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Dusty Rhodes 04-10-2013 06:47 PM

First MIG welder
Several months ago I finished a nightime "Intro to welding class" and was tormented about what welder to buy. In the class, I had used different MIG welders from a $5000 Miller rig that had to guns. One for flux core and one for gas over solid wire. You set each gun and switch between the two at will. That fast.
I also used a $250 Centruy rig and a Home Depot/Lowes entry level machines, and el cheapo Harbor Freight jobbie. Here is my take: They will ALL weld. You may need to make multiple passes which is not for the person learning by themselves. Better machines "run" smoother which means less frustration, better welds, smoother learning curve.
So if you are ready to pull the trigger, you might want to wait and save up a little more and buy a better (more expensive) welder. Nobody ever says " I wish I had bought a less expensive welder" but you see tons of low end type rigs on Craigslist. They are probably selling them so they can get a better outfit.

I also welded with Lincoln arc/TIG setup and liked it alot, but settled on Miller. I almost bought the Miller 140 for about $740. But for a little over a grand I got the Miller 211 and am very glad I did.
I first made a welding cart, then I made a welding table. Like the ones we had in class. I have been welding tabs and holders and gizmo's onto the table and tonight, I welded a holder for my MAPP gas nozzle and bottle.
Here is how it works: measure your stock with the supplied gauge. Set the machine for the size wire you are running. Set the dial for the thickness as measured. I am running solid wire with gas. So I cracked the bottle open, clamped the ground on, flipped the switch, and laid a a bead.
The settings were perfect. (Voltage, Amperage and inches per min. of wire.) I was welding 14 gauge. No burn through, perfect bead.

The Miller 211 will run off 115v (30 amps) or 220. You change the end of the plug. It screws on. It is a little tricky to switch from solid to flux core wire. Lincoln uses a flip switch. But I really like my 211 and for less than $260 more than the entry level MIG it is twice as versatile. Plus if I get in a bind I can sell it quick. YMMV.
I have no dog in this hunt.

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