Welding is among the most rewarding blue-collar jobs in the world today. If you thought that welding was of no use yesterday, then today is the most appropriate time for you to try this business. When you want to start a welding garage, the first thing you will need to ensure is that you have a very experienced technician to work for you. After getting a shop and doing all the legal paperwork, it is a high time you want to get the best MIG welder. However, you are wondering about how to find the best MIG welder.
Although each welder has his own situation, following the guidelines below will give you a general rule on how to get the MIG welder you are really in need of.
1. Understanding your Needs
The first thing that you will have to know is what exactly you want to use the MIG welder for. Is it going to be just for domestic use or it will be used in a garage? Will the garage a small repair garage in the village market or it is a heavy-duty garage at the center of a city or an industry. You do not want to end up having bought a welder that has either more power than you need or that which has less power than you surely require.
2. MIG/Flux-Cored Welders or Multifunction
Most of the welders in the market do support flux core functions. However, others don’t. The MIG/Flux-Cored welder must be preferred if the work you want to use the welder for is diverse. You really have to go for a dynamic or rather a multipurpose welder if you want to get the best out of your machine. The MIG welders will be used for diversified functions at home such as for general home repair, ranch applications, auto body, maintenance and repair among others. Some of the best features to look for in the MIG welders include; Auto-set system, standardized built-in solid contractor circuits and thermal overload protection among others.
3. What is Your Primary power requirements?
The basic MIG welder for the projects at home or just for small scale projects do run at 115v. This is because most of the welding projects at home are related with welding just some thin metals. You therefore need to go for a welder that will handle this kind of metals. At home or for welding purposes in the local market, you probably need a welder that will weld thin sheet of iron. An 115V welder such as the Millematic 140 will do this work well. However, it won’t be able to handle thick metals. If you think you really need a welder that gives both tones of power, then you would rather go for the more powerful MIG welders such as the Millematic 252. This however comes at a higher price.
The best welder option for those having a wide range of products to work on is the all in one MIG welder such as the Millematic 211 that operates at either 230 V or 120 V. To get started, just switch from a high voltage plug to a low voltage plug and you will be ready to go. This will be quite affordable for you though it can’t give as much power as the industrial heavy duty Millematic 252.
4. Thermal Overload Protection and the Duty Cycle
Overheating is another problem that has rendered many MIG welders useless. Such welders can only be used for a short while but when they overheat, you need to wait for some long periods of time for them to cool before you can resume work. When striving on how to find the best MIG welder, you should save yourself from such problems by buying a MIG welder that has got the thermal overload protection with it. Because you are buying a welder that needs to be used for long, the thermal overload protection will act as an insurance policy for you.
A welders output has to be measured before one decides the type of MIG welder they will opt for. The output of such machines is measured by the use of amperage and voltage and rated as duty cycle. Duty cycle simply implies to the measure of time that a welder is able to be operated at a certain output without having to exceed the limits of the component parts’ temperature. This is usually measured by the use of 10-minute cycles. For instance, the Fabricator 181i which has a 20% duty cycle when MIG welding at 180A/240V. This implies that the welder has the capability of welding for two minutes at the above-mentioned output. After the two minutes, the welder needs eight minutes to cool.
Duty cycle is inversely proportional to the welding output. When the welder is being used at lower outputs, the duty cycle will increase. For instance, the Fabricator 181i will have a duty cycle of 60% when MIG welding at 113A/19.7V.
The evaluation of the duty cycle of an MIG welder is done at a specific ambient temperature. Thermal Arc uses 1040 F. while most of the industry leaders use this standard, others do use lower temperatures such as 860 F; when welding in hotter conditions the other units have to be de-rated.
5. The Metal thickness and size of wire weld.
The thickness of the metal to be welded does not play a big role in the selection of an MIG welder. This is so because I don’t expect that someone will want to buy a welder that doesn’t have the features of adjusting the voltage and the current. The type of metal to be welded, the metal thickness, welding position, joint configurations, the wire diameter speed, the shielding gas among other factors will determine the amount of voltage you will adjust your machine to run at while you do the welding. The machine you are purchasing so that you can be able to know the exact voltage for a given thickness and so on must therefore accompany a convenient reference chart. Other more digitalized MIG welders will automatically set the amount of current and voltage you need to work on. Once the Auto-set is on, just dial the thickness of the metal you want to work on and the machine will automatically set itself to the required voltage.
The size and type of the wire to be used in welding depends with some factors. Two common wire types namely AWS classification ER70S-3 that will be used for all purposes and the ER70S-6 wire that is used when more deoxidizers are required such as on rusty and dirty surfaces. The size of the wire to be used for welding will therefore not determine the type of machine you will go for. However, the machine you will buy will determine the type and size of wire weld you will be using
6. Portability, size and weight
The primary factors that will determine the need for considering portability is the function you intend to use the MIG welder for. Is it majorly going to be a mobile welding shop or a stationery one? For totally mobile workshop, you may not need to consider the weight so much, because in any way, you must make the provision for a permanent transport system. The first priority will have to be the quality of the machine you would buy. From the best, choose the lightest. However, the size is of great importance because you don’t want to be moving everywhere with such a voluminous MIG welder.
7. Repair and Maintenance
This can be a minor point or major depending on your flexibility and your financial strength. Machines do need repair and maintenance. You may know of the best MIG welder that you would have preferred to have for your business. However, the repair shop within your area cannot supply its spare parts. They can also not be able to repair it within. This point can force you to go for another MIG welder. However, out of the available options, choose the best.
8. Which Is the Best Welder Brand?
When you are striving on how to find the best MIG welder, the question on which brand is the best never fails to run in your thoughts. The best thing to do is to do your research and survey. Online reviews, testimonials and referrals will do you lots of good. When every welder is commending a given brand, chances are very high that this is the brand you need to go for. However, the following brands have stood the test of times and buying one of their products will make you not regret spending your money them: Hobart, Thermal Arc, Everlast, Miller, and Lincoln.
The most important thing is for you to know exactly what you want to use the MIG welder for. Do a detailed research before giving out cash. Identify your needs and select a machine that suits your requirements as well as budget.