View Full Version : shop welder

08-07-2008, 08:50 AM
I did a great deal of research and asked advice at half dozen welding shops before buying my CURRENT MIG WELDER,and yeah most guys don,t do the amount of fabrication or engine swaps I do, and after talking to and trying several migs and having owned a couple smaller MIG welders before ,I bought this MILLER 252...yeah its overkill for some stuff but its fully able to handle any car related welding that a MIG is able to do


I bought a USED 330 amp MILLER TIG and an oxy-acetolene torch to handle the other stuff, and I have had a LINCOLN RANGER 10,000watt generator/arc welder for general welding in the shop for years

BTW I owned a couple 110 volt lincoln and hobart migs and a 180 hobart mig before, they all worked, but the larger amp miller does a better job, on the heavier stuff like frames and suspension brackets, motor mounts, transmission support cross members etc.

BTW THIS is the welder (below)(or the earlier version) most of the pro-welder shops have around here, and they all love them, but most of the guys said that if cash was no problem the 252 miller mig would have been thier first choice!

and having learned long ago that a few extra bucks spent up front, on better equipment is usually a much better deal than upgradeing later I got the higher amp machine

youll seldom regret spending cash on quality tools but youll frequantly regret buying crap , the low price seldom makes up for the poor performance, or lack of fine adjustments or lack of durrability in the cheaper machines, yes theres deals to be had but buy a decent name brand of decent capacity, and having a DEALER near you helps






BTW if your debating on the value of spending big bucks on a mig welder vs buying some $400-$600 110 volt toy , you need to step back and take an honest assessment of the type and frequancy of the potential welding youll be doing, if your running down to the welding shops almost weekly , ad dropping $15 here and $45 there, on little jobs that adds up!its a pretty obvious no- brainer you need a decent welder,and keep in mind once you have instant access the welding jobs tend to increase in frequancy and scope!, if you have gone months between welding jobs thats a totally differant deal! why not do what I did, go by a half dozen welding shops, and a half dozen major body repair shops and talk to the techs doing the repairs and ask thier advice as to what THEY would buy if THEY wanted a new shop welder and wanted to both cover all the potential areas, they work on, (well) and not spend a great deal of money...I bet youll find that the 180amp-and 210 amp 220 volt welders get the nod, and that if pressured almost every guy would prefer the 210amp-250 amp MIGS if price was not a big factor in the decision.
remember your better off spending a bunch more once than spending a bit now and a bunch more later too.

BTW THIS is the welder (below)(or the earlier version) most of the pro-welder shops have around here, and they all love them, but most of the guys said that if cash was no problem the 252 miller mig would have been thier first choice!

BTW wiring up a 220 volt jack for a welder if you have a fuse box access in the shop area is a very minor deal

08-08-2008, 12:13 PM
Buying a welder is one of the things I keep putting off and keep kicking myself for not buying! I wish I knew someone with a TIG just so I could try it out. I'll probably wind up with a MIG unless I get crazy.... and that hardly happens. :rofl:

08-08-2008, 03:25 PM
IVE GOT A MILLER TIG, MILLER MIG,LINCOLN ARC, and SMITH oxy-acetolene torch, are you going to be in my area anytime soon,? Ill sure give you the 15 minute tour and instructional comparison if you want one!

08-08-2008, 05:27 PM
No plans but you never know when I might be in the area. Thanks for the offer.

08-08-2008, 06:13 PM

this is a very good value, if I had not found my current TIG I would have purchased this one

10-30-2008, 08:35 AM
personally IM kind of torn between the ease and speed a good MIG like my 252 miller provides


and the flexibility and wide variations in what you can do with the TIG welders



both can produce excellent results, if your doing alot of welding a MIG may be prefered, but if QUALITY is more a concern ID suggest the TIG

I just got thru watching my son weld up his exhaust, he prefers the MIG 252 but theres no way the weld quality and appearance matches the TIG welded exhaust on the other vette, now both are certainly ok

10-30-2008, 04:48 PM
I'm looking again at a welder right now. Been working some OT and figure that's a good way to spend it. I'm thinking a Miller or Lincoln 140 or so. Small enough to stow away, but can do 5/16" with the right wire (the Lincoln unit can).

10-31-2008, 06:45 AM
I've been wondering about a MIG or TIG welder.... I remember the Miller units we had at the mine site I worked at several years ago in College. I never really liked them very much because the wire speed was always changing; everytime the cord moved a little, the speed f'd up. Hard to get good welds that way. Most of the welding we did was with arc wleders and I'm very proficient with them. Are these newer TIG and Mig units more consistent with wire speed?

10-31-2008, 03:44 PM
I've been wondering about a MIG or TIG welder.... I remember the Miller units we had at the mine site I worked at several years ago in College. I never really liked them very much because the wire speed was always changing; everytime the cord moved a little, the speed f'd up. Hard to get good welds that way. Most of the welding we did was with arc wleders and I'm very proficient with them. Are these newer TIG and Mig units more consistent with wire speed?

Ive never had the slightest problem,
but then Ive used mostly TIG, oxy acetolene and ARC welders untill very recently,
the LINCOLN mig I had for several years and the HOBART mig worked flawlessly and the new MILLER 252 has so far been just fine!
I know lots of guys with MIGS and if you don,t keep the feed rollers lubed and clean they tend to develope problems

Lonnies Performance
10-31-2008, 04:36 PM
I saw your post & remembered that I talked about buying a TIG a few months ago. So I spent the rest of the night looking at welders.

My wifes gonig to be mad at you lol.....

What do you think about these?


or a combo unit


The HTP one you show looks like it has nice features, but I never heard of them before.

10-31-2008, 08:22 PM

that looks nice, but did you notice its an air cooled torch?
when you get up in that amp range a liquid cooled torch is a good investment

btw The HTP one has been around for a few years and gets good reviews

Lonnies Performance
11-01-2008, 04:08 PM
This would be my first TIG purchase & other than using them I know little about them. I've always used a friends when I needed something that I could not Stick or MIG weld.

I take it the inverter type is the most versatile.... I'd like to buy something good that lasts me through the next decade.

AC/DC seems the only way to go, with the stick weld option... as well as a nice low turndown for delicate stuff. I doubt I'll ever need 250amps for the little stuff I build. I'd like to do some header fab (mild & stainless), roll cage/suspension, aluminum head/intake repair, some sheet aluminum fab work & the occasional odd repair.

For me I think the hand output control would be nice as I'm doing more repair on the vehicle than on the bench.

The flex head seems like a nice option.

There was a liquid cooled option on the Linclon site that was about $600 more. As for water cooling, at what current or duty cycle is it important?

I thought about a good combo unit & would not mind upgrading my MIG, but do not need a $6000 welding outfit at this time. But it would be nice to replace a stick welder, MIG & also have a TIG that occupies the same space in the garage. Somehow the garage keeps getting more toys added to it & less room for tools/work.

I'd like to stay under $3k but it always seems like before you know it, a few additional options would be nice & the price grows significantly.

The HTP looked rather interesting for sure. I think I'll read up on it some more.


11-02-2008, 10:22 AM
BTW, when sellecting a TIG TORCH DESIGN, theres air cooled and liquid cooled, LIQUID COOLED COSTS MORE BUT ITS A GOOD OPTION, you might want to spring for!

the AMPS your using naturally effect the HEAT and the rate it builds but its the TIME you spend welding thats the big concern, as the HEAT that builds up in the hand held torch doesn,t drop off real fast.
if your doing things like brackets and headers its usually no big deal, simply because you stop and start and verify fit so often giving the torch time to cool, but on bigger projects like rear suspensions and roll cages its occasionally a P.I.T.A. letting an air cool torch cool

Lonnies Performance
11-03-2008, 08:24 PM
There is an article in this months Car Craft about a Miller TIG if interested.

11-03-2008, 10:15 PM
Well I finally pulled the trigger tonight and ordered a Lincoln 140C Mig


Any suggestions on a welding hood? What to look for and most importantly what to be careful of? I'm not going to be welding a ton but want something reliable and that most importantly will protect my eyes.

11-04-2008, 02:09 AM
BTW the question of which auto darkening welding helmet comes up frequently so,

Ive got 4 auto darkening hoods now,
but I use the cheap a$$ harbor freight hood more and more for two reasons,
first it works flawlessly, and second if I screw it up with welding splater Im out something less than $50 so its no big deal to weld overhead or get a bit careless with it, and I can save my $340 hood to impress guys while it hangs on the welder cart, as its not significantly better in any function but snob appeal, and while it looks great,its not much better in function, in my opinion
in fact Ill buy a second spare for the shop,next time I drive bye HF



might as well get a couple of these also while your there



Lonnies Performance
12-09-2008, 08:42 PM
Hey Grumpy,
What do you think about the Miller Dynasty 200?

Looking at one & like the features, but the price is up there.
Been considering a water cooled torch system & finger tip power control option.

Lonnies Performance
12-19-2008, 10:02 PM
Grumpy, where have you been? I'm buying one tomorrow.... Merry Christmas to Me!

12-20-2008, 06:19 PM
youll love the miller TIG, the dynasty is one of the better tigs

Lonnies Performance
12-20-2008, 08:00 PM
I liked all the features, but the price is hard to swallow.

My dealer is getting back to me about the watercooled option. Seems they may have a new setup out that is only $500 more than the air cooled variety. Most increase the price by atleast $1000. If I can get this for around $500, I will. I figure the duration/amperage of my typical welds do not normally warrant the extra expense, but it cannot hurt.

Got my Argon bottle today & spent a few hundred today getting my torch tanks filled/recertified etc.

Now I'm anxious to get my new toy.

12-21-2008, 08:27 AM
Post up pics of your setup when you get it. And your first welds.

12-21-2008, 02:45 PM
BTW youll find that the TIG works really well if YOU DON,T turn the amps up to the higher edge of the correct heat range, and you use it like an acetolene torch and preheat and work slowly, with a TIG you can go back over unlike a MIG that always needs to be adding wire filler

Lonnies Performance
12-21-2008, 07:11 PM
A friend of mine has one that I use occasionally.

I always wanted one & really need one for some of the smaller stuff I do. Trying to do precision welds on small stuff with a MIG is rather crude. Getting a blob of weld vs. melting 2 small pieces together is a drastic difference in appearance.

Being able to weld without adding filler is nice because you can eliminate a weld buildup.
The 3" duals on my 95 Camaro was done in 304SS & there is no filler used on any of the seams. My first project will be the 304SS 5" exhaust & 3" intercooler tubing I'm building for my diesel pickup.

12-22-2008, 08:56 AM
I could get by just fine on 99% of my welding projects with just the oxy, acetolene torch and the TIG welders, the arc and mig welders get used less and less, on the precision stuff