Which Hobby MIG to Buy???

  1. weldequip Member

    Posts: 5,070
    England
    OK, you have decided you are gonna take the plunge, have a go & buy yourself a small Hobby MIG; which make to buy?? (As this is a UK based site this is aimed at UK buyers & other countries will have other options).
    There is now an ever growing number of brands to choose from but I will base this on 'The Big 4 Brands' in the UK which I have had hands-on experience in selling AND, more importantly, servicing & repairing.
    These are my own OPINION's (for you legal eagles out there!)

    SIP
    + Points:- Very widely available so parts are never a problem. Good performance on low settings. (25amps low setting)
    - Points:- Wire feed assembly is poor & gives really annoying problems with age. The Torch connection to the machine is also very vunerable to damage which can also cause ALL kinds of problems.
    OVERALL: 5/10

    SEALEY
    + Points:- Again, available everywhere so parts never a problem. Seem to perform better on straight CO2 gas (over Argoshield) than most others. Now have a 3 Year warranty (Limited) which has to be worth something.
    - Points:- Not that many really. Any Professional would consider them as 'Chat' but, for the money, they are pretty reliable.
    OVERALL: 6/10

    CEBORA (SNAP-ON)
    + Points:- The Cebora 'Pocket Turbo 130' was THE first small MIG on the market & has hardly changed since the original. Has a proper, heavy duty contactor unit fitted (as used on bigger industrial stuff) & generally very, very reliable with superb spares & technical support.
    - Points:- Not the very best performance on extremely thin stuff & don't like working on CO2 (most makes don't). Expensive to buy & spare parts expensive (but you won't need em that often!).
    OVERALL: 7/10

    CLARKE
    + Points:- Overall best build quality with a reliable wire feed unit & the nicest quality torch in it's class.
    - Points:- Hardly any really. The only gripe is dealing with a large national chain of 'counter sales' staff.
    OVERALL: 8/10

    Again, I stress that these are my own opinions (based on 15+ years working experience with the machines!) & should not be interpretated as a gospel 'league table'.
    For you American viewers the Lincoln SP170, Millermatic 175 & Hobart Handler 180 ALL have 11/10 in comparison with the above.
    weldequip
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2006
  2. malcolm

    malcolm Administrator Staff Member

    Posts: 8,195
    Bedford UK
    It's interesting to see some thoughts about the different brands. Certainly we've had a couple of wire feed related posts about SIPS here on the forum.

    Not impressed by the wire feed on my Clarke. It has smooth rollers (not knurled) so I've had a tendency to overtighten the tensioner over the years, and being a plastic thing it's bent at the pivot and needed a couple of bits of metal jamming in to line up the rollers again. Otherwise has stood up to a lot of abuse - quite pleased with it.

    You don't happen to do the knurled rollers do you?

    What size welders are you talking about? At a like for like 170/180 amps the American welder comment still stands?
  3. weldequip Member

    Posts: 5,070
    England
    Malcolm, knurled feed rollers are only required for 'soft wires' ie.Flux-Cored & Aluminium. If you have had to keep tightening the pressure on the feed rollers to get a smooth feed this is because the torch lining is blocked & needs replacing.

    Machines commented on are the 90 - 150 Amp Hobby types.
  4. malcolm

    malcolm Administrator Staff Member

    Posts: 8,195
    Bedford UK
    Possibly the initial overtightening happened before I figured out rusty wire was a bad thing. Now the plastic bits aren't in great condition, although with my botch it welds fine now.

    What do you think (out of 10) of the higher ampage hobby makes compared to the American made welders?
  5. weldequip Member

    Posts: 5,070
    England
    None of the 'Big 4' mainstream manufacturers in the UK make anything as good as the smaller American stuff mentioned, you have to go up to Murex/Esab, Kemppi, Migatronic etc. to get the same quality.
  6. ChrisB Member

    Posts: 40
    London, UK
    Whats the general opinion / experience of the Butters machines - thinking of something like the AMT140/170. Seems to have copper wound transformer and euro torch, but interested to know where it would slot into the ratings in the first post?

    Thanks, Chris

    EDIT: The Butters ones I am talking about can be seen here:
    http://www.migtigarc.co.uk/MIG_Welder/mig_welder.html
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2006
  7. migmag

    migmag Member

    Posts: 645
    North east
    I have a murex a I can honestly say it kicks ass.....
  8. mike_p Member

    Posts: 3
    With respect to Clarke in the initial post...

    Clarke is available through other outlets as well as the "large national chain".

    For example I buy stuff from the Welding Center in Surbiton. The shop is personally run by the very friendly and knowledgeable owner. I hope he doesn't mind me saying this, but he has in the past told me he's prepared to price match the national chain and on some items he's cheaper anyway. He does do some intenet business from http://www.weldingcentre.co.uk but the site doesn't truly reflect what he stocks.

    I went yesterday to get a cylinder of Argoshield + regulator etc. He made sure I had all the right fittings to connect it up to a Hobby Clarke MIG machine.
  9. murex400

    murex400 Member

    Posts: 217
    lancashire
    chris i had a butters machine for a few years never gave me any trouble and its still in use to day at the body shop up the road i then moved on to a cea compact 310 still use that to day + murex transweld 400 i also have a clarke arc welder a 145ND which has lasted over 6 yrs of site work abuse oh and i left it out side once in the rain and it still works aswell as it did from new dont think i could part with it now :) and i also have a oxford 300 (car boot sale bargin at £32.50p just needed new leads);)

    i think for single phase welders clarke are hard to beat for the money
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2006
  10. SPLINTER_UK Member

    Posts: 13
    PORTSMOUTH
    i was looking at clarkes welding machines for myself but was told by a mman who repairs them that his company wont touch them ,he recommended MUREX
  11. SPLINTER_UK Member

    Posts: 13
    PORTSMOUTH
  12. weldequip Member

    Posts: 5,070
    England
    MUREX are in a different league yes, but they are also twice the price!
    Clarke are made in the same factory (and share many of the same components) as MILLER.
    weldequip
  13. SPLINTER_UK Member

    Posts: 13
    PORTSMOUTH
    thats very useful to know and thats the reason i joined here thank you
  14. weldequip Member

    Posts: 5,070
    England
    You are welcome. If you want a well informed & un-biased opinion on ANY (more or less) make drop me a line.
  15. Hontoir Member

    Posts: 14
    Basically - which welder should i buy?? make?? model??

    Will be used for car use - a beetle to be exact

    Thanks all

    Mike
  16. sharkey

    sharkey Just this guy, y'know.

    G'day Weldequip,

    I went out and bought a SIP Weldmate T150P on impulse (on special!) the other day, and then got home and found this site ... hmmmm.

    On the other hand, I've had no feed problems so far, the feed speed seems pretty smooth and repeatable. I've added numbers 1..9 to the dial. The feed mechanism looks exactly like the ones I've seen pictured, so maybe this is a problem waiting to happen ... I hope not!

    The only 'debugging' I've done so far is to discover that even with the big cylinder & flow gauge on it it wouldn't flow more than 15l/min, turned out the crimps which hold the gas pipe in place through the case were too tight, restricting gas flow. Loosened them a tiny bit, now it'll happily flow >25l/min, not that you'd want it to, but.

    Oh, that and I've just inserted a little (1.5mm thick) plastic shim under the torch trigger so that it requires a lot less force to turn the gas flow on, and it comes on a tiny bit before the power does now. Soooo much better.

    -----sharks
  17. kingstonblues Member

    Posts: 1
    Another foolish buy

    Hello,

    Great, I too bought on some kind of impluse. I got the Boss 150H turbo which I was told is actually a SIP 150 migmate. I haven't tried it yet but I am now expecting some feed problems. This is my first mig welder, I've only been using an inverter arc welder but now that I am about to fix some body panels I thoguht about getting a mig.Funny how I didn't stumble on this site during my 'research' phase.

    Sharky or anyone in the know - Is there a SIp 150 migmate and a SIP 150 weldmate? it seems like theres weldmate and migmate...what's the difference. They seem to be the same welder?

    thanks
  18. weldequip Member

    Posts: 5,070
    England
    The Weldmates are MMA (stick) welders.
    weldequip
  19. sharkey

    sharkey Just this guy, y'know.

    Might be a regional trademark thing: this one is a gas/gasless mig and has SIP Weldmate T150P written on it.

    -----sharks (australia)
  20. mabelsgift Andre the boat freak

    Posts: 2
    UK
    Help Me PLEASE

    :) I know nothing about mig welders.
    I want to build a few boats, a powerboat for canal use and a sailboat for all over the world.
    I will be welding steel from 3mm to 6 mm thick as well as the occasional stainless steel.
    I also need a plasma cutter that will cut 8mm without trouble.

    What should I buy? I don't mind spending money if its well spent but I don't want to pay a lot of money and find that I bought the wrong equipment.

    I only have single phase power.

    Thanks all
    please reply to my e mail address too
    Andre
Recent Posts