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Old 05-19-2019, 09:24 PM   #1
57rookie
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Best overall welder machine for home garage

I am about to embark on building a new home garage at a new property.
I am not a welder at all (not even close). I plan on taking a course shortly.
What is the best make/model of over all versatile home welder that could be best utilized for someone like me that could weld in body panels and other car restoration repairs.
Looking for best make and model so I can investigate best local pricing.
Many thanks in advance.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:35 PM   #2
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

Millermatic 212 Auto-Set (or any in the 200 series Autoset line). User friendly, many dual voltage, etc.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:37 PM   #3
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I've had my millermatic 135 for about 13 yrs, never a problem. Never have been much of a Lincoln fan, but that's just cause my dad was a welder fabricator and always used miller. If you plan on keeping it around for a while I would look at warranty between Lincoln and miller also duty cycle is important. If body works all you plan on with occasional 1/4 or 3/8 you wont need to go to expensive.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:39 PM   #4
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I love my Hobart 140 and make sure you put a gas bottle on what ever you buy. Miller owns Hobart.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:09 PM   #5
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

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Originally Posted by Jcfcamaro View Post
I love my Hobart 140 and make sure you put a gas bottle on what ever you buy. Miller owns Hobart.
Another vote for the Hobart 140. Mine's great - no problems and I've used it for five years.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:50 PM   #6
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I’ve had miller 211 mvp for 6 years. It’s amazing.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:36 AM   #7
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I have had my Lincoln 155 for over twenty years with no problems.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:07 PM   #8
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I have a Lincoln 135 now for the last five years. No issues thus far. Great for sheet metal and smaller stuff.

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Old 05-20-2019, 03:28 PM   #9
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I've been using a Lincoln 175 for around 15 years and it's been great. It's one of the cheapest 220V migs you could buy at the time. I've done body work, chassis and suspension fab, pretty much everything you can imagine with it. Pretty much the same welder is marketed as Lincoln Pro-Mig 175 now.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:42 AM   #10
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

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Another vote for the Hobart 140. Mine's great - no problems and I've used it for five years.
The 140 is a great machine. I have had mine for about 8 years now and still works great!
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:15 PM   #11
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I have a Hobart 190 and an Alpha Tig. Hobart is less expensive than Miller and use much of the same parts. Buy the biggest machine you will possibly need. Get a machine that has dual voltage plugs. There will be times when you are far from your 220 outlet and/or need to weld at someone else's place and having the ability to run off a 110 outlet is priceless.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:28 PM   #12
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

Dont be scared of the Vulcan 220 ,from of all places ,harbor freight...they dont make it ,they just sell it...I have a Hobart 185 and it's a good welder...but I'm thinking seriously of selling it and going vulcan... the Vulcan welds much smoother than my hobart... and it will hang all day with a miller... we've got both miller and Vulcan at work...the Vulcan will mig,tig,stick..110 or 220....under a grand...lotta bang for the buck..checkem out on utube....https://www.harborfreight.com/omnipr...put-63621.html
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:55 PM   #13
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I'm not a tool guy where name brands mean a lot. I do not use the tools in my shop as my livelihood. If I did, I can see where some of the brands with a history of quality stand out. Getting paid on Friday can depend on whether a tool or machine holds up. I get all that.

I learned to weld (if one would call it that, better said, I can make metal stay together) on a Century wire welder. It was a 140 I think. It was so old Century was the only readable word on the machine and parts were an 'Ebay item'.

It lasted my father in law over twenty years of near daily usage in the shop. I used it for about ten and the card died. I ebay replaced it and got another couple of years out of it.

It is a relic in the wire welder field.

Started to babble but my buddy has a Vulcan from Harbor Freight, as well as a plasma cutter. They both may fall down tomorrow but he races dirt cars and his son races go-carts. Most weekends I think they go crashing instead of racing so that Vulcan has served him well for several years.

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Old 05-28-2019, 10:40 AM   #14
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

love my little lincoln 140c the real version NOT the chain store offered unit . she is a tank and i have done some 3/8" welding with just a little pre-heat to be sure and a good bevel to help get a fat bead .

the chain store version are around 500 buck range and weight around 55lbs .
the REAL version from lincoln dealers or order specific are almost 900 bucks and weigh 77lbs .

this 110volt unit is amazing from a lot of others i have used over the years . i have had a hobart 140 / used miller but in the end i have just gotten deals on lincoln's . the lincoln 140 is infinite adjustment on both power level and wire speed so you can dial it right in .

yes i have bigger but i sure do use this little guy a lot . here is my welder family 140c / 216 power mig / precision tig 275 and my hypertherm xp45 plasma
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:17 PM   #15
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

2nd on the 140C. Note the C means fully adjustable voltage instead of the 4 steps the box store versions offer.

When you wire your garage, put in a 30A 120V circuit. An honest 140 welder will pop a 20A breaker when running near max. Even if you wind up with a 240V welder to start, much easier to add circuits when in the bare stud phase then the move crap and break drywall phase.

If you can, find a "Welding for Homeowners" type course. Many welding classes are setup for folks seeking to become professionally certified. I got lucky and the "Welding for Homeowners" class was ran by the same instructor that taught auto body repair.
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Old 05-31-2019, 05:27 PM   #16
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I like the Millermatic 252
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:08 AM   #17
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I learned to weld with gas, then jumped to a TIG.

A lot depends on what you want to weld. I do a lot of small, intricate brackets, thin wall exhaust and headers, sheet metal and the occasional aluminum tank or bungs.

Once the skill with the TIG is mastered, it is much more versatile than a wire feed. I use my TIG almost every week. There's a small Lincoln wire feed in the shop, but I bet I've not run more than 10" of bead in the last ten years, and when I have it is mostly to tack a part to TIG it.

I've built car trailers and done major chassis work, and for that I've borrowed a Millermatic wire machine. Love the big Miller. It is fast.

If I were to invest time in school, I'd take a TIG class. Anyone can MIG and get a decent looking weld with an hour of practice.
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Old 06-06-2019, 07:17 AM   #18
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

I only TIG at work, at night, in the shop when no one else is around. I'm not welder so I am 'not allowed' to weld in there. But at night sometimes I do what we call 'government work'.

I forget the name but it is a monster Miller TIG machines. I guess everyone is different. I struggle to stick weld, my wire welding is good but nothing to write home about.

My TIG welding is way better than the other two, so much so I would say, "Yes, I welded that". LOL

For me TIG welding is easier.

But I am not a welder by any stretch of the imagination.

I stick to sheet metal work and small projects. When it gets heavy, "I phone a friend".

Scott
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Old 06-06-2019, 10:32 PM   #19
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

MIG is probably the easiest to get into, and 120V for light welding depending on the power you have available. MIG means gas so not flux core. I'd troll craigslist for used. Research gas bottle date stamps.
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Old 06-08-2019, 11:45 PM   #20
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Re: Best overall welder machine for home garage

You cant go wrong with a Miller, Ive had my SPC200C and 80A suitcase feeder for 32 years now. In all that time Ive replaced brushes and holders once and thats the only maintenance done on it other than taking it to the car wash once and washing it out. I just got rid of the Tweco 4-MK gun in favor of a new Bernard BTB gun last week. Its been a great machine and no doubt it still has many years left in it.
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