The Basics Of Buying That First MIG Welder
Buying your first welder yourself can seem like a daunting undertaking. Especially if you're fairly new to welding and have only ever used machines that were made available to you, it can be hard to know what you should be looking for. Before you buy your first MIG welder, here's a look at some of the things that you need to think about to ensure that you get the right machine for your personal needs.
Know Your Price Range
The first thing you should do before you start looking at MIG welders is to establish your budget. MIG welder models are available in a broad price range, so there's sure to be a welder priced where you can afford it. However, it's important to note that with welding equipment, price really is an important factor because you get what you pay for. If you're looking for a welder that's going to last for many years, that will put up with the demands of starting a business or a demanding hobby, lean toward the more expensive equipment. That way, you can be sure that you're getting a quality machine that will function consistently and reliably.
Consider The Duty Cycle And Safety Shut-Offs
Once you've narrowed down your options based on your budget, you need to consider the duty cycle of each of those machines. Every welder has a duty cycle rating that defines how long you can actively weld with the machine before allowing it a rest period. Adhering to a duty cycle helps avoid stress on the machine, overheating, and other costly damage.
Think about the type of welding you will do. If you're a hobby welder or looking to offer services for simple repairs, you won't likely need a welder with a longer duty cycle. If, however, you plan to work on large projects and weld for longer periods at any given time, look for a welder with a longer duty cycle so that it can run longer.
No matter what duty cycle you choose, though, make sure the unit also has a thermal shutdown switch. This safety switch will turn the welder off if it gets too hot, which can happen if you're lost in a project and forget about the duty cycle considerations for your equipment.
Think About What You'll Weld
Another thing that many first-time welder buyers don't think about is the type of metal they plan to work with. If you're expecting that you will work with aluminum at some stage, you'll want to choose a welder that will support the use of a spool gun. These are an important investment for welding aluminum because the soft metal will tangle up in a traditional feed system. The spool gun fits to the handle of the torch, feeding the aluminum directly and shortening its travel distance.
These are some of the most important factors to think about when you're in the market for a welder. Talk with your local welding equipment supplier today for more information about equipment such as a Miller CP 302 welder.