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Gargoil
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Recommendations please. Which would be the best for a first timer, where welders are concerned, arc or mig? I don't want to throw money at something that's going to be used maybe once or twice a year, so it's going to be a cheap example of whatever is most suitable.

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If you want to weld brackets/etc for your car go for a mig welder. I prefer the old school type which needs a gas bottle not the flux cored wire to shield the weld pool.

Edited by florin metal works
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Recommendations please. Which would be the best for a first timer, where welders are concerned, arc or mig? I don't want to throw money at something that's going to be used maybe once or twice a year, so it's going to be a cheap example of whatever is most suitable.

 

As you're in S Yorkshire, you are welcome to come and try my stick and mig (gasless) type welder. Welding requires some skill and practice to get a good weld.

 

If you want to try out, give me a call. (At Stoneleigh this weekend, so if you're going we can chat then?)

 

Simon.

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I recently bought a SIP mig and then read a load of reviews saying SIP suck so i have yet to use it enough to confirm or deny.

 

I got one that is gas or nogas. I have only tried it on nogas as it came with a reel or flux wire. Seemed to weld pretty well but i am not used to flux cored.

 

Mine has a wire liner which i have been told is better as the wire doesn't tend to stick so much.

 

Main issue i have is SIP want £20 for 2 bits of plastic to convert it to hold the 5KG wire reels!!!!! I have a few swear words for them on that. Gonna make my own with a hole saw and a bit of plastic. Not playing £20 for 20p's worth of plastic. So somethign to check on the smaller units if you are going to do a lot.

 

I tend to mig most things, Arc is good for bigger stuff but harder to get right i find.

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Unless you are looking at heavy fabrication then for a home user I'd say MIG every time. I have a Clarke 150TE which I'd recommend to anyone in a heartbeat. I've converted it to use "proper" sized gas bottles but apart from that it's only had replacement tips and shrouds in what must be over 10 years. Compared to the 90 Amp SIP I had before it and a friends more recent SIP - well there is no comparison. Dunno what SIP are like nowadays or what the larger ones are like.

 

Keep your eyes peeled for a VAT free voucher for Machinemart and you'll not often get a new one cheaper. They have quite a range and choosing between them is a bit of a minefield. I wouldn't buy a 151TE for example because it's the same machine as the 150TE but in a different case and £24ish more expensive. The MIG145 and MIG152 welders look like good value (even after factoring in the gas regulator and kit) but I'd be a little wary as they don't have as many adjustment points on the power range - in reality I don't use all the points on mine but welding is 90% about finding that sweet spot where power and wire speed combine to give a good weld with enough penetration but without blowing holes and I'd be worried buying a welder with few settings that I'd always find one setting too cold and the next one up too hot. They might be fine but.......

 

If you aren't going to go with Clarke then I'd still suggest using the spec of the 150 from Machinemart as a minimum list when looking elsewhere. Screwfix were selling some 150Amp MIGs a while back that looked a good deal until you spotted that the minimum welding current was waaaaay too high for thinner metal like car bodywork. You see these things popping up on ebay still as people who bought them now realise they don't do what they want and try to offload them on the next poor unsuspecting mug. There have been some Wolf branded welders in yellow with a very similar spec to the Clarke 150 that I've heard good things about.

 

Iain

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Some very good advice, thanks Gents.

Thanks for the offer Simon, if I look before I leap, I will take you up on that.

The mig welders site look packed full of info, Will look at it in more detail after the bank holiday. So mig it is. Seen a few cheap ones around but the power level starts at 50 amp, too much?

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I can't remember what model Clarke Mig I have (I'll look tomorrow) but I know it can be both gas and gasless. I also have a small stick welder which I find can produce better welds on thicker material.

 

Again, I don't practice enough with these, but I have passed the level 3 C&G welding certificate which also involved gas and Tig welding aluminium. Now, aluminium welding is NOT easy ! :)

 

Simon.

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I did a 10 week welding course which included MIG/MAG ARC & Oxy

Oxy was the most difficult and 1 class member spent all 10 weeks just doing that, the welds with Oxy are beutiful

Arc is relatively easy but you just can't get to those small constricted areas

MIG/MAG is by far the easiest to do and the most flexible, I concur that you probably need 130 amp to 160 amp for our uses.

Having a dial for power and a dial for speed is more precise than the 3 switch power selectors.

 

Now a point not considered so far is the welding helmet, for me nearly all static helmets are to dark so I much prefer the electronic automatic darkening ones that have a max darkness adjustment, this has made my welding more accurate and easier to do

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Yes 50Amp minimum is a bit too hot for bodywork thickness stuff. The Clarkes that generally do the job well are around 30-35Amp minimum.

 

An auto-darkening helmet is indeed a revelation and can be had for sub £30 nowadays.

 

Iain

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Bring back child labour - good old Victorian values :-)

 

Never too young to learn new skills!

 

To answer your actual question: If its only once or twice a year have you actually considered the economics, gas and wire are not that cheap so if you are just welding up occasional small pieces it might be worth just asking a local engineering company.

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To answer your actual question: If its only once or twice a year have you actually considered the economics, gas and wire are not that cheap so if you are just welding up occasional small pieces it might be worth just asking a local engineering company.

 

agree and disagree. I'm lucky to have an engineers local who will do little jobs for me very cheap as they know it's my hobby rather than a business etc. He's a proper old boy and not far off retiring i should think (he's 70+) and i'll be incredibly sad when he does as i'm not sure i'll find someone who will do the small jobs.

If i knew 1% of what that chap knows of engineering i'd be well pleased.

 

I love welding, i might not be great at it but i find it really enjoyable. I weld everything i can. If it's made of steel it gets welded back together...

 

Spades

Forks

Welded the broken hinge on a laptop!!

Stools

chairs

exhausts

numerous brackets and things for the 2b

Ironing board

brake cable nipple for the 2b!

trailer bed

gate posts/railings

 

As said most of the little welders won't go very low. Ironically the bigger more powerful welders do. My new SIP will go from 35 - 135 amp so hopefully pretty good for most things. time will tell.

 

:)

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