View Full Version : Gasless MIG or Arc?

03-03-2010, 04:21 PM
Hi all.

At work we have a nice tradesmig gas MIG welder. It is stepped power output, and I feel even on its lowest current setting, and having played around with wire feed speed, that it is to powerfull for thin stuff. It is rather industrial and I keep blowing holes in the 1/16th box. Particularly when filling holes. I have welded many times with it, with thick, heavy materials. Ironically I have never had to weld thin gauge material or sheet. I am no pro, but I have never had anything come apart on me, yet, but it has all been industrial heavy duty stuff.

My question is, for constructing these bikes, should I get a gassless MIG? Or an Arc welder of around 100A. I suggested gasless MIG, as I will be welding outside sometimes, so the shield gas does not get blown away. I have not used an Arc welder since I was in college, and remember with a vivid hatred, my frustrations at striking up. I don't have this problem with the MIG at work constantly sticking and it strikes up for me great. I tried a friends arc welder and spent most of the afternoon heaving the stick off the test material, after it constantly stuck. Having said that, the sticks were extremely old so may not have been in the best condition and a bit damp.

Any suggestions or advice greatly appreciated.



03-03-2010, 05:18 PM
By gasless MIG do you mean a wire fed flux core wire welder? These work pretty well with thin stuff....

03-03-2010, 05:37 PM
Thanks for the reply darwin-t.

Yes that is what I meant. I think I prefer the wire feed and control, by keeping the weld close at hand and therefore being more accurate, rather than having to alter your hand position according to the length of the stick left, as is the case with arc welding. Particularly with a fresh arc welder stick, I find it harder to hit the spot I want to weld. I usually have ended up welding the piece to the vice lol. I prefer to use a darker lens in my mask. The flux core wire is so much more expensive than gas wire, but gas MIG is not good for outside work so I have read.

Thanks again.


03-03-2010, 07:02 PM
Stick welders ARE easier to strike if you have an auto darkening helmet. I used to use a pretty high amperage stick welder when I worked in a foundry - we were repairing railroad crossings. They were SO easy to strike and weld with. I had a lot of trouble with my little 90 amp stick welder.

03-04-2010, 01:05 AM
quick tip that may be of help.
use a scrap piece of metal next to where you want the weld.
Strike the arc on this scrap by wiping the rod as if you are striking a match, once the arc develops move onto the real weld area and start welding.
This way all the bird snot of failed strikes remain on the scrap and hopefully the real weld will be superb.

03-04-2010, 04:07 AM
Thanks for the advice guys.
I am still unsure as to wich route to take. Certainly Arc welders are cheaper and the sticks more redily available and cheaper than fluxed wire. There are pros and cons to both options I guess.



03-04-2010, 09:34 AM
I've switched to gasless MIG wire fed. Like you said there are pros and cons to both. I had bought a cheepie from harbor freight and it finally went kaput after (guessing) over a thousand welds. For the price I'm going to get another one for $119.00. I know there's better brands out there, I've owned them. I figured for the abuse I gave this one it didn't owe me a penny. I also like the fact you can move it around your work area or take it outside or down the block to help a friend as long as they have 20amp 110v power.

If you lined up 10 guys i'm sure you'll get 6 different answers. I'm more worried about owning a good grinder.... HaHa.

03-04-2010, 04:30 PM
I was settled on gasless Mig until A very very good friend and workmate said I could have his old, and a bit battered 140A stick welder for free, when he saw what I was building. We are both now spending our lunch brakes having fun building Meridians. He is making his for leisurely rides around his local park, and mine is for my wife, for commuting to work. I am going to need a bike for myself of course, for the weekends enjoying the parks and sunshine and get some enjoyable exercise. We have got the bug and having such a great time building and helping each other out. We will see how the welder performs I guess. If it does not work out well, I will treat us to a gasless Mig to complete the projects.
It just goes to prove if you look after your friends they look after you. If they are a real friend. Very refreshing and most enjoyable in these times. Such a great, fun and rewarding project to.
Thanks for the advice all. Time will tell on the welding side. We will try with what we have got for the time being, and see how it goes.

All the best.