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first shop welder purchase


Well-known member
Apr 17, 2001
Loxahatchee, FL, Palm Beach co
I posted this reply in another forum but some of you gentelmen need to see it also, the question was asked, similat to this...
"will a off brand 110 volt mig welder be a good addition to the shop"

110 volt migs can do an excellent job on body sheet steel, exhaust systems, etc. but they are out of there class on some suspension components

Taken directly from a Joe Kalassa , a welding instructor from Lincoln Eletric
"“Some teams fail to achieve proper fusion, which basically happens, for instance, when you take a little 110-volt welding machine and work on heavy things like shock mounts,” Kolasa says. “Some people feel they can do anything they want with one of the smaller machines that is intended for thin materials. If you were to use that machine when it comes to something like a shock mount, you might as well skip welding it and just stick some bubble gum there instead because it won’t work. It’s a misunderstanding of the welding process that comes from a lack of education.”

Id strongly suggest you buy a 220volt mig in the 180 amp or highr range as it will be able to handle nearly any steel on a car, the 110volt migs will require you to bevel and grind and weld from both sides of the seams on heavier steel like frames and even then wont get the penetration thats REQUIRED
BTW, if your looking to buy a welder ID strongly advise taking a course on welding FIRST so you understand what your looking at and what to expect and so you have a good feel for what your looking to do and what equipment is necessary,then stop by a few large welding shops and ask the owner if hes ever considered upgrading his equipment? stop by a few welder dealers and ask about trade ins.?
most will jump at the chance to unload older equipment if given a reasonable offer, the TRICK is knowing EXACTLY what your looking at, having a good idea as to age and condition and value and getting a DEAL, Id generally avoid anything priced higher than 1/2-1/3 of current retail.
but be fair! include all the accessories in the bid!
look around your local area for the guy or guys that do welder repairs, they can very often get you a decent deal on a used welder or point you to someone whos looking to upgrade thier current equipment that you might be able to make a good deal for on thier older equipment.
just stick to name brands , and ID STRONGLY ADVISE STICKING TO WELDERS that REQUIRE a 220volt single phase electrical feed
because having access to parts and service and manuals is MANDATORY
if you do buy equipment thats USED ask for a demonatration on BOTH the thin sheet metal like patching a fender and exhaust pipes and thicker 1/4-3/8" thick stuff
A good welder can get the job done using cheap equipment. A bad welder will screw it up using the best equipment money can buy. Good equipment helps and its a bigger help to the inexperienced then to the journeyman.
THATS VERY TRUE UP to a point, and that point is reached when the amps are not available to drive the heat fast and deep enought to get the job done correctly, you can,t just go over and over a spot and get a good result.
YOU don,t need to spend a ton of cash either, but YOU DO NEED to know the differances and advantages and charicteristics of welders so ID strongly advise taking a welding course at a local college or night school a trade school etc. before spending your cash as its sure to pay off in much better choices being made.

DON,t forget the welder requires a MATCHED electrical feed in your garage and it may require a tank of shield gas and may require accessories or longer cords, and consumables like wire for MIG units or sticks of filler rod for stick or tig welders, all those things add up fast!
I REALLY wish some of you gentelmen were located far more locally so I could allow you to play with some of my welders and see the differances, IM sure some of my friends would bring over thier smaller welders and let you compare them also.
If I could have only one it would be a decent torch & tank oxy-accetolene combo as its so versital, my stick welders like the lincoln ranger are good also for most things on a car (steel) but every application has its ideal tool and youll be better off taking a welding class at some colledge or trade school or finding some friends who have experiance and welders to play with BEFORE making a choice than just blindly buying ANY welder
read this link below


this is about as cheap a welder in a mig unit that Id feel good recomending and ITS not nearly what you can buy for a few hundred more


BUT LIKE I SUGGESTED THE SMART ROUTE is to take a class at a local trade school or college and know what your doing and what you vwant BEFORE buying a welder


YOU DON,T NEED SOMETHING LIKE THIS BUT ITS GREAT TO PLAY WITHI think youll be much happier with a name brand 220 volt 180-210 amp mig for your shop in the long run,
ALL have decent examples
Id ask several welding shops in YOUR area for advice as to the BRAND and DEALERS who supply the best SUPPORT in YOUR AREA
...YES you do generally get what you pay for in features and quality, so look into features, duty cycles and warrantys, service/support



BTW HAVE A GOOD FIRE EXTINGUISHER HANDY and while most of this is OBVIOUS to the more experianced guys, but your need to wear the correct gear and use common sence while welding
at a minimum wear a NON-SYNTHETIC ,(many synthetics melt instantly or are very flameable) VS(cotton, denim, and leather don,t generally flare or burn instantly ), wear long DENIM sleeve shirts, long leg slacks and sturdy leather boots,(cleated thick rubber soles that insulate helps) with the DENIM slacks OVER the boots not tucked loosely into open tops like cowboy boots and a use self darkening helmet, and wearing leather welders gloves and a reversed cotton baseball cap sure won,t hurt if your doing a good deal of welding, simply because YOU WILL EVENTUALLY get radiation burns (fairly quickly from the arc/flash of welding if you don,t ) on exposed skin,
(think of this as a bad sun burn, OR WORSE, that can happen in minutes in some cases) and repeated exposure too radiation burns is never a good idea.
and welders tend to create HEAT, sparks and falling bits of red hot metalic crud that makes sandels, short sleeve shirts and shorts a very dumb idea in most cases. keep a DECENT SIZE CO2 fire extinguisher handy, and a water hose with a spray nozzle that pressurized kept near by is a good idea.
never weld over your head if you can move the part to where you can weld at bench ;level, yeah! it takes longer to remove and install the parts like exhausts or mufflers and yeah! its not always practical, but both safety and weld quality benefit, so if you have the option weld on a bench vs the car!
THINK! before welding, HOT stuff falling on tender bits of your anatomy or starting the car on fires seldom FUN, and clamps, use of a barrier for shielding the stuff near the weld location with a wet towel or sheet of galvanized metal , use a GREAT GROUND, or in rare cases flowing water , it is only comon sence, but be aware that you can also get ELECTRICUTED if your REALLY DUMB, SO THINK IT THRU BEFORE you start, have a buddy help, and know what your doing, before you get in over your skill/knowledge level
if your useing an oxy-acetolene torch, make DAMN SURE the tanks are turned off before putting them away,and the fittings are tight and nothings leaking before use,and be sure local laws don,t prohibit you from home use of a oxy-acetolene welder

BTW at this point you might be wondering if the time effort and expence is worth it in aquiring and learning to use a welder ,,I have yet to meet a dedicated & experianced HOT RODDER who doesn,t think his welder is almost a mandatory part of the shop, they will easily pay for themselfs in most shops in under a year, and some times in MUCH less time....
Ive seen guys fabricate custom exhaust systems from 3" stainless that would easily cost $2000 plus at most muffler shops for under $700 in parts , Ive built custom transmission mounts for $45 that listed for over $200 in catalogs, etc.

QUOTE>>>>I could get the Hobart 210 for $850.00, which seems like a good price"

again ID suggest taking a class and useing several differant brands and types of welders before buying ANY welder, I have used several HOBART welders in the past and they worked just fine and ID suspect the 210 handler will fill most guys needs on car steel repairs and fabrication easily. Id think its going to be a decent choice, and its surely priced right.
but Id find a local HOBART,LINCOLN,MILLER and THERMAL ARC dealer and ask for info on the features and faults of similar machines BEFORE buying ANY welder, just to be sure I was making a great choice, you don,t want to find out later that brand A, was FAR better than BRAND B that you purchased, you want to be sure BRAND B is an excellent deal, and yeah! theres ALWAYS COMPROMISES, and LOCAL SERVICE & PARTS,& supplies & SUPPORT is MANDATORY
HOW do YOU know that one of these is not a better DEAL? untill you do some research, that HOBART might be a KILLER DEAL, maybe not, KNOW FIRST

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