Okay, as I've said before, I used to be a maintenance mechanic. So, I am used to some very high priced industrial equipment. That being said, do you folks have any reccomendations for an inexpensive gas shielded MIG welder? I know I can't afford anything near what we had in the shop, but I am thinking if I got the right small welder, then I could weld different metals with the right wire/gas combo. CO2/argon for steel and straight argon for aluminum. Any help at all would be appreciated.
Not sure where you are
Not sure where you are located. In Australia I treated myself to a CIGWeld 135 MIG and so far been happy with it. I’m sure it’s availabale in other countries, although probably under a different brand name. My main reason for picking this unit was that it is the heaviest unit that uses the standard Australian 10A plugs. If you have a higher supply caperbility then you should have a much larger choice.
Lincoln makes some
Lincoln makes some inexpensive ones that work of of 110 and can be converted to gas shielded. Miller is my favorite brand, but you are looking for inexpensive. I use a Lincoln 110 for home projects and it does fine for light sheet metal work.
Check out northerntool.com
There is some decently priced equipment on there.
I don’t have any experience, but, there is a kid/guy with a YouTube channel that might have some ideas. ChuckE2009
I have to second the Lincoln 180
I have a Lincoln 175 Plus and it has treated me well for years. It is really a great machine. The 120v version (140?) is not quite as good but finding 220v can be a bit of a pain and/or your wife will yell at you every time she has to plug the dryer back in.
I have a spool gun attachment for it (an after market kit, still Lincoln, but I had to physically modify the machine) and it works sorta OK for doing aluminum. I mean, you can stick aluminum together with it, but I could never get a proper looking bead. I later bought a proper TIG (Miller/Hobart) and was much happier.
Also, I use AirGas’s “Gold Mix” for shielding gas (Argon/Co2) and nothing could be better for doing steel. Almost no spatter, great shielding, almost no slag.