Welder purchase advice?

NubsWithGuns

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Have to disagree with you here. I have the century fc-90, and I can tell you firsthand it is the best beginner machine you could buy (for FCAW). I wouldn’t go with mig for your first welder tbh. I recently bought a tig machine and while it’s fun it’s a pain in the rear to haul around all the bottles and cables. The fc-90 is like the best bang for your buck, I even custom made my go kart with it. Just get some wire and get welding don’t mess with gas… yet.
I have to disagree with the MIG comment.
Since a MIG can run flux core wire with no gas and has the advantage of aluminum and stainless with gas.

I say all the time how I wished I had done so for the extra options down the road.
I couldn't afford the regulator and gas at the time.
 

Barîb

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Keep in mind this is his first welder. No problem with going for a welder that uses gas, but it’s much cheaper and much less hassle for a beginner. I’m not saying that mig or tig is a huge hassle compared to stick or FCAW but as a beginner that adds a lot of variables (gas flow, adequate coverage, knowing which type of gas). Obviously being able to weld aluminum is a plus, but you need a spoon gun to do so, so it’s extra equipment either way. If they really need to they can FCAW or stick weld stainless just fine. Sure it’s not as clean as mig (or especially tig) would be and you’re gonna get even nastier fumes but it can and is done. I don’t claim to be a welder of any sort, but as someone who was recently in a similar situation to the OP, I find that avoiding gas and concentrating on your technique is a great way to start out. I started out on my neighbors century flux-core (despite what some say, it works really well and I have one of my own now), after about 8 months on that I wanted to move on to tig. I bought a cheap inverter DC machine (to keep cost down I did not get an AC machine). I think the average go kart builder hobbyist welder will get more use out of DC machine intended for steel.
 

madprofessor

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Must reference again my 120vac Klutch 80-amp stick welder from Northern Tool (now called Ironton, $140) that can be upgraded now or later whenever someone's ready to try TIG, that kit is $100 now. As an inverter stick welder it's perfect for the casual welder, especially since it runs on a single leg 120vac circuit, and mine has never tripped a circuit breaker.
The real money in welding seems to be when using gases. Besides the mere $100 for the TIG kit, there's also a regulator/flowmeter required that N.T. sells for as cheap as $45 for gauges only type, up to $210 - $280 for floating ball type. Then it's $315 for an 80 cu. ft. argon cylinder, $50 for the first contents fill.
Boring numbers. Just info for the up and coming welder, so's ya knows what's what.
 

Barîb

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Must reference again my 120vac Klutch 80-amp stick welder from Northern Tool (now called Ironton, $140) that can be upgraded now or later whenever someone's ready to try TIG, that kit is $100 now. As an inverter stick welder it's perfect for the casual welder, especially since it runs on a single leg 120vac circuit, and mine has never tripped a circuit breaker.
The real money in welding seems to be when using gases. Besides the mere $100 for the TIG kit, there's also a regulator/flowmeter required that N.T. sells for as cheap as $45 for gauges only type, up to $210 - $280 for floating ball type. Then it's $315 for an 80 cu. ft. argon cylinder, $50 for the first contents fill.
Boring numbers. Just info for the up and coming welder, so's ya knows what's what.
Jeez they really emptied your pockets. I payed 220 for my 80 cu filled (100% argon) + $30 dollar regulator (not a dual valve regulator but still). $25 for a refill. Still wouldn’t start with gas.
 

madprofessor

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Jeez they really emptied your pockets.
No, they never got the chance, because praise God I did not buy that stuff. I did search around to see how much it would cost, similar to those numbers I stated above, just for academic reasons. Saw enough to decide that even at the lower prices I could undoubtedly find for the separate pieces, it still would never be worth it to me just to do some TIG welding.
Numbers above for the separate pieces were taken from a quick search for what things cost these days while typing it out. Was a good bit less 3 years ago, but was still too much for my taste.
 

Denny

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With the amount of welding I used to do. Roll cages, trailers and golf karts welding with gas is way worth it to me. I even have extra bottles.
 

Barîb

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With the amount of welding I used to do. Roll cages, trailers and golf karts welding with gas is way worth it to me. I even have extra bottles.
Agreed but if OP is a newbie doing hobby work gas is not critical.
 

NubsWithGuns

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Keep in mind this is his first welder. No problem with going for a welder that uses gas, but it’s much cheaper and much less hassle for a beginner. I’m not saying that mig or tig is a huge hassle compared to stick or FCAW but as a beginner that adds a lot of variables (gas flow, adequate coverage, knowing which type of gas). Obviously being able to weld aluminum is a plus, but you need a spoon gun to do so, so it’s extra equipment either way. If they really need to they can FCAW or stick weld stainless just fine. Sure it’s not as clean as mig (or especially tig) would be and you’re gonna get even nastier fumes but it can and is done. I don’t claim to be a welder of any sort, but as someone who was recently in a similar situation to the OP, I find that avoiding gas and concentrating on your technique is a great way to start out. I started out on my neighbors century flux-core (despite what some say, it works really well and I have one of my own now), after about 8 months on that I wanted to move on to tig. I bought a cheap inverter DC machine (to keep cost down I did not get an AC machine). I think the average go kart builder hobbyist welder will get more use out of DC machine intended for steel.
You didnt read or comprehnd a thing I posted.
Nor do you comprehend getting the better machine instead and not have to buy the other stuff right away because it can run the same wire
you are sort of giving life to some myths all over again also.


Not sure why you think a spool gun(not spoon junior spool)is rewuired to weld aluminum.
Better go tell my friend that makes ridiculous money tig wlding that he is us
 
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madprofessor

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Question to all who know the rules of this forum better than myself: Are curse words acceptable here if you just attach a word to their leader side, say, the word "bull" attached to sh_t for example, as in the post #28 just above this one?
 

Kartorbust

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Another way to weld aluminum without a push/pull gun or spool gun, is get a nylon liner, preferably get another mig gun and swap out the liners. That way you have one for aluminum and one for steel. You need to run the line as straight as possible to avoid rats nesting the wire. Then run a one wire diameter size larger contact tip and you are good to go.

I shy away from strictly FCAW machines and get one that can run gas. I'd also recommend spending the extra money on a dual voltage machine so that way you can run 240v at a later date without having to buy a second machine. Also buy one that takes standard Dinse connectors, like the rest of the world uses like Dinse 50 or 35. You won't be limited to one brand for mig guns.

Hobart, Miller, Lincoln, Esab, Everlast, are all good brands to use. You can start out with a Vulcan or Titanium, just pay for the extra warranty, but if you're going to have any huge issues, those will crop up within the first week or so of use.
 

Barîb

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You didnt read or comprehnd a thing I posted.
Nor do you comprehend getting the better machine instead and not have to buy the other stuff right away because it can run the same wire
you are sort of giving life to some bullshit myths all over again also.


Not sure why you think a spool gun(not spoon junior spool)is rewuired to weld aluminum.
Better go tell my friend that makes ridiculous money tig wlding that he is us

Yeah you're right I misinterpreted. Def go with a mig machine and start out with flux wire until you get comfortable. Then get some gas if you really want to.
 

Kartorbust

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Question to all who know the rules of this forum better than myself: Are curse words acceptable here if you just attach a word to their leader side, say, the word "bull" attached to sh_t for example, as in the post #28 just above this one?

Ideally no. This is supposed to be family friendly, as a good chunk of the members that come here and guests that come here as well are not of the adult age. Keep it PG folks!
 

NO1PITA

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I can weld, but I am not a professional by any stretch.
Just hobby stuff & things that strike my fancy

7 years ago I bought a Hobart 110v mig with gas because I wanted to weld thin metal like on riding mowers
I had a Miller 220v mig & couldn't set it low enough to do what I wanted, so I sold it.
I don't usually weld anything heavy or thick, so the 110 Hobart is my favorite.
Besides, the shielding gas ,as I was told, helps cool the weld puddle just enough to SLIGHTLY HELP keep from burn through.

Just in case I purchased a 220v Hobart stick welder because I acquired 2 heavy framed carnival go karts and wanted to make absolutely I had good penetration.
I'm, one of those overkill people, don't like taking chances.
There might be better welders out there I don't know about, I'm not a professional welder, but for hobbyist & people who want a quality product for me its Miller or Hobart, never had any trouble out of the ones I've owned
Both are made by the same company but Hobart is a little less expensive but just as good as its brother Miller.

Just my 2 cents worth
 

NO1PITA

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I agree get a welder to see if you like welding.
I hate buying twice, so buying a starter welder then buying a good welder in not my style.
It does make sense however,
As far as gas, (Argon & co2) I have a mid sized tank, up until recently it cost $54 to refill.
Now with Bobo in charge it cost me a little over $100 to fill, thank goodness it last me quite a while.
 
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