Mig welder?

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osb272646's picture
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Mig welder?

Back in my college days (1970's) I worked as a welder in a factory down in Texas. 

I've been toying with getting a mig welder for a couple of reasons.  First, there's been many times that I could have used one around the homestead for repair projects, or creating gadgets.  Second, it seems like it might be a candidate for inclusion in a portfolio of personal capabilities should the current economic trading system cease to exist.  In other words, in the event the SHTF.

There are a lot of mig welders on the market, and the reviews range from "best thing since sliced bread" to "junk".  Usually for the same product.

I'm wondering if anybody on these forums has done any research on Mig welders, and what conclusions they got to?






TNdancer's picture
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Re: Mig welder?

If you're not a pro welder ( and I'm not ), I found the Millermatic 140 to be quite handy.  Has an auto setting where you simply set the wire diameter, and the gauge metal you are welding ( comes with a small tool to check gauge ) and fire away.   Comes setup to use sheilding gas, but you can change the lead and use flux coated wire.  I use mine for simple repairs, making stuff around the house like flower box brackets for the deck, built a couple of tracking units for my solar collectors ( figure that job alone paid for the welder ) and so on.  Real handy for light weight stuff.   Have a 250amp engine driven Miller stick welder for heavy jobs, like building farm implements, but I try to use the mig anytime I can, it's so easy to work with.

mtforge's picture
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Re: Mig welder?

I have a Millermatic 251. It has a high enough duty cycle (80%) that I can do large jobs without letting it cool down. It's worked very well for me. But I usually tell people the first welder I recomend is a stick welder. You can change rods for different applications easily and don't need to buy/lease a tank. 

Dutch John's picture
Dutch John
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Re: Mig welder?

Got a semi-pro ESAB. Good machine. But. In a TSHTF scenario it is worth as much as the shielding gas bottle or the wire, which ends first. Better take a stick welder and stock up sticks. In case of an extended power outage a car battery could be used as a stick welder.



Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
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Re: Mig welder?

I've thought about this too and I asked around a few years ago. One thing I heard more than once was that Lincoln made just as good of a product as Miller but at a much lower cost.


doorwarrior's picture
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Re: Mig welder?

I have been welding on and off for work for almot 15 years. What I have found to be the best is a Miller, I currently own 4 on my various work trucks. They are very dependable. I have had many problems with Lincoln over the years and they are difficult to deal with  for warranty. Besides if its for SHTF you want to know it will WORK!. Don't worry about gas shielding unless you want it to look pretty without having to clean the weld. Flux core is easy to store and pound for pound you will get many many more feet of weld than with stick. I pay about $5 per pound for. 035 wire and have stored about 75 pounds. BTW .035 is a good all around wire size, you can weld just about thickness up to 1/2". You can even weld thicker you just have to keep making passes. I know the book may say up to 5/16" but I  can weld 1/2' plate and pass x-ray. Get as big of a machine as you can afford you, never know what you will need it for.


robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Posts: 1253
Re: Mig welder?

As a several generation farmer we've an old DC(depression era) generator welder for welding cast iron (expensive nickel rod)and laying down huge amounts of metal building up soil cutting shanks for planters,sub-soilers,chisel plows etc. 90% of the farm welding is done with a flux core miller.



ckessel's picture
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Joined: Nov 12 2008
Posts: 492
Re: Mig welder?


We do a fair amount of welding for construction and ag related projects.

If I were to only keep one it would be the Miller Bobcat stick welder (gas driven) with generator.

We have several which we use for different applications:

Miller Bobcat is for structural welding. Airco Mig 160 for general shop duty as it is very handy (most used). Lincoln wirefeed (in Johnny Os photo) with fluxcore for small jobs and light field work. I really don't like this machine but it's probably because I have not really used it much. We also have a Miller Tig machine (electric) for aluminum, stainless and doing some decorative work.


Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Posts: 1988
Re: Mig welder?

My husband has bee talking about getting a welder for such things. I'm going to show him this thread. Great topic!

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
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Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Mig welder?

  This is a little bit off topic but my husband just got a welders jacket that he loves !   It keeps the dingleberries from going down your pants or burning holes in your clothes .  Found it at tractor supply  for around $25 .


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