Sunday, 11 September 2011

Mig Welders

Those little 115v wire welders that you see at Lowes and Home Depot are selling like hotcakes. Home Depot seems to always stock the Lincoln Electric Weld Pak HD. And Lowes seems to always have the Lincoln Electric Pro Core 125 MIG/Flux-Corded Welder. Every time I visit Lowes or Home Depot, I cant help but notice that the welding supply shelves have grown like crazy in between my frequent visits.

My theory is that cable TV shows like Orange County Choppers and Monster Garage and helped to bring welding and fabrication more into mainstream Americana and have even created quite a buzz around welding and fabrication. It seems like every red blooded American male with an ounce of testosterone in his gonads wants to make something out of metal and the only real way to do that is with a welding machine. Having a welder in your garage also gives some serious bragging rights and makes you think you have a lot more friends than you really do, (kind of like having a Bass boat).

But the thing that scares me a little and should scare a lot of folks is that there is no welding police. No one to blow the whistle and stop people from welding stuff they shouldnt oughta weld. Its kind of like a sixteen year old being free to stroll into a motorcycle shop and ride off on a crotch rocket that will do 180 mph. I guess that is part of living in Free America.

What a country!

These little wire welders do have some limitations. Lets be clear about that. There are just some jobs you should not tackle with a 115v mig welder.

But take heart. There are many jobs that you can do, and do well with one of these 115v welding machines.

The purpose of this article is to explain how to get the most out of your 115v wire feeder welding machine and to make sure you are getting proper penetration in what you are welding.

First off, if you are going to weld a thin sheet metal quarter panel patch for a Nissan Altima, no worries. Penetration will be the least of your concerns. But if you are thinking about welding something heavier like a home-built Hummer Kit using 3 inch square tubing with 3/16 inch wall thickness, that is something else entirely. This is a situation where you will really be pushing the limits of any 115v wire feed welder.

I think anytime something is welded that that would probably injure someone if the welds fail, a 220-230v MIG welding machine should be used. That said there are still going to be occasions where people will need to push the limits of their 115v MIG welding wire feed welders.

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