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Trip Anthony

(162 posts)

08/18/2009 01:16AM

Main British Car:
1980 TR7 performance 4 cyl

Used gas MIG welder ... What should I look for ?
Posted by: TRip
Date: September 26, 2010 12:27AM

I'm now looking for a good used starter/beginner gas MIG unit. I could really use advice from all of you about which ones I should consider, what to avoid and price ranges.

I'd want a rig that's made in the US or at least in the Americas rather than off-shore.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

I'm in Canada so have to find one locally.

I had been looking at a new Lincoln MIG 180 but it's too pricey for my needs and wallet. So I have to go used.

From my research:

A 115 volt is good enough although a 220 would be better.

It must have gas and flux capability.

I should get a continuous rather than tap style power dial.

I should avoid units that have seen heavy shop/commercial use.

The top brands seem to be (not necessarily in this order):


I can't get harbour freight in Canada.

I'm totally confused so thanks for any advice you can give me.


Fred Key
West coast - Canada
(1262 posts)

05/14/2010 03:06AM

Main British Car:
What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about?

authors avatar
Re: Used gas MIG welder ... What should I look for ?
Posted by: DiDueColpi
Date: October 06, 2010 03:37PM

Hey Anthony,
I have an old Hobart handler 150 that has been totally reliable for years now. I recommend that you not use flux core wire. I have used it in the past and found it to be expensive and messy. Tremendous amount of spatter and smoke.
115 volt units are ok but frustrating to use.Power draw is huge and breakers blow constantly.
An older model might make sense even if it's had lots of use. New cables guns and pulleys are cheap. I would take an older one with new parts over a newer used one any day. Kms tools and Princess auto are good sources in Canada for parts or complete welders. They used to have trade ins and consignment welders. Might be worth checking out.
My power dial looks continuous but is actually a power tap. It has 4 settings and I find that it works well for what I do.
I'm not a pro welder so I'm sure that there are other more knowledgeable opinions out there. But I use my machine often and have been happy with the little guy.
My biggest tip would be to get proper protection. Any exposed skin will get very badly sunburned. A full face helmet is mandatory. I can't believe some of those TV guys with goggles a tee shirt and shorts. A cheap manual helmet is better than a cheap auto one. But a good auto helmet is hard to live without.

Thats all I got.

Bill Young
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

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Re: Used gas MIG welder ... What should I look for ?
Posted by: Bill Young
Date: October 06, 2010 10:38PM

The lower end welders from all the major brands are very similar and very competitive. Often other brands will be just rebadged versions of either a Lincoln or Miller with the other brand name. Check your local Craigslist for welders. You'll want either a major brand as carried by one of your local welding shops or a major retailer such as Sears or SnapOn so that parts will be available when you need them. A couple of years ago I picked up a SnapOn unit for $225 for Jim Blackwood and a Century (Sears) unit for myself for $125. Either would be fine for body work and some light chassis repair. There are three such units in my area listed now, should be some in your location as well.

Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2683 posts)

10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

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Re: Used gas MIG welder ... What should I look for ?
Posted by: rficalora
Date: October 08, 2010 04:59PM

I know most of you guys avoid harbor freight, but I've used the HF reconditioned "dual 151" unit I bought for about $150 for 5 years with no trouble. It's the only welder I've used so I can't compare it to anything else, but it does the job just fine. I think the most important "feature" to look for is time to practice -- no matter what make/model you buy.

Now, if you can find one in your price range, some of the newer units automagically adjust the wire feed speed. That'd be a cool feature.

Richard Dearinger
Greenfield, Indiana
(11 posts)

02/19/2009 03:51PM

Main British Car:
1977 Triumph Spitfire 1996 Ford 2.3 liter

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Re: Used gas MIG welder ... What should I look for ?
Posted by: gtownchoppers
Date: November 12, 2010 04:58PM

I bought a CH wire/flux 110v welder 15 years ago. It came with .035 flux core wire. I started to learn to weld with it as deliveried and was not happy with the results so I had a welder friend stop by and take it for a spin, He said the machine was fine but I should keep practicing and I had to get rid of the flux core wire. I was not able to buy a bottle of gas at the time so I kept practicing with the flux core wire, ultimatly I could get a decent weld with the flux core but the smoke and spater were annoying worst thing was the holes that entraped flux makes in the weld when it escapes. When I was finaly able to buy gas there was a great improvment in my welding experiance but I started noticing other problems I was still using .035 wire and the welds I was making at home never were as good as the ones I could make at work (miller 220v) so I talked with another welder friend and he told me---I have a miller 110v that I was going to through away it was a piece of crap until I put .023 wire in it, now it works great--so I bought new wire and tips and started getting results that don't always need to be ground down to be presentable. The 110v units don't have the umph to burn .035 as well as they burn .023.
As for the aperage control 4 speed vs. infinatly variable, Mine is a 4 speed the one at work is variable, I speend a lot more time fiddling with the variable and the results are about the same.

In summery/my opinion:
Gas=good flux=bad
4 speed= good Variable=good
.035 wire=bad .023wire=good

Hope this helps someone.

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