CHOP CULT HOME
Email Password
Search
Page 1 of 2 12 Last
  1. #1

    Default Help me pick a welder and various other tools

    Sorry I keep making "help me choose" threads I'll try to keep my tools indecision on this one. I know theres threads about stuff like this but most were from 7-10 years ago and tech has changed since then.

    So I need a welder... I have never welded before but I've watched some videos and have a good idea about the different types and uses.

    My goals for the welder- weld small pieces like brackets, tabs etc, hardtails, mini bike frames, frame crack repairs on dirtbikes, building racks or other small or medium projects, and I would like to make skid plates from aluminum at some point possibly, maybe some handlebars. Needs to run on 110v until I can get someone to wire up a 240v in my garage. It wont see daily use for sure maybe monthly unless I just start welding like crazy so take that into consideration.

    I've been looking at a few different welders.. heres a list by brand, I'll save the best for last.

    -Lincoln Electric, 140 amp, 120 volt multi process, wire fed
    (LE31MP) $799. (Multiprocess)

    - Lincoln Electric, Easy Mig 180, $739. (Mig)

    -Lincoln Electric, Mig 210 multiprocess, $1,565. (Multiprocess)

    -Miller Millermatic 211 mig $1,355. ( Mig)

    - Miller Multimatic 215, $1,665. (Multiprocess)

    - Harbor Freight, Vulcan Omnipro 220, $1,049.
    ( Multiprocess)

    -Harbor Freight, Titanium 200, $769. ( Multiprocess)

    (All prices may be off by some)

    What do you guys think? Based on my planned use of the welder what would you guys go with? And Id like to end up around $2000 max including everything ( welder, mask, gloves, extra consumables, gas and bottles, apron, cart)

    There is a lot of hate on harbor freight on here, and I get it but personally I've got lots of harbor freight tools, and never broke any of the sockets, but I have broke Craftsman sockets before. I just try not to buy precision tools from there.


    I also need a air compressor..

    I'd like to run air tools (grinders, ratchets, Sanders, impacts) maybe a parts sandblaster but I know they require high cfm's, paint guns if possible. And its gotta be 110v

    I haven't really looked at too many besides

    - Harbor Freight, McGraw 21 gallon, 175 psi, 4.0 scfm, $279.99

    - Harbor Freight, Fortress 27 gallon, 200 psi, 5.1 scfm, $429.99

    - Kobalt Quiet Tech, 26 gallon, 150 psi, 4.3 scfm, $309

    - Craftsman, 33 gallon, 175 psi, 5.1 scfm, $421.56



    I appreciate any advice and suggestions hopefully some of you know about or have used some of these before, you can also suggest other brands and models I'm open to anything that's good. Remember I'm just a hobbyist so I do not need anything too complicated or expensive.

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    2,963

    Default

    If you search what you want, you will find more than you need or want...a quick search at Miller Welds got this:

    Buying Your First Welder: A Practical, Informative Guide for Do-It-Yourselfers

    Getting started

    There are many welding processes to choose from — but no single welding process is suitable for all applications. It is critical to consider your welding skills, the basic processes available, and the capabilities and advantages of each to determine which process is best for your needs and applications.
    Overview of welding processes

    The most common processes are MIG, TIG and stick. Each has benefits and limitations for certain applications. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach..."

    https://www.millerwelds.com/resource...oityourselfers

    several more sites here:
    https://www.google.com/search?client...4dUDCAw&uact=5

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TriNortchopz View Post
    If you search what you want, you will find more than you need or want...a quick search at Miller Welds got this:
    Thanks man, sorry I guess I could've searched a little better, I just get overwhelmed looking at all the different brands and prices and I value a lot of people's opinions on here. I read the Miller links you linked up and it helped me a lot, appreciate it.

    I'm leaning towards the Lincoln 140 amp Multiprocess since I would probably use mig for 85% of what I wanna do. I can add on a spool gun and a tig setup later on if I want. Just wish it was 180-220amp then I'd be dead set.

    I dont mind buying used either, I'm just not sure how to tell if what I'm getting is worn out or not.

  4. #4
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    2,963

    Default

    seen this:

    Thread: Welder choice final two

    farmall: "Check welding forums like Weldingweb. Their users have a wide variety of machines.

    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/forumdisp...ponsored-Forum

    WW is outstanding and covers all brands, processes and anything to do with welding.

    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/

    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=54664

  5. #5
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    1,174

    Default

    Do you know anything about electricity? Most garages I've seen have 220 at the breaker box.. Then 110 legs from there.

    You might have it right in front of you and not even realize it?

    That would expand your options considerably and make things much easier.

    IMO: Get someone who knows to look at it before you spend any money or plan too deeply.

    If it is there, you're talking about a breaker. a piece of wire or cable and an outlet, and about 20 minutes. Most of the expense is their time to connect it all safely and properly.
    Last edited by confab; 02-18-2021 at 10:04 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    2,447

    Default

    ^^THIS^^

    You will want a 220V air compressor if you are going to do any blasting or painting. A lot of cubic feet of air gets consumed very quickly. The higher voltage units are much cheaper to run, and that will show up in your power bill, believe me.

    Jim

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by confab View Post
    Do you know anything about electricity? Most garages I've seen have 220 at the breaker box.. Then 110 legs from there.

    You might have it right in front of you and not even realize it?
    No I know very little about electricity. But I think there may be a 220 in there like you said. The garage is packed full of stuff so I probably covered it up when I was moving stuff around, but I'm pretty sure I saw one there now that I think about it. Thanks!

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    ^^THIS^^

    You will want a 220V air compressor if you are going to do any blasting or painting.

    Jim
    I doubt I will get a sandblaster I'm not sure it would see much use, and spray painting works for now so it's not a priority at the moment. I may just get a nice 21-33 gallon, 4-5 cubic feet roller compressor for now to run a few air tools and air up tires. And I can always upgrade if I need to or find something cheap at an auction/craigslist

  9. #9
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    1,174

    Default

    PS:

    Since it came up: Compressors and air tools..


    A small shop can run on 90psi just fine. It is the standard for most hand tools and people who complain about needing higher pressures for their impact or air hammer usually just need better tools. You need to be familiar with the service in your building and look at current consumption before you spend a lot of money and then end up having to do wiring work on top of that to make it all work. Even if it is all "110 volt" or "220" volt.

    A fabulous example is a mistake I just made a few weeks ago by NOT looking at this. (And I am supposed to know better.. But I have hard headed days, sometimes?)

    My compressor blew up last month. It was a 5 horse compressor.. 220 volt.

    I went and bought a 5hp compressor, 220 volt.. And it wouldn't fit in the building where I keep the compressor. (Because you can't work next to a compressor in a c block building. It is too loud.)

    I knew it was bigger.. So, I knew I might have to take it apart to fit it through the door. I spent a day in the cold taking it apart.. Wrestling it all through the door by myself.. Stacking it all back up, by myself. And then I went to hook my 220 volt "industrial" compressor up to my existing 220 wiring.. And it wouldn't work.

    What happened was the "industrial" compressor's startup current was higher than the 20 amps available on my existing wiring and it would trip the breaker on startup. After it was running, it was probably fine, and safe. But the answer isn't a larger breaker to let it start. The answer was heavier wiring to make it all safe. (There's an industrial wiring stunt you can pull with something called a "heater" But that is really not what you want in a small shop.)

    So, now I have a new compressor of the correct voltage.. And it won't work. So, then I spent the whole weekend re-wiring the rear building in the cold, by myself, to make it all work right and be safe. Materials to fix that mistake alone were about 400 bucks. (Worth it to me rather than taking the compressor back, because I wanted a more robust one anyway and I could do the work myself. But it may not be worth it to you!)

    The Rule: ANY real tool you buy for your shop is going to want a minimum of 20 amps, regardless of the voltage. Old places with 15 amp legs won't work. We mostly just use those for lighting now. You'll throw breakers and if you change them up to something that doesn't throw, the wiring will be unsafe.

    So, IMO.. Not to throw cold water on anyone or anything, but you really need to at least find your breaker box and look at the breakers inside. If you see a bunch of 15A breakers, you're not going to be able to do any real work till you get some dedicated circuits installed anyway..

    Which would be a great time to just get a couple of 220V legs installed and fix it right..

    Also, compressors with small tanks run themselves to death. You're going to want one with a larger tank size. (I think my old one was 50 gallonish? 60, maybe? New one is 80.)

    You can get a decent compressor cheap these days. But don't buy one too small. Look at your wiring before shopping because if you can't do the work yourself, you can end up hosed..

    IMVHO..
    Last edited by confab; 02-18-2021 at 2:03 PM.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by confab View Post

    The Rule: ANY real tool you buy for your shop is going to want a minimum of 20 amps, regardless of the voltage. Old places with 15 amp legs won't work. We mostly just use those for lighting now. You'll throw breakers and if you change them up to something that doesn't throw, the wiring will be unsafe.

    So, IMO.. Not to throw cold water on anyone or anything, but you really need to at least find your breaker box and look at the breakers inside. If you see a bunch of 15A breakers, you're not going to be able to do any real work till you get some dedicated circuits installed anyway..
    I looked and there isn't a 220 outlet under the breaker box, and I'm pretty sure there are (2) 15amp breakers and (2) 20 amps I just glanced at them but I know I saw a 15 and a 20. I dont really know that much about electrical so I'm not sure if that's good or bad sorry about that.

    My dad's friend is an electrician and he might come out and wire me up a 240 outlet, I don't wanna rewire the whole garage for sure. I plan on building a 30x50 metal building with a loft apartment one of these days and I'll have it wired up more heavy duty.

  11. #11
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    1,174

    Default

    Cool.. If you have a 20 amp outlet, at least you can do something..

    Be nice if your dad's friend would put a 220 outlet in for you for cheap. Hope it works out.

  12. #12
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    9,688

    Default

    Unless you specifically require a large air compressor to run a blaster or other tool or paint gun that REQUIRES pneumatic power you don't need a large one, just enough to run a pneumatic blowgun, air up tires etc. For brief high volume needs you can add more capacity with a additional air tank (like one off a dead, larger compressor).

    Cordless tools have gotten so good my air tools mostly sit idle as it's not worth dragging the hose. Corded tools are even better for in-shop as the only reason to own cordless is portability/cord annoyance.

    Corded tools can often be had at bargain prices especially used and are optimal for grinding and sanding where cordless batteries only deliver enough power for intermittent use, but cordless would be fine for the majority of hobbyists.

    For in-shop use corded drills and grinders are the best bang for the buck. For an impact I find cordless most handy but bikes don't need a large impact and the common ~20V kits with a cordless drill and impact are ideal for bike work. There is no need for a large impact as you can apply more force for stuff like compensators the cheap way (big breaker bar with cheater pipe) or the gloriously easy, portable manual way with an X-4 torque multiplier which will break loose a Loctited compensator nut with one hand on a long ratchet. (I should have bought one 30 years ago.) For heavy work I sometimes break torque with the multiplier then use the impact to run out the fastener (that's really for automotive work like lug nuts).

    Instead of trying the mistake of having every tool use similar power you'll get best results choosing tools by task and save money while you're at it.

    Blasting annoys me so I take big parts to my local monument company (whose industrial blast pot shits all over anything I should reasonably buy and is supplied by an engine driven compressor). I do some small stuff using a pressure-washer sand blaster few by very wet water/sand slurry but that's only because I already owned the pressure washer. It's still tedious. Otherwise I find ways not to need blasting like various abrasives in my electric die grinder, Dremels and Rotozip (which is considerably more powerful than a Dremel and takes the same bits).

    BTW you can locate large air compressors any place convenient to an outlet then run long air hose anywhere ya want it with a small surge tank at the end (easy to make from any air tank and a good idea when painting). I'm a fan of long pneumatic hoses and long (fifty or a hundred foot, I have both) welder extension cords so I can reach throughout my yard. You can run many welders off a 30A dryer or stove outlet so if you have one that could permit buying a more powerful welding machine before you get service to your garage. I installed a 50A outdoor outlet on my rented houses (with permission of course) and immediately installed on when I bought a home. Every mechanic should have outdoor 240v for convenience. The outlet plus a long cord gets you up and running then when you get improved electrical service that cord extends your range.

    If you see your tools and workshop as a system of systems that's more effective than considering tools and equipment in isolation.
    Last edited by farmall; 02-18-2021 at 5:33 PM.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    21

    Default

    I have the Lincoln 180, having really good results with it, would totally recommend for a hobby/homeowner machine.

  14. #14

    Default

    Thanks Farmall, I think I'll get more corded power tools, and battery powered ones and just get one of the 33 gallon craftsmans for now or look out for a deal on a larger one
    . My corded sander does good on motorcycle tanks and fenders and for smaller stuff I could use a dremel or do it by hand.
    My chorded dewalt grinder is good too, I think I'll get a cordless saw-zall though in case I need to chop up some scrap metal on the go or something.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hogbone View Post
    I have the Lincoln 180, having really good results with it, would totally recommend for a hobby/homeowner machine.
    I'm leaning towards the 140 Multiprocess Lincoln but I've also thought about getting the Lincoln 180 and a tig machine to go along with it. If I buy used I might be able to get both fairly cheap.

    I was set on mainly using mig but now that I've read and watched some videos, tig seems to be cleaner and I wouldn't have to cover parts of my bike up because of weld spatter and make a mess everywhere and it looks better. I'd still like to have both though so I can run Flux core for a while.

  16. #16

    Default

    Farm,

    "...or the gloriously easy, portable manual way with an X-4 torque multiplier which will break loose a Loctited compensator nut with one hand on a long ratchet. (I should have bought one 30 years ago.) For heavy work I sometimes break torque with the multiplier then use the impact to run out the fastener (that's really for automotive work like lug nuts)."

    Couldn't agree more, a simple planetary gear set. Mine's "only" a 3X, but heck, goes up to 750 ft-lbs. Luxury on the compensator nut. I also like it when I'm putting it on, where 70 ft-lbs tightens it "exactly" to 210 ft-lbs. Also wish I had it 40 yrs ago; there were axle nuts on a Bug that wouldn't budge without a big impact with lots of pressure at a local shop, something I didn't have.

    John

  17. #17
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    9,688

    Default

    VW axle nuts were solved by the EMPI striking wrench still in production because they're small, cheap, tough and effective. Preload with one hand to steady the tool, strike with hand or full sized sledge to free nut. Tap more gently (torque wrench, what torque wrench?) to tighten.

    https://www.kartek.com/parts/36mm-re...eaker-bar.html

    You can weld any socket you like to one. I welded a deep impact socket to one that fit water-cooled A1 series Rabbit etc front wheel drive axle nuts and still have a spare to make a quick slugging wrench in future though old steering arms work nicely too. I made some from steering arms using impact stepdown adapters which are great for breaking loose large fasteners (including harvesting more steering arms) in salvage yards.

    If you've something seriously stuck like front wheel drive car axle nuts weld an impact socket or square drive adapter (I used 3/4" to 1/2" since I usually drove 1/2" drive sockets but industrial slugging wrenches come MUCH larger) to your "arm" of choice and get to bashing.

    I've used steering arms to make a variety of slugging wrenches including compensator nut sizes. I've never had a bearing issue (I've had the same bottom ends on multiple HDs for many years) from using one as force is tangent to the fastener but of course the multiplier is safer for anything with a high speed bearing.

    I was set on mainly using mig but now that I've read and watched some videos, tig seems to be cleaner and I wouldn't have to cover parts of my bike up because of weld spatter and make a mess everywhere and it looks better. I'd still like to have both though so I can run Flux core for a while.
    Welding blankets are cheap and with MIG (as contrasted with FCAW) there's not a lot of spatter done right, The vast majority of motorcycle frames are wire welded, and for something different you can MIG braze (requires argon gas) too. One easy way to protect adjacent areas from spatter is taping a piece of soda can next to your weld area. Practice on clean steel making MANY repeat passes and bend test some of your joints as bend tests do not lie. See welding forums for practice info.

  18. #18
    Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    52

    Default

    But a Miller multimatic 220 skip the 211. You get way more value from that machine. Wouldn't bother with any of the other machines you listed.

    All the machines you listed you will outgrow. The 220 will pay for itself.

    If you don't want to dish out the $ buy a everlast.

    As far as compressors I would go 80 gallon maybe a 60 on wheels if you need it to be mobile. Get a quincy or something good. Buy once cry once.

  19. #19

    Default

    Right now I think I'm gonna go with the Le31mp. The Miller Multimatic 220 is what I want but since I only have 110 at the moment and I only wanna spend around $1500 on everything. Itll work for most of the stuff I'll use it for until I upgrade later on.

    For a compressor its gotta be 110v also. I think I'm gonna go with a Porter Cable 20 gal. Belt drive, oiled compressor.

    After that I still gotta pick up a decent welding
    Cart, a welding helmet, chipping hammer, welding pliers, and other welding gear.

    Then my power tools, I've been looking at a Porter Cable corded impact, Dewalt drill and sawzall (cordless) and I might pick up another Dewalt corded angle grinder. Probably a drill press while I'm at it.

    If or when I get that shop built I'm gonna have it wired up for some heavy duty stuff, Itd be cool to get a lathe one day and stuff like that.

  20. #20
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    9,688

    Default

    You can weld the cart, a typical first project that gets you a better cart. See the Weldingweb forums for some excellent examples. Small wheels suck and bigger is better. You can and I do keep the gas cylinder on its own hand truck for convenience. Gas hose and fittings are cheap.

    I'd do what I do and go for a 6" angle grinder as 9" are too bulky for most work and 4.5" guards are too small to take the glorious 6" cutting disks (best bought by the box).

    If you have a dryer outlet or stove outlet that and a suitably long custom cord (I use SOOW cable) can put power most anywhere. The first thing I did when I rented was (with permission) install an outdoor 240v outlet which is wonderful if that's an option, and I also installed them when I bought homes because that lets me weld anywhere outdoors. I run a ~100foot cord which reaches any truck or trailer etc I need to work on. Depending on where you live quality cable can stay outdoors for years so there's no necessity to roll it up except when mowing unless there's a theft issue.

    I'd put solving the power problem well before a drill press etc since that's a huge capability multiplier. Many people are intimidated by dealing with power then suffer for years because of it. An extension cord will be a great asset when you have shop power too.

    If you live where shipping containers are legal (for example I'm zoned agricultural and they're not taxed as buildings) they make great instant bike shops and are easy to outfit with shelving, power and light. I had a power pole placed with outdoor service panel and 240 and 120v outlets so I immediately had power. The monthly bill difference is painless and I get a full service instead of tapping off my maxed out house.

Share This



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Log in

Log in