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How Do I Choose the Best Wire Feed Welder?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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When looking to purchase a wire feed welder, it's imperative to do research to ensure that you are purchasing the best one possible. These welders come in several different types, each geared for a specific use. They range from professional models which operate on 230 volt current, to home-use models which operate on as little as 110 volts. When purchasing a new wire feed welder, be sure to pick one that uses both a shielding gas as well as flux core wire. These options will provide the best welder for the money.

Wire feed welders are usually considered much easier to use than old-fashioned stick welders. Most new operators are able to perform satisfactory welding with a minimal amount of practice and instruction. The most common metal inert gas (MIG) welder uses a gas cylinder filled with a mix of carbon-dioxide and argon gas. This gas shields the welding bead from contaminates and leaves a bead which requires no further action.

The operator can, however, choose to forgo the gas and use a flux core wire, purchased at any good welding supply store. This wire allows the operator to weld without the gas. The slag will need to be removed from the weld, however, and the bead dressed with a wire brush in the same manner as a weld produced from a stick welder.

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A wire feed welder is rated by the amperage it operates on. The higher the amperage, the thicker the steel the unit will weld. When choosing a new wire feed welder, always purchase the welder with the highest rated amperage. For home shop use, a 140- to 160-amp welder will fit most users' needs.

Gas cylinders are sold individually and are typically not included with the purchase of a wire feed welder. These can be found at most welding supply stores, and while they can be purchased, many consumers choose to rent the tanks. Tanks are dated for use and must be reconditioned or destroyed at the end of their life-span rating period. Renting the tanks assures the owner never ends up with an out-of-date tank which can no longer be refilled.

Owning a wire feed welder allows the novice to repair many broken items that would otherwise need to be taken to a professional. This also allows for the repair of his friends' and neighbors' broken items. These devices are usually relatively affordable and easy to operate.

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Discuss this Article

nony
Post 2

@allenJo - It sounds like you did well with that unit. I have an old wire feed welder in my shop but I can’t say that the flames are very precise.

I don’t know if I just got hold of a cheap unit (it was on sale when I bought it) or if the wire is bad; the flames kind of shoot all over the place.

Fortunately I don’t need it much, but if I did need it on a regular basis I would at least get new wire.

allenJo
Post 1

I don’t have a wire feed MIG welder of my own but I did have to borrow one from my friend once.

What happened is that I needed to change a catalytic converter on a very old Honda. The converter had been welded into the pipe, and the only way to change it out would have been to use a hacksaw (which wasn’t strong enough) or cut it with a welder.

My friend lent me his wire feed welder and helped me get underneath the car to cut the catalytic converter on both ends. The flames were very precise and directed, following the path of the wire and allowed me to make a clean cut.

I was then able to install the new catalytic converter and weld it back in.

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