REDONE wrote:You're welcome, but remember what I said from the get go. I want you to get a welder you will USE! Having it is less than half the battle.
You know it! Once I get my crew cab conversion done I'll dust off the tubing bender and have some real fun.
My cousin is out of work right now so he's been using my Graco sprayer to earn some money painting. Now he can pick of some light fabrication and repair work too.
I would say you cannot specify any welder for this purpose. You can apply any welder like MIG, TIG or stick welder with correct techniques. It would be great help if you apply exact weld techniques and regulations.
I know this thread originated in 2013 - just throwing in my input for anyone wondering the same.
The poster wanted a machine for mild, stainless and aluminum - I do all of the above with my recommendation.
Vulcan MigMax215 from Harbor Freight. It's their premium model MIG welder and it really shows how far they've come as a 'discount' tool store. I can't confirm but I've seen plenty of reviews suspecting ESAB manufacturers most of the Vulcan line for Harbor Freight. Spare parts are pretty easy to come by for Vulcan as well - not quite on the level of the blue/red boxes but close.
It's regularly on sale for $900USD or less. You can get an aluminum spool gun, CO2 and Argon bottles, cart, helmet, gloves and some welding tools and fixtures and you'll be at around the same price as the Millermatic 211. I've used mine on everything from welding 3/8" steel high steer kits onto 1/2" (pre-heated) cast steel axle knuckles down to 20 gauge sheet metal work. The spool gun has worked amazingly on thin sheet aluminum fabrication as well as thicker 3/16" cast aluminum work and re-work.
I rarely leave the auto-set settings as they are very robust and well placed. For stainless you'll have to leave the auto-set and dial it on your own. Stainless will draw more amperage as well. I typically jump over to my TIG for stainless due to comfort but I've done plenty of structural stainless welding in the past with a MIG and a properly dialed MIG will much better suite production vs. 1 off for stainless!