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Old 03-18-2013, 01:36 PM   #1
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welding noob

I've finally got a buyer for my mustang and I'm thinking of investing some of that money into some welding supplies. I've only welded once so I'm very inexperienced with it but in this hobby I think it's a priceless capability to have. I don't need top of the line, but I want good enough to weld on axles. Can you guys suggest minimum equipment needed to start doing some fab? Thinking things like corners, cages, carriers...things like that. I know it's a huge learning curve but something I'd like to get into.

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Old 03-18-2013, 02:02 PM   #2
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I highly recommend you go with a 240 volt welder versus a 120 volt. Cages, corners, axles, etc all are heavy steel (3/16" and above for thickness) and you will not get good enough penetration with a light duty welder.

You also need to pick whether you want to do flux core or inert gas if you go mig. I started with flux core and recently stepped up to a unit that runs gas and now I wish I had started with gas from the beginning. Cost more, but the results are far better.

I run a Hobart 190 Handler ... It's a bit on the higher end for welders, but well worth the money. I currently have $1600 into my welder, compressed gas tank, cart, spool gun (for welding aluminum), and wiring my garage for a 240 volt circuit.

As for other equipment: Angle grinders are a must! Useful for cutting, grinding, sanding, and wire wheels for stripping paint/rust. (Angle grinders vary in prices under $100 and you should have at least two of them.)

Drill press: Not too pricey for a starting unit ($150) and makes drilling metal far easier than using a hand drill. Gives you lots of flexibility for drilling larger holes easily. Obviously with a dress press you need a good set of drill bits.

If you want to do cage work then you enter into the realm of tube benders and notchers... prices on these items vary greatly and can be in the thousands.

Good luck!

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Old 03-18-2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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Welcome to the "dark side" of the hobby.

I will run down my list quickly.

Miller 251 mig
Miller dynasty tig
Hypertherm plasma (220)
Couple different presses
Jd2 model 32 electric/hydraulic bender
Jd2 tube notcher
Drill press
Sheet metal brake/shear
Various drills, grinders, etc.
Torch
A few other odds and ends I have collected over the years.
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:44 PM   #4
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This thread made me hard....


I agree with the other posters. Im a noob but inert gas is definitely the way to go and with the things you want to weld, the higher voltage too. I only have the 120 so its not great for the big tickets, but smaller things it works great on. Some of the new machines can do 120 and 240, so look into those (think its miller).
Plasma cutter is one of the next items on the garage list.

Oh.. and add some welding blankets on your list of supplies too in case you havent. Nothing like some garage fires next to flammable chemicals to make you really become overly paranoid with protection.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:12 PM   #5
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The Millermatic 180 is a really nice welder. I just upgraded from a little Lincoln mig and I love the Millermatic!
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:39 PM   #6
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I prefer miller but it is what I learned on so I am partial. Have friends who prefer Lincoln or Hobart. Miller's newest stuff offers dual voltage plugs which is nice. A good gas shielded set up and tons of practice will get you comfortable and confident in your welds. Weldingtipsandtricks.com has some great videos along with some YouTube research goes a long way.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:31 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input guys. I'm looking at the millermattic 180. Looks like a good base to do what I need to do.

I'll be doing a lot of researching before I touch my jeep with anything significant, but welding opens doors to options you just won't find on the market.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:10 PM   #8
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Don't forget to find a good place to get lots of scrap to get your practice on.
Practice practice practice! You can always have a better bead but everything above is amazing advise. Great hobby to get in to good luck
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:11 PM   #9
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I've got a millermatic 135 mig and a millermatic 252 mig. A Lincoln precision tig 275, and a Lincoln square wave tig 175.

You won't go wrong with either brand. Just get the most powerful welder your wallet and power source will allow. Welders are like jeeps...you will want a bigger better one in no time at all if you start building things. That's why I have 4 now.
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:53 PM   #10
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So if I plan on going with a 230 volt/ 180 amp output MIG, until you get into even higher inputs, and outputs what makes one better than another? The Millermatic 180 is pretty much the lowest priced 230volt I could find but there are several other models and brands that are a bit more pricey with the same current specs. I don't want to miss something extremely nice to have to save a hundred bucks or two, but I also don't want to spend money on a higher priced model for something I don't need. I'd rather have some more cash to put towards accessories.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:13 AM   #11
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The 180 should be great for what you are looking to do. The only changes I think are for welding aluminum, but you can cross that road when you get there.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoreyZ View Post
The 180 should be great for what you are looking to do. The only changes I think are for welding aluminum, but you can cross that road when you get there.
And that only requires a spool gun right?
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:13 AM   #13
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As odd as it sounds the real power house welders (miller 251/252) also are really good at lower amperage as well. They just have more control over the output. The 180 that you are looking at is a great start and will do about anything on your rig. The 252 is just the replacement for the 251.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderlust View Post
As odd as it sounds the real power house welders (miller 251/252) also are really good at lower amperage as well. They just have more control over the output. The 180 that you are looking at is a great start and will do about anything on your rig. The 252 is just the replacement for the 251.
Yep.

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