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Thread: Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

  1. #1
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    Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

    So my Mig welder has seen better days (was a Chinese knock off anyways). I have a mostly built kit on the way, so I'd be using the welder for random stuff, as well as exhaust, engine mounts, all the good stuff that you all know better than i do I'd bet.

    I am ok at mig welding, but not a pro, I'm wondering if i should spend the money on a really good mig welder, or a good tig welder. I'm planing on going the 220v route and want to buy something that will do pretty much everything i need. I'm thinking that mig will be better for on car welding as i dont need to have two hands read the weld location and all. I'm told tig is more difficult to use but does nicer welds that penetrate better, but is slower.

    I've seen debates raging about tig vs mig, all kinds of things are claimed, but really, i need a quality welder that wont die on me, and I'll be using it for kit-car stuff more than anything else, so who best to ask. I'm sure among you are some damned fine welders that can give me some solid advice and direction here. Currently I'm leaning towards the HOBART IRONMAN 230 MIG WELDER, i do like the millers as they have the automatic adjustments which would really make on-car welding easier, but aside form that i seem to get more for the money from the Hobart.

    My current mig welder is 120v and is sorely underpowered, and that's why I'm looking at the 230, I'm afraid to end up with an underpowered pos again

    Thanks in advance for all your help and opinions

  2. #2

    Re: Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

    Mig will satisfy most of your needs. I use a Hobart 175...cost about $500. It has a tig setup but I havent had a need for it. I use gas with the Mig setup and it will pretty much do anything you need to do on a kit car, from frame welding to smaller tack welds. The gas is essential for quality welds. Tig is fun, aluminum welding is very useful but its a bigger step and you need more practice. Welding is one of those indispensable skills...just get a welder that can run 220 and you should be good to go.

  3. #3
    Senior Member MacGyver's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

    I would stick with a 220v name brand mig. Hobart, Lincoln or whatever. My first mig was a cheepie 120v from Sears. It did small stuff fine but was underpowered for anything above heavy sheetmetel. If I need to weld 1/4" or heaver, I just use my old school arc welder.


  4. #4

    Re: Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

    I've owned full size Miller migs and tigs for years and to be honest, for what your going to do you can go to Home Depot and pick up a 220v Lincoln mig for around $500 that will do absolutely everything you need it to do. You find them all the time on craigslist for a couple hundred dollars. They are quality machines that far outperform any of the chinese stuff and don't break the bank in the process.

  5. #5

    Re: Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

    Lincoln Electric has always been a reliable brand and ive used over the years without any issues....

  6. #6
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    Re: Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

    I've had 2, 120v, Schmacher (spelling?) flux core wire migs, one with the argon gas bottle hookup and the other without.
    They did just fine for me. Most of the stuff I did was fairly light weight, but I did have some frame patches to do on one of the old mustangs. They welded floor pans in, and on the frame patches you just had to set it for the thick stuff and do a series of tacks then go back and fill in the spaces with more tacks, then go back and connect your welds. Not the prettiest welds, but you couldn't break them with a tractor! Matter of fact, after a run in with a Navy heavy duty, 4X4, forklift (the kind they use for salvaging crashed aircraft with) MY welds held up, the Ford ones....not so well.
    The only probably I had with the first was that the wire feed motor went kaput. The second was "borrowed" by a friend and then never came back.
    I would definitely recommend using "anti-spatter" spray though. It works really well and negates a lot of the little specks and crap that you get where you don't want them.

  7. #7
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    Re: Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

    The Lincoln 180 that Home Depot sells is a great little machine. It runs on 220 and will weld just about anything you might need. TIG is a more specialized welding process but the MIG will do 95% of what you will be needing. MIG is pretty easy to learn but TIG takes much more practice.

  8. #8

    Re: Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

    I have a Lincoln 230 stick welder and Miller 170 MIG
    I can preatty much do everything with my MIG that the stick can do

  9. #9
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    Re: Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

    Just got my welder in and working (ran the 220 volt line and all) and wow your not kidding, i used to think i sucked at welding but really my welder sucked that seriously.. Sheesh 220 makes a difference. Thanks for all the advice, i ended up finding a good deal on a new handler 210, with a spool gun, 100 ft lighted extension cord and a nice welding cart for about 1k. Now to figure out how to adapt my old bottle to this new style connector and I'm all set.

    you know your old welder is bad when using the same spool of solid wire, the new one looks liek its making perfect welds compared ot the old one with teh gas on. lol.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MacGyver's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Welder advice, in relation to kit cars

    Good to hear you have a new toy to play with!

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