Thread: mig welders

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  1. #1
    i'm after a mig welder... but i'm seeing gasless and gas welders..

    now i've used a gas mig welder before and i've used an arc welder loads so i'm convinced which one i want.. but i just dont understand the difference between a mig with or without gas.

    can anyone shed some light.. and also tell me if i will get the mig i want for around 120 new or used?

  2. As I understand it (and I could be wrong) 'with gas' uses an inert gas feed through a pipe to shield the plasma and uncoated filler wire, while the 'without gas' ones use a coated filler wire that generates its own inert gas shield. Some (all?) 'with gas' welders can be used with coated filler wire with the gas turned off so you get the best of both worlds. I'm not entirely sure which, but one is better for outdoor windy conditions (I'm guessing the 'without gas/coated filler' approach). Obviously the coated filler is more expensive than the uncoated, but then the gas isnt free either... not sure which is cheaper to run.

  3. #3
    box section to make benches with for my workshop to mount mdf to. and in time box section again to make the frame of my cnc router

    these are the only things i can think of but exhaust repairs and this sort of thing certainly spring to mind

  4. #4
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 3 Hours Ago Has been a member for 8-9 years. Has a total post count of 1,303. Received thanks 123 times, giving thanks to others 3 times.
    Jonathan is right, however all normal mild steel wire is coated (usually copper), otherwise it would just rust.

    The difference is gasless wire is flux cored, and is basically the same as arc welding, without the need to stop and change rods. The main drawback with gasless is cleanup, and the wire is more expensive. On the flip side, gas has no cleanup, wire is cheaper, however gas is expensive, especially if you have to resort to disposable bottles.

    You should be able to pick up a mig welder for 120 secondhand, but you'll probably struggle to get one new for that much. The main thing you need to know is what thickness of metal you're planning on welding. 90A will struggle to do anything above 3-4mm, and 120A reaches it limit around 6-7mm. You can weld thicker, however it involves spray transfer, which gasless won't do, and it really abuses torches (I have been known to set torches on fire in the past!), and works the welder hard.

    Mig welders are not exactly complicated machines, and the only main drawback with cheaper ones is lack of duty cycle, which if you're only using occasionally isn't a major issue, however you need to make sure it has enough amps to weld what you want it to.

    Personally, if you're not planning on doing any thin work (i.e. below 1-2mm), I'd consider an ARC Inverter, as the DC supply makes stick welding far easier. My spontaneous ebay buy of a DC TIG inverter is one of the best things I done. I originally bought it to try TIG welding, however once I realised how easy it made arc welding, the old buzz box hasn't moved for years, and I've done jobs I wouldn't of touched otherwise (last one was a JCB bucket repair which needed low hydrogen rods due to them being made of sprung steel). Mine isn't a cheap one though, however that's due to all the TIG options it's got (High Frequency, adjustable ramp times, post gas time, current switching on button presses) and they're not used for arc welding as you only need a current setting.

  5. Jonathan? :(

  6. #6
    John S's Avatar
    Lives in Nottingham, England, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 3 Hours Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 1,937. Received thanks 124 times, giving thanks to others 44 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    Quote Originally Posted by irving2008 View Post
    Jonathan? :(
    He's still looking for that extra nail.................
    John S -

  7. #7
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 3 Hours Ago Has been a member for 8-9 years. Has a total post count of 1,303. Received thanks 123 times, giving thanks to others 3 times.
    Oops. Sorry Irving!
    I'll blame that on lack of sleep, and all you moderator types having the same pics.

  8. #8
    gutted i'd have gone for that one but bristol is a good 3-4 hour drive for me and wouldnt be worth it.. thanks for all the input guys, i'll keep looking, i think for now i'll just knock up some timber frames for the benches just so i can start cleaning the place up

  9. #9
    i just bought this
    CLARKE 130 E MIG WELDER | eBay

    now aslong as it just needs wire and a gas bottle i think it's a pretty good price .... if however it's missing anything else like the feed unit i'll be pissed....

    has anyone got any pictures of what the inside of the welder should look like just so i know i'm not buying an empty box please and also what does the gas reg look like?

  10. #10
    Damn I should have looked in on this thread earlier. I have a Sterling Mig161, large gas bottle, wire, stainless wire, regulator and gas hose. You wouldnt have got it for that price though
    Right, the one you have bought, the torches on these things are .... well crap! I have had a couple of them in at work to repair and the ones I have seen have had plastic liners in them which wear very quickly. If you can change this for a metal liner then I would do that. Inside the machine you will find a spindle that the reel of wire sits on, make sure this is not damaged or hanging off. Have a look at the drive rollers and mechanism. There shouldnt be too much play in them and shouldnt really have much wear unless it has been used a hell of a lot.
    I'm not sure what the duty cycle of this machine is so dont know much you get out of it.

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