Mig welders

I am looking at mig welders MILLER, HOBART, LINCOLN I have not used one much, I usually used a stick but would like to have a mig around 180 amp. I am in need of some feedback on different migs to decide which brand to go with. Thanks for your input

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Hi Richard,

I am not familiar with many brands of welders, I know the Lincoln I use works just fine. It turns down real low to weld thin metal. It’s an SP-175 Plus. It’s not the cheapest welder out there, but I don’t think you should try to save a few bucks on a welder, when you will most likely be building several gasifiers and other projects.

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Do you run your welder as mig with gas or use flux wire

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Wayne runs 75/25 argon/Co2 gas, it makes a much better weld than the fluxcore. Only issue is wind, you need a calm day or shelter from breezes.

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I use a 75/25 mix on my Miller mig welder and 100% argon on my Tig. You can always set up simple temporary wind screens with tarps or pieces of plywood. Most of the large things I weld has to be done outside my barn and so I don’t have any sheltered structure. I can usually come up with a way to drape tarps around and knock off all the wind (not too close or sparks will burn thru) . It’s best if you weight the bottom of the tarp with a piece of pipe or 2x4 so that it doesn’t blow.

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A lot of folks (including me) think “blue” (Miller) rules in MIG and TIG, “red” (Lincoln) in stick. After fooling with a cheapo MIG years ago, I now have a Miller 110V that I can weld 1/4" with, and a Miller “suitcase welder” that can use flux core or MIG and which is powered by a DC welding generator.

But I am sure Lincoln makes a wonderful MIG, too. It’s just that the two companies seem to have focused more on one or the other, at some point back. Go in most fab shops and you see Miller MIG and TIG machines. Look on the back of most any weldor’s truck and you see the venerable Lincoln stick machine with the Continental engine.

Like Wayne sez, whatever you do, don’t go cheap on a welder - look for used or save until you can afford a new one. Someone told me one time that you never regret getting the finest in tools. I try to stay out of HF, even though some of those tools do hold up, now. And I want to cry when I find the Craftsman line at Sears being encroached on by a cheaper, import brand. I think we need to make the highest quality tools, right here in the USA - it’s a strategic think. Enough soapbox!

Wait, one more thing. I have seen pics/heard of folks welding in T-shirts, no gloves, etc. It is best not to do that - in addition to getting thermal burns (which take your mind off the bead, among other things), the welding arc will eventually give you skin cancer, just like other UV. You need to cover up, fully. Best to wear a 100% cotton, longsleeved shirt, even when it is hot. And learn to wear gloves on both hands - I use one glove when blacksmithing or oxyacetylene cutting, but I glove up fully when arc welding.

Thanks for your input, Been looking around and reading pros and cons it is down to millermatic 211 which is dual power 110 / 220 or the Lincoln 180 Dual which is also 110/220 you can just switch the plug and plug into the correct power outlet. Probably can do most of the gasifier work on 110 power. and I can run either one off a inverter in my dually if I need to use it out on the road. My boys both say go BLUE and are both certified welders.

Sounds good… since you are here in the USA, get something that is made here. I just found out the Daytona Mig Co (I thought was from Daytona, Fl) is from Italy and the supplier is now out of business. Good thing I only need a gas regulator for now… I always wondered why the Lincoln MIG tips only went in about 1-1/4 turn. It must be metric. LAL (live and learn)

For our International friends ESAB brand is the way to go for quality. Google search this and read.

Steve Unruh

Daytona was my first.
By coincidence, my first MIG was a Daytona! What was that, 20 years ago now? I think it was a lot better than the HF’s of today - there were some neat things about it, and it was affordable. But the torch and internals were built like a toy, not a tool, and before long it gave me problems. I sold it at a garage sale. It was a pretty red, though - Italian thing I guess. I’ve been real happy with the 110V Miller, I can weld 1/4" material in one pass, perhaps not code, but good enough for my purposes. It’s great for square tubing fabrication, 14 gauge or 11 gauge.

Hey, don’t knock the HF welder until you’ve tried it. I have one and like it. It’s a piece of junk sure, but for less demanding welding it would be just the ticket. Buy every budding welder one for Christmas, to get them started. Don’t build a gasifier with it though, you will be fighting pinholes and using thicker materials just for the welder’s sake.

Sorry Chris, I respect that.
Nothing worse than getting a new toy and someone else says its no good. Keep up the good work.

Don’t apologize! I know full well it’s a piece of Chinese junk. But it has it’s place, namely in the hands of a novice welder. The alternative is often to learn on an arc welder (I did that too).

I’m 67 years old. I have been welding for 50 years. Get a good gas shield unit, When they are set right they are
as easy to use as a hotmelt glue gun.

Hey Dave,

The first few gasifiers I built was with a stick welder .

I almost lost my religion welding these drums and ammo cans!!!


Torch welding works well but it sure gets hot after awhile.

My system is offline for a couple of weeks because I had to get a new regulator. Over the summer, i went to flux cored wire and left the regulator laying around where bugs could get to it and some little critter brought in mud and made a nest in the tiny passages. I am going to try a combination pressure/flowmeter off ebay.

My Matco has stitch control for thin metal where I can variably set the weld time and stitch off time. This does a nice job of welding thin metal without burn through by letting it cool off between pulses.
Don M

I have 4 welders in my shop. 1 Lincoln 225 AC/DC 2 Miller Bobcat portables and my favorite is a Miller 211 Mig that is 11o volt or 220 volt that is capable of 20 ga. to 1/8 inch. The 211 is easy to use, just dial in the gauge of steel you are welding. I use it to teach welding to the new guys.

Don, that Matco with the stitch timer looks good.

I got my new regulator/flowmeter today and tried doing some gas welding on some really thin stuff (metal banding material). This stuff looked like swiss cheese when I attempted to weld using flux cored wire, so the gas certainly does make a difference… However, I am still having an issue with either the rust or my wire speed or gas flow… I have to really brush the rust off to get a weld that don’t have burn holes. I would like to weld through the rust to save time, but if the metal is rusty, it just don’t come out as smooth. Is rust removal always required as standard prep ? It don’t seem to be as big a problem on thicker metal, but is much worse welding thick to thin if rusty.