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  #1  
Old 09-18-2008, 12:33 PM
Paul Paul is offline
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Question ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

Hello Sulptors,

I need to purchase a welder in the next few days to use on silicon bronze castings. I have looked at the ESAB miniarc 150aps, the Miller Maxstar 150 models and the Lincoln Invertec 160-t. All three seem to have similar capabilities. I am limited with my voltage to 115 VAC. The ESAB is the cheapest by far, so naturally the savings is tempting. I am wondering if the High Frequency Start feature found on the Miller Maxstar 150 STH is important , or whether the Lift-Arc feature is adequate.

Unfortunately, the only tool rental place in Pittsburgh, where I live, doesn't have any small inverter welders available to try out at the moment. I need to finish a bronze commission in the next week or two,so I'm under pressure to find a solution to this problem by buying one, and I've needed a welder for a long time.

Any advice on these various brands from their respective users would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Paul
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  #2  
Old 09-18-2008, 02:31 PM
outsider outsider is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

1.Buy Miller or Lincoln.
2.Get done what you have to.
3.Find shop with 220v or 3 phase.
4.Move
5.Buy good welder.
6.Sell 115v on ebay.
7.Get drunk.

Or skip 1-6.
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  #3  
Old 09-18-2008, 08:26 PM
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Ries Ries is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

Well, I have an employee who owns a Maxstar 150, and I borrow it from time to time, and I love it. If I owned one, I would NEVER sell it. They are an incredible little machine. They put out a lot of power from 110, and weld incredibly well. I like the lift arc feature quite a bit. It is adequate for most metals, assuming you know how to tig weld.
I was just using one a couple of weeks ago for some site welding of stainless, and its a slick little machine.

I, too, would skip the ESAB. For parts, repairs, and resale, stick with Miller or Lincoln.
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  #4  
Old 09-19-2008, 03:49 AM
DRotblatt DRotblatt is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

I have a lincoln 135 MIG welder and weld my silicon bronze sculptures all the time with it. It's their most basic model and works fine. I often weld 1/2" or more thicknesses - of course it takes several passes.
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2008, 05:56 AM
PTsideshow PTsideshow is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

I too have to say, stick with the two big guns in the market. No matter where you go people are complaining on the Home owner or small shop style Esabs parts and service.
As two which one of the two, Like NASCAR drivers, beer, cars and the choice of women or men its a personal preference.

I think it has more to do with what colors you favor than anything else.There are good and bad with both red and blue, and for that matter grey(Hobart) a low end Miller product.
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  #6  
Old 09-19-2008, 07:55 AM
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Aaron Schroeder Aaron Schroeder is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

Whatever you decide consider buying your welder online. I purchased a plasmacutter from Cyberweld and saved hundreds. I recieved my product within days, got free shipping and did not pay sales tax.

Another thing to consider when selecting a welder is weight. The great thing about the low end products is that you can actually move them by yourself. Yesterday I had to muscle my Lincoln sp100 welder up five flights of stairs, would not have happened with a bigger machine. Being able to plugg into a standard 110 outlet also made life much easier.

The new Lincoln products are sweet, They now have a handheld spoil feeder attachment that plugs into their machines which would be great for aluminum and bronze ( though you can't switch from one to the other without contamination ).
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  #7  
Old 09-19-2008, 09:03 AM
Paul Paul is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

Thanks for all of your great advice. I have considered buying online, as I could save several hundred dollars. Then I think about supporting local businesses, and one of the welding suppliers here has actually been helpful in giving me informed advice. I'll go there to buy gas and filler metal, but what do I do when my online purhase needs service? What do you all think?
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  #8  
Old 09-19-2008, 09:21 AM
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Aaron Schroeder Aaron Schroeder is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

What do you do when your machine needs service ? I don't know ? Why because my machines have worked hard for over a decade without ever needing service. Buy online and forget about it.
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  #9  
Old 09-19-2008, 11:25 AM
PTsideshow PTsideshow is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

Print out what you want from on line. Take it in and ask if they can match it. I did that when I bought a Dynasty 200DX at the local welding supply. I was surprised that they got real close with a couple of better parts as the online stuff was out of date. Yes you have to pay sales tax.

But since the states are going to court to force on line sellers to give them the records for up to 10 years back you may have to pay sales tax any way.

Almost 20 years ago the great lakes states tried to get a deal like that for mail order businesses. They were in court for a while, but couldn't come to an agreement on how to split the costs. so it didn't go anywhere.
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and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2008, 04:38 PM
Paul Paul is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

Thanks, everyone, for helping me resolve many of the questions I have about which welder to buy.

However, I am still uncertain whether I need the High Frequency Start feature of the Maxstar 150 sth, or can I make do just fine with the Touch Start feature of the maxstar 150 stl? It sounds like HF could be useful, but I have also heard and read that high frequency can create power surges that damage electronic equipment, such as computer and audio equipment operating on the same electrical system. Does anyone have any experience with this problem? Will I have to disconnect every electronic device in my house before I use the HF welder?

Another question concerns the shielding gas I need to use for welding bronze with these small inverter welders. One welding sales person told me I would need to weld with a mix of helium and argon, in order to have adequate heat for the weld. I am a bit skeptical about this, as I haven't heard from anyone else. Any comments?

Thanks, Paul
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  #11  
Old 09-21-2008, 09:25 AM
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Ries Ries is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

Pure Argon will work just fine.
I have welded lots of bronze, copper, mild steel and stainless with this and similar machines, no need whatsoever for the helium mix. I actually bought a helium mix once, for a very large stainless steel mig welding job, and, frankly, dont think, for most applications, you would even notice the difference, except in your wallet.

As for the High Freq- no, it will not damage any of your electronics. You might hear it on your radio- I find that while the high frequency welders- we have two, and often use em at the same time- have no affect whatsoever on the large stereo we have in the shop, or on the CNC machines I have, I can occasionally hear the start of the high freq on my car radio, within a few hundred feet, as a quick burst of static. Even this could be alleviated by adequate grounding- a separate ground wire either to a dedicated ground rod, or a water pipe, would help a lot.

It is recommended that you disconnect the battery if you are tig welding with high freq on a car, especially one that has multiple computers, as all new cars do- but thats only when you are actually using the welder on the frame of the car itself.

The high frequency feature DOES make it easier to start the arc. And if you have not done a lot of tig welding, you will probably appreciate it. I have been tig welding for over 20 years, and I can tig weld with just about any rig, in any location, but starting out, you want to make it as easy for yourself as possible. What the high freq does is mean you can start an arc without contact between the tungsten and the workpiece. This makes your tungstens last a lot longer between sharpening, and stopping to remove a tungsten, go and sharpen it, and reinsert, is usually a pain, and takes time.
So the longer you can keep your tungsten nice, the more you get done in a shorter time.

The other feature the STH has is the pulsing. This is very handy for thin sheet- it allows you to weld, without burning holes thru, very thin stuff, that would be quite hard to do without this feature. So if you are planning on welding much sheet, say 1/16" or thinner, its a great feature to have.
One of the machines I use is an STH, and I find the extra features useful enough to be worth the money.
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  #12  
Old 09-22-2008, 09:20 AM
arcdawg arcdawg is offline
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Re: ESAB vs. Miller vs. Lincoln Electric

Esab and Hobart have good customer support. Esab actually builds very nice machines (Used a Esab tig for two years)

look on ebay and have a look at hobarts website and checkout their message board

Brian -
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