Though I purchased a 75/25 Ar/CO2 mix bottle quite some time ago, it wasn't until today that I decided it was the right time to switch over from the flux core set up. If you are unfamiliar with MIG welding, as I was, without using a bottle of inert gas, you are not technically MIG welding.
MIG stands for "metal inert gas". The "metal" part is the wire that is fed through the "hose" to the tip of the welding gun. The "inert gas" part is the bottle of gas that you have that acts as a shield to evacuate the normal atmosphere to provide a clean environment in which to weld.
For the most part, when you buy a MIG welding rig, you get the welder, a spool of flux-core wire and sometimes a gas regulator and hose. I purchased a Hobart Handler 140 last Christmas at Tractor Supply when it was on sale for around $450 (normally about $520 it looks like). This welder has great reviews. I would recommend it, I guess, but I don't really have enough experience to say so. However, I would say that I HIGHLY recommend it over buying something at Harbor Freight. As I've said before, for something like this, name-brand is worth it!
|Pretty catalog image of my welder. Shows everything you get.|
Anyway, I finally transitioned to 0.023" solid wire with 75% Ar, 25% CO2 gas mix today. There is some setup stuff that changes when you go to solid core wire and gas...but it's easy. I did some practice and let the boys take their shot at some welding, too. We did the trifecta...plugs, laps and butts (the adolescent boys snickered at that, of course).
|My oldest ready to go.|
|My youngest striking an arc!|
|The forward bulkhead damage, but cleaned up and ready (sorta) for repair.|
|Wow...that's really ugly!|
|Better, but you may notice that dark spot right under the apex of the inside curve...that's a hole.|
|Holes all gone, filled with MIG wire.|
|Hard to see, but you can tell the metal about an inch from the far right is pretty thin...whoops!|
|Cleaned up, upper battery bulkhead gusset spot welds ground down.|
|Still have some holes to fill...but mostly done.|
|The notched-out area requiring repair.|