mig or arc welder? need help | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free! Once registered you can join the Elite Explorers to eliminate ads from the website.

mig or arc welder? need help

tgreene92

Well-Known Member
Joined
July 28, 2009
Messages
407
Reaction score
0
City, State
south jersey
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 XLT x2
i finally realized that i need to invest in a welding machine. ive been reading alot about them but im still stuck between the two, from what ive read arc welds seem to be stronger and the machines cheaper, but the mig makes cleaner welds and are easier to use as well are easier to use to weld aluminum. ive read that the arc can weld aluminum but is tricky and requires certain electrodes. i would like to not have a big bottle of gas laying around which makes me like the arc but the mig sounds like a better machine. i also read about mig welders that do not use gas, how good are these and how do they work. i need help making a decision and need any general info i can get. any info at all is greatly appreciated thx. and sorry for posting in the 95 to 01 thread didnt know where to put it.
 



Join the Elite Explorers $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.



plcrew

Member
Joined
November 4, 2009
Messages
41
Reaction score
1
City, State
NorCal
Year, Model & Trim Level
92 explorer
How much aluminum welding do you think you will honestly need? Mig is nice and clean with the gas shielding and arc is a little dirty(nothing a little grinding won't take care of). If you are trying to weld in the driveway and there is any wind, this can make it a head ache with MIG because you lose your gas shielding. Just some idea's to consider, I'm not a welder by trade.
 






jhclance

Active Member
Joined
December 30, 2008
Messages
93
Reaction score
1
City, State
Forsyth Ga
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 4dr 4x2
I have a lincoln mig welder no gas i use flux-core wire and I weld any thing up to and including 3/8 thick steel, requires more patience cleaning before and during welding to achieve the needed strength for the really thick pieces. But mostly I weld 1/4" and I have no problem with my stuff breaking. I used my lincoln to build my car trailer that will haul my fullsize bronco with no fear or worry of any thing breaking.
 






PARTSGURUT

Member
Joined
July 5, 2007
Messages
24
Reaction score
1
City, State
wichita, ks
Year, Model & Trim Level
95 Exploror
mig welders are great for sheet metal and up to 1/4 inch or so with single pass. You can do thicker with multiple passes. Clean welds when using gas and they often look pretty, but a pretty weld can fool you into thinking you have good penetration when you don't. You can weld aluminum with mig, usually a spool gun is best because you don't want contaminates from steel wire to embed in the wire.

Arc welders can weld sheet metal but it is more tricky to do then with mig. They are great with thicker material and can weld aluminum with the right electrode. Again you can make excellent welds with arc welders.

It is really a matter of what material you are going to be welding.
 












Explorer Junky

Well-Known Member
Joined
March 15, 2010
Messages
441
Reaction score
0
City, State
Grand Rapids, Mi
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 XLT 4 dr 5.0
Anytime you use flux core, you basically have a STICK/ARC welder with a gun and wire vs. an electrode with a stick on the end. The flux helps protect the weld better and get better penetration. I did a lot of structural welding, and I primarily used 5/64th flux. This stuff would gouge deep even on low settings. Granted, I had a high power machine(hooked up to a 480 I believe). But, if you go with a regular gas shielded MIG I would use .045 wire to weld up the thick stuff, and .035 for lighter stuff. As far as using an ARC welder, they have better penetration than a MIG also. We had to use stick/arc welders only on pipe that carried hazardous chemicals. It is trickier to use. You have to be able to keep a good steady hand while moving the stick in and out of the heat while moving your hand in as the stick gets shorter. Depending on your skill level, I would say the easier way would be MIG, then flux, then stick. Good luck!
 






King of So Cal

Well-Known Member
Joined
December 17, 2009
Messages
465
Reaction score
16
City, State
So Cal
Year, Model & Trim Level
.
MIG MIG MIG MIG MIG MIG!!!!!!!! You cant go wrong, mig is so much more fun. I'de take mig over arc any day....unless your talking tig!
 






little x

Explorer Addict
Joined
March 21, 2005
Messages
1,323
Reaction score
0
City, State
SW VA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'91 XL
I recently bought my first welder. After going through all the same thoughts I decided to get an arc welder. It was much cheaper, it's simpler to operate (less settings to mess with), it's easier to burn a deeper weld. And I can always get a nicer mig once I'm more used to playing with molten metal and want to upgrade. Plus, if you can learn to make pretty welds with an arc when you do move to a mig they will be perfect.
 






spabula

Well-Known Member
Joined
November 5, 2007
Messages
236
Reaction score
0
City, State
PA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'00 XLT AWD 5.0L
FWIW, you dont need to have a "big bottle of gas" for MIG. You can get a little tiny bottle if you want. Actually I would suggest 2 different mixes if your gonna be welding steel and aluminum. Argon/Co2 for steel and Argon or Argon/Helium for Aluminum.
Id say it really depends what you plan on welding most often. If its going to be mostly thin stuff I'd go with MIG (GMAW) if its gonna be alot of thick plate and tube (1/4" or thicker) then go for Stick (SMAW).
Either way.....practice practice practice..... you'll only get better. Northern Tools has some cheap decent welders.
 






KPSquared

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 24, 2009
Messages
650
Reaction score
3
City, State
Wetaskiwin, Alberta
Year, Model & Trim Level
2017 Explorer
In my personal opinion, buy a mig. On that note, don't buy a little no gas buzz box. They really do limit what you can do. We have a 250 Amp Miller Mig and LOVE it. We haven't fired up the arc welder since we bought it.

It's a serious investment, but in the end, it is SO worth it to buy a good size mig. All depends on your money situation though.
 






damarble

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 20, 2008
Messages
739
Reaction score
19
City, State
Washington
Year, Model & Trim Level
01 Sport Trac 5.0L manual
I've been using a Lincoln 135 MIG for everything and it works well if you respect it's limitations and don't try to go too thick. But anything up to 1/4" thick it will burn nice and hot. It will take gas or flux core, I haven't gotten any gas yet but flux core seems fine and clean enough.
 






Maniak

Moderator-Stock 91-94
Elite Explorer
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
February 9, 1999
Messages
12,063
Reaction score
124
City, State
Vail, Arizona
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 XLT 4x4
I'm no welding expert, but I do have a Miller 135 (110v). I'm using flux core wire since I weld outside and people "in the know" say outside, in the wind with Gas is hard to keep clean.

I can say for "most" work, the 110V welder is enough BUT I have hit the limit a few times. I hit the duty cycle a few times AND I have to call my neighbor when I need thick stuff welded. 1/4" is the limit of what I can do, and that is pushing it. 3/16 isn't a problem, other than I hit the duty cycle pretty fast.

Now that I have 220V where I need it, I'm "thinking" of grabbing a 220v gmaw welder but the 110V welder is nice when I need to take it somewhere since everywhere I go has at least 110V (or a 110v generator).

~Mark
 






v897xlt

Well-Known Member
Joined
July 16, 2010
Messages
128
Reaction score
0
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 XLT AWD v8 5.o
MIG, mig,MIG!!!!! arc is for heavyier stuff, are Lincoln mig does up to 1/4 and ive welded stuff even thicker then that, use mig on everything , tractor implements, all sorts of stuff, very useful!!!
 






Curtis

Explorer Addict
Joined
November 15, 2001
Messages
1,688
Reaction score
9
City, State
Orlando, FL
Year, Model & Trim Level
04 XLT 4x4
I vote MIG too...

Watch your local Home Depot they seem to always have welders on clearance here. I picked up this one last year, display model.
I was able to ask for a manager and get the price down to $135 for missing parts. All that was missing was a roll of wire and the hand held welding mask!

I had the tab break off a cylinder head exhaust manifold bolt. I thought I could temporarily fix it with this welder and I was wrong... If fixed it permanently! I could not beat the tab off with a hammer! Not the ideal fix but it worked for me for as long as I needed.

Does a great job on sheet metal.
I have no problems not using gas with the flux core wire.

Picked up an automatic darkening helmet at Harbor freight for $32 too! The have welding gloves that go up to your elbow for $5 while your there. And don't forget a roll of wire too.
Every Car and Driver or Motor Trend has a page for harbor Freight in the back that has coupons including 20% off... I tear them all out at the dr's office LOL


IMG_2691-1.jpg
 






Top