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Old 06-02-2011, 03:30 AM   #1
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Default Seeking wirefeed MIG welder input

I've been wanting to pick up a welder for quite a while a SWMBO gave me the green light to spend around 300-ish.

I'm a welding newb so I'm hoping for some input from experienced welders. I'm planning on building a brew stand as well as other general light duty welding (auto body repair and such). I need 110V rather than 220V and I'd it to be ready for shielding gas or easily and inexpensively converted. I've narrowed it down to three options:

Hobart Handler 125 MIG-Ready welder - Appears to be made in the USA and reliable based on several reviews. Needs a regulator and a gas bottle to go MIG.

Maxus Pro-140 MXW309 -Couldn't find many reviews...one raved about it and one trashed it. Appears to be made in China. Just need to buy a gas bottle to go MIG.

Hot Max 125WFG 125 Amp Gas Ready MIG Welder - Only 1 review on Amazon...positive but only 1. Just need a bottle to go MIG. Can't tell where it's made but I'm guessing China as well.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 06-02-2011, 03:51 AM   #2
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Check this thread out for a little bit of info that I appreciated:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/weld...estion-242846/

It is in regard to this welder: http://www.harborfreight.com/welding...der-98871.html

I have the 220v 120amp "version" that has the option to add shielding gas. Having never welded before and only reading the instructions and watching a 2 minute youtube video, I managed to weld some rebar together pretty easily within five minutes. It's not gorgeous but I've tried and tried (to break it)....and the weld holds just dandy.

224 reviews, and what most everyone seems to say is to get a spool of .035 wire instead of the slightly smaller stuff that comes with it. I also went with a auto-darkening helmet-face-mask...and highly recommend doing so.

Also, apologies for not commenting on the three welders you have narrowed it down to- I have zero experience with them and just thought I'd widen your options. Apologies if you've already narrowed past the harbor freight unit.

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Old 06-02-2011, 03:59 AM   #3
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+1 on the Harbor Freight deal cheap and reliable. I've had it for about.7 years. Welds up to 1/4 in. Great and gas is optional.

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Old 06-02-2011, 04:10 AM   #4
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I was just about to say the same thing. I even saw that they even have a TIG welder for cheap. Its without the gas hook ups. But for $399 thats pretty good.

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Old 06-02-2011, 04:12 AM   #5
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I would recomend buying a welder that allows you to use fluxed core wire. It welds like a mig but flux's over like a stick welder. Chip away the flux and life is good. The pro's of fluxed wire is that you dont have to buy or maintain an extra cylinder. The con is the wire is a little more in price.

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Old 06-02-2011, 04:16 AM   #6
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I have the harbor freight MIG that comes flux core with optional gas. Flux core is nasty and platters everywhere. I just use my spare co2 tank for shielding.

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Old 06-02-2011, 10:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microbusbrewery View Post
I've been wanting to pick up a welder for quite a while a SWMBO gave me the green light to spend around 300-ish.

I'm a welding newb so I'm hoping for some input from experienced welders. I'm planning on building a brew stand as well as other general light duty welding (auto body repair and such). I need 110V rather than 220V and I'd it to be ready for shielding gas or easily and inexpensively converted. I've narrowed it down to three options:

Hobart Handler 125 MIG-Ready welder - Appears to be made in the USA and reliable based on several reviews. Needs a regulator and a gas bottle to go MIG.

Maxus Pro-140 MXW309 -Couldn't find many reviews...one raved about it and one trashed it. Appears to be made in China. Just need to buy a gas bottle to go MIG.

Hot Max 125WFG 125 Amp Gas Ready MIG Welder - Only 1 review on Amazon...positive but only 1. Just need a bottle to go MIG. Can't tell where it's made but I'm guessing China as well.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
I have been welding for 21 years so I guess I could give you some advice.

Since you have a price range I won't try to talk you into spending extra on a more capable machine. Sorry it's just that I've always used industrial welders.

Hobart is a well trusted name in the welding world, so that's a plus for that welder.

The Maxus welder has 140 amps of power which is a plus, however I don't anything about the quality of that machine.

The Hot-Max has infinite voltage adjustment which is a big plus, it's a feature found on higher end machines. However, I know nothing about this machine either.

Find out what the warranty is on the last two machines, or if you can return them if they turn out to be junk.

Hobart is my first choice based on experience with them, but I really like the infinite voltage adjustment on the hotmax, and would like to try that one out myself.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:24 AM   #8
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One thing I did not see is duty cycle of the Maxus or HotMax machines. The Maxus site went all 404 error went I clicked on the info pdf.

Duty cycle is important because it can let you in on how tough the unit is built. For a welder like this, a duty cycle of at least 20% at highest setting is minimal. Compare where they hit 100%, find the highest output and you found the machine built to run. Infinite adjustment is an excellent feature. Not a deal breaker when considering other aspects of the machine but one that will put it with the front runners.

I would buy a machine already MIG capable. You have the money now and will minimize expense later. Bobby hit on an advantage that homebrewers have. Ready supply of shielding gas.

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Old 06-02-2011, 01:38 PM   #9
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Awesome, thanks for the input! I was definitely leaning towards the Hobart one but I stumbled on the Maxus and Hot Max options last night.

I like the infinite voltage control on the Hot Max as well, but I'm leery because of the limited reviews. I hadn't really ruled out HF but they weren't a front-runner either. I don't mind using them for tools I use infrequently but I've had some bad experiences with a few of them (snapped a breaker bar in two and nearly broke my hand). But it sounds like several people are real happy with the welders so I might have to look at them again.

Re duty cycle, the Hobart and Maxus show 20% @ 90 amps while the Hot Max is 20% @ 80 amps. This seems pretty typical for this price range, so I guess that means I'll have plenty of time to either admire a good weld or be p!ssed off about a bad weld.

Re warranty, I'm looking at a refurb'd Maxus, so it's only one year (sounds like new units are five years); Hot Max is two years; Hobart appears to be one year.

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Old 06-02-2011, 01:59 PM   #10
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I bought the Hobart 125 ez takes all the guess work out

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