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Posted by Pete on February 26th, 2000 02:54 AM
In reply to Mig Welders by George on February 23rd, 2000 02:37 PM [Go to top of thread]

I own a Century 85 amp wire welder and use a Miller XP 130 at work. Both run off a 120 volt/20 amp circuit. They are both rated to weld 3/16" material in a single pass. Although I haven't spent as much time using the Miller as I have the Century, some differences were immediately obvious. For one thing, the Miller costs around $500.00 as opposed to $300.00 for the Century. But, for that extra $200, you get a much better machine. The Miller is more powerful. It has copper transformer windings where the Century has aluminum. The gun and ground cables are longer. And, something I really like, the the electrode wire coming from the gun on the Miller is dead until you pull the trigger. This makes it possible to position the gun without danger of striking an arc before you lower your helmet.
I use flux core wire with the Century because I don't have a place to weld indoors. At work I am able to use shielding gas. If you are able to weld in a sheltered area I would highly recommend the gas. With gas you have no slag to chip and brush and corrode your paint job when you don't get it all off.
While these two welders don't meet the requirements for the maximum material thickness you are interested in welding, their qualities may be indicative of others machines in the manufacturers product lines.
I am not an expert or professional welder, but I am able to get a much better weld with the Miller machine. I have welded a lot of things with the Century, but I would not buy another one. I have found the wire feed speed adjustment somewhat finicky, and it has never lived up to it's duty cycle rating. My advice would be to get a welder that is powerful enough for your intended use, and to not necessarily buy the cheapest you can find. A little research may save you from scratching your head, or maybe throwing somehing through the garage wall, in frustration when you find you just paid a lot of money for something that doesn't work as you expected.
And get the welding helmet with the large square lens, not the small rectangular one.
Good luck!

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