO.
 

Don Hanson III

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
12,295
No way I'd buy a HF welder. I've been welding since the late 70s' and a cheaply made welder is not much good. I still have the 250 Hobart stick welder I bought in 1978 and it works great. Wanted a mig 10-12 years ago and bought a Miller Matic 210. No regrets there as it is a Very Nice welder!
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Messages
5,545
IDK- I think spending money for a name in welders is a good idea when possible. My favorite for MIG that I've used (a lot) is a Millermatic 252. The 251 is almost the same, and just as good, but it has a hot start function that can be annoying. Either welds strong and smooth as butter, though.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
15,387
I read the Welding Web forum
I wouldn't buy Everlast, they have a high failure rate and there are incidents of up to four dead units shipped and returned in a row trying to get a working machine.
The customer service responses is to make you pay for repeated doa shippments and delete the negative comments, all the while waiting for your warranty time to expire.
If you need to weld instead of waiting on repairs or a slow boat from china on replacement.

You won't read many of those comments because they deleted any remotely negative comment, as well as actively editing negative comments into positive ones





I wouldn't spend $500 on that, I'd get a used brand name stick or maybe a used mig like a miller 211 or Hobart 210

The Miller 211 gets a lot of recommendations.

Hobart is a good value


The spoolgun for aluminum is attractive, but 140 amps is way too little to do anything useful with.


Looking at that weld bead photo, the bead is nice and smooth, but it's not well wet out and not stuck to the parent metal, especially on the bottom right.
More prep would probably help
More power that you would get out of a 220v mig or stick
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2010
Messages
1,611
I asked a similar question in a recent thread I started. I didn't really get a satifisfactory response to what I was really wanting to know because I was asking too many questions.. but what I want to know is" What would be a "good enough" welder to buy (when only using 110 volts) if I just wanted to use it mainly to weld a handle onto barstock while forging a blade instead of using tongs? I have been using the HF 90 amp but either the welder, my technique, or both resulted in always having the weld fail after the first or second heat. I just want something that will be able to hold that amount, if that's possible using only 110 volts.

Sorry zaph, not trying to derail your thread here! :eek:

~Paul

My YT Channel Lsubslimed
 
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
1,424
OK, back to the original question-
Why do you need to run .35?
My main fabrication tool is a Miller 185 wire feed, and I only run .30 in it, up to 3/8 stock.
I have an inverter for TIG and stick, and a Millermatic 250 that I just never fire up.
I know you think you're getting more for your money by buying a HF, but you're not. The reason Millers and Lincolns cost more isn't the same as the reason a Lincoln automobile costs more. It's because they're solid, well made machines that do a LOT of work between problems. Do you like dealing with stuff that doesn't work right? I don't. I have lots of other stuff to do.
BTW, my 185 also drives a small spool gun, so I'm good to go with the handful of aluminum jobs I do in a year, too.
Edit: Just find a used Miller or Lincoln and don't over think it.
 

Mecha

Titanium Bladesmith
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Dec 27, 2013
Messages
9,114
You may have better results using a 110v mig welder if you use .023 wire. The thin electrode will make the machine act as if it has higher amperage to play with, and you will be able to dwell at the toes more easily and put more heat into the weld.

Also, you can try switching your polarity to DCEN (electrode negative), and positive ground. This will put way more heat into the work, which is where 110v mig welders fail. It will burn the electrode more slowly (slower wire feed rate), I run mine like this and it gets great results, a little slower but good hot penetration.

Or you can get a Miller and it will just work perfectly with no hassle. :D IGBT is the way to go!
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2011
Messages
1,298
I had a thermal-arc Fabricator 181i before my shop burned down and it was a dream to use. It would burn some serious wire very cleanly. I would skip the low end stuff for HF and NT. Never had perfect welds before I had this welder. It took about ten minutes with it and I was laying down what looked like stacked rows of dimes. It is a multi process machine and does them all pretty well. For the price its hard to beat.

I looked at the whole lineup of the TA 3 in 1 and read up a bit on welding web. They seem to be really nice. Did you mig and tig with you unit? What thickness material were y working with maximally? Thanks
 

Brian.Evans

Registered Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
3,267
Stick to Miller, Lincoln, or Hobart. I know the cheap HF welders are enticing, but they really are just a hassle in the end.

I know your weld seems to hold ok, but it looks cold and no penetration. I suggest you post over on WeldingWeb and ask for feedback on your welds. I thought I was a decent welder until I did that. Yeah.....they ripped them apart. In a good way, but it really helped.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
15,387
If you can find an old Millermatic 200 they are well regarded for arc qualities and very serviceable, simple.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2013
Messages
906
If you can find an old Millermatic 200 they are well regarded for arc qualities and very serviceable, simple.

X2,

I used my buddies to help him with a mud buggy build... I liken the experience to a squirt gun. I would use the hell out of it if it ever spends the night in my shop.


Thanx for the heads up on Everlast...
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2013
Messages
113
I use the miller 252 and 252 at work daily, and I own a hobart 210 personally. I've run many different wire and stick welders, and I'll throw one more Towards the buy name brand team.

When it comes to spending money on a welder, you most definitely need to consider the lbs of wire the machine is rated to run. Some can make it 200 lbs before things get saucy, while other machines are designed for tons of wire. I have burned over 800 lbs of wire through the 252 building up a concrete crusher rotor and excavator munching attachment, including hardfacing and spray arcing gravel trailers during frame down rebuilds. I'm only one of many who use that welder, and I'm sure it's burned at least a ton of wire so far. I can promise that you have to pay up front for that kind of performance. Good news is that money is easily accounted for in how much longer it lasts and In the value they will retain over chinese goods. Plus, it doesn't hurt that basically every welding supply services the big 3, so if something were to happen it could actually be looked at in a timely manner. The same can't be said of the chinese made units if you have to ship them back because of sub par manufacturing. People have spent more on low quality machines and shipping than they would on a one time purchase of a quality machine.

Lincoln just released a machine called the 210mp. This is a multiprocess machine and will do stick, mig, and lift start tig for a pretty fair price of $1k. It's new to the market so there may be some bugs that need to be worked out on the first production run, but it looks very promising. It sounds like a large investment, but I've never regretted spending that much into my hobart.

As the count said the older machines such as the mm200 are good to keep an eye out for, but many people know how solid of a machine they have and ask high prices for them. Use a good search engine like searchtempest and you can look as far as you are willing to go. I went 4 hours for the hobart and 4 hours the other direction for a plasma cutter. Factor in gas and time and even those trips were well worth it for the deals I received on USA made equipment that should outlast my uses for them.

Good luck,
Justin
 
Top