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Discussion Starter #1
Sears has a couple of smaller mig welders for sale I am interested in.
One is a Lincoln mig for $335.00 and the other a Hobart for $331.96

The Lincoln is 35 - 88 amps, welds from 24 gauge to 1/8".
The Hobart is 30 - 130 amps, welds from 22 to 3/16"

I only plan on using it occasionally and since I already have a stick welder for thicker metal I thought the Lincoln would be my better option for thinner metals?


Input would be appreciated.
 

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Both are well respected names in welding equipment. My MIG is an Eastwood rated at 135 amps...good for up to a quarter inch (as advertised.). I recommend buying the most amperage you can afford, especially if you will be welding outside. MH
 

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I purchased one of those Harbor Freight 90 amp flux wire welders a few years ago and it has performed very well, especially for the $90 I paid. I use Lincoln .035 wire instead of the supplied wire to get neater and stronger welds. My machine is the old Blue case which has a "Hot Start" tip and it is a little awkward to use if you are accustomed to "Cold Start" migs and I believe the new black case units are now cold start. I have welded snow blower sheet metal and 1/4" wall pipe with no problems. It is definitely not the same quality as the units you are considering, but for the money, it gets the job done.
 

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I have a Hobart 125 EZ mig welder that I'm happy with. I have always found that if I want good penetration ,stick is a sure bet, even though my mig looks better.
 

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Welders

If you go with a stick welder, best to have 220v available. Tried a 110v stick welder, it was a waste of money. Almost impossible to strike an arc with it and that's from someone that grew up using a Lincoln Tombstone alot.

I had a HF blue painted mig welder. When it worked it worked but developed feeding issues so finially junked it.
I only have 110v in the garage so I bought a Hobart 125 amp and it works well for me. If you have 220v available, I'd suggest getting a 220v welder. Same thing with gas, if it's set up for gas and comes with the valve and hose that's a plus. You may not use it immediately but it's something you may want to use some day.

I'd recommend Hobart mig for a home shop though Lincoln and Miller have good reputations also.
 

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I also have a Hobart EZ 125 that I use on most things. If I have thick things to do I also have a 20 year old Miller Thunderbolt stick welder. Roger
 

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I'm a welder by trade, and I can tell you to skip the 88 amp Lincoln. If you can swing it go for the 140 amp Lincoln or Hobart. With 120 volts you are already severely limited due to the voltage, and the added headroom and duty cycle of the 140 will be significantly better than lower amp models, even when welding thin sheet metal. It's all about the duty cycle which is how many minutes you can weld in a 10 minute period. Forget about Eastwood/Harbor Freight or any Chinese welders, they are made of inferior parts and will not last or perform with consistency and uniformity. There's a reason the American brands weigh so much more: quality parts. The drive mechanisms on the Chinese welders also lead to feeding problems which contribute to the consistency issues. Buy Lincoln, Hobart or Miller only. Even if you need to pawn some items it will be worth it in the long run, trust me. I will say that even though it is only 125 amps, the Hobart EZ 125 is a really neat little welder for the beginner or infrequent home user. The wire feed mechanism is not good quality, but it is sufficient for its intended market. Regardless of advertising, all 120 volt welders using flux core will only pass ISO 3059 penetration tests up to 1/8". 1/4"-5/16" advertised maximum is a pipe dream, but with multipass you can get acceptable results. Tip: Do not use .035 flux core, use .030 as the voltage density is higher even though the deposition rate may be lower and you will get better penetration with a 120 volt welder.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I'm a welder by trade, and I can tell you to skip the 88 amp Lincoln. If you can swing it go for the 140 amp Lincoln or Hobart. With 120 volts you are already severely limited due to the voltage, and the added headroom and duty cycle of the 140 will be significantly better than lower amp models, even when welding thin sheet metal. It's all about the duty cycle which is how many minutes you can weld in a 10 minute period. Forget about Eastwood/Harbor Freight or any Chinese welders, they are made of inferior parts and will not last or perform with consistency and uniformity. There's a reason the American brands weigh so much more: quality parts. The drive mechanisms on the Chinese welders also lead to feeding problems which contribute to the consistency issues. Buy Lincoln, Hobart or Miller only. Even if you need to pawn some items it will be worth it in the long run, trust me. I will say that even though it is only 125 amps, the Hobart EZ 125 is a really neat little welder for the beginner or infrequent home user. The wire feed mechanism is not good quality, but it is sufficient for its intended market. Regardless of advertising, all 120 volt welders using flux core will only pass ISO 3059 penetration tests up to 1/8". 1/4"-5/16" advertised maximum is a pipe dream, but with multipass you can get acceptable results. Tip: Do not use .035 flux core, use .030 as the voltage density is higher even though the deposition rate may be lower and you will get better penetration with a 120 volt welder.
Thanks and Yes I am going to skip 88 amp Lincoln. I already have two stick welders, a fairly new Miler and a quite old Century. The Century welds smoother than the Miller, I'm told smoother because the older machines had copper windings.
I can't justify buying the 140 as its almost twice the price, although its probably the best all around way to go, but then I already have the stick welders for thicker metal. With these I use mainly a 6011 rod which I find works best for penetration especially with rust.
The EZ 125 is actually less expensive than the Hobart AC 130 but the specs give the 125 only as 18 ga. to 3/16 whereas the 130 is 24 ga. to 3/16 so it seems the 130 is better for thinner metal. The Duty cycle for the 130 is 20% at 85 amps which is much better than the Lincoln which only has 88 amps maximum.
Are you familiar with the 130?
 

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I saw an AutoArc 130 once, made by Hobart that a neighbor bought. I doubt there is any difference between a 125 and 130 other than marketing. Take all ratings with a grain of salt (ie: 18 ga. to 3/16). Those rating are for marketing reasons only, and any machine within the same amperage class will weld within the same tolerances with a given wire. Your old Century welds smoothly because it was made by Lincoln (not sure on newer Century machines I've seen in retail), and yes the older stick welders had better copper windings in general. If you are only going to weld thin gauge metal (ie: auto body work) then do not get the EZ 125. Get a machine with separate voltage control (ideally continuous not tapped) and the ability to run gas. Even if you don't run gas now it will be nice to have that option in the future and it will do much better than flux core. A well set up Mig with a CO2/Argon blend can look as good as Tig. If you're just slapping together some random thin pieces here and there the EZ 125 will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I saw an AutoArc 130 once, made by Hobart that a neighbor bought. I doubt there is any difference between a 125 and 130 other than marketing. Take all ratings with a grain of salt (ie: 18 ga. to 3/16). Those rating are for marketing reasons only, and any machine within the same amperage class will weld within the same tolerances with a given wire. Your old Century welds smoothly because it was made by Lincoln (not sure on newer Century machines I've seen in retail), and yes the older stick welders had better copper windings in general. If you are only going to weld thin gauge metal (ie: auto body work) then do not get the EZ 125. Get a machine with separate voltage control (ideally continuous not tapped) and the ability to run gas. Even if you don't run gas now it will be nice to have that option in the future and it will do much better than flux core. A well set up Mig with a CO2/Argon blend can look as good as Tig. If you're just slapping together some random thin pieces here and there the EZ 125 will be fine.
The 130 comes with gas valve whereas the EZ125 is only flux core. Pretty hard to beat a TiG weld . There is a welder in our area that is well know for good wells with stick welder, he has a very steady hands. Thanks for your input.
 

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I use a 220 volt Lincoln sp170t at home and it has been very reliable and has more than enough amperage for my home / garage needs. For the money I would go with the Hobart over the lincoln you have listed but both brands are quality made products.
 

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Get a machine with separate voltage control (ideally continuous not tapped) and the ability to run gas. Even if you don't run gas now it will be nice to have that option in the future and it will do much better than flux core.
I agree completely. I do a lot of welding on 22 gage up to 1/4 plate and both of these are features I would not do without. I have no experience with Lincoln or Hobart, but my miller 140 does I real nice job on lite gage. I use .023 wire and CO2 or metal match?. It is a little under-powered for the heavier stuff, but proper joint prep and multiple passes will get the job done.
 

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I guess I'm glad AL posted this here.
I had to go out to the garage and get a make and model number of my old big box (home depot) Campbell Hausfeld 115 V wire feed unit that I picked up like 15 years ago. I cant tell you what size flux core wire I have in it, but I've only used flux core wire. It is provisioned for gas, but has never seen a bottle. Several times a year it gets rolled out for some reason or another and has always saved the day. Beads may not be pretty every time, but things stay stuck together.
Surely has paid for itself, but I cant tell you what I paid because it's been so long. I'm just glad no one told me it was a useless piece of junk before I bought it.:) Ignorance is bliss. I guess it's just met it's homeowner level of duty. Mine looks like this.
 

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i don't know if this was asked or not but where do you plan on doing most of your welding with the machine? if you got a garage that is big enough a mig welder would probably be ok. if you will be using it outside you might be better off with a flux core welder. i got a fairly cheap flux core welder and so far it has worked good for what i needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
i don't know if this was asked or not but where do you plan on doing most of your welding with the machine? if you got a garage that is big enough a mig welder would probably be ok. if you will be using it outside you might be better off with a flux core welder. i got a fairly cheap flux core welder and so far it has worked good for what i needed.
I have small workshop. In the spring, summer and fall I now weld with my stick welder inside or out as I can open up doors and windows for ventilation, .also use a fan. In the winter my shop is heated so I weld outside under a small attached lean-too that has only a roof and lattice work on two sides. I'm comfortable for several hours outside welding with insulated coveralls down as far a 10 F, I don't weld for a living only for my own projects. If its too cold I don't weld.
I took for granted that a mig welder wouldn't be any more trouble to use than a stick welder?
 

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i don't know a whole lot about it. i just know when i was in school we were taught that when welding outside you don't really want to be using a welder that requires gas. i guess the gas can sometimes be blown away before it does its job or something long those line.
 

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If you are going to be 110v stick the only unit that I have witnessed as good is the miller unit but for the price you can easily upgrade to a different brand 220v. The miller has a shoulder strap and is really small. As far as 110v migs it seems most have best luck with flux and I know a couple people with harbor freight and another low end brand did research and modded theirs with a different capacitor and made a world of difference in ease of use and weld quality. With gas a very slight breeze is about it and I would think with 110 the wind would cool the work off too much giving really poor penetration.
 

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Can I get some pointers on flux core welding? I tried many years ago but it seemed horrible, like mig without the gas.
 

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i don't got a lot of different flux core welder experience so i can't compare but i find using the flux core welder is about the same as a mig welder except no gas to deal with. the big thing is having the machine setup right for what your doing just like would have to with any welder. usually there is a chart somewhere on the welder that give you an idea how you need to set it up for different thickness of metal.
 

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usually there is a chart somewhere on the welder that give you an idea how you need to set it up for different thickness of metal.
I used to have a Millermatic 175 amps that I loved to weld with and I'm still kicking myself for selling it. The voltage settings were infinite with this model meaning you could dial it without the notched setting dials. It was champs for the very thin metal welding and could handle 5/16" in one pass. There was a nice chart one could peruse for accurate settings.
 
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