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Ryan January 5th, 2004 07:36 PM

what welder would you guys suggest i get? i want optional gas and with an autodarkening helmet to keep under 400.00

i remember seeing a lincoln elec 150 at home depot or lowes for like 325... will that work well?

Ianvwsb73 January 5th, 2004 07:40 PM

I know a bottle of gas is like $75, then plus the helmet, and you're over 400. I think a 500 budget is easier. I remember a few guys on here saying that the 110v MIGs blow balls compared to the 220v. I don't know. It depends on what you're doing, sheetmetal or some structural welding. I know quite a few guys who are happy with 110v MIGs. I'm too broke to get either, but I think for what you like to do a 110v would be fine from what I gathered. I'm sure Nick has all the stats and has already preplotted them. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/funny.gif[/img]

fyrrmann January 5th, 2004 10:27 PM

The lincoln sp-125 110v w/ gas is good. Got mine for $400 used. So far its welded everything I needed.

vwfanatic January 6th, 2004 03:32 AM

i agree on the lincoln Sp series. Have had my sp100 for almost 10 years and I love it. great little machine. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wub.gif[/img] [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif[/img]

Nick January 6th, 2004 04:33 AM

Harbor Freight has helmets for around $80 ($5 shipping). Get a couple clamps from them while you're at it. I have a bunch of more magnets you can have so you don't need to buy those. Get a welding blanket there too, kinda cheap from them (cheaper then ebay actually).

Buying the gas bottle at first is a little pricey, expect about $150 at first then $40 for the refills (give or take). I wouldn't get the small ass bottles, the one I used is the 2.5' high bottle but that wasn't big enough for me so I upgraded to the 3.5' high bottles. I spent an extra $80 to trade up to that bottle, or could've spent an extra $25 in the beginning instead so if you can afford it get the bigger bottle that you can affford (or want to afford).

Budget, you can easily double your $400 budget for a complete setup after tools, etc. My welder's a Campbell Hausfeld, their welders have the gas hookup kit already so you don't have to spend the extra $$ on that.
Mine's the 85 amp WG300000AJ $329 model, add like $80 for shippping I think. Having wheels help alot especially since you don't want to lug around the gas bottle and keep connecting the two together (or build a cart, good first practice project with a welder). For $100 more you can get their 135 amp model. Pretty much IMO get a good welder now that may cost a little more that you wanted, it'll save you alot more $$ in the long run from upgradeing to a better one sooner.

Also tools to get, a good (not one of those $5 flea market ones, only lasts a day on average) angle grinder....I prefer the electric ones, a face shield, metal cutoff discs and a flap jack attachment.

flamed181 January 6th, 2004 04:59 AM

The auto darkening helmets are very cool but a waste of money if your just starting out get the cheapist you can find.

as for the welder I have used and own all three types millers linclon and hobart
its really a matter of personal taste all the welders I have performe about the same I use the hobart in the shop and the little linclon 125 (110 plug) in the field with flux core wire it works great for fence repair.

be aware there are 2 types of 110volt welders sold the type you see at costco
have smaller duty cycle and dont have as much power but ther'er cheaper
and I think would work fine for someone starting out for a 100 bucks or so more you can go to a welding supply place and get the next step up also dont pay what there asking unless on sale all prices at a welding supply place are flexable.
do you price shopping home work the price from one place to the next can differ

Bobnotch January 6th, 2004 09:16 AM

Yeah, my 110V mig welder was very pricey when I got it some 13+years ago. It's a Snap On mig welder built by Century welding. Its really nice in that I can weld up to 1/4" in one pass (with the machine on its highest settings), or I can weld 26 guage sheet metal on the lower setting. It has a spot and stich feature along with continuous(sp) welding, along with an adjustable wire speed feature. I agree with Nick on bottle size, as I first started with the small bottle (good for about 8 hours max), then moved up to the bigger bottle. My machine also uses an 11 pound roll of wire, so between the bottle and the roll of wire I can stay pretty busy welding for a while. Its really nice to be able to fine tune both the heat and wire speed for your particular welding job. But, it costs more up front to do this. Some day I plan on stepping up to a TIG welder, as that will be my next progression, but for now I'll stick with what I have. As far as helmets go, get the one you like, and one that is comfortable for you. Some like the auto darkening, others (like me) don't. Also some like the picture window shield and others don't, its just preference. This is just a voice of opinion, as I've been welding for over 20 years, and I know what I like, and am comfortable with. I hope this helps.

420king January 6th, 2004 09:55 AM

lots of good info here. I think that the auto darkening helmet is good for beginners, it lets them see what they are doing, where as you guys that have been welding for 20 years already know exactly what you are doing, what your machine will do etc etc.

type3rod January 6th, 2004 10:07 AM

Wal Mart has decent ones. I think mine was like 2 somthing,comes with a cheapo helmet and all the nesisry stuff.I think there Cambel and Hasfeild,mines 110v I think and its fine for what I use it for.Harbor freight is good to for some low cash.I would sugest going to th Wal to get the actual welder then get all the helmets and hammers and such from Harbor.

bugdust January 6th, 2004 12:45 PM


Originally posted by Bobnotch@Jan 6 2004, 01:16 PM
Some like the auto darkening, others (like me) don't.
Glad to hear somone else here doesn't care for the auto-hoods.

EDIT***I used to not like the auto-dark hoods because the one I had before sucked. It was a speedglas and was green and fuzzy. I have a 3n1 now (mine's a Jackson, but otheres have the same lens, like Craftsman) and I love it. I have been using it at work since I got it and will probably never go back to a standard hood.

Just make sur when you buy one that it will accpet standard size cover plates (the clear lens) because some take a smaller, thinner cover plate that is all but impossible to find and others take a funky shaped cover plate that cost $$. DO NOT BUY AN AUTO HOOD OFF EBAY FOR $49!!! A buddy at work bought one of those and it is green and fuzzy and doesn't take standard cover plates. ***END OF EDIT [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif[/img]

PapaG January 6th, 2004 01:15 PM

Hey for the old pro, flipping down the hood is great... Burnt eyes for newbies suck..

BIG GUS January 6th, 2004 02:27 PM

My good friend Anthony Tellier (Tony) writes for and has agreat article where he and a couple other guys did a comparison test on the 110 VAC MIG models:
Millermatic C135
Hobart Handler 125
Hobart Handler 135
Lincoln SP-135T
Weldmark Handler 135

The article is very comprehensive. I wish I had the original he sent me so I could add it to this note.
Anyway, Go to and click on DIY Fundamentals, then on 110Volt Mig Welders.
I hope this gets you there!!! If it doesn't, let me know. Meanwhile, I'll get hold of Tony and try to get another copy that I can send out for you.

I am still trying to fit one of these into my budget also!!!!

Also, is another great source.

Big Gus B)

Nick January 6th, 2004 02:49 PM

I may or may not get a new auto-dimming helmet soon. IF I do I can give you my current one. The switch stopped working (on/off) so I rigged the entire thing, looks like Rono-Frankenstein from the outside now but it still works. But $$ tight (tuition time) so not sure how serious I want a new helmet right now... You're welcome to borrow mine for a month or so if you run out of $$ to get one yourself though.

Also not all welders take the bigger 10lb roll of wires, you may need to buy a kit to adapt them. I started using the bigger rolls instead of replacing the smaller spools every other week, cheaper in the long run to get the big spools. Just something to keep in mind...not all welders accepts bigger spools out of the box nor gas hookups neither without buying their kit$ first. That $300 welder may not look as good a deal as the $400 welder that already has gas and big spool setup out of the box...

Ryan January 6th, 2004 04:26 PM

thanks for the offer nick. i will see what i come up with first

went to home depot and lowes today... they had the lincon hd125 for $325 and the hd135 for $425. the 135 came with the gass hookups and both had the 10lbs spool adapter and a few other bits

leaning to the 135 now

vwfanatic January 6th, 2004 04:33 PM

do it do it do it.....come over to the dark side young crack :peek:

bugdust January 6th, 2004 06:06 PM

10lb spool...HA!!! Real men get their wire in 600# drums [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/funny.gif[/img]

Jon January 6th, 2004 06:34 PM

I don't have a auto darkening helmet. I want one and I like them. I do however have a cheapy $8 Harbor freight helmet without the head strap in it and a piece of plywood screwed to the front of it.
I got tired of the flipping down thing on my other helmet so while I was at Harbor reight I got a cheap on sale one and modified it. It has become so much easier to use that I don't ever use my helmet except if I am having someone hold something or me.

My 110 Mig welder is not that great. Its a old Crapsman. Not varialble heat adjustment just High and Low. I have trouble with burn through even on the low settings sometimes. Like today while welding my hinges in. Frustrated the hell out of me.

70ghia January 6th, 2004 06:58 PM

i have the same welder as nick
although i got a hell of a deal on mine
180 bucks brand new in the box and the guy threw in a bad ass
pair of welding gloves pick a couple of wire brushes and a shitty helmet
i never tried wire feed welding before and teh whole flippin down the helmet
really pissed me off so i got a cheap auto darkening job
my welder is really limited in ability but for what i got it for
i wouldnt trade it for the world
really easy to use

Nick January 6th, 2004 07:05 PM


Originally posted by bugdust@Jan 6 2004, 10:06 PM
10lb spool...HA!!! Real men get their wire in 600# drums [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/funny.gif[/img]
Here do you get them from, Sam's Club or at BJ's

Ryan January 6th, 2004 07:06 PM

the thing i found reall funny today was that they had the welder cart for like 70 bucks .... when you could just spend 10 on angle iron, 5 for wheels and make your own with your new welder [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/funny.gif[/img] ...

well it amused me anyway. i am going to do a little more looking around before i get one.

Nick January 6th, 2004 07:11 PM

Yup, pretty soon you'll be looking at stuff and say "I can build that for 1/2 the price" and stuff, then sometimes you realize how lazy you are so you still buy the overpriced items [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wacko.gif[/img] Oh, and your brother will want you to build him a new rail-thingy to skate on [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif[/img]

bugnut January 6th, 2004 07:23 PM

:angry: Yes and you get so busy saving money by making things you don't have time for your bugs. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif[/img]

notched January 6th, 2004 10:02 PM

Hey Crack,

This is the welder that I have:

It's a SP-135 Plus by Lincoln.

I've been very happy with it for light duty welding. It's welded every part on my Squareback that I've needed it to. It's very portable, and will plug into any 110v outlet.

I'm not sure if you saw my recent post, but I've recently purchased Lincoln's Aluminium Welding Kit, and it works great! So that is a plus. I'm not sure if the other brands offer that.

I've welded mild steel, stainless and aluminium with this one welder.

The only drawback is that It won't weld steel that is thicker than 5/16" thick -- "Capabilities include welding 24 gauge through 5/16" mild steel plate." So, if you want to weld any thing thicker than that, you'll need a different welder.

If you jump up to a 220v welder, the drawback is that you'll have to wire your garage/shop for 220v, if it isn't. And you'll be limited to one outlet. Not as portable.

My cousin has a 220v Hobart that I borrow for thicker metal, and it welds 1/4" much, much smoother. The extra power makes a big difference.

Also, as stated before, you'll have to buy a tank. I can't remember what tank I bought at first, but it was small, and I ran out of gas quickly. I purchased the next tank up. They credited me for the small one. It's about 2' tall and 10" in diameter. 40#, I think. $75 for the tank filled. If I remember correctly. I actually ended up buying a second tank with 100% Argon for stainless/aluminium. The tank for mild steel is 75%/25% CO2/Argon (or Argon/CO2). [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif[/img]

Refills are only $19 for my tank size.

I tried the 100% CO2 at first, and I don't think it works as well as the mixed gas.

I actually bought a cart recently. Never had time to build one. Plus I didn't have the capabilities of bending plate. I ended up getting this one:

Except it's black. I figured for $50, I couldn't buy the wheels and metal, and have the metal formed. Plus, building a cart didn't seem too exciting.

The cart was an excellent purchase. I wish I had one when I first bought the welder (5 years ago).

I'd highly recommend a good brand name: Lincoln, Hobart, Miller, etc. If you purchase an off brand, unless it's rebranded by a good brand, you may have a tough time getting one. And watchout for anything made in China. I guarantee they will break, or malfunction.

Hope this helps.

notched January 7th, 2004 12:55 AM

Just found some prices on tanks:

20#CYL 20CF HP Cyl w/CGA 580 Argon/All Argon Mixes Valve $50.00

40#CYL 40CF HP Cyl w/CGA 580 Argon/All Argon Mixes Valve $78.00

If I remember correctly, the 100% CO2 tank requires a different valve. You'll have to check to see what the gas regulator will fit. For some reason the tank is expensive:

20#CYL 20LB C02 Cyl w/CGA 320 Carbon Dioxide Valve $84.95

Ryan January 10th, 2004 11:56 AM

my local place had a 20 for $60 and a 60 for $100.... not bad i guess.

i am getting frustrated by my quest for a welder though. i looked at hobart and millers yesterday. the guy told me miller owns hobart. the miller was nice but about 100 more than i really wanted to spend.... but the drive parts are all cast metal and not part plastic like the hobarts and lincolns. the hobart also couldnt dial in the power.... it had predetermined settings. the miller and lincoln had controls that allowed you to 'dial in' more efficeintly.

so i have decided to go with a lincoln 135 but there is another model running around home depot its the lincoln 3200. is this the 135 renamed? i have been looking for some more info and cant find it on their website. the 3200 was like $10 more than the 135 that i saw in another home depot.

the quest continues...

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