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 Post subject: MIG welder - which one?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:21 am 
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It's time I got myself a MIG welder for use at home. It is to be used for fabrication purposes, chassis work, that sort of thing. It won't be used on a daily, or even a weekly, basis, so doesn't have to be indestructible. But nor do I want something that's rubbish. What make and model would forum members recommend please? Thanks in advance.

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Triumph Dolomite 1500 SE, 1979
Brompton P-Type, 2008
Moulton APB R18, 200x
Bat-eared Jack Russell, year unknown

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:08 am 
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I have a Clarke 100en gas/nogas. Tough little welder does the job for simple body repairs, I always run with gas, it is a cleaner weld than with the flux core wire. Bought second hand but its still going strong 10 years on. It gets use maybe twice a year so very low really. It is down to what you want to pay, if I was looking I would be going for something with a higher rating between120-150, but as the amps go up so does the price. For £100 it was a good investment for my needs/use.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:58 pm 
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I have a Clarke from Machine Mart too. Mine is the cheapest model like this https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/pro-90-mig-welder/. I have had it for at least 10 years and it still works fine. I have rebuilt and repaired several cars with it. Ideally I would like a machine with a few more settings but this works well once you get the hang of using it. I too only use gas and buy a big bottle from Adams Gas. The little cans only last a few minutes. What took a while for me to realise is that the wire feed speed is as important as the current control in getting the right penetration of weld without burning through.

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(MGB GTV8, BMW Z3 2.2, and Dolomite 1850HL)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:48 pm 
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Hung out on the excellent mig welding forums for a while before going for the GYS SmartMIG 162. I would have liked a Portamig but whilst I could justify the £380, I couldn't the Portamig 165 price of £530. I do regret that decision a tiny bit, as the GYS can only go down to 30 amps but the Portamig 15 amps, so the latter is far less likely to blow a hole in thin steel. Though I must hasten to say that SmartMIG is an excellent piece of kit that will give long service, and unlike Clarke welders it is modular so you can swap out the torch with another, and the all-important wire feed mechanism is very well made.

I think the TL;DR is that as a total beginner I went with the kit that was most likely to cover up my ineptitude, and spent a little more on the GYS than the Machinemart basic.

Edit: Gas bought from Motor Parts Direct, rent-free bottle of CO2/Argon mix from SGS Gasses. Did try flux core, a lot of splatter and fumes but essential if welding outdoors and it's windy, personally preferred the gas.

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Current fleet: Triumph Dolomite Sprint '75, Daihatsu Fourtrak, Honda CG125, Yamaha Fazer 600, Shetland 570

Disposal fleet: Golf GTi 16v MK3 Anniversary

Past fleet: Triumph 2000, Lancia Beta Coupe, BL Mini Clubman, Austin Metro, Vauxhall Cavalier MK1 & MK2, Renault 18 D, Rover 216 GSI, Honda Accord (most expensive car purchase, hated it on pickup from dealer, was made out of magnetic metal as only car I've ever been crashed into, 4 times), Golf GTi MK3 16v x 3


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:24 am 
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I have the Portamig 165, you know that old saying 'you get what you pay for' you really do with this, it is superb!

But it is pricey!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:58 am 
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I make do with an old Clarke 110 I picked up about 10 years ago second hand. I'd love something like James' portamig, but at the moment I can manage with what I have, it copes (just about) with everything from body work to chassis/fabrication. I got it as "spares or repair" and had to fit a new torch and liner, but since then it's been great.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:38 pm 
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http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/ Really useful info, some nice welding tutorials as well as buyers guides.

Some nice kit in the shop, http://www.weldequip.com/ but a bit outside of my use cases.
( that's another way of saying more than I want to pay )

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1500 MG Midget
Absence of a Dolly or Tolly at the moment.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:52 pm 
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Quote:
http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/ Really useful info, some nice welding tutorials as well as buyers guides.

Some nice kit in the shop, http://www.weldequip.com/ but a bit outside of my use cases.
( that's another way of saying more than I want to pay )
I'm going to have to stop doing hyperlinks the proper way, they just do not show up well with the boards colour scheme!

_________________
Current fleet: Triumph Dolomite Sprint '75, Daihatsu Fourtrak, Honda CG125, Yamaha Fazer 600, Shetland 570

Disposal fleet: Golf GTi 16v MK3 Anniversary

Past fleet: Triumph 2000, Lancia Beta Coupe, BL Mini Clubman, Austin Metro, Vauxhall Cavalier MK1 & MK2, Renault 18 D, Rover 216 GSI, Honda Accord (most expensive car purchase, hated it on pickup from dealer, was made out of magnetic metal as only car I've ever been crashed into, 4 times), Golf GTi MK3 16v x 3


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:26 pm 
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I bought a second hand Murex Tradesmig 140 from my Snap-On dealer 20 odd yers ago and it's still going strong. It's done unbelievable amounts of work and aside from a couple or 3 ferrules and 1 new lance it has not needed any work.

My advice is to do something similar, buy a good used example of a well regarded make, one built for industrial use, rather than a "hobby mig" and it will serve you all your days.

On Gas, I use an "argoshield light" mix from "Hobbyweld" who have outlets all over. I used to have a BOC account but the prices were ridiculous. Hobbyweld charge a 1 off deposit of about £40 and refills are around £30 a time (A slightly larger bottle from BOC was over £100 annual rental and nearly £70 per fill!)

Steve

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2 door '73 Toledo with Vauxhall Carlton 2.0 8v engine OWF 797M (The Carledo)
'78 Sprint Auto with Vauxhall Omega 2.2 16v engine EGP 247T (The Dolomega)
'91 Cavalier 2ltr 8v auto
'95 Cavalier 2ltr 16v auto
Spectrum Auto Services, Servicing, Repairs, MOT prep. Apprentice served Triumph Specialist for 45 years and home of Maverick Triumph.PM for more info or quotes.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:10 pm 
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Whatever welder you choose also consider what gas you are going to buy. HobbyGas/ hobbyweld rentfree isn't the cheapest outright but saves a lot of hassle with rental and avoid the small disposable cans as they last less than 10 minutes.
A decent self darkening mask is a must and can be bought for less than £50, also good gloves and a jacket.

If you are new to welding or just out of practice the migwelding forum is a great place for friendly good advice.


I was lucky enough to be given a brand new Snap-On mig welder a few years ago but I had been eyeing up the Machine Mart supplied units as they seemed the best deals at the time and have good reviews.

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Some people are like Slinky's, they serve no real purpose in life but bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:05 pm 
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Thank-you very much for all the tips and advice - much appreciated. I shall digest and try to reach a decision. Cheers.
Regards,
Richard

_________________
Triumph Dolomite 1500 SE, 1979
Brompton P-Type, 2008
Moulton APB R18, 200x
Bat-eared Jack Russell, year unknown

Blog: www.ymgw.blogspot.com


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:54 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/ Really useful info, some nice welding tutorials as well as buyers guides.

Some nice kit in the shop, http://www.weldequip.com/ but a bit outside of my use cases.
( that's another way of saying more than I want to pay )
I'm going to have to stop doing hyperlinks the proper way, they just do not show up well with the boards colour scheme!
Sorry I completely read over your links and didn't notice them at all, I wouldn't deliberately plagiarise someone else's work/comments.

_________________
Karl-less

1500 MG Midget
Absence of a Dolly or Tolly at the moment.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:22 pm 
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Location: Huntingdon
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/ Really useful info, some nice welding tutorials as well as buyers guides.

Some nice kit in the shop, http://www.weldequip.com/ but a bit outside of my use cases.
( that's another way of saying more than I want to pay )
I'm going to have to stop doing hyperlinks the proper way, they just do not show up well with the boards colour scheme!
Sorry I completely read over your links and didn't notice them at all, I wouldn't deliberately plagiarise someone else's work/comments.
No need to apologise at all, that wasn't me being all passive-aggressive, I really do struggle seeing links when put in text correctly so guess others do too.

_________________
Current fleet: Triumph Dolomite Sprint '75, Daihatsu Fourtrak, Honda CG125, Yamaha Fazer 600, Shetland 570

Disposal fleet: Golf GTi 16v MK3 Anniversary

Past fleet: Triumph 2000, Lancia Beta Coupe, BL Mini Clubman, Austin Metro, Vauxhall Cavalier MK1 & MK2, Renault 18 D, Rover 216 GSI, Honda Accord (most expensive car purchase, hated it on pickup from dealer, was made out of magnetic metal as only car I've ever been crashed into, 4 times), Golf GTi MK3 16v x 3


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:50 am 
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Location: Forest of Dean
Quote:
I'm going to have to stop doing hyperlinks the proper way, they just do not show up well with the boards colour scheme!
That's why I wrap 'em in a bold tag.

I got an R-Tech MTS-210D which is not far removed from this current model. I can't really offer an opinion of it as a) I've used it disappointingly little and b) I don't know what I'm talking about. Anyone is welcome to pop by have a play with it if you can catch me at home (not an easy thing to do and looking to be worse in 2018).

_________________
1978 Pageant Sprint - the rustomite, 1972 Spitfire IV - sprintfire project, 1968 Valencia GT6 II - little Blue, 1980 Vermillion 1500HL - resting. 1974 Sienna 1500TC, Mrs Weevils big brown.


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