Re: Best value flux core welder?
Be aware all the "flux core" welders ,unless they state they can be converted to use the argon/co2 gas,are NOT "MIG Welders"...they are Wire Feed ARC Welders...
A MIG with the gas kit, is far superior to a wire feed ARC welder to weld thin metal..
I have a 90 amp Harbor Freight wire feed ARC welder,and in my opinion,its barely worth the $30 I paid for it,I bought it mostly for the brand new cart it was on,which was well worth that price..
A guy not 3 miles from my house was selling it on Craigslist--he decided it was not the right tool to use on his restoration of a '49 Pontiac..he showed me some of the "welds" he tried making with it,they were ugly blobs,he said trying to "run a bead" was impossible,it would blow holes ,even set on "low",so he had to resort to doing a spot weld every inch,then grind it down..
..then he showed me his new Lincoln MIG and the beads he ran with that,and they looked perfect..
The HF welder still had 3/4 of its original spool of wire in it,that is how little he used it!..
I had no success trying to weld 16 gauge sheet metal with it--even on "low" it blew big holes almost instantly ,I have done better with my arc welder,set on DC,with 3/32" rods..I tried it on some 3/16" steel ,set on high,and it seemed to weld OK,but the bead didn't penetrate well,and bending the metal broke it in two at the weld..
The wire feed on the HF welder seems jerky and makes it tough to run a decent bead..
You will need a 20 amp 110V outlet to properly run a 110V welder,and if you lack one,adding one with 12 gauge romex might cost almost as much as running a 220V line to your shop...I'm not a big fan of 110V MIG welders--some do weld good,others suck..
There is no comparison to a 220V MIG with the gas setup..they rule,and then you can weld anything from 22 gauge to 1/2" thick steel..
I know its expensive to buy a 220V MIG and the gas,run the wiring to it,etc,but its worth it in the long run..
I only use my torches maybe half a dozen times a year--but after suffering with none,and then buying the smallest "pouch" torches and being less than thrilled with their ability to cut thick stuff (and not run out of O2 in 20 minutes!),I ended up wishing I'd spent the $300 on "real" full sized tanks and torches..I now own both!..and they are worth it..