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Ok bought a sip 130 migmate welder years ago no good at welding to the extent I have booked a days course in April so I can weld in a new front headlamp shell piece. I digress.. it was always problematic in wire feed and doing some research it seems to be a common issue with suggestions that I bail out and buy a CLARKE welder and as a vat free offer is likely at Easter wondered what you guys and gals use... the front shell I need to attach is to be able to put her back on the road after my confrontation with a tree in December I have fitted a replacement bonnet and got all the bits to make her good again after Tesco’s wrote her off as. Cat N and I bought her back as salvage with more than double the amount needed to repair her left over.
 

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I have got a SIP MIG welder that I have had for over 25 years. I think also the model 130 actually. It has had quite a few parts replaced over the years but has served me well. I remember replacing the motor, the main power relay and also the parts that wear out frequently such as the tips, shroud and nylon inner. I think it was made or assembled in Italy.
It is good at welding thin gauge steel up to 1/8" or 18 gauge. You still need an arc welder for heavier stuff. I have also got a 150 amp arc welder.
I am largely self taught but I have taken occasional advice from professional welders and my brother in law who is a sheet metal worker.
A days course sounds a good idea to get you started. I used my welder to weld up a classic Range Rover I used to own but it seemed to be rusting away faster than I could weld it. Also other cars. The more you use the welder the more you will get familiar with it and know how to adjust it. I also use a pub CO2 cylinder which I get refilled locally.
Clarke welders look OK. They are probably made in China and rebadged but they come with a warranty. I fancy a TIG welder next and maybe a plasma cutter.
 

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I also had an SIP 130 which lasted for years and was still working when I gave it away! The best way to judge a welder is by
its duty cycle if you can get the info! if not the rule of thumb way is by the weight. I will be very shocked if the CLARK rubbish is heaver than your SIP. save your money!! do the course and maybe see if you can take your welder.
If the instructor is a pro he may laugh at it! but may be able to set it up so it works right, at least he can put you on the
right path.
 

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I've got a Telwin, but I made a gun on it what the profesionals use, and that made a lot of difference, now it welds almost as good as a industrial welder, but with less amps off course. ;)
 

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In answer to Dave3d's reply in wanting a tig welder, Dave it all depends on what you want it for, if it's for steel you may be ok with a
cheap one, but if you want to do alloy also, you will be looking at £1500 for one that will last. again it's the duty cycle that matters.
Mine is a 150 amp CEBORA, I had a good deal on it and it still cost me £1100 nearly 10 years ago have even used it to weld my Saab cylinder head.
 

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In answer to Dave3d's reply in wanting a tig welder, Dave it all depends on what you want it for
Ideally, I would like to be able to weld alloy and stainless but it is hard to justify the expense. Not just the cost of the welder but the gas as well. CO2 is cheap for the MIG.
I have a so called aluminium welding kit but it is really a gas brazing kit with special rods and flux for aluminium. OK for aluminium angle but not much else.

Another important piece of kit when MIG welding is a good welding helmet. I invested in an automatic one that is battery operated. clear glass until you strike an arc.
 

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The only difference welding alloy with a tig is the current a/c for alloy and d/c for everything else including brass!
You can do alloy with the mig but it is not as nice looking, though you will still need pure argon, now there are plenty of outlets that supply rent free gas bottles, just a refundable deposit.
 

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I bought a Lincoln 210MP. The spool is in the machine but it has lead plugs on the front. It does the MIG process, of course but will also Stick and Tig. I've been extremely impressed. It weighs 40lbs so instead of running leads I use a single 10/3 extension cord reaching to any location in my yard. It's an inverter machine which only requires a 30amp breaker and I have run it off a generator easily. On this side of the pond, if it ain't Red or Blue it don't make much sense
 
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