It wouldn't be enough for me. You can only weld .030 sheet steel with the small Lincoln. What if you need to repair a frame or something heavier. Take a look at the welders here. http://www.welders-direct.com I have a Miller 135 with argon and inorder to weld properly you do need the gas.
Flux is a HUGE waste of money. For the money you spend on flux (~$8.00 a pound) You can pay for an moderately large Co2/argon tank. I have a 135 Lincoln Electric Mig/Flux Cored. It's performed everything I've asked it to.
chan: Did you find the ad on craigslist (seller is in East Islip, NY)? I was looking at it too, but decided that flux-core was a waste of money. For what its worth, I just ordered a refurb Lincoln 100T (MIG) from weldingmart.com for $370. I bought a 40cuft cylinder, empty, on Ebay for $86 shipped. I am going to use it for body work, and they say it will let you go up to 1/4" steel with it.
Hasn't arrived yet... I JUST ordered it... but I'm eager to get started. cyberweld.com is also a good site. And Harbor Freight sells Hobart welders at competitive prices.
Oh yea, the Lincoln 100 puts out 88 amps, while the 135 does 90A.
When purchasing a welder you have to answer a coupe of questions...
How thin do I need to go? If you are going to do 20 - 24 guage sheet metal you WILL need C25 gas mixture - not flux core- some welders - like the Hobart Handlers now - and the Lincoln SP135 go down to 25 amps, which makes the welding a bit easier w/o burnthrough ( and you will use .o23 or.o24 solid wire).
How thick do I need to go? If you need to do up to 1/4" (this would be fine for the flange mentioned earlier), then you need at a minimum a 220V - 240V machine - the Handler 180 comes to mind. The Handler 140 would be good for 3/16" and is a 110-120V machine.
For the money, I would get the Handler 180 - MUCH more machine for a 20% increase in cost.
I myself bought a Millermatic 175 three years ago and have not regretted it in any way. I simply don't use it enough to require a longer duty cycle, and the 1/4" capacity is more than enough for my Z project car and rotisserie. If I need to weld something > 1/4", I'll multi-pass it - which is recommended for critical welds anyway.
The best piece of advice is DON'T GO CHEAP. Even pros have a hard time getting a good weld out of cheap welders their friends have.
At a minimum a HObart, Miller or Lincoln welder of the 135-140 amp class, and again for about 20% more you can get a 175-180 amp machine that is plenty for most home shops.
If you can - take a couple of welding classes at a local Vo-Tech or high school - the cost is minimal compared to the practice materials you use and guidance you can get!
thanks for all the help guys, i asked for a welder for x mas a couple of years ago and i got the worst welder ever, a stick welding piece of crap, and i almost burnt my house down with it. ill do it right this time and get a **** good one.
You really do want a gas type mig. And like someone else said cheap welders are hard for anyone to weld with. I've been welding regularly for 25 years and when I'm subjected to using a cheap welder, it's a fight even for someone with experience. For a newbie welder, you won't know that it's the welder and not you! Sheet metal is the hardest stuff to weld so if this is what you're going to be welding, don't skimp and do some reserach.
A wire feed welder is NOT a MIG!! A flux core wire feed welder is a wire feed welder. MIG is for a gas welder, that uses solid wire. If you want to ba able to do both small sheet metal and large stock, you will need a 220VAC machine. The 120VAC machines can do it, but not as nicely. I have a Lincoln 175 and it works great for both small and large stuff. I use a gas mix of 75% Argon and 25% CO2 for steel. You can buy a kit to change the gun to weld aluminum and then must use pure Argon. Guy at the welding shop told me that if I was only doing a small job with aluminum I could jut run it thru the regular gun. If you use too much AL wire though, it will clog the gun.
Gas shielded welds are cleaner and easier to clean-up than flux shielded. Flux wire is used for outdoor welding. The gas will just blow away and do no good outside. If you will be welding outside in even a slight breeze, you will want to use flux wire and just do a bit more clean up. When you use flux wire inside, it tends to make a huge smoke mess. So use the solid wire with gas inside.
When looking to buy a welder, buy the biggest one you can afford. I don't think anyone has ever bought a welder and wished they had gotten a smaller one. You will always want bigger. Get a good MIG welder, 220VAC, and you will be happy.
My 175 is the smallest 220VAC welder Lincoln makes and that's all I could afford at the time, but I knew I wanted 220VAC. The gas tank ran me about $80 to buy it outright, and is about $30 to refill. I got a 40 cf bottle and it lasted so far about 5 months and I have done some floors, and other fabricating at work. I just now notice the pressure dropping in the bottle.
Shop around, and know what you are buying. Even if you don't know how to weld yet, know about the welder you are buying and looking for.