I bought a welder. I’ve been anticipating needing one for the project for some time. After doing some research I settled on the Millermatic 135. I have zero past experience with welding but have read a lot and done some practicing since I got the welding set up. I had several criteria when picking out a welder:
- I don’t have a 220 volt circuit in the garage, so the welder has to be 110 volt.
- I definitely wanted a MIG welder due to its relatively shallow learning curve and the fact that it could handle just about any project a hobbyist like myself may tackle.
- I wanted something with shielding gas rather than having to rely on flux-core wire, because everything I’ve read says that gas makes for cleaner and (most importantly) easier welding.
- I’d like a machine with a coninously variable, rather than discrete, control for voltage and wire feed speeds because I’ve been told that feature makes it much easier to find an appropriate setting for thin sheet metal, which is my primary concern at this point.
- Subject to the above wish list, I’d prefer to minimize the cost. I’m perfectly willing to pay for a quality tool, but I prefer not to overpay.
So I settled on the Millermatic 135, which has all of the features I’m looking for. I bought the welder from an ebay seller in Indianapolis named Indiana Oxygen Co. (weldingsuppliesatioc) for $566.77, which included shipping to my door. At the same time I bought a 20 cubic foot gas tank from the same seller for $62.87 and some welding wire (one spool of .023″ and one of .030″) and two sizes of tips. All in for the welder, tank, and consumables I spent about $660 for the entire set-up. I actually bought these items in January and have been setting up the welder and practicing since then. Lincoln has a similar welder that I’m sure is just as good.
In order to complete the set-up I purchased a welding cart, an auto-darkening welding helmet, some heavy leather welding gloves, and a set of welding pliers from Haborfreight. I also went to Tractor Supply to get some shielding gas. The gas I got was 75% Argon and 25% Carbon Dioxide. I handed in my gas bottle in exchange for one they had on-hand that was already filled.