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Old 11-15-2006, 04:28 AM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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One Step Closer to the New Frame for Mon-Stream

Since my buddy in the RV industry fell through on making me a new frame in his factory, I decided to take it upon myself. I enrolled in a welding class.

Been doing stick welding for weeks now and tried oxyfuel last week. I thought mig would be the route I'd probably want to go. Well, last night I spent two hours mig welding and have to say, I am sold on it. I guess there's a reason they call it "monkey welding", because my stick welding wasn't so great, but my mig welding looked pretty darn good! It's a ton easier. And for making a trailer frame, I thnk it'll be the way to go. Very clean, very nice looking beads, and easy enough that a guy with less experience can do a decent job. I've been analyzing welds for years, but time to put my money where my mouth is and actually do it.

I've done a little bit of extra consulting on the side (in addition to the day job) and have enough banked up to get a 250amp mig machine. I'm looking at either:

A. Lincolnd Powermig 255c
B. Miller 251

Both look to be very good machines to me. I'm leaning toward the Lincoln, but haven't made up my mind yet. Heard a lot of good about both. They say the Lincoln's drive system is better, but the Miller's fan system is better, Miller's guns are a little nicer, Lincoln's gun can reach further....Ford vs Chevy probably. But I'm open to any advice you guys might have on this. Which one is the better? Or is there a bad choice here?

Anyway, class lasts another month, and I think I'll be ready to weld up a frame after that. This is gonna be fun!
- Jim
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:02 AM   #2
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Hi Jim; Word is go for it. They are both good machines, but your luck may also have a say so too. It is nice however to get into tight places with a small torch. Since I do not do production runs, I use tig torch. I have a Miller Syncrowave 300. We do mostly aluminum repairs,so the hand feed is more precise to me. Had it for over 20 years and the only component replaces was control circuit board. I just finished building a new Stainless Steel frame for my 26' Argosy and I must say it was a joyfully project. The only complaints were from my wife about my hours of not being home. My reason for going Stainless Steel was my ability to purchase it for $1.50 per lbs, which made sense over future afflictions of steel frame. I am sure you will enjoy the process and eventually be proud of your accomplishment. Good luck, "Boatdoc"
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:28 AM   #3
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1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Jim..GO FOR IT! Then you can come fix mine Both machines are good, my personal preference are the Miller's. Probably because that is what I am used to using and have had nothing but excellent service out of them. The last two machines I purchased for our company were Millers. We had one Lincoln but for some reason it liked to eat transformers, never did get to the bottom of that one.

__________________ many little time...
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
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Old 11-15-2006, 04:57 PM   #4
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Boatdoc, outstanding on the stainless frame! That is truly the first class route. I'll be lucky to afford carbon steel, but I may splurge for the 50ksi stuff over the 36ksi. I have designed a new frame from scratch that I feel will be way superior to the OEM. It's gonna be a monster, hence the "Mon-Stream" name. However, I'm not going to cobble up some horrible looking thing. I think I've got a nice design worked up, and am itching to build it. I've not tried TIG yet. Only seen demos. It looks like a slick process. I'd like to get one eventually. I see my shop needing a mig and an oxy fuel to start with, and then expanding from there. I want to do aircraft tubing welding too, and my understanding there is that oxyfuel does a great job that about anybody can handle. TIG does a superb job too, if you know what you're doing. If you don't, then you can make a weld that looks good but isn't sound. At least that's what I've read from the EAA guys. I was looking at a combo TIG/stick machine, but its out of my budget right now. Like I say though, I want a full shop full of goodies...mig is just the start.

Boatdoc, could you post or email me some pics of your stainless frame? I'd love to see them. I looked under your photo section but didn't see any. I bet its pretty sweet!

Wahoonc, I just can't decide on the mig. I've looked at both of them and they both look top notch. The Lincoln does look to have a better drive system to me, but that's not to say they're not both excellent. Truth is, they're very similar. My teacher says he likes the fans on the Millers better. I've read a lot of online reviews. Everybody loves the Millermatic 251, never heard a single bad word about it. There's only about a tenth as many reviews on the Lincoln 255, but I've not heard anything bad about it either. The guys that have them love them. The only sort of negative I've heard is that Lincoln fooled around too long in doing a mig machine, and Miller forced them to get rolling and develop a machine.

So anyway, I'm agonizing between the two. Class will end in about three weeks, so I figure maybe it'll be my Christmas present to myself
- Jim
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:31 PM   #5
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Hello JimGolden, Im glad to hear your finally going ahead and getting the frame going .I have an ironman 210 Hobart machine .Very good .but the miller
really is the better choice and most welders Ive been to use Millers .but im not the final word by any means ,but it appears to be the popular welders choice.That said ,the 220 volt is the only way to go .lincolns seem to be the rule when it comes to arc welders ,especially truck mounted mobile units.
I have a lincoln 225 stick too I have access to and its a great machine .I like the arc for the heavy jobs ,but yes the mig is a great welder ,just make sure
you get good penetration as its easy to get a nice bead with not so good penetration ,you can tell though if the weld flows out and you can see it
meld with the steel being welded .you can do some test pieces to see how much penetration your actually getting ,thats what id recommend ,but isn't it fun though welding ? I really enjoy it and the fabrication .

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Old 11-16-2006, 08:11 AM   #6
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Thanks Scott. It'll be a bit until I can actually start the frame, but I'm gearing up for it.

I really enjoy welding...kicking myself for not learning it sooner. Better late than never I guess.

I welded for two hours solid the other night with a Lincoln MP350. I may try to get on a Miller gun tonight and run it for a couple hours to compare the two.

The shop here locally carries both brands and said he'd set them up side by side for me to try them both. So I'll probably have him do that before I make the final decision, but it's going to be one or the other.

I'm still tweaking my frame design, but just about have it. It will be strong enough to put my motorcycle on the back. But I'll reserve judgement on actually hauling it back there until I actually do a test run. If it throws the handling off, then I won't do it. But, at least the strength will be there. I'm changing the connection design of the shell to the frame as well. I'll reveal it all later, but it's gonna be superior to OEM
- Jim
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Old 12-06-2006, 05:00 PM   #7
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Good for you man!

I am partial to the Lincoln's (perhaps that's because I obtained my welding certification on one and my Pop's loved them). I have 3 of them in my home shop. We used mostly Miller's at Axis - both are great machines.

The state of the art "Robotic Welding Cell" at Axis used Miller's also. That was a first class set up and the folks that designed the cell were Miller fans.

Either Lincoln or Miller would be a solid choice.

Please keep us posted on your progress.

Best Regards,
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