WTB: Welder

Tap tap… Is this thing on?

Hi. I’ve think outgrown my $200 aldi workzone gasless MIG. It’s done lots of good work, but I want an upgrade. I want to:

MIG Steel,
MIG Aluminium,
TIG Steel,
TIG Aluminium.

The $500 Bossweld MST185 (with an additional outlay for the TIG torch and gas bottle) from bunnings ticks all those boxes except TIG Al, because it’s DC only. It does stick too, which is a nice-to-have. HF start isn’t required, but would be nice. I can manage a 15A plug if required.

My budget is up to $1000 new, or around $500 used. Has anyone got any suggestions?

Buy a separate TIG and MIG, secondhand preferably.

Typically speaking, the more functions a welder has, the worse it is at all of them.

You can get quality AC TIG’s second hand for about $600, leaving you a decent budget for a quality MIG. Budget a few hundred bucks for consumables too

I agree that a general-purpose solution would be worse than a specialised option. The reasons I’d like a combo are:

A) I’m a very average welder, so I doubt I’d max out the capabilities of a mediocre welder,
B) A combo would use less space in my workshop,
C) Swapping gas bottles around.

I’ll keep an eye on gumtree for a cheapie of any flavour.

A) A good welder doesn’t just offer more capabilities, but more importantly makes welding easier - People often struggle with the cheap options, decided they are shit/have no skill and don’t pursue it further, when a nicer machine makes everything easier.

B) there’s some sweet rolling welder stations designs that integrate two welders onto the one cart that are pretty compact, could be worth looking into

C) I would argue it’s less hassle swapping gases if you have separate machines, as you use a different gases for different processes. (MIG - Argonshield [mix of argon, oxygen, CO2 & helium], TIG generally uses pure Argon, maybe argon helium mix if doing heavy welds).

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You’re also likely to get HF start on a quality TIG, which 100% makes for a much better welding experience.

Thanks for the advice everyone! I ended up picking up a generic second hand Chinese WSME 200 with AC/DC/pulse/HF start/200A. It came with a pedal too. $500 all up. I picked up a bottle of argon from Bunnings, got set up to start some practice welds, and found the tank was empty. Bunnings had sold me an empty tank. :frowning: I’ll head back this afternoon and try to convince them I didn’t drain the tank overnight.

The only problem with the welder I’ve found so far is some jittery pots. From 0-20% of the throw of the peak current pot the limit jitters around from 40-50A, then at 20% it jumps to 3A and smoothish up to 170A at 100%. I squirted some contact cleaner in there and gave it a generous spin and jiggle, but it’s still dodgy. Replacing all the pots might be in order. The control panel on the front has about 15 connectors around its edge, so I’m not looking forward to getting it out.