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  1. #1
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    Default MIG Welder recommendations

    Evening all.
    I think fixing my trusty old MIG might be to much of a gamble(though I still haven't 100% ruled it out). Even if I fix the transformer, the caps aren't looking the best and it looks like they will be in the $400 ballpark if they let go(30+ years old and I'm told the ESR doesn't look good).
    So I am just starting to look around at options for a replacement.
    I'm limited to single phase.
    I guess a Binzel 15 would be nice as that's what I am used to and have spares for, but not a show stopper.
    I have 3 15kg rolls but I really don't use that much wire so maybe the 5kg isn't such a bad idea? The old machine is not what you would call "light".(light as in getting it on a trailer by myself, certainly a light weight in the welding world)
    I have a AC/DC TIG so I don't really need AC or multi process.

    Surely I need pulse MIG...

    Ideas??

    TIA

    Maybe the old MIG could be a wire feed for the TIG. Though given I don't do any production work that might be a little over the top.

  2. #2
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    Default

    You have a TIG and they usually run stick without an issue. If you don't do much welding, do you really need MIG as well?

    Michael

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    NSW
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    Default

    I run a EWM Picomig 180. It's a little ball-tearer. Probably one of the cleanest arcs of the single phase mig's I've used.

    Has the synergic profiles for a range of materials (steel, stainless, AlMg and AlSi alloys, E71T FCAW, Silicone bronze)
    Has pulse.
    Plus stitch and spot timers which I've never had before, but are a real nifty tool for consistent tacking or consistent heat input into thinner materials.
    4 drive roll feed pulling a 5kg spool, also quite portable.
    You can configure it to run on a 16A or 10A mains fuse, so if you were to need to run it on a smaller supply, the machine will limit it's max volts and duty to accommodate.

    It's a multiprocess, but I use mine mainly as a mig only. Have run a few stick rods thru it, but I'd generally use the TIG for that (my TIG has a lot more adjustability of the hot start, anti-stick, and will do average value pulse).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Default New mig

    Hello from BC.
    I've had a good run with the Unimig Razor 200 carry mig. They have a MB24 style torch which is a big upgrade from the MB15. They have a minimum of electronic controls and have been reliable without breaking the bank.
    Should set you back about $1050 plus GST.
    If you want the bells and whistles the Lincon 200C is fancy and rugged but $1000 more.
    regards
    BC

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael G View Post
    You have a TIG and they usually run stick without an issue. If you don't do much welding, do you really need MIG as well?
    I must say I didn't give using the stick much thought. Given that I haven't done any serious stick welding for 20 something years, perhaps I should give it a go. I'm told invertor stick is much nicer. I just miss the easy tacking of MIG. Certainly don't need, but me wants


    Quote Originally Posted by Commander_Keen View Post
    I run a EWM Picomig 180. It's a little ball-tearer. Probably one of the cleanest arcs of the single phase mig's I've used.

    Has the synergic profiles for a range of materials (steel, stainless, AlMg and AlSi alloys, E71T FCAW, Silicone bronze)
    Has pulse.
    Plus stitch and spot timers which I've never had before, but are a real nifty tool for consistent tacking or consistent heat input into thinner materials.
    4 drive roll feed pulling a 5kg spool, also quite portable.
    But damn that's a lot more money than I was thinking about spending . Must say I wasn't expecting single phase machines in that price range, which is way I didn't mention price, wrong again..
    Good idea with the 10A 15A option.
    So pulse isn't just a manual version of synergic?
    My old welder had stitch and spot timers. I used the spot now and again but almost never stitch(which may not have been a good thing).


    Quote Originally Posted by steamloco1954 View Post
    Hello from BC.
    I've had a good run with the Unimig Razor 200 carry mig. They have a MB24 style torch which is a big upgrade from the MB15. They have a minimum of electronic controls and have been reliable without breaking the bank.
    Should set you back about $1050 plus GST.
    If you want the bells and whistles the Lincon 200C is fancy and rugged but $1000 more.
    regards
    BC
    The power factor correction is interesting.

    Lots to think about. I think I might go away and hide in a corner somewhere.

    Thank you all.

    To go a little OT I assume 6013 isn't the best for trailer repairs. 7018 the rod of choice? With a hot start, anti-stick TIG will I be able to weld 2mm MS with 3.2mm rods? I think that's what I used to use long ago on a buzz box, but in my last thread my memory failed me twice , maybe they were 2.5mm.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    NSW
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stustoys View Post
    But damn that's a lot more money than I was thinking about spending . Must say I wasn't expecting single phase machines in that price range, which is way I didn't mention price, wrong again..
    Good idea with the 10A 15A option.
    So pulse isn't just a manual version of synergic?
    My old welder had stitch and spot timers. I used the spot now and again but almost never stitch(which may not have been a good thing).
    There is no free lunch with welding power sources. Good ones cost good money, and perform exceptionally well. Economy models will be just that to every sense of the word. The EWM has the same synergic concept as the lincoln, without the LCD display (uses a 'job' list instead that references wire gas and material type, with a material thickness adjustment on the front face plate). Not too many manufacturers are yet to 'evolve' into that level of tech, IMO.
    As for Power factor correction, input voltage tolerance on the lincoln is 230V +/- 10%, EWM is 230V +15%, -40%... so also able to handle larger variations in supply voltage - eg voltage drop from extension cords come to mind. A welder is like a gearbox for power, so power in is needed for power out- can't get around that.

    On GMAW-Pulse
    'Pulse' is a type of metal transfer. Short circuit / dip transfer is the normal mig 'bacon cracking' sound, usually lower voltage/wire speed combo for a given consumable diameter. When you up the volts and wire you get into globular transfer which is just big, nasty spatter, moving up again is spray transfer where the wire never physically touches the job, it is vapourising and being 'sprayed' thru the ionized shielding gas / arc cone. Also very quiet hissing noise. Spray is high deposition, smooth bead.
    Pulse transfer provides periods of spray transfer under a high voltage/amperage condition 'peak' heat, and a low background current. This happens hundreds of times a second. The peak current will pinch off a blob of wire, propel it across the arc, and then the background current will allow the metal to freeze (solidify) before going thru it all again. Pulse is great for spray applications 'out of position' as it is more directionally stable. Thicker metals can be joined with a spray-like transfer with less consideration given to the welding position, while thinner metals can be joined with an overall lower heat input. The higher deposition rates of pulse are great in production work where arc-on time = $$$, and resetting a jig costs production / operator time for a non productive end. The benefit of higher deposition rates for the same joint design means faster travel speed and overall less heat input to the job.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stustoys View Post
    To go a little OT I assume 6013 isn't the best for trailer repairs.
    Yeah nah probably wouldn't, if it's got anything to do with a structural component. 7016/7018 ideally, if that's your only process choice.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2017
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    Geelong, Australia
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    Default

    To put the trailer repair with 6013 into perspective - a good weld with a 6013 will likely be streets ahead of half the MIG welds that are done on production trailers these days.

    Iíve built and repaired a few trailers over the years and all we had was GP rods. Never had an issue with any of the welds - but also didnít do dumb things like fillet welding stub axles to plates with them.

    Steve

  8. #8
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    Jul 2010
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    Melbourne
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Commander_Keen View Post
    There is no free lunch with welding power sources. Good ones cost good money, and perform exceptionally well.
    Yeah I was just talking about how much I thought I would need to spend to be in the upper end of single phase welders. I fully expect it to die from old age than be worn out. Thinking more about it, my comment about where the "switch to 3 phase" would be likely no longer applies with inverter welders anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Commander_Keen View Post
    The EWM has the same synergic concept as the lincoln, without the LCD display (uses a 'job' list instead that references wire gas and material type, with a material thickness adjustment on the front face plate).
    But isn't the synergic settings just automatically adjusting the pulse welding settings? I.e a synergic welder cant do anything a pulse welder cant do, its just easier to set up?
    *At least in most cases, I think I have seen synergic welders that didn't have pulse, but maybe I misunderstood.

    Quote Originally Posted by Commander_Keen View Post
    As for Power factor correction, input voltage tolerance on the lincoln is 230V +/- 10%, EWM is 230V +15%, -40%... so also able to handle larger variations in supply voltage - eg voltage drop from extension cords come to mind. A welder is like a gearbox for power, so power in is needed for power out- can't get around that.
    Yes but as I understand it your input is limited in Amps not power. So if you have a bad PF you cant get the power in. They claim "PFC brings many benefits; for the same input current almost 30% more output can be obtained". So their welders must have crappy PF . Maybe they all do? I'm not going to lose any sleep about the money lost because of extra lose in the supply cables.

    Quote Originally Posted by Commander_Keen View Post
    Yeah nah probably wouldn't, if it's got anything to do with a structural component. 7016/7018 ideally, if that's your only process choice.
    Well I could try TIGing it. This is where my welding experience is likely showing some bias. I've only every used TIG for thin stuff, say 1.6mm and below(with one exception that is unlikely to be of any use other than "crank the gas flow up" if you're burning a lot of varnish off but no other option than to weld through it). Anything thicker and it was out with the MIG.

    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    - but also didnít do dumb things like fillet welding stub axles to plates with them.
    Its just a repair to the A frame
    Now the trailer will likely never see a public road again, so in that sense it doesn't matter. But never say never, so I would like to do a reasonable job on it.
    Its got me a little confused as to how its broken the way it has(Even though it appears to have been overloaded) but I have to cut some "repairs" off first before I can really see whats going on.

  9. #9
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    Dec 2018
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    NSW
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stustoys View Post
    Yeah I was just talking about how much I thought I would need to spend to be in the upper end of single phase welders. I fully expect it to die from old age than be worn out. Thinking more about it, my comment about where the "switch to 3 phase" would be likely no longer applies with inverter welders anyway.
    Getting nerdy here for a sec. The market (particularly home users) has become accustomed to cheap rubbish machines. And realistically, that where it will stay because the return on investment is not there for a $4K or higher machine for your average 'bloke in a shed'. But in reality for the right application (NB mostly not home users), there is definitely some benefits to the bigger and more feature packed machines. Welders are a lot like many machinist tools, the ones worth using are 3 phase machines, and the equipment available in the single phase category are devoid of many features. The switch to 3 phase for users in industry is a no brainer- they get higher machine outputs, and welding technology which will ultimately improve their bottom line thru improved productivity, (ie labour savings), less preparation of the job, and less input of wire/gas. Advanced machines will allow a 45 degree edge prep to be 30 degrees or less for the same joint- less wire is needed to fill it, faster deposition equals shorter job time, and less gas used for that arc on time.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stustoys View Post
    But isn't the synergic settings just automatically adjusting the pulse welding settings? I.e a synergic welder cant do anything a pulse welder cant do, its just easier to set up?
    *At least in most cases, I think I have seen synergic welders that didn't have pulse, but maybe I misunderstood.
    Synergic has to do with how the machine handles the input of the user to create a usable welding welding output. The machines of the 'old days' had a dial for volts, and a dial for wire speed. Turning volts all the way up, and wire all the way down wouldn't work - it'd burn back. So from this idea optimum welding works in a narrow band of a given volt/wire combo. Synergic machines tie these dependent variables together - generally moving wire up as you change the volts, and gives the user the ability to tweak the settings within that usable range.
    WFS-Amp-CSGraph.JPG
    So the basic synergic machines will have the synergic map for steel. More advanced machines will have other materials loaded as different synergic maps. Your volts and wire speed for steel are completely different to that of aluminium, or stainless for example.
    WFS-Amp-AlGraph.JPG WFS-Amp-SSGraph.JPG
    Pulsed welding with a synergic machine is also much easier to setup - with the machine giving the parameters to the user once the dependent variables are known (usually material type, material thickness, gas type, wire diameter). Takes a heap of guess work out of the equation to get to where you need to be, then makes it easier to adjust while you are there.
    Compare this to the old tech:
    s-l640.jpg


    Quote Originally Posted by Stustoys View Post
    Yes but as I understand it your input is limited in Amps not power. So if you have a bad PF you cant get the power in. They claim "PFC brings many benefits; for the same input current almost 30% more output can be obtained". So their welders must have crappy PF . Maybe they all do? I'm not going to lose any sleep about the money lost because of extra lose in the supply cables.
    Yes and yes for the first two.
    Like I said before - "gearboxes for power" - power in gets converted to power out + losses (heat, friction, noise etc). Some welders have horrible Power factor (also referred to as "efficiency")
    A more efficient machine will be able to 'make use' of less efficient power inputs to create a usable output.
    I did a bit of digging on some of the popular models in the 180-200A range multiprocess MIGs out there, and came up with the following:
    Token tools MIG210s - Not specified
    Unimig viper 185 POWER FACTOR 0.7

    BOC 180 multi process 0.73 (80%)
    EWM picoMig 180 0.99 / 86%
    Lincoln speedtec 180 0.99 / 86%
    WIA weldmatic 200i 0.92 85%
    Cigweld weldskill 185 0.8

    Read into that as you wish, some are good, some are bad... some won't tell ya!

  10. #10
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    Default

    Thank you.
    Plenty to think about.
    Much like TIG welders, MIGs have moved on so much since I had anything to do with them, other than my own MIG which had four V taps, wirefeed, spot and stitch timers. Maxing out at 140A with a gas blend, I think 160A with CO2. Only ever used 0.6mm MS wire so set up didn't take long.

    I was tempted to say I would only ever weld MS with the new one, but 5kg rolls and a few more amps does open up some other options.

  11. #11
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    Apr 2021
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    Default Millermatic 211

    I'd suggest go for a newer MIG - Millermatic 211. The auto-set feature allows you to do pretty much anything. Its amazing. I mean, I just started welding and after a few weeks, I'm able to make quality and good looking welds with this beast. Though it's a little costly but does the job close to perfection.

    Read more about this machine here https://weldingrage.com/miller-millermatic-211-review/

  12. #12
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    Default

    I don't understand the obsession with Low Hydrogen electrodes. There is no reason to run them on grade 350 RHS or any of the standard hot rolled profiles. 6012 or 6013 electrodes easily exceed the material specs of the aforementioned products.
    Much of Australia was built with GP electrodes as were many large trailers running the highways.
    Low Hydrogen electrodes have improved greatly and you would be hard put to find a more benign Low Hydro than WIA 16TC's, but for most home users, they simply aren't warranted.

  13. #13
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    16TC's are bloody expensive as well.

    As part of a auction lot I got some 7014 rods. I really like them. I was bought up on satincraft 13's.
    Gold, the colour of choice for the discerning person.

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