View Full Version : New mig welder

02-13-2009, 03:34 AM
I was not really planning on buying a new mig. But, scrolling through Ebay I saw a 175 going for $180 with 5 mins to go, quick look through comments and prices reveals everyone else paid between $250 - 400 for the same welder all happy with 100 percent positive comments being posted mmmm. I took the plunge and 2 min later its mine for AU $182.50 getting it hooked up when it arrived was easy except for a minor unravelling of the mig wire when installing it :eek:

This mig is a no name (Air Tuff) Chinese product and only has four power setting with the wire feed being highly variable. Thanks to the threads about welding on this forum I was up in no time with the sound of sizzling bacon!! The difference between this and the old stick welder is night and day! The mig is like a colouring in pencil for steel, rediculously easy to use, as opposed to the stick which requires so much more expertise to get a good weld, in my opinion.

Built a steel shelf for my better half and soon she was rapt too. Though, having her listing all the other things I could build her was not my intended outcome:confused:.

This is the shop listing by the same people who sell it on Ebay.

At the moment I am just using flux wire but I plan to try one of those disposable argon bottles as it has the necessary hose and bracket attachments as well, in order to have flux free welds. Do I also need to purchase a regulator?

For those contemplating buying a mig, from my extremely limited experience I would say go for it!

02-13-2009, 08:10 AM
Congrats on your purchase lock!

You are right, once you work with a mig you do not want to go back to the stick... night and day!

Mine was secondhand and mine only has 2 settings and like yours a variable speed adjust...

I use the flux mine has the ability with gas but I do not want the added expense.... I am very happy with the flux.

02-13-2009, 11:19 AM
Hey Lock congrats on the new elder . Yes you will need a regulator to run gas on the machine so you can properly set the gas flow for the weld .


02-13-2009, 10:25 PM
Lock - I use CO2 on my MIG. It has a little bit more spatter than Argon/CO2 mix, but not very much. CO2 is a lot cheaper and lasts a long time, since it is stored as a liquid and expands when you use it. My small 20 lb tank of CO2 is equivalent to about 175 CF of Argon/CO2 mix. Some people say the CO2 will freeze up an Argon regulator, so I just adapted the CO2 off the soda fountain bottles I bought used.

I go by the nickname of Smyrna5 on the Hobart WeldTalk forum. Here the thread of my C02 adventure.


02-14-2009, 01:26 AM
Thanks for the input guys!
Trikeman, I read through your welding thread (very informative) but I didn't find out whether you could weld properly with co2 as penetration seemed to be a problem. Did it work out ok?

02-14-2009, 07:22 AM
Thanks for the input guys!
Trikeman, I read through your welding thread (very informative) but I didn't find out whether you could weld properly with co2 as penetration seemed to be a problem. Did it work out ok?

Loch - penetration is not as great with CO2 as it is with flux core, but it is better than with Argon/CO2 mix. The problem I was having turned out to be more related to my weak garage wiring than the CO2. Once I made a #10 wire extension cord and started plugging it into a stronger outlet, it was fine. Trying to use CO2 was what lead me to investigate that problem. For thin wall tubing, penetration is not a problem and using any gas makes a cooler weld, so burn through is not as pronounced. Don't let my overly complicated exploration into the world of C02 regulators scare you off. I was mostly trying to adapt that non-standard (for welding) regulator or it would have been very simple to hook it up. A lot of the guys on that welding forum use CO2 almost exclusively and most are quite happy with it.

Here is an interesting post by Dan (who is one of the top welding gurus on that forum) on using CO2 with the machine I have (Hobart 140).


Here is another thread on that topic


As I mentioned, it does have a bit more weld splatter than the Argon/CO2 mix, but its way better than flux core and you don't have all the smoke to block your vision. The only objection some have is that slightly higher splatter level, but I never find even the splatter level of flux core to be a problem that a few swipes with a flap disk of even just a metal scraper can take care of it quickly. The only real advantage I see to using either CO2 or Agron/CO2 mix is the lack of smoke, which makes it easier to see the weld puddle. Solid core wire is also cheaper, but you have to factor in the cost of the gas. The disadvantage is I like to be able to weld outside, which you can't do outside without some sort of wind screening, so I would say I use flux core 90% of the time.

You can get some sense of the penetration using various gases and fluxcore by studying the settings of your welder under various conditions in your owners manual (or door chart). Mine is on pages 22 and 23 of this PDF owners manual. In my case the larger numbers mean more power (higher voltage and wire speed).


02-14-2009, 08:51 AM
Thanks Trikeman for the depth and clarity of your reply.

I think because I am just starting out it makes sense for me just to stick with flux core for the time being but atleast now I know the pros and cons of using gas.

02-14-2009, 12:24 PM
Lock one of the differances between your welder and Trikemans is I am fairly sure Trikemans is a 110 volt machine as where yours is a 220 volt machine . I dont think you will run into any penetration problems on bike projects . I am quite sure you should be able to weld 1/4 " plate with no problems at all 1/2" plate might be pushing it but anything under that you shouldnt have any problems.


02-14-2009, 09:47 PM
I agree. If Loch's machine is a 220v machine, he will have no problems with penetration using whatever gas he wants. The little 110 volt machines struggle with a single pass weld using gas and anything much thicker than 1/8", especially if you have them on a weak circuit. The lower voltage machines work fine for the bicycle material we use here (even with gas) but there are definitely times building non-bike projects when I wanted more oomph - of course then I break out the Miller Thunderbolt stick. Being able to comfortably use gas on thicker materials, and not having to worry about weak 110v circuits is one of the reasons I sometimes think most people are happier with 230v MIG machine to start with, if they can afford it and ever have dreams of building things like trailers to pull behind their cars etc. It is also much easier to weld aluminum with the larger machines if you ever desire to add a spool gun and go that way.

02-14-2009, 10:03 PM
Trikeman my first MIG I got myself was a Harbor Freight 110 volt machine . I also had at the time a second hand Miller AC/DC thunderbolt aaaaaaaaand a Miller AC/DC Dialarc BEAST that machine was an industrial machine that would have been just as happy welding plates in a shipyard as it was in my little Hobby Shop. I picked up a Maxus180 From TSC this summer same specs as the Hobart 187 and have been having a blast trying to find its limits and not having to chip off slag :D.