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Welder buy

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Andy Sproule03/09/2020 13:14:30
121 forum posts
35 photos

Hi,I'm thinking of buying a mig welder I can stick weld and have done a little tig.I have never done mig but it looks fairly straight forward.I have a large full bottle of argon and the hoses and so on to do tig.I have seen on the auction site that you can get a welder that does both mig and tig has anyone go one of these and are they any good,if not which mig would you recomment for infrequent hobby use?

Nicholas Farr03/09/2020 13:24:48
3329 forum posts
1531 photos

Hi Andy, you can get them, but I think they are a bit pricy, pure argon doesn't work very well when welding steel with MIG by the way, you need an argon mix that actually has some oxygen in it, e.g. Argoshield.

Regards Nick

Paul Lousick03/09/2020 13:31:38
2018 forum posts
712 photos

The gas that I use for MIG is a mixture of Argon and CO2 and straight Argon for TIG.


Nicholas Farr03/09/2020 13:44:55
3329 forum posts
1531 photos

Hi, you can of course use just CO2, which was normally used when MIG was fist used for many years, in fact it was called CO2 welding, but it doesn't give such a neat looking weld, the small amount of oxygen in an argon mixture, acts as a wetting agent and produces better welds.

Regards Nick.

I.M. OUTAHERE03/09/2020 13:50:05
1468 forum posts
3 photos

Mig and tig use different gasses

Iirc mig is typically argon c02 and oxygen but tig is usually argon or argon c02 mix .
unfortunately one gas won’t do it all .

The unit that does both mig and tig is a dc welder and can do stick as well but you can’t weld aluminium with it with the tig .

If you just want to try mig buy a small mig unit - 140amp or more and have a play

if you want to get into tig it is better to save up your pennies and get e decent dc/ac hf unit as a dedicated tig and learn how to use it as there are many parameters to tune with these units all though computers have made this much easier

Ady103/09/2020 13:52:29
5069 forum posts
734 photos

If you're a stick dude you'll love MIG, get a unit which can also do gasless(if relevant)

Total amateur here who went from stick to gasless mig, 140amp max unit for playing with

the difference is huge, it's easier to do once your settings are sussed out, an instant non-stick start and you literally wire brush off a coating of slag dust afterwards, no more battering the snot out of the weld to get that iron hard slag off to see how things went

edit: and watch out for places like Lidl doing them, a 10 quid spool is 3 quid a pop for 2 at those discount places when they are in stock

Evan an amateur hobby banana head like me can weld cast iron and fill in annoying holes with no inclusions now, I even put an old cast iron vice back together as an experiment, they are virtually idiot proof once you get the settings sussed out

Edited By Ady1 on 03/09/2020 14:04:02

Oldiron03/09/2020 14:10:58
963 forum posts
40 photos

I have a Sureweld 180 Mig it uses what ever gas I want at the time. I have always used it on CO2 for steel and never had a problem. It is now 20 years old used for probably 1000s of hours and still going strong. I usually use old fire extinguishers as a gas source if doing any rough work. I also have Argoshield for better quality jobs. I have used many pub CO2 cylinders as well over the years ( if you can find a friendly publican)

For home use Sealy & Wolf also do a decent MIG welder.

Combi Mig/Tig welders are ok but don't go for a real cheap one.

Some of the tiny welders on Ebay etc do not match up to their stated specs very well.

I would not go for a gasless type I have tried them & the results were not good at all.

Use the best wire you can get as it pays results.



Henry Brown03/09/2020 14:21:45
548 forum posts
117 photos

A good idea to look here: **LINK**. Same old story, always but the best you can and use argon/oxy mix. I'm self taught and eventually bought a Portamig (185 I think) and it is so much easier to use on thin and thicker steel than the other cheap ones I tied.

Dave Halford03/09/2020 14:33:24
2014 forum posts
23 photos

Spend some time here Beaten to it by Henry

Cheap low power welders have a very high low current eg they start at 50A and top at 130A so they dont do thin stuff like cars at all well and the penetration is poor for 3mm and up. For cars you need 30A low .

You can get a zero rent bottle from somewhere like Jawel (west midlands) quite reasonably.

Don't bother with BOC

Edited By Dave Halford on 03/09/2020 14:34:40

J Hancock03/09/2020 14:53:44
832 forum posts

It is most important that the wire feed device on your MIG is of good quality. If the wheels that grip the wire are

'not true' then the wire is fed 'in jerks' resulting in poor welds.

Try the unit out 'in the shop' if you can before buying.

Steviegtr03/09/2020 23:06:34
2422 forum posts
336 photos

Hi Andy. Yes you can get a multi function welder. I was looking at them before i bought my present Tig welder. For a good quality one , they are quite expensive. In the end i opted for a top quality Thermal arc / esab HF Tig unit so i could do aluminium as well as other types of metal. I bought this 2nd hand & i think it was something like £900.

It is AC. & DC. which also does stick welding. You could use your 100% argon gas if desired. For most mig welding a 95% Co2 5% argon is the ideal. A lot of folk use 100% Co2. But for a clean shiny weld with less spatter, the 5% argon is the best. If you want to do stainless mig. (METAL INERT GAS) then you need 100% Argon or as it is called Argoshield. Some of the comments are incorrect. You never want Oxygen anywhere near your weld. This introduces oxydization. This can be seen if you try to weld with no gas, you will end up with lots of pin holes in the weld & the metal will have carbonized & the actual weld turns brittle & breaks very easy. This is in the word inert. The whole idea is to shield the arc from oxygen, using an inert gas. Molten metal & oxygen pretty much = Carbon.

I have had a few Mig welders & they are very good for items like car bodywork etc. No good for thick steel as they cannot penetrate like stick does.

At the end of the day what do you need it for. This time i chose to go Tig so that i could do alloy as well as brass. (Not tried yet) Stainless & mild steel. I have no regrets on not getting a MIG/TIG set.

This is where i have to be careful of what i say. Rules etc. Only that the one i have now is an American made machine. It is difficult to assertain where one is made because of european companies badging is not always made in europe. This is my 3rd Tig welder ,but only the 1st with both AC & DC.

The last 2 did not last very long & were made in China, although badged as Stanley. It was only when they went pop & i rang Stanley for backup, only to be told the Stanley name is not british any more. The 2 i had bought for work ended up in the bin. But they were very cheap ebay offerings & did pay for themselves 10 fold before failing.

Also if you have never done Mig, it is very easy to get up to speed. If you are right handed then with your stick welding you would have laid the weld from left to right. With mig you weld from right to left, & the same with Tig.

Look on youtube there are some very good vids showing how it is done. Hope this helps.


Edited By Steviegtr on 03/09/2020 23:07:27

Nicholas Farr03/09/2020 23:33:44
3329 forum posts
1531 photos

Hi Stevegtr, you may wish to peruse this Argoshield

Regards Nick.

DC31k04/09/2020 08:14:24
662 forum posts
2 photos
Posted by Nicholas Farr on 03/09/2020 23:33:44:

Hi Stevegtr, you may wish to peruse this Argoshield

That is a good link and perusal of it may help to dispel some of the misinformation above your post.

Perhaps its parent link, BOC's guide to shielding gases in general, might be even more instructive:

Nicholas Farr04/09/2020 08:57:40
3329 forum posts
1531 photos

Hi, you should not use Argoshield for MIG welding stainless steels unless you fully understand what you are doing, it is not suitable for critical parts and should never be used on "L" grade stainless steels, if you wish to MIG weld critical parts with stainless steels, you should use a argon mix gas designed for it, such as Stainshield or an equivalent.

Regards Nick.

Andy Sproule04/09/2020 09:57:05
121 forum posts
35 photos

Thanks for all the replies plenty of food for thought.So if I plump for mig only for now what machine do you recommend Clarke 135te turbo seems to be very popular.

Stueeee04/09/2020 10:08:21
121 forum posts
Posted by J Hancock on 03/09/2020 14:53:44:

It is most important that the wire feed device on your MIG is of good quality. If the wheels that grip the wire are

'not true' then the wire is fed 'in jerks' resulting in poor welds.

Try the unit out 'in the shop' if you can before buying.

Decent wire feed is really important on a MIG welder. Some of the cheap units (my elder brother used to have one of these) didn't seem to have any voltage stabilisation on the wire feed, with the result that the arc wasn't stable. A problem he fixed by buying a decent 180A MIG.

Some quality machines have two pairs of rollers for the wire feed which allows a longer hose than the usual 3 metres. I have a 4 metre hose on my machine which is really convenient on larger jobs where otherwise it would be necessary to keep moving the welder nearer where you're actually welding.

A lot of combination MIG/TIG machines have a reasonably full set of MIG features, but only have lift or scratch start rather than HF (High Frequency) starting; Scratch start always seems to end up contaminating the tungsten in my experience. The gas, including any "pre flow" of gas including is controlled by a valve on the torch which will be permanently live when the machine is in TIG mode. I haven't seen a combination machine that does AC TIG, maybe not an issue if you can be sure that you will never need to weld Aluminium.

Edited By Stueeee on 04/09/2020 12:17:10

mgnbuk04/09/2020 10:16:39
1178 forum posts
71 photos

Avoid inexpensive "hobby" machines.

In pre-Google research days I bought a SIP Migmate 130. Occasionally - on those days when the stars & moon aligned & the was a U in the month - it would lay down a nice, smooth weld. But that was the exception, not the norm & the last time I used it I spent more time trying to get the wire to feed smoothly (including fitting a new liner & tip) than the job took.

Now with the benefit of Google I find that such issues with the Sip Migmate 130 are well documented. Looking at the options, a new reasonable quality machine is more than I want to spend on equipment I don't use regularly, but a thread on the Mig welding forum form someone who tried to sort the many issues with this machine (also known as a Cosmo) lead me to check out the cost of better quality bits on Ebay.

So for around the cost of a Lidl gassless Mig welder I have a 3 metre Eurotorch, Eurotorch chassis socket, a couple of Dinse power connectors, a replacement wire feed unit, gas solenoid valve, power supply & variable speed drive. Plus 4 metres of 25mm cable & a heavy duty earth clamp. Still to source a power contactor & a couple of relays. All that will remain of the Sip components will be the chassis, transformer & associated switches and the rectifier. This should remove many of the problem areas, plus add gassless capability (allow reversal of polarity) & a non-live torch. Probably find that the transformer isn't up to much then !

Worthwhile searching out the Mig welding forum for more information & to ask about any particular machine that takes your fancy.

Depending on your usage the "rent free" gass suppliers may not be the cheapest option. BOC do a hobby user, low rental rate scheme for a "Y" sized (IIRC) Argoshield Lite cylinder that is much cheaper for refills than the "rent free" suppliers. A similar deal is also available for Argon for Tig use.

Nigel B

Mike Poole04/09/2020 10:35:37
3308 forum posts
73 photos

As an apprentice learning to stick weld much chipping was required to clear the slag. Our instructor demoed the same weld on the same settings but the slag needed no more than a tap to remove, if it wasn’t red hot you could probably have brushed it off with you hand. A friend is a skilled welder fabricator and he must be a magician, he can produce first class welds anywhere like sat on a girder 40ft above the ground wearing a fall arrestor.


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