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Looking for a hobby MIG

Murdoch

Active Member
#1
HI guys I am in the market for a good small hobby Gasless MIG.
I had received one from a friend, a 90 amp powerful. Yeah I know, but I thought I would cut my chops on it and learn what I can.
Trouble is that the wire feed is awful, it goes when it feels it ha's to. Not when it should, the speed of the feed is quite slow as well, even on the highest setting. So now I ask, looking for a good used gasless MIG that I can weld 18-24 Gauge steel. Any suggestions are much appreciated...
 

Dabbler

Well-Known Member
#2
I may be possible to trouble shoot your present wirefeed welder. If it has the gas option, you can purchase a B bottle and go MIG, which is (in my opinion) better for general purpose indoor welding.

However, a good stick welder can do everything a wirefeed welder can do, at much cheaper per weld inch.
 

Murdoch

Active Member
#3
It is a gasless MIG from princess auto, I'm sure it's seen better days. That being said my friend who gave it to me, upgraded to a better model. He did however had the same trouble and I suspect that it's out lived it's usefulness.
Now you had said a good stick welder can do what a might can do. I was alway under the understanding that the arc/stick welder was too powerful for 18 - 24 gauge steel. Can you direct me to a stick welder that can do the small stuff?
 

kylemp

Active Member
#4
It is a gasless MIG from princess auto, I'm sure it's seen better days. That being said my friend who gave it to me, upgraded to a better model. He did however had the same trouble and I suspect that it's out lived it's usefulness.
Now you had said a good stick welder can do what a might can do. I was alway under the understanding that the arc/stick welder was too powerful for 18 - 24 gauge steel. Can you direct me to a stick welder that can do the small stuff?
I wouldn't attempt stick welding anything under maybe 1/8 inch..
I've got a hobart mig I'm going to get rid of but it's a 175 amp machine.. what you're looking for is a Flux core more than a mig since the g stands for gas.. and Flux core welds are nowhere near as nice.
 
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Dabbler

Well-Known Member
#5
Flux core doesn't do as good a job on the thin stuff. For really thin stuff, like 24 gauge, TIG and lots of practice is the best way to go. Princess auto (!!??!!) has two welders on sale right now, but that being said... quite a risk. There really is no great cheap/quality compromise.

I hear great things about the Everlast multiprocess welders but they are a bit $$$.

When I took welding in school, we had to do a lot of 14 gauge with stick welders and 1/16 electrodes, but that was 45 years ago. I'm really sorry I jumped the gun and forgot about the 18/24 part of your post.
 

Murdoch

Active Member
#6
Flux core doesn't do as good a job on the thin stuff. For really thin stuff, like 24 gauge, TIG and lots of practice is the best way to go. Princess auto (!!??!!) has two welders on sale right now, but that being said... quite a risk. There really is no great cheap/quality compromise.

I hear great things about the Everlast multiprocess welders but they are a bit $$$.

When I took welding in school, we had to do a lot of 14 gauge with stick welders and 1/16 electrodes, but that was 45 years ago. I'm really sorry I jumped the gun and forgot about the 18/24 part of your post.
Huge apologies, I confused two separate topics.
Let's try this again. I am looking for a small welder either Gasless MIG or a Arc that will weld 14 - 16 Gauge steel. I would hope to find a good used welder as I don't have a lot of money. Hopefully the clarification helps, thanks guys...
 

Dabbler

Well-Known Member
#7
Why go for gassless MIG? flux core wire is really expensive...

We could only pass our welding test by doing butt and 90 degree butt weld with 1/16 electrodes using a buzz box on 14 gauge mild steel. I don't stick weld much these days, preferring MIG using 75% CO2.

Used MIG welders usually aren't too expensive - I almost sold my little one at one point, but now keep it to do aluminum.

The usual reason that feeding flux core wire is bad is because they have the wrong feed roller installed. Normal wire for the little welders is around .030, but the flux core is much thicker and won't feed using the .030 feed roller. You can make a properly fitting one or PA may have the flux core roller as as replacement part: they do sometimes wear out.
 

Bofobo

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#8
I love my master craft flux/mig. Do you have the right tip for the fluxcore? That's what made mine stop feeding.
 

Murdoch

Active Member
#9
I love my master craft flux/mig. Do you have the right tip for the fluxcore? That's what made mine stop feeding.
I was going to buy new tips actually. This unit was given to me by a friend who had been using it up upgraded. I want to also look at the rollers that feed the wire. I would love to get a new unit, but affordability just isn't there right now...
 

Bofobo

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#10
How the spool is mounted also had me scratching my head once, I had put it in wrong and it was not unspooling correctly. I like that it's 110V and I don't need a cylinder of gas, buying the 10lb spool is the way to go. and picker up by the handle and weld off a cheap genny
In the bush (the web says no but the proof is in trying :rolleyes:) I've got a Lincoln arc to but 40A oven outlet is the best I got to power it. I learned on stick, welding all sorts of ill advised thickness' as I fabricated scrap steel :(.
I have some adjustability in my flux's power output but literally 4 preset options, does yours have anything like that? I pop the breaker every now and then on a big weld or if my ground is to far away and the material is very thick. Cannot beat continuous welding with just the flip of a switch!
 

Murdoch

Active Member
#11
How the spool is mounted also had me scratching my head once, I had put it in wrong and it was not unspooling correctly. I like that it's 110V and I don't need a cylinder of gas, buying the 10lb spool is the way to go. and picker up by the handle and weld off a cheap genny
In the bush (the web says no but the proof is in trying :rolleyes:) I've got a Lincoln arc to but 40A oven outlet is the best I got to power it. I learned on stick, welding all sorts of ill advised thickness' as I fabricated scrap steel :(.
I have some adjustability in my flux's power output but literally 4 preset options, does yours have anything like that? I pop the breaker every now and then on a big weld or if my ground is to far away and the material is very thick. Cannot beat continuous welding with just the flip of a switch!
I'll try and post a pic after work for ya...
 

CalgaryPT

Well-Known Member
Vendor
Premium Member
#12
I am late to this thread as I just saw it. Hope you solved your problems. @Bofobo's hints are what fixed my similar issues years ago before I switched to gas. The tip makes all the difference and I have seen more than one person get the wire spool upside down. It really does make a difference.
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Premium Member
#13
Lots of little details to check if any are off it won't weld well at all.

Rollers installed the right way (my old welder had .030 and .035 on the same rolller just turn over and check the size (stamped on them) is the right size for the wire you are feeding. Crap on the wire like greasy dirt will foul the mechanisms and cable housing. Kms has pretty good weld wire prices for new wire.

A pro welder instructor showed us a trick - pierce the mig wire through a disposable ear plug between the spool and the roller feeder. This cleans the wire before it hits the roller.

Check the machine polarity. flux wire vs gas welding are set different. If it's wrong it welds poorly.

Worn out tip won't weld. Buy new ones that match the wire diameter. Tips need to be secure. Power connections need to be tight.

Match feed and power level to the material you are welding. Should be a chart in the welder or in the manual to get you started then adjust.

The ground must be clean and have a great contact . Grind the material to ensure a clean surface and file the ground jaws ( gently). Welding tips and tricks web guy suggests making some copper "steel wool" from twisted up thin gauges copper and using that to enhance the connection between jaws and material. This works.

Don't tighten the spool of wire in the machine too much or the rollers will not be able to pull the wire through. It should allow easy unspooling but still hold the roll from just unraveling.

The mig cable housing in the torch must be clean and not rusty. If it is rusty buy new one.

What else? Guys?
 

Bofobo

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#14
I like the earplug idea, my included ground clamp is crap and I long for a magnet.

Be careful not to Melt the hose on hot welds :mad::(:oops: like I did ( FLUX FOR LIFE):p
 

Murdoch

Active Member
#15
Got an up date. I have picked up 2 welders
Princess Auto 75amp stick/arc welder
Mastercraft MIG/ FLUX CORE 80 amp welder.
Have a question though, I have watched videos via YouTube on stick/arc welding.
I watched a guy holding the handle with his right hand, but at the same time with his left hand he was what appeared to be holding the stick steady with his left hand wearing a welders glove. Is this common practice?
Thanks in advance...
 

CalgaryPT

Well-Known Member
Vendor
Premium Member
#16
Yup, common practice, especially when the stick is long/new it is easier to control. As it gets smaller one hand can be used as it doesn't wobble as much. Some of the pipeline weldors are so good though they don't wobble at all. I'm sure they drink de-cafe.
 

Murdoch

Active Member
#17
Hahaha plenty ol Caffè for me. The being said, my hands have always had a tremmer. I get 3 surgical procedures on the 27th for my left hand...
 

CalgaryPT

Well-Known Member
Vendor
Premium Member
#18
It starts to make sense once you practice it -- steady the rod with your left hand until it is short enough. I don't do much stick, mostly MIG. But even with a MIG gun I steady it or look for ways to rest my gun so I get a better looking weld.

Good luck.
 

kylemp

Active Member
#19
Some of the pipeline weldors are so good though they don't wobble at all. I'm sure they drink de-cafe.
Every good welder I've worked with has drank lots of coffee, and drank a lot after work.. I always blamed the right mixture of both of those to give them the perfect shake to lay a bead..
Got an up date. I have picked up 2 welders
Princess Auto 75amp stick/arc welder
Mastercraft MIG/ FLUX CORE 80 amp welder.
Have a question though, I have watched videos via YouTube on stick/arc welding.
I watched a guy holding the handle with his right hand, but at the same time with his left hand he was what appeared to be holding the stick steady with his left hand wearing a welders glove. Is this common practice?
Thanks in advance...
I've always used a 2nd had to steady the rod until it's maybe half length, you get used to it but I'd strongly recommend arc gloves for that hand and tig gloves for the other. You'll end up with a lot of unused left tig and right arc gloves laying around but to me it's a much better setup. Just my 2 cents.
 
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Murdoch

Active Member
#20
Every good welder I've worked with has drank lots of coffee, and drank a lot after work.. I always blamed the right mixture of both of those to give them the perfect shake to lay a bead..

I've always used a 2nd had to steady the rod until it's maybe half length, you get used to it but I'd strongly recommend arc gloves for that hand and tig gloves for the other. You'll end up with a lot of unused left tig and right arc gloves laying around but to me it's a much better setup. Just my 2 cents.
I have kevlar welding gloves, the blue ones from Princess- Auto.
You guys are awesome for helping me out with this.