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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    ny
    Posts
    72

    Default equipment compatability question

    I am convinced I am going to get a welder to work on my aluminum boats..I have hemmed and hawed too long... I am going to go with a mig welder. Since its all aluminum work , I need a spool gun as well.

    I see locally a XR wire feeder and an XR15 gun for sale. I am pretty sure , it needs some type of power supply...meaning i cant just weld with those two items.

    my brother in law has a millermatic 250 machine. i figure that would power it. but i hate to borrow stuff.

    so if i bought the wire feeder and special aluminum gun, Ill want to buy my own mig power supply

    whats the smallest mig welder that could run this set up?

    and even more so at what age of machine will this unit not plug and play???

    thanks.....boats are waiting...

    bob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    3,051

    Default

    First off... welcome to the forum...

    Seems that MIG is a viable way to go for building aluminum boats... though I find TIG invaluable for repairing them.... if you are getting into that area you will eventually need both...

    In order to get your education started in the MIG process... you might spend a few hours reading and understanding the materials in the in the MIG resources section... might save you some expensive mistakes..

    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...ur-skills/mig/

    and on equip... I would not go smaller than a 250 amp machine with a push pull gun like an XR..... My aluminum mig is a MM350P w/25ft Alumapro gun..... and I find that to be a good setup..... although there are many times and places where a TIG is required... so I have Dynasty TIGs as well.......

    These are just my opinions... so exercise judgement and form your own...
    I am not in the boat building busines... although I have repaired quite a few..

    In any event.... expect to invest quite a bit of serious money before you do any real boatboulding.... I would not be surprised if a realistic budget would be north of $10K.... lots of us have many times that invested and still need more..............

    and please get some welding education and/or develop the skills to weld aluminum properly.... it can be a very expensive place to leard on the job... with the cost of materials today...

    Also....
    If you are considerina a particular machine... either new or used... take some time to read the users manuals.. so you can better understand usability and capabilities...........
    Here is a link to the manuals..

    http://www.millerwelds.com/service/o...uals.php?model
    Last edited by H80N; 03-16-2012 at 08:53 AM.
    .

    *******************************************
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know......

    “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

    Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

    My Blue Stuff:
    Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
    Dynasty 200DX
    Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
    Millermatic 200

    TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Bossier Parish La.
    Posts
    542

    Default

    I take it you are planning some boat repairs and minor modifications and not constructing one from scratch, right? If so, I have sucessefully done this type work on john boats for myself and one neighbor with a MM140 and spoolgun. I have an old Starcraft Cheiftan I have welded on, too. That is a project on hold right now till I can get a decent shop built. For the thin aluminum on these boats it seems to do the job just fine. I bought the MM140 and spoolgun specifically to do this work with, and the guy at the LWS agreed it was up to the task. So far no problems with doing it. I also run 0.030 F/C in the M-10 gun for steel projects. At the time I bought it I was wanting a MIG that was 120V compatible and this was the best that was available at that time in 120V. If the MM211 W/MVP had been available I would have gotten it instead, but it was only 240V back then. I think the MM211 is about the same as the MM140 when run on 120V as far as weld output and capability. If someone were to buy the MM140 from me for the right price I would be ordering the MM211 W/MVP and spoolgun tomorrow. From what I have read from others who have one the auto-set feature is not that much of an asset, as you still have to dial it in to suit your needs. But you can't get the new ones with out it. So if your just doing some repair and minor mods, not full blown construction/production this might be a viable option to consider. Run it on 240V and be able to do more than I can with my little MM140.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    ny
    Posts
    72

    Default

    thanks, Absolutely NOT going into the boat buildinmg business!!! now way is even $3K in my budget!!

    I am modifying boats, and repairing them. all on my own boats...not as a business either!!!

    I have added floatation pods to my big boat by tiging them on at work...I have also built some accessories for my boats at work and then installed them.
    now i am looking to do it at home and even do HULL repairs....move the center console, build a duck blind...remove a bench seat....a lot of fixing of cracked ribs....

    I have a starcraft 18 footer now in the works....there are a lot of holes in the transom..i want to clean them up , either by filling them in or layering a sheet over a large area to cover them all. plus some bracing has cracked...

    Id like to just fix stuff at home , rather than take it to work.

    the thin aluminum is tough to work with when its old and cracked...and having to feed a rod by hand in an akward position while totally uncomfortable is hard with a tig,......if i can do it with a spool gun.and dont need to be guiding a filler rod that accidentally touched my tungsten now and then,....would be great...


    I am hoping I could clean up the surfaces to be welded and keep them close enough to weld with MIG, liek i have watched on some videos......

    I already know the tig set ups and efforts...but I dont know really what MIG is all about


    sometimes a good deal shows up and I have to act fast to get it....

    and I know a spool gun is a MUST for mig work on aluminum


    bob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Bossier Parish La.
    Posts
    542

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dvice View Post
    thanks, Absolutely NOT going into the boat buildinmg business!!! now way is even $3K in my budget!!

    I am modifying boats, and repairing them. all on my own boats...not as a business either!!!

    I have added floatation pods to my big boat by tiging them on at work...I have also built some accessories for my boats at work and then installed them.
    now i am looking to do it at home and even do HULL repairs....move the center console, build a duck blind...remove a bench seat....a lot of fixing of cracked ribs....

    I have a starcraft 18 footer now in the works....there are a lot of holes in the transom..i want to clean them up , either by filling them in or layering a sheet over a large area to cover them all. plus some bracing has cracked...

    Id like to just fix stuff at home , rather than take it to work.

    the thin aluminum is tough to work with when its old and cracked...and having to feed a rod by hand in an akward position while totally uncomfortable is hard with a tig,......if i can do it with a spool gun.and dont need to be guiding a filler rod that accidentally touched my tungsten now and then,....would be great...


    I am hoping I could clean up the surfaces to be welded and keep them close enough to weld with MIG, liek i have watched on some videos......

    I already know the tig set ups and efforts...but I dont know really what MIG is all about


    sometimes a good deal shows up and I have to act fast to get it....

    and I know a spool gun is a MUST for mig work on aluminum


    bob
    That being the case, then look into what the MM211 can do for you for the price. Less than the $3K you mentioned, or buy MY MM140 and spoolgun and I will get the MM211. It still looks and welds like new, it just don't have the auto-set. Either way you won't be borrowing from anybody.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    596

    Default

    Hi, saw this on another site and thought you might enjoy reading.

    http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=97671 First time using MM211 - Aluminum w/ spoolgun

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    561

    Default equipment compatability question

    Me too, thin aluminum is easier and better tiged

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    ny
    Posts
    72

    Default

    is that because the aluminum is old and not fitted well maybe?

    because all the aluminum boat builders use mig machines to build boats.

    I know its clean new aluminum that is jigged in place...maybe thats why it can work so good.

    I can tig , i do it at work.....75% my aluminum tig welding works out fine...but i have had issues that I had hard times getting over.

    I tigged some aluminum boxes onto the back of my aluminum boaty 3 years ago at work... BUT.... I could NOT tig upside down PERIOD!!!

    i tacked the top and the sides fine...even with a huge gap to fill/.....

    but no way no how was i tigging the bottom of the boxes to the boat, upside down...


    plus the akward postions you have to get in and be able to keep the torch at the right distance and speed AND keep the filler od where it needs to be AND not contaminate the tungsten!!


    sooooo i was REALLY hoping MIG would be my savior...

    BUT, Id rather hear the bad news now.,..rathg
    er than dump $2000 on a mig set up that makes life miserable for me.



    whats the trick you need to learn with the mig?

    how to control the spool gun?

    how to set up the power settings?

    something else?

    thanks

    bob

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,532

    Default

    So are you thinking that you are gonna do a better job upside down on thin aluminum with a mig gun?
    Seriously, if you can make a decent mig weld and cannot tig well enuff to get by then that would be your only way to go I guess.
    But if you were gonna weld on other peoples boats for money, I would have to say that you need to get better with tig. In the thickness range you are talking about, it is absolutely the only game in town.
    With tig you can vary your amps and literally watch the weld going in. With the mig it happens very fast, and you only have a moment to know if it is going in correctly. Also, you must realize in production, you have the time to get all the settings exactly on the money. They make the same welds everyday. I have been there. Not the case on your boat.
    Also, are you saying that you are gonna drop coin for nothing other than these few mods on your own boat? We all know better than that!!
    Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
    MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
    Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

    Miller Bobcat 225 NT
    Miller 30-A Spoolgun
    Miller WC-115-A
    Miller Spectrum 300
    Miller Spoolmate 200
    Miller 225 Thunderbolt
    SPEEDGLAS 9100XX

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    ny
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Ill never work on another person boat...at least for money anyway.
    I have never used MIG yet....but since so many people do use them on boats, i thought it might be an avebnue to pursue.

    I have no idea why the tig wouldnt work upside down...and I dont know that mig will either..

    thats why i am here asking.

    and it would be for my own personal needs. Ill always have an aluminum boat...and when ever I get a new boat, ill want to change things around to my liking then as well.

    right now i am riveting and screwing parts together..the rivets pop now and then and the screws get loose..

    how about the XR feed system and gun? will it plug into most miller Mig units?

    as for the process...i guess i should rent a mig set up and see how it goes before I buy.

    I keep shying away from TIG, because it is so slow, and you need the filler rods in the other hand.....Tig seems fine for welding on a bench....but it SEEMS Mig would be easier on odd shaped things like a boat.

    thanks

    bob

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