So Many Choices: MIG novice

  1. Munkul

    Munkul Jack of some trades, Master of none

    Messages:
    3,171
    Location:
    Cumbria
    An awful time you'll have, then.

    U groove rollers? 2 or 4 roll feed? (not single with idler anyway)
    Liner setup and/or capiliary tube?
    3m euro torch so you can undo birdsnests?
    200 amps and minimum 23 volts? Real volts and amps, not chinese ones.

    You'll need all of these things, and a bit of help/know-how to make it run nicely. If you buy the first welder you see that fits the budget, then you'll be lucky to run 20mm of weld without misfeeding.
     
    Nick DV, metalmelt and skotl like this.
  2. Munkul

    Munkul Jack of some trades, Master of none

    Messages:
    3,171
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Grinding tips works for steel, doesn't really for aluminium. The thing to do is to buy a big bag of tips. When it burns back, you take it off and bin it, and fit a new one. You also either need oversize tips, or "A" designated ones.

    You want a 3m long "MB36" torch to handle the heat. Anything smaller will struggle. 8mm threaded tips work well.

    The mig torch standard is called euro torch, you can plug any euro torch into any welder with a euro torch socket. But with the extra finickity-ness associated with a properly set up aluminium liner running back to the feed rolls... or, on higher quality machines, a capilliary tube setup.
     
    James1979, Nick DV and metalmelt like this.
  3. skotl

    skotl Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    7,379
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    Do y'all think that if the OP really wants to weld aluminum on a budget, would aluminium arc rods and an MMA unit be better than him trying to do it with MIG?

    (or save up for TIG, of course)
     
    a111r, slim_boy_fat and metalmelt like this.
  4. metalmelt Member

    Messages:
    597
    Location:
    UK
    Excellent question Skotl, it depends on thickness and length of runs I suppose, only the OP can answer this.
     
  5. lostcookie New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    UK
    My ability with a stick welder is non existent. Any kind of welding with a filler rod is out also, this part has to be automated because my hand-eye coordination is extremely poor.
     
  6. skotl

    skotl Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    7,379
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    Isn't your experience with MIG and TIG also non existent? (genuine question - not trying to be an ass)

    Well, it looks like you have some difficult choices then - seems that everyone asked recommends against MIGging aluminium (especially on a budget) and, likewise, TIG is hardly a cheap (or easy) starter option.
    TIG also needs (I think - not an expert) decent hand/eye coordination..

    In ordinary times I'd suggest getting some TIG lessons and see how you get on with that, but I doubt that's an option right now.

    It's definitely absolutely mostly going to be aluminium then? If so I still think that TIG is the way to go, so means saving up for longer, and as mentioned it could be a lot of money down the drain if you later decide it's not for you :dontknow:
     
    Nick DV likes this.
  7. Munkul

    Munkul Jack of some trades, Master of none

    Messages:
    3,171
    Location:
    Cumbria
    By the sounds of it he'll waste more money doing it his way, than taking any advice off this forum.

    Spend under £500 on a sub par MIG machine, have an absolute shocker of a time trying to weld aluminium, sell that machine for a fraction of purchase cost and end up having to spend another £1000+ he should have spent in the first place.
     
    Nick DV and skotl like this.
  8. lostcookie New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    UK
    Skotl, I've never used a MIG welder in my life. I'd tried stick and gas with filler rod when I was at college twenty years ago and simply couldn't get the feed right in two years there. MIG has automatic feed which looks infinitely easier from where I'm sitting.

    Munkul, not having a go but I suggest you try living on disability benefits and see if you have a spare grand or two to spend on a welder.
     
  9. Munkul

    Munkul Jack of some trades, Master of none

    Messages:
    3,171
    Location:
    Cumbria
    If you read my posts :) I'm trying to help you but you don't seem to be listening.

    Everyone has a budget, yes I'm sure money is tight for you too, but aluminium welding isn't cheap.

    What i don't want to see is someone wasting their money on a cheap and nasty machine, and then finding out it hasn't a hope of doing what they bought it to do.

    I've already posted about the things you need for aluminium MIG.

    You haven't even posted about how much you want to spend... and since you've never welded before, you don't really know what you need.

    By all means though, prove me wrong :) I'm happy to be schooled.
     
  10. lostcookie New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    UK
    Oh, I'm listening alright and investigating what you have said while trying not to be horrified at the costs:o.

    Budget is somewhere around £300. I have been looking at secondhand welders but they carry a massive risk of being just about to suffer an expensive failure plus they never seem to have the euro connectors.
     
  11. Munkul

    Munkul Jack of some trades, Master of none

    Messages:
    3,171
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ok, so firstly, IMHO:

    forget about a brand new machine for £300. Not going to happen. At that price it will barely be able to weld steel properly, never mind aluminium.

    Secondly, you have 3 phase available in your first post. That's good. 3 phase means cheaper, stronger and more reliable. Second hand 3 phase machines, if looked after, can and often will, last several lifetimes, and they're generally built for "proper" work, not hobby work.

    £300 will buy an older 3 phase transformer machine, with a LOT of careful browsing. You'll want something around 250 amps +, with a 4 roll wire feed and euro connection.
    Then it's just a case of a 3m mb36 torch and a nylon liner cut properly.

    1.2mm wire in either 4043 or 5356 flavour will feed just fine out of a 4 roll feeder, even a cheaper one with flat faced idlers.
     
  12. Andrew Hayes

    Andrew Hayes Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Cheshire
    College courses are either free right now depending on your vacinity to the college and if they run the gov funded course or they cost a mere £150 which though you dont have money you will benefit from greatly and learn to weld either mig/tig/mma most tuitors will let you have a go of other welding types whilst you are on a set course.
    I would strongly suggest you look into a course as welding correctly and with some degree of skill is something you learn, you cant just pick a cheapo machine up and go boom look at this amazing bead that i banged out in seconds...
    Plus welding different types of metal requires different skill and different styles of welding to achieve a good weld.

    Dont be put off though its a great thing to learn to do and it can be fun if you make it that way !

    p.s. Save some more money to get a much better machine that can do more, patience and saving pays of greaty when buying a welding machine and kit.
     
    Nick DV, Munkul, metalmelt and 2 others like this.
  13. lostcookie New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    UK
    Munkul, advice duly noted.

    Andrew, there are no courses within 50 miles of where I am. I know the nearest college hasn't got anything because Dad and friends cleared the workshops twenty or so years ago (still have some items with their marks on them!).

    I've watched this video with interest because this is a DC welder;
     
    Andrew Hayes likes this.
  14. Bryan Williams

    Bryan Williams Member

    Messages:
    838
    Location:
    Manchester England
    https://www.durafixonline.com/gb/
    Maybe have a go with these, not welding but it looks like it might get you doing something relatively cheaply, I don't know what the job is but if you just want to stick some Ali together this might be a short term solution.
     
  15. Robert Mullins Member

    Messages:
    112
    Location:
    Salisbury, uk
    If you'd like a less expensive option, you can try welding it with the stick DC set up, I've done it, somewhat faster than steel,
     
  16. Andrew Hayes

    Andrew Hayes Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Seriously guys, you are supposed to be adults so stop being keyboard warriors and just ignore one another and get on with life and dont fill this gents posting with an arguement that you can have over private message and leave everyone out of it.
    This is not a childrens forum it is for like minded adults who have an interest in an awesome art form that not everyone can do so for those who have problems then there is always a solution that will work.


    Also dude if you want to learn then maybe speak to local welders and go and spend the day with them to maybe gain some experiance and get there knowledge :)
     
    metalmelt and skotl like this.
  17. Robert Mullins Member

    Messages:
    112
    Location:
    Salisbury, uk
    Whereabouts are you based; I've got an old 1980s single phase mig in the barn at my nephew's farm doing nothing, if you'd like it, it could probably do with the once over by a service engineer, I just went out and bought a new oxford
    I'm a time served welder and 'arced up' for the first time in 1977 aged 16, and I DESPISE mig welding aluminium, I've built landing craft, yachts, bulk tip trailers, ship super structures and repaired all kinds of bits with it: this method is temperamental, saps your patience and enthusiasm; and I find it unpredictable, you can/I have burned back into the contact tube 20/30 times a shift if you fail to trim the wire before restarting to weld:
    There are, and I have met guys who prefer it to welding steel, but they are rare:
    If your not too far, then the offer is there
     
  18. Wozzaaah

    Wozzaaah The wizard of woz Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,197
    Wiltshire, UK
    Thread tidied, any further abusive comments from anyone and we'll take action.
    Play nicely please.
     
  19. Wozzaaah

    Wozzaaah The wizard of woz Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,197
    Wiltshire, UK
    Thread tidied again. :vsad:
     
  20. mdr

    mdr Collector of welding machines

    Messages:
    344
    Location:
    wye-on-earth
    @Munkul to avoid all of the feed issues could you take one of these (Machine Mart, Toolstation, Costco all sell it)...

    https://www.drapertools.com/product/00587/230V-MMA-to-Mig-Converter-(200A)

    ...and add a cheap 200 amp inverter sticker welder and a bottle of pure argon plus regulator and have something that could weld aluminium for a working budget-conscious setup that may feed correctly?

    I have no idea, just think out loud what options there maybe to get around feed issues cheaply. :confused:

    My thinking is: avoid buying a regular MIG machine as you automatically inherit feed issues and then immediately need a spool gun.
     
    Nick DV likes this.
Advertisements