Welder Buying Help Needed

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I want to purchase a welder for my husband for his birthday, but I'm on a budget of about $250.00. I'm looking for a Mig or Tig. He wants this to build bicycle trailers.

Can the group recommend some that I can purchase at the following retailers: Home Depot, Northern Tool, Harbor Freight.

I'd love to surprise him with this purchase so I can't ask him too many questions. I was able to get that he did need a mig or a tig out of him. After reviewing the many types out there and this message board, I'm afaid I will get something he can't use. If you are familiar with bike trailer metals, then any advice on this purchase would be greatly appreciated. If for some reason you belive I can't find one in the $250 range, then list the one you would recommend so I can figure it out. Thank you very much for your help!

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Re: Welder Buying Help Needed

freckles527 wrote:

I want to purchase a welder for my husband for his birthday, but I'm on a budget of about $250.00. I'm looking for a Mig or Tig. He wants this to build bicycle trailers.

Can the group recommend some that I can purchase at the following retailers: Home Depot, Northern Tool, Harbor Freight.

I'd love to surprise him with this purchase so I can't ask him too many questions. I was able to get that he did need a mig or a tig out of him. After reviewing the many types out there and this message board, I'm afaid I will get something he can't use. If you are familiar with bike trailer metals, then any advice on this purchase would be greatly appreciated. If for some reason you belive I can't find one in the $250 range, then list the one you would recommend so I can figure it out. Thank you very much for your help!

Your budget is pretty minimal for a welder. And for building bicycle trailers a welder may be overkill as there are ways to build trailers w/o welding.

Many have been built from PVC pipes .. Also I've heard good things about Unistruts: http://www.unistrut.com/ which is a system allowing you to bolt together structures and easily reconfigure them as you figure out the structure you're building. Similarly there is a "Grid Beam" system that uses beams with predrilled holes that let you reconfigure. Any time you're building something you get brilliant ideas during the construction, and if the thing is welded together it's hard to take it apart and reconfigure it.

But far be it from me to interfere with the quest for a welder.

I have a Hobart Handler 125. It's a low end MIG welder that works fairly well. I have no idea how it compares with other low end welders. I simply went to the nearby welding shop and started talking with the guys and bought what they recommended.

$250 is a bit of a limited budget for a welder, though.

There are several low end welders like mine which hook up to regular household current and do a credible job of welding. They are limited to regular steel, cannot do stainless steel, cannot do aluminum. Supposedly if I were to buy a gas attachment for mine it would do stainless steel. Welding aluminum requires a TIG welder. So a lot depends on what materials he wants to weld, and it sounds like you haven't learned from him the materials he's after.

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Re: Welder Buying Help Needed

Thank you for the link - we'll have to check this out. Reviewing your comments makes me feel I should go up on my budget. Northern Tools has an Industrail Mig Welder - 115 volt for $369.99 and it will handle mild steel, aluminum and stainless steel. Anyone have an opinion on this welder.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200332691_200332691?cm_vc=C5503

Thank you again for any advice on this.

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Re: Welder Buying Help Needed

You MUST use dark welding goggles at a minimum. If you just "squint your eyes just for now" until you get a dark lens hood later, you will regret it. Leather gloves too, eventually with leather gauntlet (covers forearm)

I have occasionally set pants and shirts on fire, and no matter how drunk you are, never weld naked.

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Re: Welder Buying Help Needed

spinningmagnets wrote:

You MUST use dark welding goggles at a minimum. If you just "squint your eyes just for now" until you get a dark lens hood later, you will regret it. Leather gloves too, eventually with leather gauntlet (covers forearm)

I have occasionally set pants and shirts on fire, and no matter how drunk you are, never weld naked.

Oh yeah, great point. There's more involved than just buying the welder. The equipment I have had to purchase is:-

  • leather welding jacket
  • thick thick leather gloves
  • helmet that has integrated solar panel and autodarkens when welding starts
  • brush with thick metal bristles
  • grinders and other metal working equipment
  • books
  • training

While welding the metal gets HOT - it often starts glowing red, that's how hot. The leather gloves have to be thick enough so you can pick up metal that hot w/o problem. These aren't your normal winter gloves. And I can believe setting pants and shirts on fire ...

__________________

- David Herron, Green Transportation Examiner, Green Transportation Info, The Long Tail Pipe, Torque News, electric race news, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- EVT 4000, Charger bike (rebuilt), Vego 600sx (rebuilt), Electrified Electra Townie
- Lectra motorcycle, 1971 Karmann Ghia

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Re: Welder Buying Help Needed

I've found these two on craigslist. Can someone advise me if these are good deals?

http://orlando.craigslist.org/tls/1100097072.html

http://orlando.craigslist.org/tls/1100015886.html

Thank you!

Mik
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Re: Welder Buying Help Needed

My advice:

Buy him the best protective welding gear you can afford, and let him go and choose the welder himself later on.

That way you know he will not have to weld in an unsafe fashion.

Without the appropriate safety gear any welder would be next to useless, more likely outright dangerous.

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