Buying the right kind of MIG welder that is correct for your job and also fits within your budget without the quality being compromised on can be a very complicated process. In this article, we will discuss some of the features to look out for when buying a MIG welder and terminology associated with MIG welders and the questions you must ask before buying a MIG welding set.
Fan on Demand
This essentially reduces the running cost and the contamination occurring to the internal components of the welder. Rather than working all the time, the fan kicks in only when required.
By protecting the PCB (printed circuit board) of the welding machine from dust, the reliability of the welding machine will increase. Some models have parts which require cooling in a duct-type housing and the PCB is housed separately.
MIG Wire Inch Button
This is an excellent feature that prevents wasting gas while feeding the wire through at the beginning of a new reel.
This is not available in all MIG machines externally; however, it is a good option to have that allows you to trim the burn back to the wire as per the operator and the application.
Gas Purge Button
This option allows you to save the MIG wire while setting the gas flow.
Choosing the Right Amperage
Ideally, you must work on around 35-40 amps per one mm diameter of the material that is to be welded.
Duty cycle is essentially the number of minutes in 10 minutes that the welder can weld continuously at 100 percent. The duty cycles offered by light industrial machines is as low as 20%, whereas heavy-duty MIG welders should ideally offer a range between 40% – 60%. It is acceptable for a 300-amp MIG welder to have a 30% duty cycle.
Duty Cycle Testing
MIG welders that are tested at 20 and 40 degrees are considered good. You must always beware of any manufacturer who does not quote an ambient temperature while testing.
Characteristics of the Weld
Ensure that the welding arc is smooth and is suitable for your application. While some welding machines are more suitable for low ampere range, others are better at a higher range.
Factory Fitted Digital Metres
It is better to opt for welding machines with factory fitted digital metres that may be required for calibration as fitting them later can be an expensive proposition.
Using metal rollers are the best as plastic or nylon rollers wear out more quickly.
Drive Block Systems
It is always the best option to have a 4 roller option; however, they are not suitable for machines with lower amperage. For such machines, 2 roller options can be used.
You will require a trolley if you require your machine to be portable and if you have a full-sized industrial cylinder, check that the cylinder rack and running gear can handle the machine.
Inverters are light and small and are ideal for work at the site. Stepless inverters offer more control and are also more affordable to run.
The purchase decision of the type of MIG welder to buy really depends on the amount of welding you plan to do and your purchase decision will essentially depend on the type of jobs you will be mostly working on.
Changeover of Polarity
Many of the industrial welders can weld using a gasless flux cored MIG wire and the machine should offer easy switchover.
After Service and Availability of Spares
The MIG welding machine that you buy should have a good after service. Today, even the more popular brands outsource their manufacturing that may lead to after sales and quality issues and you may have problems with lack of supply of spares.
A manufacturer’s warranty is always a guarantee for the quality of the machine and a 3-year warranty can be considered as a good period.
The decision of where to buy your MIG welding machine is an important one. You must purchase from a distributor who has good product knowledge and is technically sound. Also, ensure that the manufacturers have service engineers who can give proper technical advice and can repair the machine in case of problems.
At Escco, we’re always happy to help and advise. Give us a call or an email to see which MIG welder is best for you.