MILLER vs. LINCOLN

MILLER vs. LINCOLN

Hows it going guys, in this article im going to go over you pros and cons of the Lincoln and Miller mig welders, Specifically the Millermatic 250 X  and the Lincoln Power MIG 216 . Then decide what welder I prefer, now that doesn’t mean that its the “best” just that I personally would rather weld with that type of mig welder.

So why the Millermatic 250 X  and the Lincoln Power MIG 216?  Well, these welders are commonly used in “High End” Metal Fabrication industries.

What I mean by “High End” is: Extreme attention to detail, ascetically pleasing and structurally sound with on road & off road race car chassis, air frames etc..

The very first Mig welder I ever welded with was with an old Lincoln.   I hated it.  I could never dial it in to get the welds to look good enough. Granted I didn’t have the experience that I have today, but to this day I still cannot get it to weld nicely. So ever since then I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth about Lincoln welders.  I’ve only used and praised Miller welders for many years. Until a few years ago, I saw a couple companies in my industry start producing out very clean different looking mig welds.   I wondered if they were doing them with a miller?

So I tried to replicate the look and could never get them to look the same. Come to find out the company I despised, LINCOLN was helping these welder/fabricators preform these very quality mig welds. After that point I made it my mission to acquire the hated Lincoln mig welder

Now that I have both Miller and Lincoln welders at my disposal, I can make accurate assessments on both brands.  Heres what I came up with.

 

Price Difference

Lets start with price difference, because everyone loves to save money.

MILLER ..        LINCOLN Price Difference

180 = $1,039            180 =   $774        $265

212 = $2,052           216 = $1,624        $428

252 = $2,737            255 = $2,711        $26

 

As you can see Miller is a higher priced brand; but in it’s defense on the 212 vs 216, I know the new miller has much more tunability on the volts dial compared to the Lincoln 216. which is a big thing with me.

 

Tune-ability

As far as tune ability on these two welders, its going to have to go to miller. On the 250 x that i was using, and the new 212 both have a dial for the volts and wire speed, apposed to the tap volts dial that is limited in adjustment.

It’s important to have complete adjustment of the volts, so you not welding not too hot or too cold on certain joints. Just the other day I was welding an 1/8” lap joint on the Lincoln and needed an between setting; but I couldn’t get it because of the limitation on the volts tap dial. I ended up welding it hotter than I would have liked to.

In Lincoln’s defense they do have a little bit wider “sweet-spot” range which helps out  a lot, but not enough for certain joints.

 

Weld Bead

What I mean by weld bead is the finished weld appearance and the arc consistency.

This one is going to have to go to Lincoln.  The Lincoln welds extremely smooth with a consistent arc with a finished product has a better over all appearance.

When I weld with a Miller, I can feel the welding wire pushing back slightly. With the Lincoln it fells like the wires melting faster and more constant. I can tell this because I’ve welded with Millers my whole career, so the difference is obvious.

In my opinion, this is the biggest benefit of the Lincoln welders.  I think it’s due to their “Diamond Core Technology” which I never gave too much thought until I read up on it and welded with a Lincoln.

In the picture below, you can see the difference between the Miller weld and the Lincoln weld.

The Miller weld is more rough and choppy when compared to the Lincoln.

Weld Speed

What mean by weld speed is how long it takes to get from point A to point B while having the weld bead come out the best it can.

This is up to you on if you do production welding and need to get the welding done in the fastest time possible while still having a quality weld.  Sacrificing speed for little better looking weld bead.

So the Miller gets from point A to point B by far faster than the Lincoln. However, if you’re not looking for speed and looking for a slower pace, having more control over the weld, then Lincoln is you machine.

This is good and bad. Good, in that if you’re welding complicated parts or corner joints. It gives you time to maneuver around the part with out being rushed; therefore, the weld is more likely to come out cleaner.

Now if you’re welding long straight welds, it will get annoying fast, on how long it takes in comparison to the Miller. I get a little impatient when I’m under the hood longer than I’m used to.

 

Smaller MIG Gun

Now this may not seem to be a big deal to many of you, but to me it’s a big deal. If you’re welding all day or need to get into smaller parts with the nozzle, then you need to get a Tweco or Radnor gun. They have a smaller nozzle.  They have more of a bend which allows you to relax your trigger hand a little more than a stock gun. A big thing to is there tip is recessed inside the nozzle which is critical for this welding style for a couple different reasons:

  • The wire hardly ever burns back and sticks to the tip
  • Tip doesn’t hit the part
  • You can use the nozzle to drag along the part
  • It has a screw on nozzle, so it isn’t moving around while welding
  • The welds come out better than a stock gun

Now that you get the importance of a smaller gun to me, you could understand that when I found out that Lincoln didn’t have a smaller replacement for the stock gun — I was really disappointed.

But we figured it out!  We were able to rig on a 130 amp Radnor gun to the Lincoln fairly easily. Even though the guys at the welding supply store said we were going to burn up the gun as soon as we started welding because it calls for a 200 amp gun. Well the only way you’re going to burn up the 130 amp gun is if you’re welding 3/8”+ super hot all the time. In our case, 3/8” is the thickest plate we weld and it’s rare and for short periods of time.

So don’t worry about what the supply shop says. This is how we rigged up the new gun:

  1. We got a new gun with no electrical input connection
  2. Then got an old Miller input connector and cut it off
  3. Then spliced the wires together
  4. Plugged it in and have been welding perfect ever since
  5. I’m sure you can use an old Lincoln connector to

Customer Service

Customer survive is I’m sure very important to many of you, so if that’s a big thing in deciding with which MIG welder to purchase, then Miller is your company.

Me, personally,  I’ve only had to call and talk to customer support once.  They were extremely helpful and knowledgeable.  They were able to help me do internal adjustments on the computer panel over the phone which was great. I’ve also heard and read from many other people that there experience was excellent with Miller. But in all the years I’ve been a welder/fabricator, it’s only been once, so I can’t justify buying a welder for customer service alone.

In conclusion, both Miller and Lincoln welders have their strong points and they are both quality welders.  I personally now like to weld with the Lincoln’s; but I have nothing against Miller and have welded with them with nothing but awesome results.

I hope this article could shed some light on the two different MIG welding companies and their differences.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them on the forum or leave a comment.

Thanks for your time,

Flynn

 

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The “Three” Types of Tubing

There are three classes of tubing:

  • Seamless (4130)
  • Drawn-over-mandrel (DOM).
  • Mild, Welded or electric resistant welded (ERW)
    • Seamless (4130 etc) tubing is produced by using a extrusion or rotary piercing process.
    • Drawn-over-mandrel (DOM) tubing is made from cold drawn ERW tube that is drawn through a die and over a mandrel to create such characteristics as dependable weld integrity, dimensional accuracy, and an excellent surface finish.

    Top: 4130 - Middle: DOM - Bottom: Mild

    The difference between pipe and tubing

    Pipe and tube are different, tubing has tighter engineering requirements and in some cases made with a higher quality alloy than a pipe.

    The actual dimensions of pipe are usually not the nominal dimensions: A 2” pipe will not actually measure 2 inch in either outside or inside diameter.

    Tubing is specified by:

    • Inside diameter (ID)
    • Outside diameter (OD)
    • Wall thickness.

    4130 Chromoly

    4130 is a Seamless  tubing, and is produced by using a extrusion or rotary piercing process. Chromoly is specified by the “SAE” Society of Automotive Engineers. the Alloy elements of 4130 are chromium and molybdenum, this is why its often called chromoly  or cromo. Chromoly has an excellent strength to weight ratio, is easily welded and are considerably stronger and harder than standard 1020 mild seamed and DOM tube steels.

    The numbers 4130 defines the chemical composition of the steel.

    • 41 means a low alloy steel containing 1 % chromium and 0.2 % molybdenum.
    • 30 means a carbon content of 0.30%.
    • In addition there will be around 0.2-0.5 % silicon, 0.5-1.0 % manganese, and under 0.1 % of each of a dozen or so other elements whose presence is unavoidable.
    • The remaining 97-98 % is iron.

    4130 chromoly tubing  began its first use in the aircraft industry. Race chassis builders began using the tubing for its strength to weight ratio.

    4130 tubing is used for anything from bicycle frames, AK-47 receivers, tubular chasis, suspension parts, aircraft parts and air frames etc… Ive used cromo for suspension components, cages / tube chassis and machined parts.

    I couldn’t find a video for seamless tube manufacturing process on youtube, but i did find a link to TIMKENs (baring company) website that has a good video with the seamless tubing process. Check it out: How steel is made

    D.O.M.

    DOM tubing, or “drawn over mandrel” and is made from cold drawn ERW (electric resistant welded) tube that is drawn through a die and over a mandrel to create a dependable weld integrity, accurate dimensions and an excellent surface finish. DOM is also commonly known as seamless tube.  The machinability is good to excellent, the weldability is excellent. DOM is typically grade 1020, but may also be 520 or 1026. The 1026 grade is normally for OD’s larger than 2″ and wall thicknesses heavier than .156″.

    This tubing is also can be used in tube chassis and cages. many people prefer DOM over 4130 due to the fact that it more malleable and tends to bend further before sheering or braking.

    To get a similar strength as chromoly, you would have to increase the wall thickness substantially.

    Here is a good video on how mild seamed tubing is made or the first steps in the DOM manufacturing process:

    Mild Steel (ERW)

    Mild steel or ERW tube is manufactured by the electric-resistance welding process, are often referred to as ERW or EW, among other names.

    These tubes have a welded seam on the inside and are tend to be more affordable than seamless DOM and 4130.

    Mild erw may occasionally be referred to as Grade 1008-1010. Excellent weldability and good machinability. Mild tubing is extremely soft

    Mild is a very shiny silver surface, with the welded seam visible

    and malleable compared to 4130. Its not as used in motor-sports as DOM & 4130 because of the potential bending or splitting at the seam. Its safer to use DOM or 4130 for structural cages or components that are under high stress.

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    How to build a tube bumper

    How To Build A Tube Bumper

    well Ive got alto of requests to wright an article on how to build a tube bumper. I know most people are going to want help on how to build a front bumper but all i have at this point to show you is a rear bumper. Ill have a front bumper up as soon as possible. But in any case you can get a lot of info off this article to be able to build a front bumper if you cant wait.

    So im gonna give it a shot and tell you how i know of the fastest and easiest way to build one. of cores each bumper is going to be different depending on what vehicle its going on, but it doesn’t matter because the techniques are all the same.

    Ok so lets start off with what your going to need to build this bumper:

    • Some sort of tube bender is necessary. We use a hydraulic tube bender but
    • A welder.
    • A measuring tape and permanent marker.
    • An angle grinder with flapper disk, belt sander etc.
    • If you are using a angle grinder your going to need a vice or something to clamp down the tube to stop it from moving.
    • A chop saw, band saw, saws-all etc. something to cut the tubing.
    • your going to need at least two big adjustable jack stands or something to support your main tube.

    Measurement and prep

    First off your going to want to have some one help you take a measurement for the main bumper tube. bend the tape mesure on both sides where you roughly want the bend’s to be.

    Then your going to want to add 3-5″ extra to your main tube measurement so the bender can get enough grip on the tube to bend, and also just incase theres a mistake made.

    once you have the tube cut find the center of the over all length and mark it all the way around. one way to mark it evenly all the way around the tube is with a collar tube. Witch is a tube cut straight, and that is one size bigger than the tubing your currently using.

    once you have found center on the tube then try to find center on the vehicle and mark it. As you notice we’ve made a custom hitch to span the frame rails. You can also do this or just cap off the frame rails with plate or fit a tube  in-between them, instead of the tow hitch configuration we did.

    Now you want to sight, to match the bumper’s lines to the body lines of the truck, If the vehicle isn’t level, and the bumper is, then the bumper will

    look crooked.Build the bumper to match the body lines. So sight the tube to the truck (not the ground) as you can see in the picture we have made the tube match up with the line of the tail gate.

    Bending the main bumper tube

    Once you have that done you can plot out where your going to want the bend start to be. you can do this a couple ways one if you can guess where the bend is going to start and bend it a coupe times Intel you get the desired bend ideally matching the bumper’s radius to the body panel radius. You can also bend a sample piece of tubing (mark where the bend start is on the sample tube) then bend it and remember what degree it was bent at,  place it on the top of the main tube and mark on the main tube where the start of the sample piece was. Then bend the tube the same at the same degree that your sample piece was bent at. Check it make sure it still lines up with your center lines and bend the other side.

    Once your main tube is bent up level and square to the vehicle then your going to want to fit your two tubes to the frame, hitch or tube. so take a measurement and  cut and fit your two tubes. Then tack weld everything together.

    Tack welding Tip

    A good rule of thumb is that your going to want to tack weld at least three tacks on each notched piece of tubing, plate etc..

    You do this to prevent from the part from moving or breaking tacks when your welding, because it happens frequently.

    When you tack the parts try and tack where your weld stops and starts are going to occur so your not welding over a big lumpy tack welds.

    Bottom bumper tube

    now we can start building the bottom tube that helps add strength and helps tie everything together. So were going to start off by taking a measurement the same way we did earlier but since the bends are not as close to the end of the tube we don’t have to add the 3-5″ to the part. But we do need to add around 1-2″ (depending how comfortable you are with notching tube) to compensate for the material that were going to grind or notch out for the tube to fit nicely to the top tube.

    • Cut your tube to your measurement find center and mark it all the way around.
    • Then get a measurement from the bottom of the top tube to the inside or top of the bottom tube your about to bend.
    • Then measure the outside point where you want your tube to hit on both sides.
    • Keep those measurements for drafting.

    Drafting your bumper

    Now comes the fun part your going to want to draft out your bumper on a table or the ground. (looking straight ahead as if your were squatted down. Not from the top down) marking all the lines needed to make everything match up the way you want it, and knowing where to start the bends and how far to bend them. Your going to want to mark:

    • The center line of the tube.
    • Where you want your tube to land.
    • The bend start line.
    • where the top main tube is, and where it is in relation to the top of the tube your bending/ fitting now.
    1. Start by making a straight line or use the edge of a table.
    2. Use that line as your pretend main tube, find and mark your center line.
    3. Then take your measurements you just took and start plotting your other lines.
    4. Measure from Line #1 to  line #2 and draw your straight even line.
    5. Then from line #2 to line #4 and draw it out like the picture below.

    Once you have it all drafted out your going to do something similar to the bend section above. the easiest and most precise way to do it  bend a sample piece of tubing  and use that as a reference (mark where the bend started and be sure to make the tube long enough to hit Line #1 & #4 in the picture)

    • Estimate where the best place is to put the bend.
    • Then, bend the tube little by little and line it up with Line#2 and trying to meet up with Line #1 & #4 with the cut end of the of the tube, Intel it lands in the right spot. Remember always line it up with the Center line and Line #2 while checking it.
    • You can use a 90 degree square to make sure it lines up with Line #2.
    • Once you have the one side bent, then mark where the bend start of the bend is on the table.
    • Then measure from the center line to the bend start line you just made, and mark it on the other side of the Draft drawing
    • Now line the tube back up with the lines and mark your bend start line on the UN bent side of the tube
    • Now you know where to start to bending the other side of your tube at. So just bend it to the same degree as the other side and your set.

    Notching

    Now that you have bent both sides its time to notch the tube. You want to place your tube back on the drawing and where the tube hangs over Line #1 your going want to mark a line on the tube parallel with Line #1 and cut the tube  about 3/8 – 1/2″ longer, and start notching and fitting.




    Since the bottom tube is so long and awkward you might want to consider using a vice to hold the tube and an angle grinder with a flap disk to help in notching it.


     

    Finishing touches

    We added three more tubes on the bumper to strengthen it, and ad to the design.

    after that we cut off the excess tubing with a saws-all to keep from snagging and to give it a cleaner look. you might want to cap off the end with a peice of plate to keep the tube from rusting inside and to make it look finished.

    after every thing is all fit, weld it up and enjoy.

    you should hopefully be able to design any style rear bumper how ever you like with the information ive given you in this article. if you have any qustions at all or have missed something i would be more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability.


     

     

     

    Dont forget to leave a comment and to subscribe to my mailing list if you like this article thanks,

    Flynn.


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    Corner Joint Mig Weld Bend Test

    this is a mig welding bend test on 3/16 plate

    miller 250 welder settings

    Heres another bend test i did on a 3/16 corner joint, welded on one side. It bent a lot further than i was expecting. I had originally thought it would break before itwas pressed flat but surprised me when it was able to bend in the opposite direction quite a bit. the metal broke in the HAZ (heat affected zone) area right next to the mig weld on the side i was hitting the test part with a hammer while in the vice . If you notice it broke a little bit in to the weld, at the point to where i started the weld. I welded it on 17.5 – 170 the stock setting for 14 gauge on the miller 250 instead of the recommended setting for 3/16. Ive found over the years that you can weld corner joints (if  the joint is prepped properly) on a significantly lower setting and still get good penetration , as you can see in the picture above . All in all i was happy with the results.

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    Mig Weld Bend Test

    Heres a little bend test i did on 3/16 hot rolled plate. I was trying to see if my mig welds would peel or tear off the base material before the 3/16 plate would crack or tear. I tried this same test with cold rolled plate but the plate cracked before it even got to 90 degrease. I placed the plate in the vice and hit it with a sledge hammer and placed it under a press where i put around 40,000 pounds of pressure on the part.  All and all it looks like i got good penetration and wasent able to peel or tear the welds off the base metal. I welded this on a miller 250 using the stock miller settings between the 1/4 and 1/8 settings (under the door of the mig welder) with .035 welding wire.


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