Purchase Advice Request - MIG Welder

  1. MartinCS New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Hi gents,

    New to the forum. As I've never so much as touched a welding torch before, I hope you'll forgive me if my first post is a question rather than something more useful to others.

    I make furniture as a hobby and I'm interesting in learning how to combine different materials together in my work. An idea for a new table design had me begin to research metal fabrication and ultimately, welding. After going through the various possibilities, due to the thickness of steel I want to work with, I decided MIG was probably the best to start with, mostly due to the apparently gentle learning curve.

    I need a MIG welding unit that is capable of structural welds on 6mm mild steel. I'll be working with RSJ/ibeam, box and c sections. I'm unsure of the exact specification of the steel as yet, but from my understanding that would influence more the choice of wire than the welding unit itself.

    From reading around I think I'm looking at a unit of between 160 and 180 amps. I have a 16A supply available to me.

    What concerns me most is ensuring that I can get a well made unit with a decent but perhaps not professional level duty cycle profile.

    Budget is adjustable. As this isn't my primary discipline I don't need a professional grade machine capable of being used day in, day out, just something solid and reliable with decent warranty backup. I'd prefer something physically made in the UK, Europe or USA.

    It has to be relatively easy to use if at all possible, any more than two or three buttons and I start to get lost when it's something new. :laughing:

    I'd really appreciate any suggestions you may have.

    Thanks,

    Martin
     
  2. pdg

    pdg Member

    Messages:
    9,226
    Location:
    Wiltshire
    I'd say a 160-180 would seriously struggle to do well on 6mm.

    200-220A would be where I'd be looking, or an MMA unit for that thickness.
     
    MartinCS, waddycall and brightspark like this.
  3. Tom Orrow L

    Tom Orrow L Welding Supplies Direct

    Messages:
    1,863
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    Sounds like an Oxford mig maker 200-1 or 240-1 would be suitable for you.
    Made up in Yorkshire, simple to use and very reliable.
     
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  4. addjunkie

    addjunkie Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    2,369
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    30 amps per mill roughly. So 180 would struggle on by. But if your running a machine full tilt, it wont run very long before it trips on high temprature. Most machines quote duty cycle at less than full power.

    So Id agree on the 200 -220 mark just so your not flat out all the time.
     
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  5. addjunkie

    addjunkie Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    2,369
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    I just ordered one (270-1) of those today from the other guys who answers the phone at your place today.
     
  6. Tom Orrow L

    Tom Orrow L Welding Supplies Direct

    Messages:
    1,863
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    Aye, Jack passed along the message.
    Appreciate it Dave!

    I'm sure you'll love it :)
     
    brightspark likes this.
  7. Mee Banned

    Messages:
    1,509
    Location:
    Here and There
    I would suggest learning to weld first, there may be site members here or even evening courses at local colleges to get you to learn basic welding skills, then you can go out and try a selection of different machines, you can get dual or multiple function machines which do MIG and ARC, and MIG, ARC and scratch TIG if your budget would allow.
     
    MartinCS likes this.
  8. addjunkie

    addjunkie Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    2,369
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    The welder yes, the credit card bill no.

    What is the proposed budget for this welder? Tools eat money quicker than hookers and cocaine.
     
  9. MartinCS New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Tell me about it :laughing:

    Probably around 500-600 looks doable. It's more about quality than price but without getting silly, considering I've no idea how to weld.
     
  10. MartinCS New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    I'd love to. Looked into doing some courses locally. The skills center in wakefield want £170/day + VAT. It's not expensive if you really want to do welding as a career but this is purely a supplement for me. I decided I could save some time/money by at least doing research myself and learning about the components of a welder and how it feels in the hand, rather than be paying £170 to be told what the buttons do on a 1 day course. If that makes sense. It's something I'd revisit though as theres no substitute for training.
     
  11. Tom Orrow L

    Tom Orrow L Welding Supplies Direct

    Messages:
    1,863
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    £500-£600 is a respectable budget.
    Might even be able to swing yourself a GYS 182 SmartMIG for the top end of your budget.

    That being said, I'd be going with the Oxford 200-1. Only issue is the 2 weeks wait :P
     
  12. MartinCS New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    It looks like one critical factor here is the material thickness.

    Before I go any further I think I need to fix a material spec with the steel mill and choose the welder from there. If I can get away with 4mm steel for example, I'd do so.

    Nice web site Tom. I've had a good look.
     
    Tom Orrow L likes this.
  13. addjunkie

    addjunkie Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    2,369
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    Most amateurs in engineering over engineer things, for example if you put a grinder through an office desk, or a motorcycle frame youll be surprised at how thin it is.

    Dont forget if your making furniture for the domestic market, you dont want to need a crane to get it in the house.

    5mm wall box section is quite strong stuff. Ive used lighter for 20 foot boat trailers.

    As for learning to mig weld, get your machine, have a go, after reading the tutorials, then Im sure there will be someone localish to you who can set you down the right road.
     
  14. Mee Banned

    Messages:
    1,509
    Location:
    Here and There
    The key to MIG is not the buttons, but knowing how to set it correctly which is the most important aspect, after you learn this you can set any MIG set up, then practise practise, practise.
    Try seeing if a site member near you can come to you, or you go to them and teach you how to set a machine up correctly.
     
    MartinCS likes this.
  15. Simon Devlin New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    High Wycombe
    I'd just like to say how helpful I found this post. I'm in a similar position - never even touched a welder but want to give it a crack and have some basic furniture ideas plus short - medium term smallholder needs.

    Particularly enlightening was the comment about box steel and boat trailers - i'm definitely one that falls into the over engineering set but that one statement was pretty eye opening in itself.

    What struck me is the concept of value. I'd think nothing (ish) of spending £600 of my money for a piece of software that I might use a few times a year for work, but I'd wobble over the same money for a single tool. Yet one will last a lifetime, the other probably comes with a 10-25% maintenance charge per annum. The brain is an funny thing :-)

    So thanks to everyone that contributed- you've probably answered my questions too.

    Simon
     
    Tom Orrow L likes this.
  16. steve t Member

    Messages:
    412
    Ireland
    someone has a nice murex 251 in the add section, id b looking at that.
     
  17. steve t Member

    Messages:
    412
    Ireland
    just googled them oxfords, look good, like the fact they have wire speed and amp course and fine adjustment, non of this digital nonsense, is the 270 a single phase 270amp machine?
     
  18. addjunkie

    addjunkie Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    2,369
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    Yes I have just ordered one!

    And if your located in the right place there is a nice portamig pn the bay of evil
     
    steve t likes this.
  19. Tom Orrow L

    Tom Orrow L Welding Supplies Direct

    Messages:
    1,863
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    It is indeed, needs a 32A single phase supply to run at full tilt.
     
    steve t likes this.
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