Mig welder advice

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mgcjag
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#1 Mig welder advice

Post by mgcjag » Tue Dec 15, 2015 4:10 pm

Hi All......want to get a mig welder....thankfully not for the E type....never welded before and would like to have a go...limited garage electric supply to single phase wall socket...dont want to pay a fortune....max ?400 ...what are you using?.. note that on some you can dial in the thickness of what your welding.....Im looking for approx 1mm....8mm also what gas are you using......thanks Steve
Steve
1969 S2 2+2 & Building a C type replica

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Simonpfhc
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#2

Post by Simonpfhc » Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:16 pm

Hi Steve,

I had never welded before I tackled my FHC! Luckily for me there is a welding shop just across the road and I know the owner quite well.

He gave me some good advice and I bought a Clarke Mig 151EN Turbo. This can be used with or wothout gas. If working outdoors, you have to use gassless. The gas I use is CO2/Argon.

I've used it quite heavily and it has performed brilliantly. It could be said that I have performed (using it) less so ;-)

Cheers.
Simon
62 3.8 FHC
91 Porsche 928GT

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JagWaugh
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#3

Post by JagWaugh » Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:42 pm

Been a while since I looked at the market. I would get one that can do TIG as well.

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Tbob
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#4

Post by Tbob » Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:50 pm

I have welded together many many cars, including my E type. I don't think you need a fancy welder, (mine's not) but it helps. Requirements are argon gas-ready, adjustable speeds and heat ranges, accepts more than one wire thickness. Auto dark helmet is a must, especially if you are learning.

My welder was inexpensive ( under $200 US) and that included the auto-dark helmet. It welds 20 ga steel up to 3/16" steel. I have done some 1/4", but it takes a little practice. If I had the chance to buy again I would get a welder with a dial for heat ranges, rather than switches. I bought a small argon/CO2 bottle. Refills are $30. Get a good right-angle grinder - you will need it! You'll need some good long leather gloves.

I don't care for gasless welding, it seems to be messier.

Speaking of practice, that's what its all about. Get some old sheet metal and try laying down beads. Play with speeds and feeds and find out what they do to your weld, good and bad. Clean the metal well with a wire wheel before welding. Rusty metal will drive you crazy.

Regards,
Bob t
Bob t

LHD '69 OTS. (Former) basket case

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BRM
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#5

Post by BRM » Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:10 am

Pretty much what Bob says. I put off starting work on my Healey for years because I had never welded and couldn't afford to pay someone to do it. Eventually I bought a Clarke 130 MIG and had a go. I bought some off cuts of mild steel sheet and kept practising with different settings until I could manage a reasonable weld. Then the first time you put the torch to the car it will be horrible ! Even by the time I'd finished my welds varied between very pretty and diabolical. I never did understand how two consecutive welds could be so different. I found that if a weld went badly, the more I tried to tidy it up the worse it got.

I agree a good angle grinder is essential - I got through a lot of grinding discs trying to hide the evidence !

I did it all using the headshield that came with the welder and it's not easy. You can't strike the arc till the shield is in place and then you're waving the torch around blind and hoping to strike an arc somewhere near where you want it. If I was starting again I would agree get an auto-dark one from the start, it would save a load of bad language.

I found CO2 fine for mild steel. Again you need to adjust the flow rate so that it shields the arc but you don't want to waste it if using the small disposable cylinders.
Brian

1969 S2 FHC 1R20267
1960 Austin Healey 3000

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kingzetts
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#6

Post by kingzetts » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:29 am

I've had a Clarke 130TE MIG for years, served me well on anything from 1mm to 5mm steel. I echo previous advice about auto darkening helmet - essential. Also, get a large (10 or 20litre) gas bottle from Hobbyweld or your local auto factor, with a decent gas regulator, this works much better than a little disposable bottle from Halfords.

I'd recommend a unit with 0.6 and 0.8 wire diameter capability, and I'd avoid gas less MIG. No need to pay more than ?200 but don't go for a bargain basement limited-features unit.

There's a good website at www.mig-welding.co.uk with tutorials and a useful forum which I'd suggest reviewing. Also, for thin steel (typical car bodywork) I'd suggest mastering the pulse method - short stitches rather than continuous beads - to avoid burn-through.

As for TIG - this seems to be the technology of the future, but is currently a lot more expensive, especially if you want an AC/DC unit for aluminium welding, not just a DC unit. I've just bought an AC/DC TIG for about ?1000, but as I've not used it yet I can't comment on how easy it is to learn to use, but that's because I want to do some aluminium welding. Not necessary for steel, although reputedly easier to weld thin steel using TIG once mastered.
John '62 S1 OTS

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christopher storey
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#7

Post by christopher storey » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:57 am

I agree with all the above except for 1 rather important difference : after several years of using gas in various forms and sizes, I tried gasless welding using flux coated wire, and immediately got far far better results than I had ever achieved before, and even more importantly,could achieve these results fairly consistently .

The problem I found if one is only doing it infrequently, say once a month , you spend the first half of the job learning how to weld again, how to get the gas flow matched up properly etc etc. The flux coated stuff might not produce perfect results in the hand of an expert, but it reduces the learning curve element markedly

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#8

Post by Moeregaard » Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:42 pm

Lots of good recommendations here. I first learned oxy-acetylene welding almost 40 years ago in high school. This made the transition to MIG and TIG much easier. Since this discussion is about MIG, here are my recommendations. Unless you are welding outdoors, where wind makes flux-cored wire a necessity, use an argon-CO2 mixed gas. Pure argon will prevent good weld penetration. Buy yourself a self-darkening helmet. These things are literally a gift from the gods and will prevent "welder's neck" and a trip to the chiropractor. Steal some non-stick cooking spray from the wife and lightly spray your pieces before welding. This will make knocking off the MIGberries much easier. It stinks on ice, but works really well. WD-40 will work as well. Spend LOTS of time practicing on scrap bits, to get the weld parameters correct before welding something meaningful. Also, always work safely. A clean work area is a lot less likely to experience a fire, and it's a good idea to spend 30 minutes cleaning up before ending the day, just to ensure that you haven't inadvertently ignited something.
Mark (Moe) Shipley
Former owner '66FHC, #1E32208
Former owner '65FHC, #1E30036

Planning on getting E-Type No. 3 as soon as possible....

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mgcjag
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#9

Post by mgcjag » Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:19 pm

Hi All.....thanks for the advise....clark 151 looks a good option....auto dark helmet on the list..please keep the info comming if you use other machines....thanks
Steve
1969 S2 2+2 & Building a C type replica

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trondvo
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#10

Post by trondvo » Wed Dec 16, 2015 8:18 pm

Kempii minarc mig evo 200

http://tinyurl.com/kempiievo

Best machine I have owned/used and well worth the extra money. Auto modus will give you perfect sheetmetal welds from (almost) the first bead.
61 OTS Black on Red, 62 FHC nuts & bolts resto on the way to OSG & Matador red.

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steve3.8
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#11

Post by steve3.8 » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:23 pm

mgcjag wrote:Hi All.....thanks for the advise....clark 151 looks a good option....auto dark helmet on the list..please keep the info comming if you use other machines....thanks
Steve ,
John has given good advice , a few more points to consider before you buy .
Buying a good quality helmet is important , not any cheap import with a weak headband and poor vision . I use an ESAB Warrior, it is industrial quality and excellent value at ?65 , it has a larger viewing area and the lens is optically very good , I?ve seen some cheap helmets where the lens just clips in from the outside .
You say you have basic single phase supply to your garage , is it armoured or just flat T&E , the clarke 151 requires a 15A supply , is that ok for your circuit ? , maybe a 130 amp mig will match your setup better.
The main downsides to ? hobby migs ? are the wire feed mechanism uses plastic components , the torch lead is hard wired to the unit and is often not long enough , suitable enough for car bodywork and light fabrication but not really suitable for continuous welding of thicker gauge like 8mm.
The upgrade from this level is to a mig with better internal components and a euro torch connection , you would need a better electrical supply though .
:wavegreatbritain: Steve3.8

64 3.8 fhc, 67 4.2 fhc

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trondvo
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#12

Post by trondvo » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:59 pm

Regarding helmet, am very happy with Miller digital elite, the pricetag was hefty but your eyes deserve it.

https://www.millerwelds.com/safety/helm ... ite-series
61 OTS Black on Red, 62 FHC nuts & bolts resto on the way to OSG & Matador red.

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#13

Post by mgcjag » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:45 pm

Thanks guys..was being a bit optimistic with saying 8mm but probably only need upto 5 or 6mm supply to garage is armoured 16amp.....been looking at some of the 130/160 machines that are a bit moe expensive but have the Euro torch and better quality wire feeds.....thanks for info re the pro quality mask its the way to go. Wont be using it much just a new toy and skill to learn.....but have a few jobs lined up already.......and a spare shed for a new non e type rusty project if i see something that interests me.....
Steve
1969 S2 2+2 & Building a C type replica

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#14

Post by trondvo » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:25 pm

Personally I'd sum it up like this;

If you primarily want to work on autobodies get a smaller pro/semi-pro machine. Esab Caddy, Kempii minarc or Migatronic Rally come to mind but you may have other brands as well. Lots of advantages with a small footprint, great power and a good feed/mechanism.

Later on if you want to/need to weld heavier iron/constructions it is quite easy to weld the thicker stuff and you can get far with a GBP50-100 stick welding machine. The 200A MIG should be able to weld 5-6 mm steel though.
61 OTS Black on Red, 62 FHC nuts & bolts resto on the way to OSG & Matador red.

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ALAN COCHRANE
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#15

Post by ALAN COCHRANE » Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:49 am

Steve

I have a similar supply in my garage, but one thing you may wish to consider is changing your controlling circuit breaker from a standard B type to a C type. The latter is designed to deal with voltage spikes without the problem of nuisance tripping. I actually had to install this for my 4 post lift motor and backed it up with a 50A B type cb in the main house consumer unit. So far no trips. Of course this is all unnecessary if you are still using cartridge/rewireable fuses. Their as rough as hell and easily carry twice their rating before deciding to blow.
I have a Clarke 150 TE turbo which I've only used once so far-to weld a bracket on one of my garden chairs. Nice thick metal so no finesse required.
I'd agree with the previous comments about the auto darkening helmet-absolutely brilliant. Also a good set of fire retardant overalls and gauntlets. Molten metal against the skin is not a good combination.

Cheers

Alan
1962 S1 OTS-850389,1968 Triumph TR250, 1971 Triumph GT6 Mk3, 2008 Porsche Boxster RS60 Spyder

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Yndeai
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#16 Re: Mig welder advice

Post by Yndeai » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:02 pm

This is seemingly an old thread, but I'll add my two cents.

I have never used a 220 VAC MIG welder before but asking a lot of questions before I bought mine (one of them was from a friend who repaired welders for a living), there are some things to point out.

Unlike a 240 VAC welder, you cannot just go out and move from the max 3/16 material (usually considered the limit to a one pass weld with a 120VAC MIG Welder) to heavier materials; gas shielded welding does not allow you that extra bit the shielded wire does. Gas does not let you weld in heavy winds (outside hopefully) like shielded wire does but shielded wire welding is messy like ARC welding is. Going from shielded wire to gas, in most of the small machines, requires a different liner and (maybe) changing the polarity of the electrical connection (its been too long since I did my setup).

Some things to consider:
• can you get parts for the welder,
• can it be repaired locally, can it be converted to work with gas or must it be limited to using shielded wire welding (advantages… maybe).
• Remember, 120 welders are light weight welders and not really that comparable to a 220 unit. They do a good job within their limitations but also have a service limit (I forget the proper word) that is lower than what a 220 unit would have.

Of the welders that usually would meet the conditions above, there are three I would recommend:
1. the Miller that has adjustable power settings along with adjustable wire setting,
2. The Miller is closely followed by the Lincoln unit which has similar features.
3. The Hobart would be the third because it still has preset power settings and its welding tips use a different thread count so they could be harder to find.
Each of these machines is usually available, and can be serviced, most anywhere you go. (I didn't know that Eastwood had gone the additional variable switch that DWP has talked about)

That being said, I have two Hobart welders and like them very well. The Hobart 120 is the unit that had the technology that Miller was after when it bought out Hobart. I also have a Hobart 135 which is a good welder but in my opinion just not as good as the 120. I have not had any problems with the 135, but it does feel different.

If you happened to catch it, this last weekend Extreme 4X4 had a show (rerun) on MIG welding and how to set them up and in a couple of places gas was discussed and so was wire choice.

One other thing that has been said; an extension cord or a long power cord is not always the best thing to use. The voltage drop can be very noticeable, especially if you do not use a cord with a gage of wire that is compatible with the voltage needed over the length of the power cord. Commercial extension cords have a tendency to be too light of weight to satisfactorily be used with a welder.

I hope this helps.
All the best: best hobby mig welder

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Geoff Green
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#17 Re: Mig welder advice

Post by Geoff Green » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:43 am

my two cents.

Practice, practice and then do it again. I ran many beads on some scrap while learning and got a feel for adjustments to amps, wire speed, travel speed and gas flow. Every time I weld now after not welding for months I need to practice.

The way to reduce splatter is increase the Argon / CO flow.

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lee-type
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#18 Re: Mig welder advice

Post by lee-type » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:44 pm

Call the guys at Fast arc 01623 754422 they will ship all over uk.

Down to earth guys that service and rebuild welders. You will be better off spending your money on a used one form a big name like miller,lincoln, thermal arc etc than a cheep chinky one. 200amp max on a 13amp plug.

google hobby gas. not bottle rent but you will pay a bit more for the gas.

I use a miller 200amp inverter mig with 0.8mm wire and argon co2 mix. welds unto 8mm very nice. turned down will do 1mm.
Lee
S1 4.2 OTS

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