Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 46 total)
  • Recommend me a cheap mig welder
  • benpinnick
    Full Member

    I’m in need of doing some welding, so would like to get a budget mig welder. Any recommendations?

    Ta

    lesgrandepotato
    Full Member

    Clarke, SIP. Whatever machine mart are selling.
    Some will guide you away from gas less. It works for me as an occasional welder.
    General consensus is a big machine turned down welds better.
    I’ve done a lot with a Clarke 105 turbo.

    Final thought, welding metal is easy. Rust, mud, DNA, underseal less so. Prep is key.

    trail_rat
    Free Member

    General consensus is a big machine turned down welds better.

    Only on expensive machines. That does not hold true at machine mart.

    If your buying at this end of the market buy the machine suited to mid range your target gauge steel they don’t work well at the extremities.

    I’ve a clarke 160te gas mig. Using my buddy’s rtech (not “vastly” more expensive ) – instantly makes me a million times a better welder.

    If I was buying again it would be a used rtech.

    If buying a cheap welder -like a bso from the supermarket it will come assembled in the box. It’s worth stripping it and checking it out. I found my gas shroud wasn’t connected to the switch in anyway – resulting in no control of gas it was just flooding out all the time.

    Go gasless or get a fullsize canister from the likes of hobby weld. Don’t use the ti y 10l ones you’ll get 6-8inches of weld out of them .

    bigyan
    Free Member

    What do you want to weld?

    Car body panels? A gate outside in the wind? etc

    RustyNissanPrairie
    Full Member

    I’m in need of doing some welding, so would like to get a budget mig welder. Any recommendations?

    TIG for the zen like calmness and tranquility of perfect beads following on from the screams and pain of mig bird shit spatter fizzing in your ear.

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    Rust, mud, DNA,

    Sounds like an episode of CSI Miami

    convert
    Full Member

    TIG for the zen like calmness of welding following from the screams and pain of mig spatter fizzing in your ear.

    Irrationally excited that my (our) new tig welder turns up at work tomorrow. Looking forward to getting my eye in again after a few years of not having access to a set.

    drnosh
    Free Member

    @convert.

    A TIG machine is on my shopping list.

    Will be interesting to hear more from you.

    (I’m a ‘moderately’ competent welder with MIG).

    (

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    Car body panels? A gate outside in the wind? etc

    A trailer. After failing to find one I like (for reasonable money) I’m making my own. Found a 1300kg braked chassis (NOS) to build on so basic box section stuff. Thickest I’ll be doing is 3mm.

    There’s as Sealey mighty mig going s/hand locally already converted to gas for £150 I may take a look at. Otherwise best value right now seems to be also a Sealey this time a supermig 150 which is gas only so no conversion to do – gasless sounds like an unnecessary mess if you’re not using outside?

    tillydog
    Free Member

    Don’t get a SIP Migmate 90. They’re shit (I have one). For 3mm steel, you need to be able to weld at ~120A, so something like a 150A+ machine would be the minimum (given the nature of marketing.)

    If you’re welding inside, then gas is much nicer, but you have the expense of a gas bottle. (Don’t rely on disposables: Put the money towards a regulator for one of the rent-free gas cylinders (Adams, SGS, etc.) – the disposable cylinders will cost you about £2.70 per minute of welding (and last about 5-6 minutes actual welding). Rent-free: about 40p / minute and last for a couple of hours actual welding.

    The difference is £2.30 per minute. In 30 minutes of welding, you will have saved the cost of the deposit on the rent-free bottle (and have enough gas left for another ~1.5 hours welding).

    If you’re welding a trailer, a stick welder might suffice though.

    I found this video particularly illuminating about the differences between cheap and expensive MIG welders (warning – shouty American presenter, but otherwise worthwhile)

    These days, I mostly do TIG 😛

    🙂

    Northwind
    Full Member

    I thought Dan had an MX5, surely they all come with a cheap welder in the boot?

    I decided to go properly ebay cheap, after ruling out Rtech etc just on cost grounds. So in the post to me right now is one of these:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/285616257253?hash=item42800e38e5:g:D80AAOSwGoNj6gRY

    Online reviews are mostly good. I got the version including the tig torch (now out of stock) from this seller with an offer of £190, and with a 40% off ebay voucher. And then I got a £42 discount because of the tig torch being out of stock. So in the end I’ve paid £110 (and the tig torch will only be £29 to add). Now I’m not saying they’ll accept a similar offer, but even the listed price seemed good, and I’d bet money they’ll accept a fairly aggressive offer if it looks like the right machine for you.

    (I don’t know how much the 40% hit them and how much it might have been an ebay thing, and equally I don’t know how clearly ebay advises sellers of this sort of discount and whether they realised it had gone so cheap. So do bear that in mind)

    I will not be posting a review, because I know nothing. (I’d signed up for a college welding course, it got cancelled, so I’ve spent the refund on this and a load of jelly beans)

    oldnick
    Full Member

    Go read up on https://www.mig-welding.co.uk they are a friendly bunch. There is a “what power do I really need” calculator on there too. Do not believe the thickness that it will say on the box.

    breadcrumb
    Full Member

    Spend the little extra and go for an RTech. Great guys to deal with, and genuinely good welding sets.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    Go read up on https://www.mig-welding.co.uk they are a friendly bunch. There is a “what power do I really need” calculator on there too. Do not believe the thickness that it will say on the box.

    Great info thanks.

    I thought Dan had an MX5, surely they all come with a cheap welder in the boot?

    Yeah probably, but he lives 300 miles from me so not convenient to pop round.

    Spend the little extra and go for an RTech. Great guys to deal with, and genuinely good welding sets.

    I did check them out, but unless I can find a secondhand one they’re gonna blow the budget.

    breadcrumb
    Full Member

    Sometimes RTech is part of eBay’s 10/15/20% off.

    They quite often have 10% off at various points through the year too.

    stanstorey
    Full Member

    R-tech great…but my thinking is one of the below is under half the price, performs similarly, if it decides to blow up out of warranty, i’ll get another.

    Mine is a few years old now gets well used and chucked in van etc and still works perfectly

    One that many welders use (including myself for work):-

    https://www.rallydesign.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=22932

    That price is +vat etc

    Also available on their ebay store

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/332425324277

    Fantombiker
    Full Member

    I was advised to avoid the cheaper machines, and go to R-Tech for a car restoration project. I am very glad I spent the extra. I am a beginner but one thing i do know is that you need an accurate and consistent machine to get good welds and to improve, especially on thin metal. You do not want to to fighting a poor tool.

    kayak23
    Full Member

    There’s as Sealey mighty mig going s/hand locally already converted to gas for £150 I may take a look at.

    I had the flux core mighty mig as my first machine.
    Pretty horrible splattery welds to be honest.
    Sold it.

    Since got a Clarke 135 which is much better but I guess, still a budget machine.

    I get good results with it after I’m reacquainted but I don’t use it enough really.

    Did the sills and tailgate on my van and got some more to do in the summer.

    pk13
    Full Member

    It depends on how much faff you want put yourself through.
    Cheap welders work but playing with the settings and gun will drive you potty spools of wire snagged in the feed ect high/low welding cycles.
    Get hobby gass not the cheapest disposable bottles.
    There are clones of other more expensive welding set ups I’ve got a snap on but it’s not it’s a rebadged cebora.

    Honestly R tec are great but spendy for occasional use.

    toby
    Full Member

    Don’t get a SIP Migmate 90. They’re shit (I have one)

    +1 – I initialy bought a big SIP welder for sticking cars back together years ago, thinking it was better to invest in a “proper” one than something from Machine Mart. Alwasy struggled with it, could never get even welds, but I did at least get some cars though MoTs.

    Read up more recently that everyone hates them, bought a Clarke Mig Pro90 and it’s been a revalation, wire actually feeds at a consistant rate and I can get consistent welds at last! However that’s probably underpowered for 3mm steel.

    scruffythefirst
    Free Member

    Don’t get a SIP Migmate 90. They’re shit

    Utterly shit. Got a Clarke 150 and it’s fine for most stuff, better if you can get a bottle of CO2 & Argon, much nicer than just CO2.

    db
    Full Member

    Trailer = couple of 12v batteries and some jump leads – should sort you out but will not be pretty 🙂

    Everyone tells me if you start with stick you end up a better welder. Not sure there is any truth in that!

    jonm81
    Full Member

    The problem with the cheap welders for thin metal is not the power they go up to but the minimum current they can go down to.

    Most have a minimum of 40-50A which is way too high for continuous beads on bodywork. At that amperage you need to stitch the weld by doing a load of overlapping tacs. That works but is actually pretty poor practice/technique.

    R-tech are good. I have one of their migs (after getting pissed off with a clarke 130) and a dc tig. Well worth the extra if you can stretch the budget.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    How thick are bodywork panels? I’d intended to use thinner steel where I wanted to increase chassis stiffness but wasn’t concerned for impact damage, which means welding 2mm or perhaps even 1.5.

    lesgrandepotato
    Full Member

    Body panels are often 0.8mm or 1.0mm

    pk13
    Full Member

    You won’t find any cars with 1.5 or 2mm sheet old cars maybe  my old VW is under 1mm door skins maybe 1.4. 2mm is nice to weld and gives good strength you can clean the welds right down too without burning the metal with your grinding pads you can go also go for a lower grit on the discs

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    Thanks. So I guess the question that remains is can you (easily) weld 1.5mm @ 40A without blowing straight through it (Assuming all other factors like wire diameter etc. are correct)?

    tillydog
    Free Member

    can you (easily) weld 1.5mm @ 40A without blowing straight through it (Assuming all other factors like wire diameter etc. are correct)?

    A lot is in technique. Welding 1.5mm to 1.5mm is generally easy, but you would probably need a bit more than 40A for that (and MIG is usually set on voltage, rather than current). Below 1 mm is where it gets a bit tricky.

    Welding 1.5mm to (say) a large piece of 3mm is more tricky (especially if it is a fillet weld) as you need enough finesse in your technique to direct more heat into the thicker metal. Still eminently do-able with a bit of practice.

    https://www.mig-welding.co.uk/tutorial.htm

    BaronVonP7
    Free Member

    Whatever you get, check the polarity is correct for the shielding – Gas is different to Core/NoGas.

    If you get it wrong the welder will become molten and the work remains stone cold.*

    * May not be true.

    steveb
    Full Member

    Useful thread. My fiat camper looks like cills need doing again. 4 figure bill last time and they just did small patches rather than use the full repair panels I gave them.
    So for half that I could get an inverter MIG welder and hobbygas bottles, and have fun DIY. Plus always wanted to learn welding, and useful tool to have around.
    Inverter will I guess give better results than basic transformer welder.
    Any thoughts on something like the Draper MI200A?

    tillydog
    Free Member

    Any thoughts on something like the Draper MI200A?

    I don’t know the welder, but bear in mind that anything rated over about 150 amps output will need a 32 amp mains socket, rather than being able to plug straight into a normal 13 amp one. (Although I’m sure that there are more than a few with the mains leads stuffed into a 13A plug top and not used at full power.)

    As a general point, being able to take 5kg reels of wire is a good thing.

    [Good] transformer welders have their fans (so to speak), but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with inverter ones other than the risk that if they fail they may  be uneconomic to repair. They’re a damn sight easier to carry around!

    Many seem to have ‘synergic’ control these days – you tell it what you want to weld and it sets the voltage and wire speed for you. (Not something I’ve ever had the chance to try.)

    Have a look on the mig welding forum – the question comes up quite a bit. Their buying guide is worth a read:

    https://www.mig-welding.co.uk/buying.htm

    alric
    Free Member

    One that many welders use (including myself for work):-

    https://www.rallydesign.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=22932

    I didnt know you can get an MIG/|TIG/Ally all in one

    But how good are they? Whats the real difference/s between these and the 200+amp welders we have at work?

    olii
    Free Member

    I bought an RTech a couple of years ago and would fully recommend it even though it might be a bit more than you planned to spend. I’d done a bit of arc welding and found it easy and consistent to quickly learn. Most of my welding has been 1.6mm thickness and I’ve had good results.

    Although more expensive, I suspect an RTech would hold it’s value better if you were going to sell it after your project. Mine was a discounted ‘shop soiled’ set but I couldn’t see any marks on it so it’s worth looking out for discounts.

    Marko
    Full Member

     Whats the real difference/s between these and the 200+amp welders we have at work?

    Duty cycle and the fact that the big machines take the big wire reel?

    I bought an R-tech one to replace a very old SIP welder. The SIP was 180 Amps, could take a spot welder and had a stitch function. The replacement is OK, but the old machine had a nice ‘purr’ (when it worked), the new machine always sounds ‘harsh’. More than  likely because the new generation machines use mosfets(?) and not a massive transformer that weighs a ton.

    Welds OK and has a built in ‘stick’ option. It will also do gas less. I’ve never used it gas less.

    tillydog
    Free Member

    I didnt know you can get an MIG/|TIG/Ally all in one

    It’s usually DC lift TIG  and Aluminium MIG.

    MIG welding aluminium needs high current. It isn’t really suitable for thinner stuff (maybe less than 3 or 4mm, depending on skill??), and thicker stuff requires really high currents: 200A+. It also needs pure argon shielding gas (rather than the argon/CO2 mix for steel), so a second gas bottle if you use it for both.

    You would need AC TIG to weld aluminium.

    That video I posted further up the thread gives a bit of insight into the differences between cheap and expensive MIGs. (But I’ve seen good reports about the blackline MIG welder on the MIG Welding forum.)

    alric
    Free Member

    I never tried lift TIG but I assume you’ll get a contaminated weld/tungsten with it, which may be ok for some things.

    Northwind
    Full Member

    Unboxing!

    View post on imgur.com

    Haven’t made any sparks/holes/fires yet but it all seems pretty well done, I did tweak the wiring a little as it was all the cables are just bundled but not secured which isn’t ideal- it was putting a little pressure on the 36v connector, but not terrible. None of the classic cheap welder random rattles etc, I might add a little foam just to quieten the casing. Instructions are pretty poor, but the controls are very intuitive and easy to manage.

    Like i mentioned mine didn’t come with the tig torch but it takes the common wp17 2-connector torch so that’ll be super easy to add. Lift tig, like in the posts above. Ready for external gas, but it comes with .8 gasless wire. 13a plug so there’s going to be a bit of experimentation to find out how high it can go without blowing fuses (and how honest that “250A” is, I think it’s pretty much completely accepted to lie about that, like lumens or motorbike weights)

    View post on imgur.com

    Not sure when I’ll actually get to try it out, but just from the quality of build and finish I’ve seen so far it seems ridiculous for the money.

    jonm81
    Full Member

    Not sure it needs pointing out but I’m going to anyway.

    Unless you already know how to weld please do not start learning on a vehicle, especially structural components such as sills or trailer chassis, until you do know how to weld competently.

    The consequences of vehicle structural welds failing could be severe.

    jonm81
    Full Member

    I never tried lift TIG but I assume you’ll get a contaminated weld/tungsten with it, which may be ok for some things

    No, you don’t get a contaminated tungsten with scratch start tig as the molten weld pool doesn’t develop until the arc starts.

    Lift arc (different technology to scratch start) machines only initiate the arc current when they sense the tungsten being lifted off the work piece.

    tillydog
    Free Member

    Lift arc (different technology to scratch start) machines only initiate the arc current when they sense the tungsten being lifted off the work piece.

    ^This.

    The contaminated tungsten happens a depressingly short time later when you’re learning …

    You may still have to learn to ‘snap’ the torch away from the work to stop the arc with lift start.

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