I bought a cheapie off ebay, the drive mechanism looks the same. I think I paid around $300 delivered. Also inverter gas/gasless mig plus MMA like the one you pictured. I’ve had it for a couple of years now without any problems. It gets the occasional serious workout. My mate spent close to $2k for a BOC machine with roughly the same specs and it’s waiting for repairs. Will post the brand up later on as I will be up in the shed welding this weekend.
Unimig is available at any number of places and they offer local service, my current MIG has high or low voltage and nothing in between and I find I am burning or getting shitty welds, this one seems to be a lot better and $550 is not going to break the bank.
Can also run heavier wire whereas mine will only handle .8mm, I find it very limiting, stick weld I am not fussed about as my stick welding skills are right up there with my open heart surgery skills, looks like duck shit and holds like duck shit.
I thought Unimig was a good reputable brand and there are a lot of resellers which I took as a good sign.
A couple of things to note:
- Wire size is 0.6 to 0.8 which according to the chart on that page only goes up to 3mm … although there are ways around that.
- The duty cycle is only 10% at 180A which works out at 6 seconds of welding per minute.
For occasional/hobby use you can generally work around these issues if you are prepared to take longer doing the job.
The W177 would appear to be moving more towards their “industrial” model, whereas the Vipers are a bit more hobby.
According to the specs it’ll run up to 1.2 Al (0.9 steel), and has a better duty cycle.
I must admit that wire thickness/steel thickness can often be overcome with joint prep, but a low duty cycle frustrates the shit out of me.
If budget isn’t a big constraint I would be leaning towards the W177.
You can “exchange” welding gas at bunnings (and other places) now. Up front cost is around $200 (refundable) and around $70-90 per refill.
Or you can get a CO2 beer gas cylinder.
I have an exchange Argon cylinder for the TIG and a beer gas cylinder for the MIG. The CO2 gets refilled at the local fire extinguisher place.
Here’s the one I got. Pretty sure it was less than $300 when I bought it. Will take .9mm wire. Have welded 5mm wall thickness pipe to 10mm plate with the stick welder. Not sure of the duty cycle, but I was going non stop as fast as I could keep electrodes up to it and I overheated before the welder did.
Bunyip, you need to have go at stick welding with an inverter - it will make you think you’re far better than you are.
Never thought about stick welding with an inverter but have a load of ‘sticks’ inside the house (so they stay drier) that I could play with but I am somewhat dubious about Micks statement having seen some of my welding.
Had a look at ebay for the Jasic and they seem to be more than the Unimig, in fact a lot of shopfront stores are cheaper for the Unimig than most ebay stores.
One thing I have seen on ebay is Boswell MIG wire (gasless), anyone used it?
My current MIG only has a high/Low setting and no stick capability plus no polarity changing and the icing on the cake is the tube/line from the welder to the handle is fixed so if damaged the whole thing is a throwaway.
There is a variable feed speed and that is about it but will give it a bit of a blast next week as there is some gates I need to fix that the horses have buggered.
Thanks for your input and links too Mr Joker and the duty cycles which I hadn’t looked at.
Got a Uni-Mig 190 inverter. Only ever used gaseless wire. Using .9 now, was using .8.
Never used the stick as I have an older Peerless arc welder, but don’t think I have used it since I’ve had the mig.
Supposedly can tig weld with it as well, but having seen tig machines not sure that this info is correct.
Can recommend Uni-Mig, but if I was buying again would probably go bigger so could weld aluminium as well. Been told mine is probably a little light on for ally.
Thanks Geoff, hadn’t thought about aluminium but have considered fabricating some tractor ‘bits’ using sheet aluminium, welding could be a viable alternative to a pop rivet.
My knowledge of stick welding is rudimentary, MIG a bit better in theory only and TIG non existent.
Welding ally is a whole other ball game. For a start you need to change the liner in the gun from metal to plastic. Because the ally wire is so much softer than the steel wire it tends to crumple and jam up in the liner. Commercially they use a push/pull gun. The mig pushes the wire as per normal then the gun also has a motor which pulls the wire.
You can buy a “mini spool gun” which holds a tiny spool and has a motor to feed itself. You’ll also need shielding gas (no gasless here) and you need to clean the weld surfaces just prior to welding with a stainless steel wire buff that gets used for ally only. This is to clean off the aluminium oxide which is constantly forming and which is highly refractory. It’s similar to the stuff they make the heat proof tiles on the space shuttle from.
The other thing about welding ally is that you’ll muck around trying to get the settings right, but as you adjust them and trial weld, your workpiece heats up and you need less amps. It’s even worse when you use a bit of scrap to weld on and set your welder up as it heats up a lot more than the actual workpiece so that even though it might be the same thickness the “right” setting on your scrap will probably be too low for your workpiece. I had a few goes at it when I worked in an ally boat yard and found it pretty frustrating.
Got a inverter MMA/MIG/TIG machine at work recently so will give some steel TIG a go when I get some Argon gas. Can’t do ally TIG with a DC machine and I haven’t found an AC TIG under $1K but I figure if I can master TIG on mild steel it won’t be too much of a jump from there to Ally.
Just had a thought about duty cycles. I’ve never had a welder cut out the thermal overload due to exceeding the duty cycle. I have however had a mig torch fall to pieces after bits of it melted while I was building a tow bar for my truck. I noticed the smell of hot plastic or rubber the other day when I was welding up a heap of 35mm box section for shelving. I’m guessing that I was exceeding the torch duty cycle.
At some stage down the track I’ll probably need to buy a Binzel torch or similar. At least my $300 mig has a euro connector to make the change over easy. The old CIG transmig 130 twin that I paid $1300 for 25 years ago required extensive surgery to fit another torch.
Just ordered the W177 from Hafco, should be in later this week or early next week.
Looked at the next one up but that took a leap to $990, I could keep going but don’t have a 32a outlet and hard to justify after initially looking at a viper so decided that $737 is enough.
Project #1 is attaching some gal mesh to the carport uprights but I’ll have a practice on some scrap first.
In the mean time I have the mig with a hi-lo setting and speed control, it does not inspire confidence.
On another note can anyone tell me what the tips from china are like, they are quite cheap and ‘look’ the same as the local offerings.