The Jensen Owners' Club A technical and discussion forum for all Jensen enthusiasts It is currently Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:47 am

General Discussion

Welding equipment advice please

You can discuss anything here, Jensen related or not. Technical discussions / questions may be moved to the correct Forum.

by Chris_R » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:34 pm

I would appreciate some impartial advice about welding equipment from those who know about these things.

I have an SIP Migmate, at least 30 years old but little used which does 30amps to 100amps. Last time it was used the feed was somewhat jerky and sometimes failed to feed, admittedly it has never been serviced.
IMG_3628.JPG
IMG_3628.JPG (148.75 KiB) Viewed 560 times

At the Practical Classics Restoration Show last year there was this one on sale at almost £500 which does 25amps to 180amps and apparently infinitely adjustable in this range.
mig180-opt.jpg
mig180-opt.jpg (178.58 KiB) Viewed 560 times

Obviously they wanted to sell me a new piece of kit and on the stand they were blinding me with science about "class leading inverter technology" and deterioration of transformers in the Migmate that I have which means it won't perform and so on.
Then there is Clarke's welders and for about £300 including VAT they have one with a "Turbo fan" which does 30amps to 130amps.

I was tempted, it looked pretty ;-). But are they right about welders deteriorating and becoming less effective electrically so they don't perform properly?

Obviously it will depend how much I will use it but ignoring that point, do I stick with what I have and perhaps get it serviced or do I think about replacing it with something newer? Do the latest welders work better than ones that were made 30 or 40 years ago? Technology moves on all the time, has it also done so in welding equipment?
Thank you.
Chris
JOC Member 6116
--------------------------------------------------
User avatar
Chris_R
 
Posts: 4614
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:19 am
Location: South West London

by bkbridges » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:58 pm

The migmate has a reputation for poor wire feeding. If it has been sitting the feed rollers may be rusty and this will definitely reduce its performance. If the wire has been in the machine that long it too will be rusty and will not feed properly. Clean the feed wheels with a scotch brite pad and replace the wire and buy a new gun liner (metal not plastic) and give it a shot. Its more or less a hobbyist welder, so dont try to do structural welding over 3/16" thick (steel, 1/8" thk stainless)... The smoke was definitely blowing re: worn out transformers...They are freaking iron and copper... they dont wear out from sitting. IMO if you plan on doing some serious welding I would step up to a better welder. The new inverter based units are a lot lighter, but they can be pricey. We use Miller exclusively at my shop, but they are in the $$ range . The 2 year warranty is nice and they are very reliable.
Bruce
Bruce K Bridges
2210/9272
125/5090
119/170
www.fbthrottlebodies.com
User avatar
bkbridges
 
Posts: 454
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:57 pm
Location: Cardiff by the Sea CA USA

by mojo » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:17 am

Like anything tech, it's a complicated subject. I went through what you're probably going through now a few months ago - except the welder I was replacing was a 1970s SIP arc welder!

I ended up buying an ex-demo Gys multi-process unit because it had a couple of things I wanted: 4-roller feed and synergic operation. The former tends to make wire feed a lot more reliable, and the latter is (in effect) an "idiot mode" where it will select and maintain the right power settings based on just a few inputs (wire size, material thickness, weld orientation). A proper Euro torch was a must, as was the ability to take both small and large reels of wire. It also does MMA and TIG - though the latter is DC only so you can't do aluminium with it (or perhaps you can, but it won't work out too well).

If size and weight are of any concern then inverter technology is almost essential. However, I'm told that you should avoid the cheap Chinese inverter welders as they don't tend to last too long and you typically cannot get spares when they break.

Having said all that, there are still lots of Migmate's out there, and lots of people fixing theirs, so it may still be worth looking at getting yours running as it should. And if you haven't already got one, a light-reactive mask is really worth buying - that has made more of a difference than anything else to my welding. Just make sure you get one with replaceable batteries, or if it's one with a solar panel keep it out of the box - the batteries in mine died after a year or so in the box!
mojo
 
Posts: 248
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:41 pm

by Joe Schiavone » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:23 pm

Typically a welding supply company will let you try out what they sell plus they will have someone who can show you the advantages of what the different machines are capable of doing. With this first hand information you can personally determine if the price is worth the difference.
Joe Schiavone
 
Posts: 426
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:28 pm
Location: United States

by Chris_R » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:17 pm

Maybe in the US, never heard of that happening here.
Chris
JOC Member 6116
--------------------------------------------------
User avatar
Chris_R
 
Posts: 4614
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:19 am
Location: South West London

by DaveT » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:17 pm

Chris, this does happen in the uk, you just have to be willing to go to a reputable welding specialist rather than a general purpose garage suppliers or even a diy garage "supermarket" like machine mart etc.. You get better service and expert advice but you may have to apparently pay a bit more for it.. Of course, the specialist suppliers cannot afford to sell cheap poor quality products which cannot be relied upon by professional welders, so the makes and products they sell should turn out to be more reliable and dependable.

Good luck

Dave
Dave Turnage
Colchester

JOC 8674
JOC 541 Registrar
541S, 100/1061
541R, 6002/387 (now in lots of pieces!)
Alvis speed 25 DHC
User avatar
DaveT
JOC 541 Registrar
 
Posts: 1303
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:33 am
Location: colchester UK

by mojo » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:37 pm

Indeed - it does happen - that's how mine came to be ex-demo! But I don't think it's very common - the box-shifters won't want to take anything out of the box.
mojo
 
Posts: 248
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:41 pm

by joesparks » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:30 pm

Hi Chris as in anything you get what you pay for. The migmate is aimed at the hobbyist and is not a professional tool.
You cannot accurately gauge the weld current or the gas flow rate which does affect weld integrity.
Also I believe it uses disposable gas cartridges rather than refillable ones which is an expensive way of welding.
Another issue you have is that use is sporadic so welding wire ends up rusting affecting the wire feed leading to jerk ink feed and stuttering welds.
I have used kemmpi welders for over 30 years and haven't had a problem with them at all however you are talking about over£1000 as opposed to £250-£300 for a migmate.
For the amount of welding you are likely to do I would suggest a pro welder that takes a 5 kg spool of wire rather than 15kg as you will throw away more than you use due to rusting.
You should look at perhaps an esab caddy or similar which is a pro welder and is very small and lightweight delivering 160a at a 30% duty cycle more than enough for your requirements.
This will take a pro gas cylinder via a regulator of argoshield I recommend universal size Y which will deliver a good consistent weld.
If you want more advise pm me. I am ASME 9 coded so like to think I know what I am talking about.
Joe.
Restoring MkIII Interceptor yyy397m chassis no 136/9126
Reunited with interceptor 111 G series PGC 472K 128/4588




Mopar 440 -doing my bit for global warming
joesparks
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:32 pm
Location: Harwich, Essex .

by Chris_R » Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:13 am

Dear all, thank you to everyone that has replied, all very helpful advice which I shall consider.
Chris
JOC Member 6116
--------------------------------------------------
User avatar
Chris_R
 
Posts: 4614
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:19 am
Location: South West London

by jsngold » Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:10 am

Chris
I think the best advice is to go to your local welding supplier if you get no joy from your existing machine. You might even get a good established brand second hand one with a warrant that will go on for years. The wire feeds are very cheaply made in the hobby machines which can be a source of endless frustration untangling wire and replacing burnt tips. Also my experience of welding suppliers is that they don’t sell machines that they can’t get spares for unlike a lot of other outlets. They also tend to have their own service repair facilities.

Charlie
FF1 Int1 Triumph Sprint 995 Triumph Trident T160 Ossa 310 MAR
Never lost just temporarily unsure of my position.
User avatar
jsngold
 
Posts: 134
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 7:44 pm
Location: Sandford North Somerset

by 007aircon » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:49 pm

Chris
I have a R tech mig with ali spool gun attachement also a R-tech tig welder,
The mig is the same as you have in the picture its a 180 inverter, and for the money its good value, i am a self taught welder, but my brother is a trained welder,
He has just bought a big industial sealey mig as he dose some agri machine welding, but i got him to weld up my compressor brackets for me using my inverter on 6mm m/ steel,
and i was impressed with the job he done, from a experienced guys perspective he said there was nothing he could choose between mine and his heavy duty 3 times as expensive machine,
but as he said my invereter is ok for upto 8mm thick, and it would not stand to much continious use compared with his industrial item, but its horses for courses, i have to weld a few brackets up once a week,
if i was welding for 5-6 hours a day then it would not last only but a few months possibly? again, if i were doing that ammount then i would buy a Lincoln for £4000 .
So the Rtech is great for the hobbiest or small workshop, its neat and portable, anything for car work its more than fine for that and you could zip some cills on every day for years with it, for the money i will say
R-tech is good, plus its UK backed and someone to speak too..

Pat
007aircon
 
Posts: 173
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:55 pm
Location: King's Lynn, Norfolk U.K

by Joe Schiavone » Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:14 pm

One point that was brought up was the handle or gun. Here in the states a number of people buy a Twico gun which I feel is superior in handling for both Lincoln and Miller. Another point. The small wire wheels which are obviously less expensive feed the wire out of the gun at an angle because the wire is rolled tighter verses the larger rolls of wire which seem to feed the wire straight out. Just a point to take into consideration Racer Joe
Joe Schiavone
 
Posts: 426
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:28 pm
Location: United States

by Peter Heywood » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:06 pm

Chris: you have not mentioned, whether you have an auto darkening mask. If you bought your kit 10 or 20 years ago, you may not. It changes everything!
Pete
Peter Heywood
 
Posts: 381
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:39 pm
Location: Suffolk

by Chris_R » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:17 pm

I do have an auto-darkening mask. I got that a couple of years ago at the Practical Classics Restoration Show. Makes life much easier!
Chris
JOC Member 6116
--------------------------------------------------
User avatar
Chris_R
 
Posts: 4614
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:19 am
Location: South West London


Return to General Discussion