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pinballlooking 07-28-17 08:59 AM

I just ordered a Hobart 190 with spool gun
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I really like my Hobart 140 but I want to weld some aluminum.
I looked at adding a spool gun to my 140 but it just is not made for it.

I have couple small aluminum projects I would like to take on. I ordered this from Northern tool.
They had $20 off free shipping and $100 gift card. This package comes with the spool gun.
FREE SHIPPING — Hobart Handler 190 Flux-Core/MIG Welder with Included SpoolRunner 100, 10ft. Spool Gun — 230V, 190 Amp, Model# 500554001 | MIG Flux Core Welders| Northern Tool + Equipment

After I get this one setup I will sell my Hobart 140. I look forward to the new projects I can do with this welder.

jeff5may 07-28-17 11:25 PM

If you really like the handler 140, you might have a love affair with its big brother. I have used it a lot, and the only thing it won't do is keep going on enormous jobs. It is just as useful as the 140 on gauge metal, and does well on everything up to about 1/4 inch. If you're not going to be building super duty stuff with it, this rig is a job finisher. Carbon and stainless steel is easy and fast.

Aluminum is another story. Spool guns and lower amp welders and me just don't mix well. For small jobs, they are okay, but everything has to be spotless. With the new inverter mig and tig units, there are settings to adjust that the spool gun and DC rigs don't have. To make welds that will hold strong with a spool gun rig takes a good amount of practice. Looking pretty, well it's a spool gun. You can lay down a line of tacks that almost looks like a tig weld.

Daox 07-29-17 11:15 AM

I own a Handler 125 with MIG. Absolutely love it. I've done by and far mostly steel (car repair, exhaust and body work) with it. But, I've done some stainless as well. It does it okay, but I'm not used to welding SS either, so I'm not sure it was the machine.

For aluminum I know its out of the question. I recently found out about aluminum brazing rod though and it worked really nice for this aluminum oil pan repair that I did. I even shot a video to show how my first go around with it went. Just thought I'd mention it as an alternative as most know welding aluminum is 'hard' and pricey.

jeff5may 07-30-17 08:59 AM


You can weld aluminum with your 125 and a spool gun. The trick is to use small diameter electrode wire. Pure argon shielding gas is a must. The work piece must be cleaned with a solvent such as acetone or MEK or toluene and let dry, scrubbed with a metal brush, then cleaned with solvent again before welding. For thin material such as the oil pan repair, you can get away with as little as 90 amps of current. With a low amp power supply and thicker material, the workpiece has to be preheated. Aluminum is a much better conductor of heat than steel, so a small welder cannot pour in enough heat to get much penetration. For solid, cast aluminum parts, I put them in an oven or barbecue grill for a few minutes to preheat. That way, the surrounding part melts out under the weld a lot deeper, and the weld is super strong and not brittle.

For the smaller rigs (under 200 amps), I only use argon gas for everything. That way, no matter where I go or what I have to work on, argon gas will do it. The gas blends are better for a stationary set dedicated to a single process. The blends all have their gimmicks for a certain process and are not universal in nature. So for the smaller, portable rigs, the argon cylinder and multiple spools of different material electrode wire, and a couple different welding torches will not let you down on the job site. Pick a spool, load it up, practice for a minute, get stuff done, move on.

Welding and fabricating is all about being resourceful and imaginative in nature: a bit of engineering, a bit of art, and a lot of matching theory to reality. With sufficient skill and ingenuity, the question is not can it be done with what have you, but how long will it take.

pinballlooking 07-31-17 01:43 PM

My 190 was on back order. The Hobart welders went on sale. So I called change my order to the Hobart 210 they said it would cancel out my $100 gift card. I asked to be transferred to customer service.
The 210 is also on back order until Aug3.

They let me switch to the Hobart 210 that is a better price this week and said they would transfer my $100 gift card to this order.
This will work out good the card needs to be used by Oct. I will use it on the spool gun.
It is $200 for the spool gun. This gift card will make it $100 a much better price.
The 210 can weld with 120Volts or 240 Volts

pinballlooking 08-11-17 09:21 AM

My 210 Hobart welder is here and the spool gun and argon regulator are on the way.

I also bought an adapter so I can try CO2 mig welding.

I only have an 80 cubic FT tank for welding. I needed argon for aluminum welding. I found an old set of oxygen acetylene tanks on craigslist. I called my gas supplier to make sure I did not buy a rental tank. They gave me good advice.

They wanted $100 for each tank. When I got there the oxygen tank was a rental but the acetylene tank was not a rental and it was a 150 cubic FT tank. It was old and rusty I got them down to $60 it was out of date.

I took a green meanie to knock the rust off. A can and ½ spray paint later it did not look to bad.

I took it to the gas place this morning and the swapped it out for me with no issues. I now have a 150 tank with welding gas and I swapped my 80 welding tank for argon. One step closer to trying to weld aluminum.

Buying a 125 tank from the welding place was $229 plus the cost of the gas. The craigslist tank saved some money.

pinballlooking 08-14-17 11:01 AM

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I wired up my grange for my 240 Volt welder and I changed my plasma cutter to use the same outlet as the welder.

To change the voltage between 120 Volts and 240 Volts you just unscrew the plug on the end of the cord.

My spool gun came in on Friday. I tried my hand at welding aluminum. It is very different than steel. My first attempts were bad. I started to get a little better. I need to get more aluminum so I can practice more. A little thicker material would be helpful.

I was welding aluminum with .035 wire I think it was 16 gauge aluminum I really needed .030 wire for this think material.
I need to get the smaller wire and try again.

I did a couple of mild steel welds before I switched to aluminum. It welded great on mild steel and I was very pleased with it.

My welder came with a metal gauge but I could hardly read it.
I took a brown colored pencil and colored in the in the numbers and clear tapped over it.

I ordered some new aluminum welding wire.
ER4043 Aluminum Welding Wire, 0.030-Inch, ER5356 Aluminum Welding Wire, 0.030-Inch
I will try welding my thinner aluminum again once this wire is in.

jeff5may 08-16-17 06:50 AM

Welding sheet aluminum takes a different approach than sheet steel. With a DC mig rig, the weld must be laid down in a hurried fashion. There is a fine line between a weld that doesn't stick and blowing holes in the base metal. Thin aluminum sheet really likes to warp as well, so if the material is not held in it's intended final shape, it will end up bent and twisted upon cooling. A lot of the time, you have to do the welding in little pieces spaced far apart from each other and work your way back and forth along the material to end up with a continuous weld.

pinballlooking 08-27-17 10:04 AM

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Jeff you advice is spot on.

My .030 wire came in and I did some more practicing. I am at the point I want to try a project with aluminum. I need to make a trip to the metal surplus in Greenville.
Here is my last test pass.

I put my Hobart 140 on craigslist hopefully I will be able to sell it.

pinballlooking 08-27-17 06:18 PM

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One of my boat’s wakeboard tower welds had broken. When I bought my new welder I wanted to be able to weld it.
After the last bead I thought I could weld it. Here are the results. I am happy with it and really happy I was able to do the repair.

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