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Old 01-17-09, 05:31 PM   #1
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Arrow Looking to buy a Welder for exhaust sys. and manifold work.

I learned how to weld with a arc welder, and now I am interested in purchasing a machine in the near future within a few months.

I want to be able to weld together exhaust piping and stainless steel tubing for exhaust manifolds.

From what I have read if I were to buy a tig machine, ac is for aluminum and dc is for all other metals. So I am assuming I would need a machine that can switch from ac to dc if I were to choose TIG.

Could I buy a mig machine and still put together exhaust piping and stainless steel pipe for manifolds?

It will be my first machine so I am not looking to spend a lot of money just in case I somehow loose interest.

If I can weld exhaust systems and exhaust manifold piping with a MIG machine that would be great due to MIG machine are not as expensive as TIG machines.

What do you guys use? What machine do you recommend for someone who's just starting this hobby?

I know ARC is out of the question because they are mainly used for thick materials and not the automotive industry.
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Old 01-17-09, 09:19 PM   #2
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I am about to pick up a MIG to do custom downpipes and intercooler piping, as well as other bs repairs etc. I am getting the Millermatic 140, which is their best 120v. I'm going with 120v for convenience and price, not performance. I'm also getting the spoolmate 100 gun to work with aluminum. I think it can do 12 gauge steel in a single pass and 14 gauge aluminum in a single pass. I don't plan to make a manifold with it though. I'm not super knowledgeable but it's going to be a lot harder to get professional looking welds with a MIG.

The local dealer wants $675 for that welder, like $220 for the aluminum wire spool gun, and I think $120 for one 40 lb bottle of gas. Then there is extra wire, a mask, various shielding gases, etc you gotta get.

If you have a convenient 220v outlet you could go with like a Millermatic 180 which would be more powerful.
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Old 01-17-09, 09:29 PM   #3
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I am about to pick up a MIG to do custom downpipes and intercooler piping, as well as other bs repairs etc. I am getting the Millermatic 140, which is their best 120v. I'm going with 120v for convenience and price, not performance. I'm also getting the spoolmate 100 gun to work with aluminum. I think it can do 12 gauge steel in a single pass and 14 gauge aluminum in a single pass. I don't plan to make a manifold with it though. I'm not super knowledgeable but it's going to be a lot harder to get professional looking welds with a MIG.

The local dealer wants $675 for that welder, like $220 for the aluminum wire spool gun, and I think $120 for one 40 lb bottle of gas. Then there is extra wire, a mask, various shielding gases, etc you gotta get.

If you have a convenient 220v outlet you could go with like a Millermatic 180 which would be more powerful.
Yea I was just looking at the same exact welder, I like that one a lot and will probably end up buying it if my mind doesn't change. I don't have a 220v outlet.
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Old 01-17-09, 09:30 PM   #4
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well if you have a clothes dryer, that's 220v
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Old 01-17-09, 09:47 PM   #5
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well if you have a clothes dryer, that's 220v
Ahhh, I do... now I know! Hmmm, I have more options now
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Old 01-18-09, 04:41 PM   #6
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You should also consider the Lincoln Electric Power mig 140. It is a far better machine than the Miller. We sell both and I have used both. The Miller is not a bad machine just the Lincoln is much better for the money. It also has the option of a spool gun for just over $200.00. Go to their site www.lincolnelectric.com and take a look. Just don't mix it up with the "weldpak" version sold at Home Depot, etc. Those machines are built to compete with the cheapo Hobart 140 (built by Miller for the same reason) and are not nearly as good of a machine. Miller's larger machine's are excellent, however their small machine's just don't measure up. They as a company really don't seem to serious about anything below their MM212. The performance and function of their smaller machine's really shows this.
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Old 01-18-09, 10:09 PM   #7
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You should also consider the Lincoln Electric Power mig 140. It is a far better machine than the Miller. We sell both and I have used both. The Miller is not a bad machine just the Lincoln is much better for the money. It also has the option of a spool gun for just over $200.00. Go to their site www.lincolnelectric.com and take a look. Just don't mix it up with the "weldpak" version sold at Home Depot, etc. Those machines are built to compete with the cheapo Hobart 140 (built by Miller for the same reason) and are not nearly as good of a machine. Miller's larger machine's are excellent, however their small machine's just don't measure up. They as a company really don't seem to serious about anything below their MM212. The performance and function of their smaller machine's really shows this.
Wow, awesome I thought timebomb was the only one in this forum that welds/has a interest that would assist me in finding the right machine for the job's ill be looking at doing.

Thank you, it's great to be able to hear from someone who has real experience with this type of stuff.
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Old 01-18-09, 11:14 PM   #8
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I didn't mention it, but it sounds like you have the correct type of machine in mind for your use. A mig machine will do 99% of what you will likely encounter and you will be pleased with the results. A tig machine is much more specialized, quite a bit more expensive. Certainly more difficult to master and rather slow. The quality of a tig weld can be better but it takes practice to get it. In automotive applications a mig machine enables you to easily get to your work. With a tig machine, to get good quality results, one will likely be working at a bench where you have a seat and a foot on your control pedal. Try doing this standing up, its really tricky.

If you do go with a mig machine make sure and get a cylinder of 75% Argon/25% Co2 mix to go with it. The results are worth it. Also keep in mind that to weld stainless you can use this same gas but to get a really good result I would recommend a tri-mix: Helium/Argon/Co2 Once again more expense but if your going to do much and want it nice, its worth it. If you go with the 40 cubic ft size its generally not to bad.


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Old 01-19-09, 11:32 AM   #9
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Can you please elaborate on why the Lincoln Electric 140 is better than the Miller 140? I'm buying from a local dealer (that deals mostly with professionals) and he said that "Millers seem to be holding up better around here." I don't know if he was mostly referring to the higher end machines or not. He characterized Miller vs Lincoln as "Chevy vs Ford."

What problems or lack of features are you seeing in the Miller 140 that the Lincoln 140does not have? I need all the firsthand information anyone can give me. This is an expensive purchase decision that I need to make within the next two weeks.
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Old 01-19-09, 04:45 PM   #10
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Have you looked at the Miller Diversion 165? 165amp tig ac/cd 220 welder with thumb controls, search around and you can find it for just under 1300 new
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Old 01-19-09, 06:34 PM   #11
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Have you looked at the Miller Diversion 165? 165amp tig ac/cd 220 welder with thumb controls, search around and you can find it for just under 1300 new
Yeah and it comes complete with a "Tig welding for dummies" book and video....seriously. Sounds like a good choice for the hobbiest tig welder.For a extra $150 bones you can add a foot control.The hand controlled torch is a big plus to have if you are trying to do something standing up or on the car.The miller"econo-tig" has an arc welder function but the diversion 165 sounds like a better/cheaper choice with a slightly wider amperage range being an "inverter type" machine.
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Old 01-19-09, 08:12 PM   #12
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Can you please elaborate on why the Lincoln Electric 140 is better than the Miller 140? I'm buying from a local dealer (that deals mostly with professionals) and he said that "Millers seem to be holding up better around here." I don't know if he was mostly referring to the higher end machines or not. He characterized Miller vs Lincoln as "Chevy vs Ford."

What problems or lack of features are you seeing in the Miller 140 that the Lincoln 140does not have? I need all the firsthand information anyone can give me. This is an expensive purchase decision that I need to make within the next two weeks.
This is one of those questions that may come down to who is selling it to you. If they like Miller and don't sell Lincoln of course they will favor the Miller. We sell both. Why do I feel the Lincoln is a better buy? In a nutshell it just works better. If you used both back to back you might agree. One advantage the Lincoln has is Variable Inductance that is built into the heat control circuit. Miller does not do this on their smaller machines because it costs money. What difference does it make? The miller will have a nice arc at one setting, generally somewhere mid range. With the Lincoln the arc is far better throughout the range. It is a noticeable difference. Now take a look at the wire drive system. The miller uses one drive wheel with the other a plain bearing just along for the ride. The Lincoln use a geared system (like the bigger machines) that drives both wheels. I could go on and on. Factor this with Red being less money, made entirely in the US and to me its an easy decision.

Also the Diversion 165 is not a bad option. However in this case I wouldn't pick it. Why? I wouldn't choose tig as my only machine. Also with only 165 or so amps available its not going to be effective with aluminium. You simply need more power. So if its only good on steel, why spend the extra money and limit yourself with functionality.

(By the way, I own both Miller and Lincoln. I use Lincoln for my Mig machine and Miller for my Tig/Stick machine and Plasma. I'm very happy with both.)
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Old 01-19-09, 09:01 PM   #13
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If you want to do thin aluminum intercooler tubing, stainless, or titanium only a *square wave* ac/dc TIG will give you good results. Miller syncrowave is hands down the best bang for the buck if you can find one used. Thermal Arc makes some good inverter units if you need something smaller/lighter, but plan on spending more. Plan on at least 185+ amp range. The duty cycle on a 165amp welder is going to be too short when welding aluminum.
Do not buy a DC only tig welder. Do not try to convert a buzz box for tig use. Some pros can weld aluminum with direct current and 22ga mild steel without a foot control. That takes a lot of years.

If you don't want to spend $2500 for the ability to weld aluminum, I would suggest getting the good ol' Lincoln 140 MIG. You will be able to weld upside down, backward, and one handed with little practice. Use argon/co2 gas for the thin stuff. Flux core works well for heavy repairs. Make sure you have the right polarity +/- for your wire!

Get a good auto darkening helmet. I like the miller pro series. Your welds turn out so much better when you can see what your doing!

Hope that points you into the right direction.
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Old 01-19-09, 09:08 PM   #14
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i am currently am using the mm140 and its been a great machine. very simple to use and the arc has always been consistant. however, i do not sell them and i a'm not too familiar with the lincoln counterpart. if you are in a school, a lot of shops will give you a discount on your machine. i bought my welder through praxair and received a substantial discount because i was in a class, they didn't even check actually, just took my word for it.

i'm in the market for a synchrowave 250 or similar, any suggestions or opinions welderguy?
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Old 01-19-09, 09:10 PM   #15
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I agree with WelderGuy. Don't have a TIG as your only welding source. And I also use Lincoln for mig, Miller for tig.
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Old 01-19-09, 10:02 PM   #16
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Silvertrd. If your in the market for a 250 amp tig there are several good options. The syncrowave 250 is a good machine. Upside, stable arc, lots of features for the money. Downside, heavy old transformer style machine. Also a power pig (which all traditional low frequency transformer machines are.) Another good option is the Lincoln Precision Tig 225. Upside, good value and very user friendly. Downside, heavy old transformer style machine, power pig. In my opinion, if your willing to spend around 3k, the Miller Dynasty 200DX is the best choice. Its an inverter based machine which means light weight and power efficient. It also has more features than the others, and you can move it around without the use of a crane.

Where to buy? I would go to www.Millerwelds.com and find your local dealer/dealers. Then I would get pricing from each one I could find. Don't be afraid to tell them you are shopping around if you want your best deal. And lastly I would check with your local welding/fabrication shops. They might have a used machine at a bargain, plus I would ask their opinion of the local dealers. Most shops will tell you which dealer they recommend, might save you some grief. Personally I would stay with your local dealers vs Internet dealers. If you ever need warranty work, your purchase with your local dealer makes all the difference.
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Old 01-19-09, 10:16 PM   #17
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I didn't mention it, but it sounds like you have the correct type of machine in mind for your use. A mig machine will do 99% of what you will likely encounter and you will be pleased with the results. A tig machine is much more specialized, quite a bit more expensive. Certainly more difficult to master and rather slow. The quality of a tig weld can be better but it takes practice to get it. In automotive applications a mig machine enables you to easily get to your work. With a tig machine, to get good quality results, one will likely be working at a bench where you have a seat and a foot on your control pedal. Try doing this standing up, its really tricky.

If you do go with a mig machine make sure and get a cylinder of 75% Argon/25% Co2 mix to go with it. The results are worth it. Also keep in mind that to weld stainless you can use this same gas but to get a really good result I would recommend a tri-mix: Helium/Argon/Co2 Once again more expense but if your going to do much and want it nice, its worth it. If you go with the 40 cubic ft size its generally not to bad.


Jay
Awesome, your the man to talk to for this kind of stuff and I appreciate your knowledge more then anything when it comes to this.

I figured MIG was it but I would rather ask someone who has knowledge and can steer me in the right path so I will get the right machine for me.

What type of welding wire would you use for stainless, welding exhaust manifold piping for a rotary? .35 stainless steel wire?

Yea I don't want to really go with a tig due to the foot pedal thing and also not being wire feed, it would be a lot harder for me to get it right.

I just wanted to ask before i pursue in purchasing a machine. I am glad that a mig machine will be plenty for my tasks!

I am glad your part of this board, and again thank you so much!
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Old 01-19-09, 11:07 PM   #18
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skir2222, thanks for the praise. I'm just a normal guy that does it for my job. I as well come here for info. This site has been very useful for research to me. Where else can you find such a wealth of information relating to these amazing cars. I have owned my '83 for 21 years now and it still continues to amaze me. I drove it on the street for a few years before I dedicated it to race only duty. I actually drove it home from race events several times on Goodyear race slicks with no lights etc before I gave in and started trailering it.

To answer your stainless question. If what you will be welding is all stainless and probably fairly thin wall I would use 308-.030 or even .025. With the smaller size wire you don't have to throw as much heat into your weld which results in less distortion. Be careful when joining two dissimilar size pieces together such as a thick flange and thin tubing. Focus your heat towards the flange otherwise you will completely melt your tubing. Practice on scrap before it has to count, this is a good way to dial in your settings. If what you are joining is stainless and mild steel you will need to use the 309 alloy. With this smaller stuff the 75% Argon/25% Co2 mix gas will work fine. Harris and Esab both have decent stainless wires. Look for the 2# rolls, its also available in a 10# which will fit on the smaller machines, however at around $10.00 a pound the 2# should be plenty. Please be careful when welding stainless, the fumes are nasty. I believe its the chromium content that does this. One has to balance ventilation without blowing away your shielding gas. I use a vac. system that sends everything outside.
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Old 01-20-09, 08:46 AM   #19
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If you want to weld stainless cheaply with a decent weld, then MIG is your only option. Stainless wire, DC, argon. MIG welding stainless is less pleasant then regular steel but it works well.

Of course you can weld stainless in many ways but if I suggest you get some stainless stick electrodes then people will probably complain. Most stainless electrodes want DC, and a good DC stick welder will cost more then a MIG.

There are cheap imported DC only TIG machines on eBay all day for less then $300, and they do work for steel, stainless, nickle and materials you can run DC. Most are scratch start and very cheaply built. But if you just want to weld up some stainless tube as cheap as possible, they are an option. I've used them before and they will do the job (much like mounting a TIG torch on a DC stick welder will).
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Old 01-21-09, 08:11 PM   #20
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my dad has been contemplating on buying a tig welder. and my friend and I have been tinkering with the idea of welding aluminum for custom intakes and such.
currently my dad uses a lincoln weld pack 100 and an old snap on 295amp stick welder.
could any of those be "inexpensively used to weld aluminum? or a fairly inexpensive option, in case we give up fairly quick...
thanks
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Old 01-21-09, 09:55 PM   #21
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well i tinkered with the syncrowave 350 for a bit in school and i didn't need the extra amperage. also there were quite a bit more features than i feel i would ever use on this unit. i used the 250 much more and fell in love with its consistancy. i do however like the lighter weight of the model's that you mentioned. the power savings would be a nice feature as well. looks like i'm gonna do some more research. thanks welderguy
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Old 01-22-09, 08:47 AM   #22
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Quote:
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Have you looked at the Miller Diversion 165? 165amp tig ac/cd 220 welder with thumb controls, search around and you can find it for just under 1300 new
While the Diversion is certainly a nice welder, I'd have to say that spending the extra few hundred for the Econotig is probably a wise move. The Econotig comes with a foot pedal (thumb wheels are icky for most people) and the capability to do stick welding. You get a bit more control over the welding process then just a "Steel/Aluminum" switch, but not much more. No "TIG For Dummies" though. The disadvantage of the Econotig is that it is massively heavy compared to the Diversion and its input power requirements are high.

I'm quite happy with my Econotig and have welded 1/4" aluminum (which honestly is out of it's range) down to 1MM aluminum, stainless, mild, copper and tungsten (unintentionally of course ).

It also burns rod quite well.
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Old 01-22-09, 06:51 PM   #23
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my dad has been contemplating on buying a tig welder. and my friend and I have been tinkering with the idea of welding aluminum for custom intakes and such.
currently my dad uses a lincoln weld pack 100 and an old snap on 295amp stick welder.
could any of those be "inexpensively used to weld aluminum? or a fairly inexpensive option, in case we give up fairly quick...
thanks
No easy solution for Aluminum. Lincoln does make a Aluminum conversion kit for the weld pak but it simply will not work and is not really an option. The least expensive option that actually works is a Lincoln 180C with the 100SG spool gun. Don't plan on welding pop cans together with this setup , that is really not its intended purpose. If you want to do thin aluminum a good tig machine is really your only option. With a decent tig, plan on spending at least $2k. Then spending a good deal of time practicing to get good enough to where the results won't disgust you.

Jay
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Old 01-22-09, 07:11 PM   #24
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I picked up my EconoTIG used a few years ago for $1100, I think. It's a great starter machine, I've done tons of aluminum, mild, and stainless work with it with pretty good results.

However, after you have been doing it for a while and have used higher end machines, you really start wishing you had the additional features like AC balance, pre/postflow adjustment, WATERCOOLING, pulse, and others.

Definitely get an AC/DC TIG if at all possible; you can weld ANYTHING with it.
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Old 01-23-09, 08:53 PM   #25
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Do not spend the money(if you even considered it) on a snap on system. I have the muscle MIG system and it is fine when you get it setup. I say when because it takes for ever, somedays you can hop on it and go to town, other days no matter what you try it will either want to blow out the puddle, feed at varying rates when nothing on the feed has changed, or other little annoyances. I love it WHEN it works though but those times are few and far between. I have been looking at getting a Lincoln to replace it.
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Old 01-23-09, 08:53 PM
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