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Thread: New welder

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    8

    Default New welder

    Hi everyone. I have been doing aotobody for the past 30+/- yrs.. I have been using a Solar 2175 at home for quite a few years mabey 14-15, I bought it used for $500. At my regular 8-5 work I have used a Solar, a little green colored mig (welded nice I liked it) until it quite. We got a new Solar to replace it, I hate it and wont use it. when the owner took the other older Solar home we got a Lincoln SP175 I horded that one and left the other new Solar to the other Tech..
    So when my Solar 2175 at home took a dump (the drive motor quite) I looked at both the Lincoln 180c and Miller. I wanted something that was top shelf. I desided to get a Millermatic 211 after some long and carefull coincideration and internet reading. I got it this past Saturday. I went to Lowes and bought 25ft of 10/3 cable and made an extention I should have made a 30ft but oh well I can make another shorter one when I feel like it. I use 220v so having 110 is not something I really need cause it will stay in my garage.
    I am really use to the Lincoln and I like it it welds nice and is really good for autobody work. I have tried the Miller (I haven't had a whole lot of free time) with some 14ga I have lying around and on the autoset setting using .030 wire I was blowing holes after getting the puddle going. I was shocked at how east it blew through the steel. I've tried to use the settings they have under the cover and found it was over penetrating and the wire was flying out compaired to what I am use to. There seems to be real truth to "no 2 migs weld the same". I figured there would be some slight differances but what I have noticed is there is a huge differance between the Linc. SP175 and Miller 211. The Miller in the real short time I have used it seems less forgiving but that could be because I haven't got enough time behind it and has enough balls for anything I will be welding (sometimes 1/4in for odd repairs). The Miller wants the user to move faster then the Linc. but I'm hopeing that it is in finding the settings I'm use to with the Lincoln cause when I use the dials lable marks its speed is 2x as fast with more overpenatration. Makes me look and feel kinda like a rookie welder in training.
    The one coincern I really have now is if this Miller is too much for auto panel repairs, is it going to be gentle enough for the thinner guage metals or should I have gotten a lighter duty mig such as a 140/180? The ability to go to 110v if needed could be a plus to someone needing it and I have read (not tried yet) that using it in 110v will tame it down a bit so mabey that might be what I need to try, any thoughts or experiance compairing 110/220v?

    Thanks,

    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    144

    Default New welder

    Try some .023/.025 wire when working with the light stuff. Autoset will only get you in the ballpark but you still need to tweak it from there. Practice on scrap pieces till you get a handle on the new machine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Northern Arizona
    Posts
    454

    Default

    x2 on the thin .023 wire. The 211 should turn down quite a bit and weld the body panels ok. I would skip the autoset and use the old fashioned chart on the inside of the door and then adjust accordingly... I think getting a feel for the welder is a big deal and goes a long ways towards a quality weld.
    MillerMatic 251
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    A rockcrawler, er money pit, in progress...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Wa
    Posts
    531

    Default

    I have always found the auto set and chart were too hot with too much wire. Once you get the feel for it you won't have any problems.
    Last edited by Cgotto6; 08-08-2013 at 10:16 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Thanks guys.
    I stopped and grabbed an 11lb roll of .023 (not thinking I wanted .024). I came home and put it in and gave it alittle run and it did work better although it did bird nest once. I eased up on the roller pressure until it slipped before bird nesting I haven't had that happen to me for years I don't think the differance from .023 and .024 would be great enough to cause issues with the drive roller marked for .024. hopefully it was just too much pressure in the roller.

    I do have one other issue and that is with helmets. I have never been fond of the auto dark helmets. I have used them when they first came, the small glass (that was all they had then) and the fact that I would get green dot from the strike of the arch (they didn't have setting adjustments either on the 1st gen helmets) that turned me off and I never looked at them again. I have just reciently tried another persons helmet, I did not touch his settings and while it wasn't as bad I still wasn't overly impressed. I was wondering if there was any differance between the one Lowes sells for $98 and say a Miller (or other) that is north of $300? the Lowes brand has all the same features (large window, 4 sensors, vari shade 9-13, veri sensitivity, veri delay) is there any differance that would justify the price differance? if so, what would they be? I would think that the electronics have been improved but I just haven't tried any to compare. I try not to buy too much of that stuff from Lowes and/or WalMart for obvious reasons, but if there's a good enough savings to be had then I could bend my rules.
    I don't have anywhere where I could just ask to try before I buy so I'm looking for some advice from other welders who have compared and use. I don't want to waste my money if they haven't improved since the 1st gen or if the same (better) performance can be had with the cheeper Lowes brand.

    Thanks,

    Dave

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    East Tenn
    Posts
    148

    Default New welder

    3 year warranty for 98. Sounds like a good deal to me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    356

    Default You have to ask yourself...

    ...do I have $98 eyes or $300+ eyes...just sayin...might just be the same helmet with a fancy sticker though.
    MillerMatic 211 Auto-set w/MVP
    Just For Home Projects.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,507

    Default

    It depends on if you want a hood to throw in when you sell your welder, or one you keep using with the next machine.
    Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
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    Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

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    SPEEDGLAS 9100XX

  9. #9

    Default New welder

    I started with a fixed and bought the first auto Elie a ways back. To be honest I love auto for light gauge work when stitching or multiple spot welding. A person can get spoiled by having one but always keep a fixed shade helmet on hand. It is nice to be able to adjust darkness shades at the turn of a dial. I bought my dad a Lowes auto dark and it quit on him darn near the first time he used it. Pay for quality and yes you end up paying for a "brand name" but after all is said and done it is worth it. Give Miller helmets a try and I think you would be surprised how far they have come since "first generation" autos.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Update on helmet. A co-worker at the autobody shop we work at asked me to go with him and pick out a welding helmet. He is getting more into the repairs which is now including welding patches and trunk latches etc. the minor welding repairs. We went to Lowes and I told him he should get the one for $98 it has 4 sensors, solar recharge, wide window, veri shade 9-12, veri delay, veri sensitivity and also veri grind mode 4-9, plus (without telling him) I wanted to try it anyhow. I thought for $98 and a 3yr warrenty for what I/we do that helmet would be a good enough one to see if I would like the auto dark feature. I gave it a shot on a couple welds and thought damit I gotta get one of these and the next day I did just that and I can say that they have came along way since the "1st gen" helmets. I actually like it better then I thought I would. I went to my local welding supply store and they have Nexgen and about 6-7 others the Nexgen was $350 and at rest had a lighter golden color compaired to the Lowes green shade. I asked what the differance was with that one and the cheeper ones he had ($138 cheepest) he didn't really say except more adjustments and sensors. So I figured for $98 so long as my eyes are not getting strained or flashed for what I do it will workout great. I will look into getting a better quality manufactured helmet from Miller, Nexgen or Lincoln for my home garage work (I weld heaver guage there more often) but sure would like to try and compare before I put that kinda coin down.

    I have gotten alittle time (not much but alittle) behind the new Millermatic 211 and when I use the setting under the side door compaired to the automatic settings the welds are far better. The auto settings are what everyone has said about them, just too hot. I would have figured Miller would have gotten it right especally when you compare it to the settings under the door they don't come close to welding the same using the same piece of scrap metal the auto splatters and penatrates too much. I feel the auto set feature is one that is more of a (IMO) novel idea then a real useful one given the recommended settings under the door weld so much better and cleaner, very little splatter. Over all I am really impressed and proud of the machine I bought. I only wish I had also bought a cover for it to keep it clean and dust free but I guess I will have to order one, I just won't drive 45min one way (where I bought the welder) to buy one.


    Dave

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