A flux core wire (.035 diameter) will penetrate better in 1/4" metal than when welding with gas. Gas sometimes requires multiple passes for good penetration and if welding where there is a breeze, gas welding can be a bit of a pain. If you are limiting yourself to 1/4" or less, a 120 volt, 140 amp flux core or solid with gas wire feed should work fine.
A 120 should do fine, like has already been said, for anything under 1/4"... but if you're going to do large amounts of 1/4" the 240 is better. I use a 240v/180amp unit, but i only do that because welding 1/8" tubing and smaller I can run 100% duty cycle.
First thing you have to decide is where your going to use it.A 220 plug may not be available if you plan on using it anywhere besides your personal garage.Second is how thick of material your going to be welding.As others have said 110 welders are limited as far as power to weld thicker stuff.I'm personally a fan of using shielding gas.Flux core wire doesn't leave as pretty or as clean welds.I have a 220 Hobart machine,which is made by Miller.Very happy with it. I've heard bad things about the cheap ones from harbor freight. If I were to buy a 110 welder today,I'd stick to the big 3.Hobart Miller or Lincoln.One added thing is to get a auto darkening helmet if you don't have one.Much easier to use and pretty cheap anymore
My nearest 220v is by the pump house. Not really convenient. That is why I am looking at 120v welders. (wife says I can't weld in the laundry room). I have some small projects, nothing over 1/4 inch. I wanted some input and advice before I plopped down my money. Don.
I have a 130 Amp Lincoln that runs on 120/20amp line and it does a good job for all my work... I don't do anything heavy, usually in the 1/8" range, sometimes a bit thicker, and I also prefer shielding gas to flux core... I can do aluminum too but it's a bear to get it dialed in and working properly...
I also second the auto darkening helmet - wouldn't be without one now that I have one...
That is what I have. I've no problem with it. Has not been anything associated with a motorcycle that I could not do with it.
I've raked necks, hardtailed rears and extended shaft drives with it. I run both flux-core and gas with it.
I use the flux wire when I take it with me somewhere and use gas at the house.
Make sure your circuit can power the thing. I've a house in town that has the old braided cloth wire and glass fuses out in the garage. I've 30A fuses in what I'm certain is a 10A supply or less to the box and trying to get it to penetrate into anything beyond a 1/8" is sketchy. It ain't the welder, it's my garage. I call it cursed and leave it at that.
That hobart is probably a good unit. My old boss got a 120 hobart for me to do odd jobs with in the field and I never had a problem with it. Just make sure you stay within the duty cycle and you'll be fine. As far as the gas/flux discussion... gas will always give a cleaner weld with less slag, but i use almost always just use flux now-a-days because it's quicker and easier to set up, don't have to pay for the gas, and don't have to worry about the regulator. If you get a good enough unit you can even buy a spool gun attachment down the road so you can do aluminum (without that or a teflon lined hose, you DON'T want to try aluminum with a mig, trust me). So my 2 cents is to have at it, i think you'll be happy with it.
Dadztoy and Captain touched on a very good point. I sell both Hobart and Lincoln welders where I work and we do stress one VERY important point to our customers; Don't under-power your welder! For a 120 volt welder, don't use any circuit that can't supply a good solid 20 amps of power. Run 12 gauge or larger wire where possible and stay away from any kind of extension cord(s) unless it is large enough to supply adequate power given the length or run. Liken it to a dirty air filter in your bike. If you starve your engine of air, it will not run properly. Starve your welder of AC power, 120 or 240 volt, and it won't run properly.
Hey.....have fun with your new welder. Wire feeds are a blast, and be ready to make a lot of new friends when they find out you've purchased a welder that runs on 120 volts! :grin2:
Tractor supply has a Hobart 140 at a good price. My wife and I went into town and picked it up. I had to change oil so it is still in the trunk. This was my birthday present from her and my son. I will ask for the self darkening helmet for father's day. (yes, I do have a regular helmet). I will let you know if i can make a decent bead. Thank you for the information and advice. Don