110v welder

Joined
May 31, 2013
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South Benfleet, Essex, England, UK
A 220V welder. ;)

Brad uses a simple stick-welder and he is a master at it.
Most folks use MIG, some of us use TIG.
Welders at the cheaper end of the market tend to be less sophisticated and cheap Harbor-fright ones can be upgraded and made better.
A few searches on here will unearth lots of threads on the topic I think.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
799
Location
Wakefield, UK
I always advise people new to welding to buy a mig. Arc (often called stick) is great for heavy gauge steel but requires a level of skill on the thinner stuff bikes are made from if you are to avoid blowing holes in everything. Unfortunately migs are much more expensive. As ever you get what you pay for and I wore out a couple of cheap migs before buying a Cebora.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2013
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1,855
Location
Washington state
look for a reconditioned Hobart or Miller (basically same company).
I found my Hobart on Amazon for 30% less.
AVOID Harbor Freight. Yes they can be upgraded but not worth the trouble. Wrong polarity etc.
read "JUNK" IMO
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2013
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1,855
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Washington state
If you purchase a Hobart/Miller, you can then swap out the 1lb wire spool for a 10 pound spool using an adapter.
I purchase flux coated .35 wire online cheaper and better than HF. Will look at my wire as when I changed spools about umpteen welds ago I used a different material? and it welds better.
Will get back to you about.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
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2,805
Location
Apple Valley, California, USA
Choosing a welder need not be a chore. But it does take some thought.

As a beginner, I wasn't sure if I was going to like welding or even be able to master welding.

I did purchase the HF 'flux-core' welder to practice with. I knew from the beginning I wasn't going to be keeping it. I considered it 'education material'. I quickly found that I really didn't like the flux-core that much. It had a learning curve I didn't like and it was extremely messy. A friend here on AZ, offered to lend me his MIG welder. I haven't looked back since. Instantly it was, soooo much easier, soooooo much cleaner and sooooo much more fun. So I say if you intend on using your new welder, start with MIG. You WILL NOT be sorry.

'Listen To' others' opinions, but trust the 'facts' and 'specifications'. For every welder out there, there will be those that love'em, and those that hate'em. It's an investment. Each welders 'specifications' need to be learned, understood, and then applied to the type of welding you foresee, yourself doing. Then you can be happy with your choice.

Research the specifications of the welders, as they are not all the same. Learn and KNOW what type and size welder you will need/want for the projects you will be working on. For example, I looked at the name brands (Miller) (Lincoln) (Hobart) etc. I ended up choosing a Hobart because the welding amperage went lower than comparable Miller or Lincoln welders. A specification that was important for me, as I knew I was going to be welding thin sheet metal.

Resist the temptation to just go with the flow. Miller is this best.....NO! Lincoln is the best, NO! NO! NO! . . . Hobart is the best......get my drift. Learn the specifications, so you know which welder will do what you want it to do.

For example..the new HF Vulcan welders I believe are not a 'house brand'. Now IMO, HF freight has added new and much-improved features with their new Vulcan brand welders. If I were to do it again I would think seriously about their new line. They are so very close to my Hobart in their specifications and construction, that I would be tempted to buy one. The reviews I've read and watched were favorable. I'm not endorsing them, just saying my impression of a new line for HF, that seems to be a definite upgrade over their standard Chicago Electric models. I have the Vulcan welding helmet, with the dual function. A grinding and welding mode, and really like it. I use them both constantly.

Whichever way you choose to select your welder, remember it's an investment that you want to get many hours/years of quality service. It's all about the specifications,
not following the crowd.

Hope this bit of perspective helps
Good luck with your choice.
 
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Joined
Apr 25, 2020
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12
some camera brands 'rate' their cameras by the number of cycles a shutter should take; 100,000 or 150,000. How do you know the 'reliability' of a welder?
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
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2,805
Location
Apple Valley, California, USA
some camera brands 'rate' their cameras by the number of cycles a shutter should take; 100,000 or 150,000. How do you know the 'reliability' of a welder?
I believe the answer to your question, can be found in the many reviews, and Youtube presentations about the various brands and types you may be interested in.
Another thing to think about, regarding 'reliability/longevity', is what is your long term vision for what you will be needing it for? And how you will be using your welder?
If it is just for this hobby of bike building, and not much else, then more than likely any mid-priced welder will probably work. Though some of the cheap ones can very well work for a very long time, depending on how you use it and take care of it.

I answered that question by doing research, as I am suggesting. I listened to all the opinions, looked online for reviews, and watched YouTube videos for each welder brand I was interested in. Once I 'learned' about welders, I was in a much better position knowledge-wise, to make an informed decision, as to which one I wanted.

Below is the 'Deciding Factors' of how I chose my current welder. (Written and posted back in 2013)
I'm as pleased with my choice today, as I was the day it arrived from Northern Tool.



As it has turned out the 25 amp lower voltage has come in real handy for my use.
And the 5 position selector has proven to be quite effective.
I've been using a 10 lb spool of .030 ER70S-6 MIG solid wire I got from HF.
And from day one, I've had absolutely no problems with it.

Then there is getting the gauges and a tank. I am using a set of gauges,
also from HF, and haven't had any problems that I'm aware of.

The tank I found online, is a 55 cf tank, that I paid around $85. I think. I can't find the receipt at the moment.
It was a reconditioned tank, that had a new valve and a fresh hydrostatic test date, which was good for 10 years.
This is important because any reputable welding supply store will not fill your tank if the HYDROSTATIC test date is over 10 years old. They checked mine today, and read the old date, but I let them know there was a newer date.
I had mine refilled for $37. Seems like each time I go, (about every six months) the price goes up by $3 or $5

I'm not sure if I have answered your question, but the more insight you have about choosing your welder, and associated equipment, the better you will be able to answer your own question........and hope that your answer is right.
 
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Joined
Feb 20, 2013
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Axedale, Victoria, Australia
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For what it is worth, if you haven't already had a look, try: https://www.millerwelds.com/resources/article-library/buying-your-first-welder-a-practical-informative-guide-for-doityourselfers. It may answer your questions.

I bought a run-of-the-mill arc welder as a complete novice back about 1972, 48 years ago, to build a small boat trailer - without considering any other method. It has never missed a beat and has done a lot of work. The purchase has never been regretted and I found the welding process easily learned, although frustrating at times. It was all trial and error and I never used any "How to do it" guides. Welding thinner material was the most difficult to master but that was reduced to low amps and spot welds to start with in order to more quickly spread the heat, otherwise you will be chasing holes with the real risk of making bigger ones. Once again, spot welds were the answer.

The above link states that arc welding is the cheapest and you only have to replenish welding rods.
 
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