It has been many years since I have welded - remember the 1/8 rod?
I need to do some light duty welding and have considered a wire feed welder,
it needs to run on 120, no 220 available but I know little about them - - -
the work will be 1/8 or less in thickness
With light duty arc welders, you can go a few inches then you have to wait
for the welder to cool off then you can proceed. Sometimes the start and
stop yeilds a poor quality weld. It depends on what you need.
Yes, the small 120-volt wire-feed welders only have a 20 percent duty
cycle (2 minutes out of 10) but I have never had to wait for it to
"cool down". Most weld beads only take 10 seconds or less to join the
metal at one point, then the next weld takes time to set up and
reposition the parts. Long beads are good candidates for burnthrough or
heat distortion, so short beads put less heat into the part.
There are stick welders (that uses 1/8" rod) and there are wire-feed
welders (that use much smaller wire). A 120-volt wire-feed welder using
0.030 wire should do nicely with 1/8" or thinner mild steel. I have
used only flux-cored wire which does not need shielding gas and leaves
a slight powder residue. It's more expensive for the wire, but there's
no need for a flow meter and gas bottle. Both Miller and Lincoln sell
these units which weigh about 60-70 pounds. Mine rides around in a
child's wagon since the unit does not come with wheels.
Wire feed, also known as MIG (at least over here), are very easy to use and
produce a most satisfying smooth weld - taught myself welding in a couple
of days (I had mates who could weld to watch). Never got the hang of rod
Being in the UK, I have no idea of 120V units, apart from they're probably
going to need >20A (perhaps as much as 25A) to be much use based on the
rating of the 240V unit I had.
The unit I bought was made by Cebora - very good for a cheap end unit.
I would recommend googling for some reviews. Poor MIGs have erratic wire
feed (real pain), poor duty cycle (cuts out after 6" of welding), poor
controls. Good wire feed and decent duty cycle are a must. You should be
able to control the wire speed and current consistently.
Don't bother with the silly disposable CO2 bottles - rent a proper gas
bottle if you can (you'll need to buy a valve with gauges too, so that's a
bit extra on top of the welder) - a small bottle (2' tall or so) will last
a fair time before refilling. There are fancy gas mixes available, but I
found plain CO2 worked fine on a range of mild steel jobs.
The beauty of MIGs is that they work very well on thin sheet, like car
panels, without blowing holes. If you are planning to go upto 1/8" it would
be advisable to check the specs carefully, some small units might struggle.
Tim (in the UK)
I'm just the opposite. I can stick weld most anything. When I tried
to use a wirefeed welder all I did was make a mess. The trick to
stick welding is using the proper rod type and adjusting the power.
The disadvantage of stick welding is that it's near impossible to weld
thin sheet steel. I should mention, the one time I tried the wirefeed
welder, I was welding 3/16 thick angle iron. Much too thick for that
welder, if you ask me. It was a small 120V model, and the wire seemed
to come out either too fast or too slow. I suppose practice helps,
but the welder seemed to not want to cooperate. For that thick of
steel, a stick welder would have been much better, not to mention the
cost. I could have done that job with 5 welding rods (a cost of 75
cents). Instead I used half of a $15 roll of flux core welding wire.
(7.50). So, it appears that it costs about 10 times as much to use a
wirefeed welder. Maybe it's better on thin materials for cost, but I
was not impressed with the cost or the weld quality of the wire feed
on that thicker steel.
On Wed, 24 May 2006 03:47:18 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:
Like most guys in shop class *many* years ago, I got started with
stick welding... Never was *great* with it, but I could weld well
enough that the weld joint didn't break on those projects around the
ranch when a 2500 lb bull decided that he could climb over the metal
fence that I had just built... I tried using one of the wire feed
welders on some 1/2" and 3/4" 16-gauge square tubing a couple of years
ago and found it to be quite a bit messy... Seems that I either got
quite a bit of splatter or a quite a bit of short pieces of wire stuck
to the weld... Never could seem to get the wire speed adjusted exactly
right... Maybe if I had stuck with it, I would have finally gotten the
hang of it, but I just switched back to gas welding (oxy-acetylene
welding, not brazing)... The ranch work that I had done was with one
of the old Lincoln SA200 DC units...
Apartment complex stuff thin metal door supports, spot weld some bolt heads,
I still have grinders, brushes, even a chipping hammer, the welder is now 25
years old in FL
and probably doesn't work amyway...
I love my little Lincoln 110v flux core Mig. It was $500.00. Its idiot
proof. Pull the trigger and go. Never needed gas.
It tacks thin sheet and does a great job on 1/4 inch as well.
(I used it to weld shock mounts on a 1975 landcruiser 10 years ago for
off roading - with no trouble yet)
A buddy had a mastercraft unit - I tried it once and hated it. (The
feed was sticky)
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