Beginner Mig Welder - 2nd hand or new

  1. -Finn-

    -Finn- New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    South West UK
    I've recently bought a car and just found that there's an awful lot of rust beneath it and it will require a lot of welding. I've got a cheap Arc welder which I'm happy using for most things but MIG welders are much better suited for the thin sheet metal on a car.

    A few years ago I bought a Cosmo 130 Mig welder 2nd hand of eBay which I had a lot of problems with, the wire feed would always block or slip and have to be re-fed through, I couldn't get it to work consistently and never used it for anything.

    So looking I'm for a Mig to weld bodywork and exhausts, should I get a decent second hand one or a less decent one new?

    I've had a google search for good MIG welders but all the sites say different things and are possibly sponsored.

    Could you recommend some welders to look out for, new or second hand and the reasons why? I could spend up to £600 but if the difference between that price and the really cheap ones isn't very much then I'd rather go for the cheap one so I have more to spend on the car itself or put aside for a TIG welder and set-up in the future.
     
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  2. qwakers Member

    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    cornwall, united kingdom
    -Finn- likes this.
  3. BarrieJ Member

    Messages:
    561
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, Bucks, United Kingdom
    Parweld, Oxford and Migatronic are all quality welders and worth considering secondhand if the right opportunity presents itself.
    I've owned and used Migatronics, a 180 Automig and a 325 Compact, both gave great service and I currently have an Oxford 200-1, which is equally reliable and trouble free.
    A mate has a Parweld 201 - I think it's their automotive range, anyway, he's really pleased with it.
     
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  4. -Finn-

    -Finn- New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    South West UK

    Just out of interest why did you change welders? Just fancied something different?


    Also in terms of buying a used welder what parts can wear other than the torch?
     
  5. Country Joe Argoshield Dark

    Messages:
    1,170
    Location:
    Somerset - United Kingdom
    Hi there, Finn & welcome to "The Forum".

    There's a migatronic automig 180 on e-bay at the moment.
    Dunno where in the SW you are, but it's in Bath.

    Here's a link.

    I don't recall using a migatronic myself, but they've always been quite well though of by those that have.

    I guess it's always a good idea to test a second-hand welder before you buy, but it'll very likely be less frustrating than a SIP/Cosmo type of unit, that isn't working too well, anyway.

    The price looks ok, but I'd still probably want to test it first.
    But if that seems daunting, or your welding technique is too rusty to get away with, give me a shout - it's not too far away from here and I could always go and run a few welds with it, just to see.

    All the Best,
    CJ
     
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  6. dobbslc

    dobbslc Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    4,399
    Location:
    Hertfordshire UK
    All the above will do you well, if Cosmo are the same rebadged machine as the SIP then they are a bit craaap.
    I've got a GYS 140 Easymig and love it. Under £400 will get you one of these, ideal for thin sheet work and will weld 4mm if needed.
    www.mig-welding.co.uk › threads
    Web results
    GYS Easymig 140 review. | MIG Welding Forum
    :thumbup:
     
  7. Munkul Member

    Messages:
    759
    Cumbria, UK
    The feed roller motor, gears or electronics can play up, or the tension/idler mechanism.

    As a general rule, the smallest and cheapest machines are more prone to this. There's loads of good quality machines in the 160-200 amp class with pretty solid feeder mechanisms though.

    Ideally get a machine with a "euro" connector. This means no faffing around with possibly broken torches - buy any euro torch and it will fit straight onto the machine.

    I'd be looking for something around 180-200 amps from any of the brand names mentioned on this forum. As long as it looks like its been looked after. Oh, and single phase!
     
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  8. -Finn-

    -Finn- New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    South West UK
    Hi CJ, thanks for the link, that's definitely in my watch list and I'm considering going to have a look. I'm located in Gloucester which isn't far really. It looks quite old and searching for the model there don't seem to be many around, is that because people love them so much and don't sell them? :p Having a google search not a lot comes up in terms of parts and accessories.

    2 I'm considering buying from new are the Parweld XTE 181 AUTOMOTIVE COMPACT MIG MACHINE or the R-Tech MIG 180

    I like the fact the R-Tech has a 3 year warranty and also states "Class leading IGBT's" (although I'm not really sure what it means, doing research a few years ago I think IGBT was better at budget range but the more expensive Mosfets were fine).

    Which of the 2 new ones would you choose (also eBay have £50 off when you spend over £500)?
     
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  9. Country Joe Argoshield Dark

    Messages:
    1,170
    Location:
    Somerset - United Kingdom
    Hi Finn,

    I dunno with the migatronic thing, why you don't see that many out there for sale.
    They've been around for ages, are supposed to be just the thing for car body-work, but loads of other makes have emerged along the way, and the older makers will have up-dated their ranges since this point, too.

    Maybe it's partly because of the "Auto-mig" tag thats also makes it kind of synonymously associated with general car type work, but it could equally just be that it's a familiar old school transformer-based machine, that you'd come accross over the years in different places, in vastly differing cosmetic states, but welding away quite happily.

    I'm sure I remember seeing them now & then years back, maybe as far as the 1980's ish, when I was strictly "just carpentry", and viewed any metal as something that was sneakily put into pieces of timber, purely to destroy my chisel or plane blades, and was seemingly only ever cut with a frustratingly slow junior hack-saw.
    OK, I admit it - I was heavily prejudiced about metal back then - but this has obviously since changed!

    If I were to have to choose between the two new ones you mention above, I'd usually have just gone for the Parweld, as I've used some of their stuff before, have a euro mig torch and also a tig torch that are made by them - but are plugged into a Kemppi & an IFL, respectively.
    I sort of see them as a decent benchmark in welding equipment, if you see what I mean?

    But that could also just be because they've been around so long, and R-tech still seem like "new-comers" to the game, but (hopefully to a lesser factor), just 'cos I quite like that purple colour!

    But, more seriously, and in more practical terms, I would expect the Parweld to be more reliable, to the extent that it might, to me, negate the difference in warranty durations, especially if it's a "return to base" (at your expense) type of warranty, which would usually give a cost (and hence also maybe time) hurdle to deal with if the need should arise to have any warranty work undertaken. Especially if that meant shipping something back to China - which in this case it obviously wouldn't, anyway!

    Added to that, R-tech do seem to have pretty good customer service, and are easy to deal with - added to which, they're very local to you, so in your case I couldn't really say for sure, which I'd choose.
    I'm actually so bad with decisions, that if it were that close I possibly would let the colour be the deciding factor, but having said that I'm not overly keen on orange, but the Kemppi doesn't really offend me at all really, if I'm honest!

    Better decision-makers (less prone to rambling off topic) are out there, and they'll be along with more opinions, I (hope for your sake!) imagine - as all of that, mostly subjective stuff, probably hasn't helped all that much!

    If I'd just replied "Dunno", or even "Not too sure" - my tea would still be hot, and you'd quite likely be no less informed!

    I'm off to make (another) drink!

    Hope that helped, (As if - Ho, ho!)
    All the Best,
    CJ
     
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  10. -Finn-

    -Finn- New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    South West UK
    Thank you very much for your detailed reply (and I'm sorry to hear about your tea), I've done a bit more research and reading other forum posts on both welders and decided to just buy the R-Tech. The MMA option means I'll be able to get rid of my cheap buzz box and make a little bit more space in the garage. I did find another site where the Parweld's warranty was also 3 years but the feature to fine tune the voltage is said to be useful.

    I've got work to be getting on with on the car so I just made a quick decision, everything I found said they were both good however as you said more people seem to have used R-Tech's warranty which implies their more prone to breaking. Other people said this was due to it being IGBT which is more complicated.
     
  11. Country Joe Argoshield Dark

    Messages:
    1,170
    Location:
    Somerset - United Kingdom
    I must admit I wasn't taking into account the fact that it could be used as an arc-welder, I'd kind of forgotten/overlooked it, somehow.
    It's a feature I've used quite a lot in the last 15 years or so since having an inverter-based TIG, possibly using stick more than tig up until now.

    I don't think you'd go too far wrong with either really, though - and I do see it as a close-ish one to call, to be honest.
    Having decided, I suspect I'd 've gone to got it already, with them not being far away - but I'm impatient!

    Or maybe not, as they're closed a week-ends, I've just noticed on the website!
    Ain't life a bitch!

    All the Best,
    CJ
     
  12. Tony-D-1976 Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Woking
    Hi there I too am looking for a beginners mig welder to restore my transit van. I was looking at this on on eBay too.
    Is it any good for auto body work? I want something secondhand max £150 I was thinking of putting a cheeky offer in I’m In Surrey.
    I guess all I need is a gas bottle and some wire.
    Is it an auto feed system with a euro torch?
    I had found something else on eBay but couldn’t find any details on it online.
    Which one would you have??
     
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  13. Country Joe Argoshield Dark

    Messages:
    1,170
    Location:
    Somerset - United Kingdom
    Hi there, Tony.

    I don't really know what the light blue thing is, so I'd go with the migatronic, probably.

    I'm guessing if the blue thing has an earth-return lead, and a power cable entering it somewhere, in addition to the gas line I think I can see and the euro-torch connector, it'll be some kind of mig welder, but I don't recognise it.

    I imagine you'd need to know more about the blue one to make any kind of informed decision, though.
    I guess if it's much nearer to you than Bath, you could find out or maybe take a look at it.

    That's not overly decisive or useful, but there's not much to go on, either!

    Hope that helps in some way!

    All the Best,
    CJ
     
  14. Tony-D-1976 Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Woking
    Hi CJ

    thanks for the reply I am totally new to this and I don’t earn much so buying something second hand worries me a little. I have tried to research the blue one but couldn’t find much on it the migatronic is the same no much info. I’ve been told I need a mig welder which takes gas that’s as far as I’ve got but i am keen to learn and most of all but the right equipment within my budget.
    I will attach what info I have on the blue one now.
     
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  15. Country Joe Argoshield Dark

    Messages:
    1,170
    Location:
    Somerset - United Kingdom
    Well, I can't say I know much about them, apart from being made by a Danish company called Hede Nielsen.

    There's a post about one here.

    The duty-cycle being 15% at 90 amps, suggests it doesn't go far above 100 amps, but for body-work & general car stuff, that won't matter, as it's the lower settings that you'd be using for the most part.

    The wire-feed looks decent enough, but knowing it's range would be quite helpful, too.
    If it's fairly local, and is listed as working, you could try a test weld with it to see if it worked as it should, but if you've not welded before, you might be better off taking along someone that has.
    Running a single weld wouldn't take a moment, and then at least you'd know if it even strikes an arc, or not.

    If it's closer to Woking than Bath is, I'd maybe go & take a look.

    All the Best,
    CJ
     
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