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What is the ideal starter welding rig? Cheapest entry. Just to try out for simple jobs. Mild backyard stuff.

asked Nov 26 '12 at 16:23

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly

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The Harbor Freight 90 amp flux core welder will meet many beginners' needs. It currently has a 4 out of 5 star review rating from 101 reviewers on HarborFreight.com


answered Nov 26 '12 at 17:03

David%20Holland's gravatar image

David Holland

A lot of people go with the Lincoln 110/220 because of the price point and because it is what a lot of places keep in stock. Having worked with several of them, I would never recommend them. They are too inconsistent and for anything more than a hobby, just not good enough quality.

Miller's buzz box on the other hand is a great machine, obviously more expensive and maybe out of the price range of a "starter" but if you are going to be doing any solid work. I have used it in professional settings on weight baring projects and was very pleased.


answered Nov 26 '12 at 18:35

sparkplug49's gravatar image


The new Thermal Arc inverter rigs win hands down for price/performance. See 161i, 181i, etc. Do you need a spoolgun compatible for Al?

BTW, from a pro fabricator for 20+ years.


answered Nov 26 '12 at 19:01

epistememe's gravatar image


Miller 140. USED

Can be had for about $300 with a gas setup. Easy to understand, use, and repair. Special bonus, anyone tha actually knows how to weld won't laugh at you when you show them your rig and ask for some help. I'm a choir director and I learned how to weld on this unit and have made all necessary repairs and adjustments with a minimum of effort or instruction.


answered Nov 26 '12 at 19:03

Musicman's gravatar image


Musicman, I don't care about being laughed at. Isn't gas complicating things for a beginner?


answered Nov 26 '12 at 20:03

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly

David, I was looking at the Harbor Frieght 90 amp hobby welder but there seemed to be some complaints that it was not sufficient to use the standard 3/32 rods and required thinner 1/8 which were harder to find. Have you used it?


answered Nov 26 '12 at 20:07

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly

Forget buying anything until you have taken a introductory course in welding. Tech schools and community colleges around here offer evening courses of around 20 hours total. Often you can take your own projects and use their equipment.


answered Nov 27 '12 at 08:14

Brian%20Hughes's gravatar image

Brian Hughes

I bought an Everlast combo TIG/Plasma/Stick which ran about $600 from Amazon. Large tank of argon was about another $150 to buy the tank. I'm enjoying learning. My welds are ugly, but getting prettier, and I'm having lots of fun and TIG is pretty amazing.


answered Nov 27 '12 at 08:59

commander%20flatus's gravatar image

commander flatus

Northern Tool sells a great little 110v wire feed welder the call the 135. It's $320 and comes with a gas regulator, so you can set it up for flux core or MIG.

It does a fine job for what it is.


answered Nov 27 '12 at 21:12

Plotman's gravatar image


Northern Tool also sells a fantastic 110v - 20amp, Flux Core 125 wire feed unit - on sale right now for $130. A handy little unit about the size and weight of carry on luggage. I've run it off 100ft 12ga extension cord with no trouble. Its great for the novice like myself since there is little to adjust. 2 power settings, dependent on the thickness of the metal you are welding, and a feed rate adjustment. I've repaired an old trailer for a garden tractor, simple repairs to my snow plow truck, helped another dad fix a hand rail at our kids school, etc. etc. Couldn't be happier for the simple welding projects I occasionally do.


answered Nov 28 '12 at 10:21

sean's gravatar image


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Asked: Nov 26 '12 at 16:23

Seen: 6,601 times

Last updated: Dec 02 '12 at 00:34

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