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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Panhandle, FL
    Posts
    8

    Default newbie thats a little confused

    good evening all, first off let me say howdy as i am new here, but have been reading for a week or so, many different things on this great forum...

    let me start off by saying i have never welded a day in my life, however i have been reading off and on for the last year about how to weld and which welders may suite my needs today and in the future as i learn to weld. also i did work in a AL handrail fab shop for a bit a number of years ago and learned very quickly how to be in the shop and not get flash burnt eyes.

    at first i was looking at a basic HD or Lowes lincoln 120v however in the future i see myself as possibly needing to weld up to about 1/4" in steel but probably nothing thicker, and no more then 1/4" AL also. so for future uses i am leaning towards a 240v MM180 without auto-set for roughly 800 bucks from airgas gulf coast.

    now for my power situation: for the 120v machines i really think i would need a 20a circuit, and i only have 1 of those available and not very convenient to use, as well as a 30a dryer circuit, the dryer circuit would be easier to make a cord for as its the closest to my back door, so i can just make an 25' ext cord or so and be good to go. the other reason i am leaning towards a 240v machine.

    now for a bit of confusion and the real reason i am making this post! while looking at the specs for the MM180 i see that 21.7a 230v input is based on a rated output of 135 A at 22.5 VDC, 30% Duty Cycle. with a Welding Amperage Range of 30 - 180 Amps, so far so good. now to the confusing part! the miller webpage says this machine can weld up to 5/16 steel on a single pass, however when using millers flux core calculator it says 1/4" steel requires 170-190 amps and 3/8 requires 330-375 amps(there is no 5/16 in the list). now if 1/4" steel uses the max output of the machine, how could it weld 5/16 steel? thats the confusing me part....

    also since the rated output will draw 21.7 amps if i have to turn it up to the max will the 30a dryer circuit suffice?

    thanks for your time and sorry for the long winded post, just trying to be thorough.

    Ratt
    Last edited by rsriverrat; 02-24-2008 at 10:49 PM. Reason: changed title

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    835

    Default Get the 240V machine.

    If you ignore all other advice, just heed this. GET THE 240V MACHINE!

    My second piece of advice is to take an introductory welding course at your local trade school. You will learn what welder to buy because you will learn what each is capable of.

    As far as your questions, they give "ambitious" sizes because they want to sell welders. They'll tell you it can weld battleships, but of course, how many people have a battleship to weld?

    They can weld larger material using preheat and multiple passes.

    If you get the 240 volt welder, you'll probably plug it into a dryer outlet anyway (via an adaptor since they are different plugs), which is typically 30 amps. Circuit breakers can be overloaded for short periods of time without tripping. In fact, the National Electric Code allows the use of smaller wire for welders with low duty cycles. One of my first mistakes was making unnecessarily heavy extension cords to use with my welder. A 12 Ga extension cord will work fine up to 20 or 30 feet. Then step up to a 10 Ga cord for up to 100'. Buy a yellow jacket 10 Ga cord and cut the ends off. Put a welder recepticle on one end and a dryer plug on the other and it will take you all over your house.

    I really like the new lincoln pro-mig-180's not because of a silly red or blue thing but because they have a geared top and bottom roller for the wire feeder. I don't know if it is similar to the Miller models or not. All my Miller equipment is large.

    When you do get a welder, be sure to look up "welder qualification joints." Make these joints and them tear them apart to see if there are any defects of weaknesses inside. There are tons of people with the money for a welder who lack the feel and skill for welding. They can be spotted by their welds which look like (as an another poster here said) chicken**** piled on a wire.

    Hope that helps. Take the class and then get a 240V mig welder. Foget the gas... just use flux cored. I like E71T-GS .045" because it's good stuff.
    Last edited by Bodybagger; 02-25-2008 at 04:02 AM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Browns Valley, California
    Posts
    1,713

    Default

    rs,

    Welcome aboard.

    Before you get too confused with the numbers, pick up a decent welding text a do some reading. I like Welding Essentials; about $30 in a bookstore.

    The capacity of these smaller MIGs has as much to do with the experience of the weldor as it does with the characteristics of the machine!

    Hank
    ...from the Gadget Garage
    Millermatic 210 w/3035, BWE
    Handler 210 w/DP3035
    TA185TSW
    Victor O/A "J" series, SuperRange

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Was in your shoes a few years ago. After reading, discussing the subject for several months, ended up with the mm180 with auto set. Rigged up a 25 ft extension cord and am very pleased with the machine and it's capacities. Works fine with 1/4".

    Welcome and good luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    673

    Talking Power Up.

    This time last year, I took basic welding in an auto-body class. We used both Lincoln and Miller MIG's; 100's thru 135's (changed from 140). They are awesome on sheet metal. All were gas shielded. BUT, at the end of class we were allowed to bring in projects. They fell flat on their face. One guy wanted to weld expanded steel onto a 3/16" frame and the 120v just didn't get it done. When asked for help, the instructor (a very good weldor) said: "I can't make this work, there's just not enough power."

    Find a way to get a 220v welder.

    tnjind is right. I stand corrected; it must have been 1/4".
    Brocolli1: I have a Lincoln 135 Plus (120v) and run that wire in it and weld a lot of stuff but on 1/4" you will just not get penetration.
    hankj: Fusion on the .250 plate might be troublesome with anything smaller than a 140, tho....
    Last edited by Craig in Denver; 02-27-2008 at 12:03 AM. Reason: tnjind is right.
    RETIRED desk jockey.

    Hobby weldor with a little training.

    Craftsman O/A---Flat, Vert, Ovhd, Horz.

    Miller Syncrowave 250.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Panhandle, FL
    Posts
    8

    Default

    without a doubt i am gonna get a 220v machine, however only the 180's from lincoln and miller are in my price and amperage range, the lincoln 180c has more starter stuff with it compared to the miller and its 50 bucks less, however i am leaning towards the miller, guess i like to spend more money then i have too...

    Ratt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    spending a little more is not such a big thing if you look at the time you will spend using the welder. i have had my MM135 for over 6 years and expect to have it for many more to come. looking at it that way $100 is not so much. i think my Miller was $125 or $150 over the lincoln when i got it, no regrets here. you will have it a long time, if you have to wait an extra week to get the $100 to get what you want, do it. in the long run you will be glad you did.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
    summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
    JAMES

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    541

    Default

    Craig in Denver,
    If your "instructor" couldn't welded expanded steel onto 3/16" then he is not much of a welder.
    O 130 amp machine has plenty of power for that. I have a HH135, great machine, that is all a newbie needs.
    Tim Beeker,
    T-N-J Industries
    (my side bussiness)

    Miller Synchrowave 350LX with tigrunner
    Esab 450i with wire feeder
    HH135 mig
    Thermal Dynamics cutmaster 51 plasma cutter
    Miller aircrafter 330 - sold
    Marathon 315mm coldsaw
    vertical and horizontal band saws
    table saw
    Dewalt cut off saw
    Sand blast cabinet
    lots of hand grinders
    Harris torch
    beer fridge

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Panhandle, FL
    Posts
    8

    Default

    i would like to take the time to thank everyone so far for their comments, i went and picked up my MM180 with auto-set today, aswell as the required parts to make an extension cord. the cord i got was sjoow 10/3 @ 10' length, i know i could have gone longer with 10g but at 1.88 ft i got what i needed for now.

    i am attaching a few pics of how i made my extension cord as well as the wiring on my existing dryer outlet, it all appears ok to me, i just thought i would get some other advice before i actually plug it in tomorrow and finish setting it up..

    Ratt
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    835

    Thumbs up Cord looks fine

    It's wired great. Just remember that when you need a longer cord (which will be very soon since you'll be eager to drag it around and weld different stuff around the house), the cheapest way to go is to get a new 10 gauge Yellow-Jacket extension cord from Lowes or Home Depot and just cut the 120V ends off. The 100' cord costs like 92 dollars at Lowes, so you're literally getting the 10 gauge wire for HALF the price (92 cents per foot) of buying it by the foot. If you are strapped for money, you could get the 50' extension cord which costs roughly half.

    Cut the socket end at least 1 foot from the plug and save it. Strip it and connect it inside the welder plug and you will have a HANDY (and free) 120V outlet on the end of your welder extension cord to run grinders cutoff saws etc. And since it's fused at 30A or higher, it will eliminate nuisance trips... (my DeWalt cutoff saw trips enough 20A breakers at startup to be a headache).

    Just be carefull to twist the green and white wires of your 1' stubby lead together and connect them to the center prong of your welder outlet, and connect the black wire of your stubby plug to either of the energized legs. DO NOT connect green to green, white to white, black to black, or you will have 240V on your 120V plug and you will instantly kill any grinder you try to run from it. And yes, it is a "dummy ground" - not OSHA approved. But neither is your cord anyway because it doesn't have sealed molded plugs.

    Break your extension cord into 50' lengths because it is HEAVY and hundred footers don't wind neatly... they tend to knot up.

    This will hve you welding all over the place!

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