Product Selection Guide - MillerWelds

Help Me Choose the Right Product

Finding the equipment that's right for you doesn't have to be complicated.  Follow the steps below.

1. Select the right process

Welding Processes


The most common welding processes are Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW or Stick electrode), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW or MIG, a wire welding process), Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW, also a wire welding process) and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW or TIG). The two most common cutting and gouging processes are Air Carbon Arc Gouging (CAC) and Air Plasma Arc Cutting (plasma).

Note that:
  • MIG and flux cored welding usually can be performed by the same machine (and sometimes pulsed MIG)
  • TIG machines can usually Stick weld (and vice versa)
  • Higher output Stick machines can also air carbon arc cut and gouge
  • A multiprocess welding machine might be able to perform all of these processes!

MIG Wire (GMAW)

Skill Level: Low
Operating Cost (time and materials): Low

Metals: Steel, Stainless Steel, Nickel Alloys, Aluminum and Copper/Brass
Metal Thickness:  24 gauge (.025") and up
Speed: Very fast

  • Easiest process to learn
  • High welding speeds possible
  • Better control on thinner metals
  • Cleaner welds possible with no slag
  • Same equipment can be used for Flux-Cored Welding

Learn more about the MIG welding process >>

Pulsed MIG Wire (GMAW-P)

Skill Level: Low
Operating Cost (time and materials): Low

Metals: Steel, Stainless Steel, Nickel Alloys, Aluminum and Copper/Brass
Metal Thickness:  24 gauge (.025") and up
Speed: Very fast

  • Flexibility and productivity - nearly all metals can be welded in all positions
  • Larger diameter electrode wires for higher deposition rates
  • Virtually no spatter
  • Welds thin to thick metals

Learn more about the MIG welding process >>

Flux Cored Wire (FCAW)

Skill Level: Low
Operating Cost (time and materials): Low

Metals: Steel, Stainless Steel
Metal Thickness:  1/8" and up
Speed: Very fast

  • Can works as well as Stick on dirty or rusty material
  • Out-of-position welding
  • Deep penetration for welding thick sections
  • Increased metal deposition rate

Learn more about the MIG welding process >>

Stick (SMAW)

Skill Level: Moderate
Operating Cost (time and materials): High

Metals: Steel, Stainless Steel, Nickel Alloys and Copper/Brass
Metal Thickness:  1/8" and up
Speed: Slow

  • Well suited for windy, outdoor conditions
  • More forgiving when welding on dirty or rusty metal

Learn more about the Stick welding process >>

TIG (GTAW)

Skill Level: High
Operating Cost (time and materials): High

Metals AC: Aluminum and Magnesium Alloys
Metals DC: Steel, Stainless Steel, Nickel Alloys, Copper/Brass and Titanium
Metal Thickness:  .010" and up
Speed: Very slow

  • Provides highest quality and most precise welds
  • Highly aesthetic weld beads
  • Allows adjustment of heat input while welding by use of a remote control

Learn more about the TIG welding process >>

Pulsed TIG (GTAW-P)

Skill Level: High
Operating Cost (time and materials): High

Metals AC: Aluminum and Magnesium Alloys
Metals DC: Steel, Stainless Steel, Nickel Alloys, Copper/Brass and Titanium
Metal Thickness:  .010" and up
Speed: Very slow

  • More control on thin metals
  • Less heat distortion on thin metals

Learn more about the TIG welding process >>

Resistance Spot Welding

Skill Level: Low

Metals: Steel, Stainless Steel and Nickel Alloys

  • Simple, easy-to-operate welder for light industrial applications

Learn more about Resistance Spot Welding >>

Submerged Arc (SAW)

Skill Level: Moderate

Metals: Steel and Stainless Steel

  • High deposition rates can enhance weld speed and production
  • Excellent mechanical properties for high-quality code and X-ray requirements
  • Improves welding operator comfort and appeal — arc is below a bed of flux
   

Cutting Processes

 

Plasma Arc Cutting & Gouging (PAC)

Skill Level: Low
Operating Cost (time and materials): Low

Metals: All Electrically Conductive Metals
Metal Thickness:  Up to 7/8"
Speed: Very fast

  • Use with any electrically conductive metals
  • Small and precise cut
  • Small heat-affected zone which helps prevent warping or paint damage

Learn more about Spectrum Plasma Cutters >>

Oxy-Fuel Cutting

Skill Level: Low

Metals: Steel
Metal Thickness:  Up to 8"

  • Cuts ferrous (containing iron) steels
  • Requires no electricity
  • Highly portable
  • Can also be used for welding, heating, brazing and soldering

Learn more about metal cutting processes >>

Air Carbon Arc Cutting & Gouging (CAC-A)

Skill Level: Moderate
Operating Cost (time and materials): Moderate

Metals AC: Copper and Brass
Metals DC: Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminum and Cast Iron
Metal Thickness:  Unlimited
Speed: Fast

  • Wide variety of metals
  • Removes discontinuities or inferior welds

Learn more about metal cutting processes >>

 

2. Evaluate Your Needs: Power and Portability

Input power

Does your machine need to be self-powered, or will AC power be available at the location where it’s primarily used?

  • For locations where an electrical hookup is not practical, consider a gas- or diesel-powered engine-driven welder/generator to supply welding and generator power.
  • For locations where AC power is available, you need to know its type—and whether it’s a match for the machine you’re considering:

    Single-phase power is found in most homes and garages. Check to see if the machine you’re considering requires single-phase power, and whether its voltage requirements (120 or 240 volts) are met by the electrical service at the intended location.

    Three-phase power is common in industrial settings. Check to see if the machine you’re considering requires three-phase power and whether its voltage requirements are met by the electrical service at the intended location.


Output Power

After determining the process(es) you want, you then need to determine output power requirements. There are two factors that determine output power. The first is material thickness, and the second is the electrode diameter and type. As a general rule of thumb, you need 1 amp of power for every .001" of mild steel. For example, to weld 1/8" (.125") mild steel, you would need approximately 125 amps. Stainless steel needs about 10% less power, while aluminum requires about 25% more. Remember that for thin material you need a machine with good "low end" performance. For thicker material, you'll need a machine with a high duty cycle (see next section).

Mild steel thickness

1/8" 

3/8" 

1/2" 

5/8" 

7/8" 

1" 

1-1/4" 

Rated Output of Unit
(Total power=Amps x Volts DC

 12A at 110V

27A at 90V 

40A at 140V

50A at 110V 

55A at 110V 

55A at 110V 

100A at 120V 



Amperage for a Rated Plasma Cut on Mild Steel

To provide a standard for measuring cut quality and cutting speed, Miller uses the terms "Rated cut." A Rated cut is the smoothest cut possible at a minimum cutting speed of 10 inches per minute using a hand-held torch.



About duty cycles

Duty cycle is an indication of how long a power source can continuously weld (at a specific amperage and voltage) in a 10-minute period of time before it needs to cool down. For example, a machine with a 60 percent duty cycle at 300 amps and 32 volts of welding output can be used (at 300 amps and 32 volts) for 6 minutes out of a 10-minute period. When comparing two similarsized power supplies it is important to pay close attention to both the amperage and voltage values that determine the rated load.

When considering duty cycle for a Stick machine, note that most Stick electrodes are consumed in less than two minutes. Further about 80% of all Stick welding is done with a 1/8-inch diameter electrode, which takes about one minute to consume.

To see if a machine meets your needs, consider the following power classifications.
  • Light Industrial products typically have a 20% duty cycle and a rated output of 230 amps or lower.
  • Industrial products typically have a 40-60% duty cycle and a rated output of 300 amps or lower.
  • Heavy Industrial products typically have a 60-100% duty cycle and a rated output of at least 300 amps.


Generator power

Out in the field, you may need an engine-driven welder/generator to supply 120- or 240-volt AC power to run tools and lights, or supply 12-volt DC power to charge automotive batteries and jump-start vehicles. Miller welder/generators are packed with power; larger units even offer option packages that add 10 to 20 kW of generator power.

Learn more about generator power requirements >>



Portability

Can you bring the work to the machine, or does the machine need to go to the work? Check the product detail pages for types of portability:

  • Shoulder strap, handles, running gear, carts, etc.
  • Many engine-driven welding generators fit in the back of a pickup truck, enabling them to be driven to wherever the welding is needed. Heavy-duty trailers are also available for engine drives.