cheap entry level welder ????

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by robbomberbomyea, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. robbomberbomyea

    robbomberbomyea New Member

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    been around welding,but never had the desire or need to try myself. thought i might give it a go. dont want to spend alot,and then never use it..found a unit that might fit my bill. its a 40-100amp 110volt air cooled arc welder,cost under 100 bucks. but dont want to waste money,if it not going to do what i want.,:-|| is it going to weld mild steel? like bike frames. thanks for your input.
     
  2. Tinsmith

    Tinsmith Member

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    The only advice I would give is to buy a brand name so that you can obtain any kind of parts needed locally. I am not a welder by trade, but I think 1/4 inch is probably about as heavy as you can go with that size welder, and that may be pushing it. I'm sure a welder will jump on this and give you the info you need. Use the search box on this site. I think there is a whole thread about welding there. Dan
     
  3. DaveC

    DaveC Member

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    It's hard to beat a Harbor Freight Flux Core Welder for starting out. Their warrenty is as good as it gets, they will replace broken tools under warrenty. I've used flux core on 3/16th steel. 1/4 inch would be pushing it, just can't get enough heat into the weld for a good weld. The HF welder can be had for $100 on sale like it is right now. Lowe's has 10 pound spools of flux core for $45, most everywhere else the spools are $55 and up. 10 pounds lasts a very long time. I like the .035 better than .030, you can get more heat in the weld that way. After you reach the limits of what it can do then it's time to look at a $350-500 Hobart MIG welder but even then look around for a good used one.

    I'm using a Century convertable ment for both flux and gas welding. Just 2 heat ranges with a speed control. Works pretty good for me :)
     
  4. Al.Fisherman

    Al.Fisherman New Member

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    Although I would like a wire welder, I've had a stick welder, the same one since 1975 (bought at Sears scratch and dent store in Jacksonville, FL $60.00). Mine happens to be a 220V, dual amp setting. I seldom use the high setting. Here are some items I make with it. I feel I got more then my moneys worth through the years. Need plenty of practice using a stick welder on bicycle tubes, they are so thin, but can be done.
    Engine Mounting pictures by Ron-Becker - Photobucket
    [​IMG]...[​IMG]

    Also have a Oxygen/Propane torch that I make the clutch rollers with...
    [​IMG]

    And Harbor has a great inexpensive hood. The one I have is just too dark, and hard to strike a arc where I want it. The new one I bought is self darkening..and it works great, around $35.00 without the 20% discount. I have a extra coupon, but it expires 1/11/12, you are welcome to have. Also have a coupon for a 90A Flux wire welder for $90.00 minus the 20%, expires same day.
     
    #4 Al.Fisherman, Jan 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  5. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    If you can afford the extra few bucks, go for a machine that allows you to use shielding gas. The welds are cleaner and look much better and you won't need to grind off that ugly slag.

    The advice about a name brand is also good. If you ever need parts or service down the road you'll be glad you have a machine that the service centers will work on. The cheaper ones might leave you with a tool that can't be repaired.
    Miller, Hobart and Lincoln come to mind when looking for a welder that will last and you'll be able to get parts for later.

    Harbor Freight sells a TIG machine but they don't have replacement parts for it such as collets for the torch and it doesn't use standard parts. Ya gets what ya pays for.
    Tom
     
  6. DaveC

    DaveC Member

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    Hey, Al. Went to your parts store. Good stuff. I'll keep it in mind for when I need parts like those.
     
  7. Joe_Knesek

    Joe_Knesek New Member

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    We have a wide range of MIG welders at the shop ranging from 130 amp Lincoln MIGs that sell for a couple hundred dollars to Pro Spot welders that run over 20k. I would not buy anything under 130 amps. Anything less will just be a disappointment. Also if you plan to weld cromoly you really need a TIG welder.
     
  8. robbomberbomyea

    robbomberbomyea New Member

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    thanks for the advice...given me alot to think about....as with everything,you get what you pay for.might have to upgrade the electric to my garage,,its 110v..most welders ive seen need 220v... looks like snap-on and lowes gonna get more my of money..lol.thanks guys.
     
  9. rustycase

    rustycase Gutter Rider

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    The HFmig welder mentioned above actually has some pretty darned good ratings for what it is. There's actually some youtube vids out there on mods for it.
    IMO it should be fine for mab use.
    1/4 plate would most likely push it's duty cycle, but we just don't have much call for 1/4 plate on bikes.

    A while back I dropped a grand on a china tig welder. a full function 4in1 machine.
    5 or 6 k in red or blue...
    One function did not work properly and the vendor was very quick about getting me a replacement circuitboard (which I replaced) when I halted the paypal payment.
    (I gotta give luxorgoods two thumbs up!)

    That being said, when my kid's 110v miller wirefeed is here, it gets more use than anything! and it's just a flux-core machine...

    HF wirefeed is dandy because of their warranty ! it would never cut it for professional use, though.

    oh, u wanted a stick welder...
    the last generation inverter boxes use mosfet technology. when 1 transistor heats up it causes a cascading failure.
    the new generation of inverters (read more expensive) is igbt technology which theoretically will shut down before a total failure occurs.
    Of course, HF is the old tech method of construction. ...but still warranted!

    Best
    rc
     
  10. moonerdizzle

    moonerdizzle New Member

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    Why not prowl craigslist for a few months until you find a welder? Ive seen some pretty nice welders going for a decent price. Seen a lincoln tombstone stick welder like the one I got go for $100.

    Also. If you dont want to wire up your garage. You could look into one of these. Im trying to convince the wife I need one. Lincoln WeldNPower
     
  11. moonerdizzle

    moonerdizzle New Member

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    Side note. I've got a Lincoln Lincwelder AC 225 amp stick. Ive welded every thing from rusty exhaust to 3/8s plate on a trailer with it. Welders older than I am.
     
  12. donphantasmo

    donphantasmo New Member

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    OK.

    I had the same questions and issues. If you're not going to do too much, then the Harbor Freight is the ones you want to get. I got the 220 volt 120 amp welder, and it does more then I need it to.

    here is my welder. It might be overkill.
    mine

    This one is a little cheaper, and it only needs the normal wall outlet (110 Volt). It's fine for normal use. I only used mine once, and that's pretty crazy, I paid 200 bucks for one single use. This one (if you wait) you can get it for 89 bucks. Just be patient.
    the cheaper one
     
  13. Greg58

    Greg58 Well-Known Member

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    I have a cambell Hausfield 110v mig that looks just like the HF welder, I use flux core .035 wire and it does well on thicknesses up to 1/4 . I also have a sears dual range 220v stick welder I use on heavier metal. Hey Al does your welder have the adjustment with the knob you loosen and move the plate under to the desired heat range? I know that sounds strange, even harder to explain but has been a very good machine.
     
  14. Lowandslow

    Lowandslow New Member

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    My advice would be to get a good quality MIG unit (uses gas) and stay away from cheap chinese welders. The quality is worth the money and you will be able to sell it for little loss (maybe none) if you buy a used unit off craigslist. I got a HH140 for $350.00
    that was like new and I've used the heck out of it, it makes great looking welds and for welding bicycle frames I don't think you could do better unless you go TIG. I could sell the welder for what I paid and I would have cost me nothing to own plus I bought an AMERICAN made machine! An arc welder on bicycle frames would be nothing less than an exercise in frustration on those paper thin frames so common now. Just my 2 cents.
     
  15. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Ditto, Lowandslow. I concur. :)

    Tom
     
  16. rustycase

    rustycase Gutter Rider

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    You guys are great!
    I like it when folks buy domestic goods.
    It's better for all of us.

    I just can't afford 'em. :-(

    I heard more than once that a popped circuitboard in a blue or red machine will run around $900. And there's really no way to get around it that I have heard about. Dunno abt the 'bart, but think it's the red discounted offering. Plenty of fab shops use 'em for the crews...

    From what I've heard on the welding and fab forums, the boards are from china. From what I've personally seen, my china circuit board looks same as a blue or red... same quality.

    I'll stand mine up against a dynasty 200... for most common tasks.

    Best
    rc
     
  17. moonerdizzle

    moonerdizzle New Member

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    I found a 1/8 inch 6013 rod on an arc welder set to 60 amps and you can get some pretty decent welds on thin gauge steel. Worked well on my Rupp minichopper and for exhaust work.
     
  18. Lowandslow

    Lowandslow New Member

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    $900.00 for a circuit board!!!??? Not trying start an argument but this is not even close to being an actual price for most of the Miller/Hobart wire feeders repacement circuit boards IF you should need one.
    I think if most people compared a HF welder to a Miller/Hobart or Lincoln
    the quality becomes pretty obvious. Welders are unlike a lot of other tools in the shop where often a cheap tool will do the same job as a more expensive one. Welding is a "process" and a good welder has more going for it than just the fact that it makes an arc and feeds wire. I'm not saying a person can't do quality work with a HF welder but the quality, service and support of a Miller/Hobart make the extra price worth it to me.
     
  19. Al.Fisherman

    Al.Fisherman New Member

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    Mine looks exactly like this... When I bought it at a warehouse sale, I had to take it apart and straighten out the fan blade...it was hitting the case...Not bad for $60.00 new.
     

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    #19 Al.Fisherman, Jan 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  20. Greg58

    Greg58 Well-Known Member

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    Al that just like mine, I have the wheels and handle on it. It has welded everthing I have had to use it on from trailer hitch installs to the trailer I built. A good stick welder I would say.
     

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