Honestly I'd look around on craigslist for a used one...I prefer Miller, but a Lincoln or Esab are also good. If you buy a used namebrand welder, all the parts are readily available online or from a dealer and it will actually be worth something when you want rid of it. Do not buy anything but a 220V machine...they weld much easier and you can weld alot thicker metal. my 02 cents
Not a bad 2 cents, Ibuildembig. $300 doesn't buy much in new welders. The 110 volt machines are toys.
Mig needs to be inside because wind messes up the gas shield and requires a bottle of gas. Flux core works everywhere but the wire is expensive and the spatter is a mess to clean up. Stick is the cheapest to get started with but is harder to learn to do. DC stick is a lot more versatile than AC and will burn all the AC rods and do it smoother than an AC machine but the cost goes way up for a DC capable machine.
You can't go wrong with Lincoln or Miller. The first mig I ever ran was built by the company that became ESAB and that was in the '60s. It was a good machine.
I have 3 Lincolns and 1 miller.
2 of the Lincolns are gas powered stick machines. Good for welding on site and will handle up to 1/2 steel.
The other Lincoln is 220V Mig. I also use on sites. But I prefer stick when welding outside.
The miller is 220v Mig used mostly around the shop.
All of them have been great machines. I don't prefer one over the other. But I would stay with the brand names.
I agree check craigslist. There out there. I bought one one of the gas powered machines for $700.00 with 30 hours on it. The rest I bought new. Don't rush you'll find a deal.
I also think you'll find mig to be easier to learn.
Where did all my money go O ya I bought a Jeep....
My only real welding experience comes from working in a bodyshop (a GOOD number of years ago) and welding sheet metal. MIG is the way to go for that. Simple to learn and use. I did a TINY bit of arc welding in high school, but that was many years ago. I'm also looking into getting a small welder for my personal use, so all of your advice will come in handy for me as well.
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For welding smaller pieces of nothing any heavier than 3/16", a 140-145 amp 110 MIG welder is adequate. It was when I had to weld a new tranny mount onto a big piece of 3/16" skidplate that my Hobart 140 amp 110v welder totally ran out of steam, the big piece of 3/16 (14-16 sq-ft) just sinked too much heat away from the weld for me to get a good weld. I sold that and bought a 220v Miller 180 amp which has been more than enough for everything since then.
Look on Craigslist for a used 110v Hobart, Miller, or Lincoln MIG welder and you should find one close to the price range you are looking for. I really liked my Hobart, it was great except for larger/heavier pieces where it just couldn't generate enough heat.
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I was under the impression a person could weld most anything (reasonable like up to 3/8") with 110va if they were willing to spend more time prepping and make multiple passes. Can't you bevel the edges of a but weld and make several passes to get adequate penetration? Note I'm not a welder, but I did a lot of aerospace weld inspections, mostly TIG. I've played with TIG, but about all I can do is stick stuff together.
I was under the impression a person could weld most anything (reasonable like up to 3/8") with 110va if they were willing to spend more time prepping and make multiple passes. Can't you bevel the edges of a but weld and make several passes to get adequate penetration? Note I'm not a welder...
Possible? Yes. A good idea? Not really, since not all welding can be accomplished or helped by all that. To me as a welder (not by trade), a 110v welder not even practical for 1/4", let alone 3/8".
My first wlder was a Hobart 135 amp 110v welder and it did fine on smaller pieces but once I had to weld some large surface area pieces of 3/16", it couldn't generate enough heat to properly penetrate the steel while welding. The thickness wasn't the issue, it was the size of the piece which was dissipating (sinking) heat faster thah my 110v welder could generate it. Bevelling and multiple passes would't have worked for what I was welding either so I sold that welder and bought a Miller 180 220v welder and never looked back.
Bobjenkins, I ended up with Miller's 180 Autoset and it does everything I want it to. Their 211 is sure sweet though and would be a good choice if you want it to be portable so you can plug it in to 110v when 220v isn't available. But if you plan to keep it at home and can give it a 220v outlet, I think the less expensive 180 Autoset would do everything where a Jeep is concerned.
By the way, that Autoset feature which eliminates having to set the wire feed speed, sure is a nice feature that makes getting a good weld a lot easier. Autoset cuts the variables you have to set by 50%, all you have to do with it is dial in the voltage according to the thickness of what you're welding. Sweet!