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Old 07-04-2023, 11:28 AM
Matt Shade's Avatar
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Default Spoolguns, what should I look at?

Currently I have a Lincoln Power Mig 216, and a Lincoln MP 210 that can share a Magnum 100SG spoolgun.

The 100SG spoolgun is kind of a joke. 10ft cable,is rated for 130 amps, is almost all plastic with no spool brake and my current one has developed a case where it doesn't give any gas coverage if you tip it wrong. I can weld at the table but anything else is very frustrating. I could maybe repair it but it just barely does what I need it to in the first place anyhow. The tips are small and they burn up frequently welding 1/8" or thicker.

The options I have come up with so far are:
Buy another 100sg gun for close to $400 (mine was a free promo when I bought the 216). Not really interested in this option.

Buy a Magnum SG spoolgun plus an adapter kit for the 216 welder. This option runs about $2000. I assume it leaves both guns mounted and makes the welder dual use. I will not do this if it is difficult to switch back and forth to steel. Gun looks pretty cumbersome but has nice features, like wire feed control knob in the handle.

Buy a Magnum 250 spoolgun plus adapter kit- closer to $3000 and rated for more amps than my machine has. Gun looks a bit nicer, but not really a good option for me. My aluminum work is pretty sporadic, but I would like to be better equipped.

The final option is to buy a new welder. A lincoln 256 one pak with both guns is about $6500. A Miller 252 with both guns is within $100 of the lincoln.

The 216 I have is over 15 years old and is a transformer machine. I kind of like having a simple machine without a computer in it, but I use it at its upper limit quite a bit and question spending more on a gun than I paid for it (really getting sticker shock, the MP210 has gone up almost a $1000 since I bought mine). Theoretically if it died the gun would work on a new 256.

My only experience with miller was a machine I used at a job I used to have and I didn't like the arc but the machine was kind of beat to shit The welding lab in college was all lincoln and that is what I have stuck with to date.

Really not familiar with other brands of machines, or what else is available. Any suggestions to look at?

What would you guys go with?
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  #2  
Old 07-04-2023, 01:07 PM
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Shade Tree Welder Shade Tree Welder is offline
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I love my MM 350P...

So, what they have today is this. Miller generally retails for 20-25% off list.
My local guy was 24.5% off, I did not even have to call for a price.

https://www.millerwelds.com/equipmen...z-latch-951927

This gives you a push pull gun for all wires.

The MM255 will also take a pushpull gun, if you can get the machine with one
gun vs. 2 might save you a bit of $$$. The 255 give you pulsed spray, you
do not get that with the 252, and they are the same ballpark in pricing.
I would not consider 252.

I cannot comment on the Lincoln, just do not know that product line well.
In all honesty you are all red now, I would look to stay red, for interconnectivity
of equipment.

If you live near Cleveland you might want to see if Miller still has the
Cleveland discount, they used to, just to piss off Lincoln...
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Last edited by Shade Tree Welder; 07-04-2023 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 07-04-2023, 03:03 PM
JBFab JBFab is offline
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I won't buy red anymore after some very poor treatment at my last gig. I do however understand that you are already invested there. Here's all I can speak to that may be valuable to you.

I have a Hobart 210MVP with a spoolgun. It too was a promo freebie with the welder. I've been using it quite a bit lately and honestly - it's not bad. For the money if you don't do a ton of aluminum it would be a pretty cheap standalone setup for aluminum that you would never have to change.

I have run many Millers over the years and a few of the red ones. I would NOT put a push pull gun on a newer Lincoln. Several people I know have had nothing but problems with them. One finally kicked it to the curb after dismal help from Lincoln to remedy a factory problem and bought a millermatic 255. I'm not sure why Ron isn't a fan of that machine, but I've run it on steel and aluminum with a push/pull gun - freaking amazing. It will likely be my next machine.

When all the autoset features started coming out I really scoffed at them and ridiculed people that used it. After using it - it's pretty handy . The nice thing is that it still gives you freedom to change settings from the autoset point to really dial things in.
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Old 07-04-2023, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBFab View Post
...millermatic 255. I'm not sure why Ron isn't a fan of that machine...
typo... Meant 252, I fixed it.

For similar money you get pulse with the 255 and not with the 252. Get the pulse.
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Old 07-04-2023, 06:29 PM
JBFab JBFab is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shade Tree Welder View Post
typo... Meant 252, I fixed it.

For similar money you get pulse with the 255 and not with the 252. Get the pulse.
Completely agree - it's a lot of machine in a relatively small package.
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Old 07-04-2023, 09:51 PM
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I got my pricing from Cyberweld so far, but I bought both of my machines locally at matheson gas where I get my bottles and consumables and I would check with them before I bought anything. Lincoln used to set their pricing and there was very little variation, I'm seeing a bigger spread now. They carry miller too so I would have equal parts support.

The miller 255 did not come up on my searches, I will definitely look into that.

When I was doing more fab work I was keeping the 216 set for steel and the 210 set for aluminum. I have been doing a lot more with the horse farm and a lot less in my shop lately so spending $6K+ isn't seeming like the smartest option but... I have some work I want to do on my flatbed, a gooseneck 2 horse trailer I was given that would be a $15,000 trailer if I fix the floor, and every farmer I do repairs for has an aluminum hopper body, and half of my customers have aluminum horse trailers....so the potential is there to make use of a spoolgun quite a bit if I had one that was worth a shit. The current gun its about 60/40 on whether the weld will be good or the gas will cut off and I'll have to gouge it out and I've found myself avoiding aluminum because of it.

I thought the autoset stuff was a joke but my MP210 has a similar set up and it works well. I love all the adjustability of the inverter machine, its just the thought of $1000+ circuit boards that scare me. I suppose I could shrink wrap the 216 and store it for emergencies.
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Old 07-04-2023, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Shade View Post
...its just the thought of $1000+ circuit boards that scare me.
I have a Dynasty 300DX, Millermatic 350P and a Spectrum 2050. All inverter
based machines never replaced a board in any of them... Knock wood!

I really should not curse myself like that.

I did have a board go out on my Trailblazer 302D, it was out of warrantee,
but when I called Miller, they guy asked me what the serial number was on the
machine. He replied, oh you have one of the early machines we had a batch of
card on those that were not quite right, whats your address I will send you out
a new card. No charge.
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Old 07-05-2023, 03:33 PM
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I had a PM255 I picked up local for a good deal about 10yrs ago for $1200. Came with a 300 tank of C25. Interestingly, I had already picked a BNIB Prince XL plug-n-play for Lincoln spool gun for $400 off debay because it was a killer deal. The package worked great but I had just bought a MM252 from a company downsizing. Sold off the Lincoln and Prince, probably made $1000 on the package. Other than that, I have no info on Lincolns for you.

I'm not going to disagree with Shade about a MM255. If I was in the market I would consider it as it has a lot of bells and whistles. I like that it is also more "liftable" than the MM252 as you can remove the optional running gear easily. It is about 85lbs or 148lbs with running gear and the MM252 is a little over 200lbs.

As the owner of a MM252, I can tell you it has been a solid power supply for a 30A spoolgun with hundreds of spools through it. I paid $1500 for a 3yo unit and the 30A was $500 BNIB from another local seller 12? years ago. Looking at the currently available MM252 which is the SAME stock #907321 as my 15yo unit, the ONLY difference I see is the MIG gun. Mine is a 15' M-25 Miller (250A).

I want to point out that ANY blemishes on the paint and slag melted into the wheels is from the PO. Obviously an employee that didn't give a shit nor own the equipment using the MM252 as a welding table. I would walk up to someone like this and kick 'em in the nuts in the middle of an arc if need be, then fire them on the spot! You take care of your equipment it will take care of you. Fortunately the displays were not obscured but the parts tray in the front had some meltiness on it.

With this talk of welders and spoolers, it occured to me I hadn't hugged my MM252 in a while so I did. I also hadn't cleaned/inspected the inside since I got it so I did that too. Zipzipzip 9 screws and the cover is off. It wasn't too bad inside and I gave a quick wipe and carefully blew the dust out. The only "issue" I saw was a rust spot on the fan housing under the capacitors. I didn't see anything wrong or bulging with any of the caps and it welds OK so if it ain't broke, I ain't going to fix it.

A used MM252 would be a good investment, IMO. There was one for sale around here for $1500 not too long ago. They DO keep their value and if there are no changes made in the 15 or so years they have been in production I would consider that a GOOD thing even though the tech is "older". Gun-on-demand is handy. I built my own dual cyl holder as I don't like that fat-ass version nor the spoolgun "tree" Miller sells. I just lay the 30A on the top of it with gloves and pliers.

My 30A is a 3rd gen and takes "Fastips" which are sort of a small Acme thread. They work OK. The gun fell off the table and broke the spool holder one day. Of course I did not have one so I epoxied it back together and this was like 8yrs ago. Next time at the LWS, they had one they had special ordered for someone who never picked it up that I got for half price which was $20ish. If the epoxy ever fails I'll be ready... Yes, Miller parts can be pricey...

Back to your original Q and that is if you want a good spoolgun that will NEVER give you problems (unless abused) you will need a 30A. A 15A is just a shorter-cabled version (15' vs 30') and might be an option for bench work. These are 200A/100% duty-cycle guns. If you water-cool them that number goes up to 250A. The 30A is plug-and-play with the MM252, MM255 and MM350. Miller makes (made) a box (WC-24?, WC-100?) that will allow other welders to control it, perhaps even a Lincoln. The gas flow is controlled at the gun so you don't need a gas solenoid in the machine as you do with the MIG gun. Wire-speed is also controlled at the gun. The only thing you need to control is the voltage going in (PS: and voltage to the wirefeed motor).

I know nothing about their lesser spoolgun (SM200?) that they show as an option for the MMs. 160A/60%dc wouldn't cut it for me. I know I'm really laying down some 4043 when the MM252 fan-on-demand comes on. (PPS: The SM200 also doesn't take wire thicker than .035"--I use 3/64" and they actually go up to 1/16")

Scout FBM and CL ads and perhaps look into attending an industrial auction or two. If you are lucky and act quick, you might find a MM252/30A reasonable.
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TA Arcmaster 185 w/tig/stick kit
MillerMatic 252 w/3rd gen 30A
MM140 w/o AS, w/CO2
Hobart (Miller) 625 plasma
Hobart 250ci plasma
Victor O/A (always ready, but bored)
HF 80 lunchbox w/tig
45ACP Black Talons for those stubborn jobs...

Last edited by mccutter; 07-05-2023 at 03:56 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-05-2023, 07:17 PM
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I did a bit more tire kicking.

The 255 with a 175A push pull gun is about $6900 (bakersgas) which I think is my upper limit. The higher amp guns really boost the price. I didn't really start this line of thought with a budget in mind but I definitely can't swing 10K+ right now for the 350 class machines. Honestly I was expecting to get a gun and be done for about $1500 before I really looked anything up.

The 255 is the clear winner in this price class as far as output and features.
Higher overall amps, higher duty cycle, pulse, and 150lbs or more less than either the MM252 or PM256. Impressive machine. I kinda want one even if it is blue

The rub for me is there is no dual gun option. I love the idea of a push pull gun, until I want to switch to aluminum for a 10 minute job and have to thread/unthread 25ft of wire. That was the only nice thing about my cheap spoolgun is it fit both of my machines and I could always have one in the shop for aluminum without spending 20 min prepping for a 5 minute job. The 210 never really did any steel unless I had it out on a job. I could buy the 255 and keep my 216 for steel but I'm working out of a 2 car garage and space is a premium, not to mention the 255 would sit a lot.


If I limit myself to dual gun machines in my budget I seem to be back to choosing between the miller 252 and the lincoln 256. Neither has pulse, they are similar weight (stuck in the shop) machines, but the lincoln edges out the miller a bit on duty cycle. It also has the same diamond arc technology as my old 216 so I assume the arc will be similar to what I have come to expect. It is $150 bucks more than the miller but includes the 250amp spoolgun where the 30A is only 200A (not really even worth bringing up for what I do, but it is what it is)

So that is where I'm at at the moment. Mostly thinking out loud. I still haven't written off buying the mid level gun and adapter kit for my 216, but in the back of my head I am thinking machines are only going to get more expensive as time goes on and at some time I will have to buy one regardless.
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Old 07-05-2023, 09:08 PM
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I don't know if this would be compatible with your Lincoln... But it DOES say Lincoln on it!

Prince on debay
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TA Arcmaster 185 w/tig/stick kit
MillerMatic 252 w/3rd gen 30A
MM140 w/o AS, w/CO2
Hobart (Miller) 625 plasma
Hobart 250ci plasma
Victor O/A (always ready, but bored)
HF 80 lunchbox w/tig
45ACP Black Talons for those stubborn jobs...
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