Top questions about selecting welding equipment according to Miller service technicians
- How much amperage do I need for welding?
Amperage measures the amount of electricity flowing and is the same as current, which is the heat. As a guideline, each .001 inch of material thickness requires 1 amp of output, so welding a base material that is .125-inch thick requires 125 amps, while welding material that is .250-inch thick (1/4 inch) would require 250 amps.
- What is duty cycle in welding?
A welding power source’s duty cycle is the number of minutes out of a 10-minute period that it can operate continuously before it overheats. Therefore, a machine that’s rated with a 40% duty cycle can operate for four minutes and then must rest for six minutes. Duty cycle ratings are included in a machine’s product specifications and are typically based on the amps and the welding process being used. When welding at lower outputs, duty cycle increases and vice versa. For example, the Multimatic 220 AC/DC multiprocess welder is rated at a 60% duty cycle when MIG or flux-cored welding at 105 amps and a 20% duty cycle when MIG or flux-cored welding at 200 amps.
- How much duty cycle do I need in a welder?
The duty cycle rating you need in a welding power source depends on the type of work you will do most frequently. In a shop or garage setting, a machine with a lower duty cycle rating will typically cover most jobs. The operator is likely welding at lower amperages and stopping more frequently, giving the machine a chance to cool down. Operators welding in a light manufacturing or fabrication production environment are welding at higher amperages and more frequently, so they typically are using a machine with a 60% duty cycle.
- What is the best welder for welding outside?
While many welding processes can be completed outside, some processes are easier than others when you’re outdoors. For outside welding jobs on the farm or ranch, for example, it’s most likely you will use stick welding or self-shielded flux-cored welding, since neither of these processes require a shielding gas. Choosing a versatile multiprocess welder, such as the Multimatic 215, provides the flexibility to tackle a range of jobs outdoors with either stick welding or flux-cored welding. Stick welding is good for quick welding jobs or repairs on dirty metal, while the wire-feed flux-cored process is more efficient when you have a larger welding job. Or, if you know you will mostly be stick welding outside, the Maxstar® 161 is a dependable stick/TIG welder that allows you to weld up to 3/16-inch-thick (4.8 mm) material.
If you also need power generation capabilities, consider purchasing an engine-driven welder/generator such as the Bobcat™ 260. The 9,500-watt output of the Bobcat 260 will provide enough power to allow full output with most any Millermatic or Multimatic welder. Only the Millermatic 255 and the Multimatic 255 would require a 12,000-watt welder/generator to provide full output. The required generator output for every plug-in welder can be found on their product specification sheets.
- What is the best welder for welding in a shop?
In choosing a welder for your shop, first consider your amperage needs and the available power. While you may not need the most powerful machine available, keep in mind that in the future you may run into welding projects that require more amperage or power, or you may want to weld aluminum. Multiprocess welders are a great choice for shop welding because they allow you to use different welding processes without having to buy multiple machines, so you can easily switch between stick, TIG, MIG and flux-cored welding depending on the job at hand. The Multimatic 220 AC/DC multiprocess welder offers the freedom to weld any process, including MIG, flux-cored, DC TIG and DC stick, plus AC TIG capabilities. If you know you will be strictly MIG welding in the shop, the Millermatic 211 is a dependable MIG welder that can weld up to 3/16-inch material at 120V and up to 3/8-inch material at 240V.