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Flux core VS argon gas

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My little mig has seen better days.

It`s set up for argon.

It`s 25 years old made by Solar.

It will soon need replaced.

Never used it as flux core though.

What`s the difference in using flux VS gas?

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Like the difference between a Coleman stove and a Viking range. 

You don’t want a plain flux core welder, unless you like cheap welders that leave a goobered mess. We use dual shield which is a type of flux core that also uses shielding gas, gives outrageous penetration but is well suited to working outside in the wind because it’s not so sensitive to having the gas blown away. It leaves a slag layer that needs removed like stick would 

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I will also add that any money you think you will save by going with a cheaper welder you will more than make up for in wasted materials, frustration and poor quality welds, get yourself a miller, Lincoln, ESAB or similar, get one bigger than you expect you need as with anything, if the majority of its use is at the upper limit of its capacity it will not do as good a job and will not last as long, not to mention the frustration of constantly tripping the duty cycle. 

Dont be fooled by the Hobart looking like a miller, it has aluminum windings and doesn’t have infinitely variable adjustments for output  and wire speed which is REALLY nice 

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Im with VT stay away from flux core you will thank us later if you ever come across someone that has one to see what he is talking about. if your welding inside stay with gas outside use a dual shield or the old stick

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I have an old Clarke that I use for thin metal. It works fine with gas. When they started soaking me $55 for 20 cubic feet of gas I bought some flux core. It sprays metal all over. Sticks to the edges and is real difficult to flow together. I bought another spool from another source same results. It's actually cheaper to buy gas. My old century stick gets used a lot more now but as my old rod gets used up. I'm finding welding is getting awfully expensive.

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1 minute ago, snoshoe said:

I have an old Clarke that I use for thin metal. It works fine with gas. When they started soaking me $55 for 20 cubic feet of gas I bought some flux core. It sprays metal all over. Sticks to the edges and is real difficult to flow together. I bought another spool from another source same results. It's actually cheaper to buy gas. My old century stick gets used a lot more now but as my old rod gets used up. I'm finding welding is getting awfully expensive.

Where are you getting gas? It’s expensive no doubt but places like TSC make it much worse. I’ll have to look but it doesn’t seem like it was anything like that bad last tank I picked up, are you using big bottles or small?

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Flux core is cats meow for outdoor use...but for a shop get a mig with gas can't be beat the no slag to chip alone will save you time and money... Thats my 2c. Get bigger and get quality both are worth it.

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I have a Hobart 140 Mig for working on thinner metals and it is rated for up to 1/4" steel. The difference between using flux core with it and solid core is you have to change the polarity. The flux core works in windy conditions, gas shield does not. It is 110V and is very handy, has infinitely variable wire speed with five heat settings and lays down an even penetrating bead, whether flux core, solid core steel with C-25 gas or stainless steel with a trimix gas shield. I also have a Miller spool gun for aluminum and it actually works better on the Hobart 140 Mig than it does on my Hobart 250 Mig. The Hobart 250 Mig is considerably better for welding 1/4" steel and thicker, the 140 is rated for it with flux core, but there is no comparison to the 250 on thicker metals. Your choice of welder really depends on what you are welding with it.

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After 40+ years with the old SR stick welder I bought my Lincoln wire welder last year. It has options for gas but I've only ever used flux core wire as I didn't want the extra hassle of dealing with gas. So far I'm happy enough with the flux core wire but maybe I don't know what I'm missing?

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Miller 252 here. I just try to get stuff out of the wind or, if really pressed, dust off the stick welder. Honestly haven't used stick in years.

I was going to try flux cored but have just made the effort to drag stuff at least partially inside to use the mig.

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9 hours ago, vtfireman85 said:

Where are you getting gas? It’s expensive no doubt but places like TSC make it much worse. I’ll have to look but it doesn’t seem like it was anything like that bad last tank I picked up, are you using big bottles or small?

 

It's bad for both. Honestly, on my oxy and actylene- all my torpedos are down at a shed and there is no place for them. I use what the guys who do HVAC use- M or MC is the designation.

I have a setup for oxy and propane too for brazing.  I use the $10 fillup propane, my oxygen is a "B" size tank.

I have a Matco Italian made inverter TIG that is suitcase size. My MIG welder I use now is MAC branded, Italian made. For both of those I have the itermediate tanks, "B" tanks were they- because they filled bus lights ?

The Matco TIG is awesome.

The British have a dandy little propane brazing device that runs them about 100 pounds sterling, us $150. I've considered buying one- uses grille tanks of propane, no need for oxygen.

I have a huge MIG TIG that was made by Union Carbide. The TIG section is water cooled, the MIG is awesome. Tig has a pedal. I put it on a pallet I made out of weathertreated lumber and then painted with marine paint. I meant to be able to use the forks on the tractor when I needed to do serious work. Now, I never use it.

 

My first stick welder was Union Carbide. Old man had this box for it made by U-C, and a Miller box. Little did I know at the time they were making you AC/DC Union Carbide rig a tig welder. We got through loading, and he gave me the boxes. I've used them MANY times to TIG. I've heard those boxes are pricey if you can even find one, but after an Inverter TIG- I'd not go back. I keep the, but I'll not go back.

 

Yes- industrial gas prices have cramped my style- big time.

 

 

Your mileage may vary.

 

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3 hours ago, vtfireman85 said:

Where are you getting gas? It’s expensive no doubt but places like TSC make it much worse. I’ll have to look but it doesn’t seem like it was anything like that bad last tank I picked up, are you using big bottles or small?

Little 20 cubic foot size. First shocker was couple years ago at Beloit welders supply$50. Last year went to local NAPA $55. They used to fill for free when they brought the regular bottles to the shop.

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18 minutes ago, snoshoe said:

Little 20 cubic foot size. First shocker was couple years ago at Beloit welders supply$50. Last year went to local NAPA $55. They used to fill for free when they brought the regular bottles to the shop.

It’s about 5 times the price that way around here. We have a lease tank for argon, it gets filled a couple times a year for us the lease works out to more than the gas sometimes. Check with your local supply about options, you might be pleasantly surprised as long as it’s not air gas

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4 hours ago, MTO said:

My little mig has seen better days.

It`s set up for argon.

It`s 25 years old made by Solar.

It will soon need replaced.

Never used it as flux core though.

What`s the difference in using flux VS gas?

I used flux core wire quite a bit about 20 years ago.  I got along with it fine.  It definitely has a place, but now I rely on a MIG welder.  Gas is all around nicer.  Flux core wire is expensive.  One thing, the one time I accidentally used 100% argon to weld steel with my MIG was an exercise in frustration.  I prefer C25 for steel, 100% argon for aluminum, and Helistar for stainless.

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I've got a hobart 140 (the largest of their 110v line or was several years ago). It can do either, but as a flux core, it is nice when a friend needs something welded quick where 220 isn't available and hauling a gas cylinder is both exhausting and impractical. Other than the spatter, strong welds on 1/8 or smaller is its realm and does it reasonably well even with flux core.

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Lincoln 210 mp for me. Flawless performance.

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Most decent MIGs will do either.  You have to change the tip, liner and drive wheels, but you just don't use gas with most flux core.  Larger fancy machines can do dual shield which is nice, but you can get along without it.  Believe it or not the Harbor Freight Vulcan and Titanium multipurpose welders get great w and are reasonably priced for most of out uses ($700 to $900 depending on the sale).  I want to get one so that I can TIG steel (DC only) as well as MIG and stick weld.  Mine will be MIG or TIG all the time unless I need to take it on the road, as I already have a good old Airco Bumblebee 250 stick welder (rebadged Miller Dialarc).  I know the name brands are better, but many of use cannot justify the cost for occasional use.

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My kid bought a vulcan after using my 210 mp, said it is great, built by a Chinese industrial welder co.

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I run stick, mig and tig. I use solid wire, dual shield and self shielded wire. I use a lot of self shielded wire, just remember it is reverse polarity. The splatter can be controlled by gun angle and volts. I use Pam as splatter shield, works as good as the high dollar ones. 

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13 minutes ago, Finney said:

I use Pam as splatter shield, works as good as the high dollar ones. 

Is she your helper?

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3 minutes ago, MTO said:

Is she your helper?

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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No experiance with flux core. Have a  used millermatic 150 i bought a couple years ago. Haven't used it a lot. Was set up for gas when i bought it and had a big spool of wire in it. Hoping to do some auto body repair with it as well as general use for lighter stuff. Its good up to 1/4 inch and 220v. Just fixed it last nite as matter of fact. Thermal overload switch went bad on rectifier bridge last summer. Miller wasnt over helpful about selling me just thermal switch but gladly sold me a new bridge with switch for about $150. 

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8 hours ago, vtfireman85 said:

long as it’s not air gas

Seems to be the only show in town now and way more than I used to pay at another supplier.

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11 hours ago, New Englander said:

Seems to be the only show in town now and way more than I used to pay at another supplier.

ya them or TSC  

30 year old cricket  XL ,,still running fine with 75/25 gas

we use to install exhaust duct in attics of commercial kitchens.

was going to upgrade but the salesman said the older Miller units are built better 

Mike

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Not sure if my Miller-Matic 185 is old enough to be considered "Older" but it's 25+/- years old now. 6 amp settings, infinite wire speeds.  Always have used it with Praxair Stargon gas.  I tried a little 110V Lincoln wire feed welder many years with flux core wire. Glad it wasn't mine!

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