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  1. #1
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    Default Welding Questions...Bat, meet horse corpse.

    Sorry guys, the search function on this site has gone to hell in a hand basket, and I don't really want to get welding advice elsewhere since it would be more bike specific here.

    So basically, im about to pick a welder up and teach myself MIG. I did literally everything on my last build except for the welding. Since I finally finished college and now have the time for a steady stream of projects, I need to learn how to do this shit (plus I have wanted too for a long time).

    So heres the dealio: I have no fucking clue what im looking for when shopping for an actual machine. I know I want something American made, since they seem to be of the highest quality. Ive had people tell me to go buy a cheapo Harbor Freight machine, but I have a hard time spending my money on junk that is almost guaranteed to break in 6 months.

    With that being said, this will be a hobby welder mostly used for hard tails, exhaust building, etc. so I dont want to go spend 2k on a hellacious pro set up that is way outside my scope of skills. I have found some Craftsman and Hobart smaller machines for around 5 bills that a guy at work says would be good to start out with...I have no clue what im looking for as far as amperage and what I need for projects like I said above. I know my garage doesnt have a 240, so it will need to be 110. I plan on picking up an argon bottle once I figure out how to use the damn thing with just electric feed.

    Can someone give me some minimum recommended specs for bike building? Maybe even recommend a machine that will last me a while and I wont outgrow too quickly. Like I said, im not going to be welding W beams together, so if it will weld a hard tail onto a frame then im open to ideas.

  2. #2
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    I'm interested too, since I'm finally moving to a house, with a garage.

  3. #3
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    Fabricator 181i

    For the money it's a steal!
    You get mig, flux core, tig and stick in one package for under a grand.
    Once you master mig you can move on to tig for some serios badass welding.

    Then take a quick night school course to get you the basics. Also make sure to add weldingtipsandtricks to your youtube favorites list. Jodi is the man and makes it all easy to understand.

    Good luck man

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    Id say your better off wiring your spot and going with a 220v machine. I have a hobart handler 175. Depending on wire you can fluxcore gas free or run gas plus very thin wire to stitch body metal or heavy gauge wire to do more structer. It came with the gauges for gas ( try and make sure it comes with gauges if posible) and got it for 300 used in canada.

    The 120v machines are a bit stunted with the heavy gauge metals. The just dont have the amp or duty to do the bigger stuff. May have some issues with structer later on down the road

    Hobart handler 175 or better yet would be a 180. Would be perfect for anything you would need to use it for and you would be able to grow into it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matttatts View Post
    Id say your better off wiring your spot and going with a 220v machine. I have a hobart handler 175. Depending on wire you can fluxcore gas free or run gas plus very thin wire to stitch body metal or heavy gauge wire to do more structer. It came with the gauges for gas ( try and make sure it comes with gauges if posible) and got it for 300 used in canada.

    The 120v machines are a bit stunted with the heavy gauge metals. The just dont have the amp or duty to do the bigger stuff. May have some issues with structer later on down the road

    Hobart handler 175 or better yet would be a 180. Would be perfect for anything you would need to use it for and you would be able to grow into it.
    So then the $500 Hobart 140 would be no bueno for doing frames and stuff?

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    If you stick with 110 I suggest trying to find a cheap hobart handler 140. It was my main welder while working in a shop when I was welding small custom pieces all day. For the price you can score one used for with a bottle I think it's a great little deal and honestly can't think of anything on a bike that would be too thick for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 904Punk View Post
    If you stick with 110 I suggest trying to find a cheap hobart handler 140. It was my main welder while working in a shop when I was welding small custom pieces all day. For the price you can score one used for with a bottle I think it's a great little deal and honestly can't think of anything on a bike that would be too thick for it.
    Northern Tool has the Hobart 140 for 499, which is what I was looking at...I really need 110 for now because im not going to spend money hooking up 220 when im about to buy a new house. Researching this shit is hard, ive never got so many mixed answers in my life lol. One guy will say dont use a 140 because its not strong enough, then another guy on a different forum will say hes welded to the ends of the earth and back with a 140 lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evidence View Post
    So then the $500 Hobart 140 would be no bueno for doing frames and stuff?
    Never used one on a frame but as long as I was running gas I would feel fine welding up mine with one.

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    I agree with sticking with a 110. Unless you're intending to start welding some really thick stuff you can get away with a 110 on almost everything for a bike.
    The bottle is the way to go, while fluxcore will work it's messy and burns hot.
    Basic set up with the bottle is 75%argon 25%co2
    There's 4 basic sizes of wire .023 .025 .30 .035 Do your best to match the wire size to the gauge of metal you're welding but most bike stuff will be .025.
    Get a decent helmet, I can't stress that enough, you can go blind. don't mess with your vision.
    I always recommend the Lincoln 140 or a Miller 140. There's nothing wrong with the Thermal Arc but you are controlling more burn through with the wire speed vs controlling it with the heat. I personally like adjusting the heat to get it the way I want it, but everybody works differently.
    Practice, practice, practice practice, You're going to suck at welding for a while but once you get the hang of it, it becomes fairly easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evidence View Post
    Northern Tool has the Hobart 140 for 499, which is what I was looking at...I really need 110 for now because im not going to spend money hooking up 220 when im about to buy a new house. Researching this shit is hard, ive never got so many mixed answers in my life lol. One guy will say dont use a 140 because its not strong enough, then another guy on a different forum will say hes welded to the ends of the earth and back with a 140 lol.
    Don't get me wrong, I'd much prefer a nice 220, especially being as spoiled as I am working with them all the time. But I just don't have that kind of cash to throw around at the house. You also have to remember its limits will also be determined on the users ability to lay down a proper weld.

    And check your local cl as well, I found a 140 with bottle setup near me for $400, got nailed with traffic ticket before I was able to pick it up and ended having to pass.

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    At work I run a Lincoln LN-25 off a Miller bobcat using NR-211 wire at home I use a Lincoln T-140, awesome machine. I weld a flux core wire useuall .30 or. 35 and have used that to do all the welding on the frame of my current build. I don't have a bottle and my work area is the back porch and open air is why I'm not running gas. Just practice and learn what your looking at through the lens and you'll be fine.

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    Theres some good points if you prep the steel joints properly you should habe more then enough penetrstion for anything on a bike.

    I habe never run a 140 but i would imagine it should work specially at that price if it has the gauges with it and its new!

  13. #13
    aaronc
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    The 140 handler is a great machine

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    Thanks for the advice guys! I dont plan on welding anything of importance for quite a while. I was just going to do the ole weld scrap and bang on it with a hammer to see how well it holds trick until I felt comfortable enough to weld anything else...I plan on using all summer to practice and hopefully I will be good enough by winter to tackle a project with it.

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    If you know anyone who can weld they should be able to teach you to mig in no time at all. Once you learn how to set your machine mig is insanely easy to run, especially if you're not out of position. Feel free to post up pics of your welds and I know atleast I'll give you some tips on what you're doing wrong.

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    All good advice above, I wanted to add just that 1) the Hobart 140 is a great little machine, and 2) at least as important as the actual welder you wind up buying (and Im making a generalization and only talking about MIG here) is the wire you run in it. Good welder + shitty wire =shitty welding, whereas really nice wire, even in a little buzzbox, makes a hell of a difference. Good luck and have fun.

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    I found this a helpfull resorce learning to weld

    http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/index.html

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    I bought my Hobart off Amazon a little more than a year ago. Fuckin' thing rocks. It'll do anything you need for a bike.

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    Check Craigslist,or some shops looking to get rid of an old machine or going out of business. I scored a Lincoln Idealarc SP200 for $250 with a 56" or 250cuft bottle, the Lincoln Hi-Freq TIG adapter,and a bunch of wire from a weld shop that was going out of business and got forclosed on. Best part was he signed over the Airgas lifetime lease to me too! Luckily my garage had 220v already run to it. I know that case is rare but a 110v wirefeed shouldn't be that hard to find used in decent shape with a lil hunting.

  20. #20

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    For getting started I think you would be well served by the Hobart 140. I am using the Hobart EZ handler wich is a flux core only machine and I have used it on stuff up to 3/16 with good confidence. I agree that if you are only doing bike fab you will have plenty of juice for good penetration.

    I wish now I had at least gotten a machine that could be converted to use the bottle but I actuallly get pretty nice results with this little guy. Also being able to adjust heat and wire speed separate would be nice. As long as you can use gas and have good adjustability you will be fine.

    If you find a good deal on a 220 machine, I would snatch it up. I know electricity is not something to play around with, but wiring in a 220 plug is pretty easy, especially if the panel is in your garage. An outlet, some wire and a 2 pole breaker are all you will need. Shouldn't cost you too much. If you can fab frames and parts and wire bikes from scratch that are going to haul you down the road at 80 plus, I bet you can handle a 220 outlet.
    Last edited by fastbub; 02-26-2013 at 3:31 PM. Reason: I am dumb

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