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Miller Thunderbolt- Advice, Reviews, And Opinions


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#1 Ryan313 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 25, 2013 - 08:17 PM

Right now, I have been using a lincoln tombstone 225 that I borrowed from my uncle. It is not a bad welder, but is only AC and the arc is not very strong, or stable due to the age. I am now hoping that within the next week I will have enough to get myself a new Miller Thunderbolt 225/150 AC/AC stick welder. I am 99% sure that is the one I want, but I want to see what you guys think about it.

It is a very simple machine, and does not have many bells or whistles. Also, I can run a scratch start TIG off of it if I choose to get the things needed to do so.

It is the same thing as the Hobart Stickmate, the only difference is you do not get the pretty blue paint. I was going to get a Stickmate, but after looking nobody around here has the AC/DC version of it! I could get it online, but then once I pay for shipping it would cost the same as the Miller anyway, so I am going to get the Miller from my welding supply store.

#2 dthomp17 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 25, 2013 - 09:20 PM

I've never used a Miller but I understand it is a quality machine.  Personally, I prefer a wire-feed welder over a stick welder.  I started out with a small 110 volt stick welder and taught myself by trial and error.  The quality of welds with the stick welder were only fair at best.  I bought a LIncoln 175 wire feed and so far it's handled every challenge I've given it with no problem.  I still consider myself a novice and for me the wire feed is much easier to use and I get much better quality welds.  I can use gasless flux core wire or I can do mig welding with solid wire and argon/CO2 gas.  I've also had much better success welding sheet metal with the mig.  With a stick I usually ended up burning a hole in the sheet metal.  Also, not having to stop in the middle of a weld to get another welding rod is a great advantage.  Cost wise, I think you could get a small wire feed, in the 175 to 180 amp range, at a similar cost to the Miller. 


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#3 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted August 26, 2013 - 05:27 AM

I have 4 electric welders and the handiest is my Lincoln tombstone. The most used is my Lincoln SP150 MIG. The most versatile is my old Lincoln that is powered by a 2 cylinder crank start Wisconsin. If you can hold out, shop around for an engine powered welder. With mine I can vary the amps and engine speed to get just the arc that I want. I bought it 25 years ago for $400 and have put about 400 hours on it. I was running my old  Allis Chalmers HD6G in the woods alot and needed to do alot of repairs.

 

I bought a small Lincoln gas powered welder for $85 a few years ago. The B&S starter was messed up. I fixed the starter but haven't used it yet. Its buried in the garage behind a tractor without an engine.

 

Good Luck with whatever you decide. Rick


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#4 ol' stonebreaker ONLINE  

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Posted August 26, 2013 - 07:49 AM

  I have a Miller T/B AC/DC I bought several yrs ago from my LWS. It was a trade in from a local high school shop and has served me well. I also have a Miller 175 mig which gets used for anything 1/4" and under, the thunderbolt gets used for anything thicker. I feel the stick welder gets a lot better penetration on thicker metals. The mig is priceless for welding thin metal. 

  You need to figure what you will be needing to weld the most in order to know what to buy.

                                                     JMHO,

                                                               Mike


Edited by ol' stonebreaker, August 26, 2013 - 07:54 AM.

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#5 Cvans OFFLINE  

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Posted August 26, 2013 - 12:22 PM

  Been welding with the Thunder Bolt AC/DC all last week and it runs 6011 and 7018 just fine. I've also used it for a Carbon arc and welding Stainless Steel and cast iron. I don't recall repairing aluminum using stick rod with it. The nice thing about the TB's is their size. I have mine setting on top of an old dresser in my shop just inside of the overhead door. If you can keep it off the floor it will stay much cleaner inside and run a lot cooler. 

  I purchased mine off of Craig's list in like new condition for about half of new price. After using this one I wouldn't hesitate to purchase another. :thumbs: 

Infinite amperage settings is a nice feature also. 


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#6 Ryan313 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2013 - 06:01 PM

I stopped at the welding supply store today. When I walked in I lost my breath... the thunderbolt they had sitting there for months was gone! Also, when I got there the normal sales clerk's (Dan) truck was not there, and when I went into the showroom there was nobody there; so, I became very confused! Then after waiting a minute Dan walked in through the door to the back of the building.

 

I asked where the Thunderbolt went and he said, SOLD! He then told me he had just gotten another one and it has not been put out yet; although, since I asked about it last time I was there, he made sure to wait a few seconds before telling me, to add to the suspense. :D

 

I told him I stopped by to see how much it was. He printed me out a quote sheet and the welder is $575, which comes to $621.72 after tax. Depending on the weather, I will go get it tomorrow!


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#7 Cvans OFFLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2013 - 10:28 PM

That is something you can use for a life time.  I know guys your age that spend that on a pair of tires and they've gone up in smoke in a month. Yours is a much wiser purchase. Congratulations.



#8 Ryan313 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 30, 2013 - 07:39 PM

When I first decided on this welder, I looked online as I stated in my first post. Well, I decided to look again to make sure, and I found something! I found a Hobart Stickmate LX, which is the same exact thing. I found one for $480 with free shipping! For $140 I can wait a few days, and settle for the white paint and not the nice blue one. I ordered it this morning! HERE it is.

 

I am not sure when it is going to arrive, I will get an email with tracking information once it is shipped out. I also don't know where it is coming from, but the company has several stores in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota; although, I am not sure if that means anything.


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#9 Ryan313 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 01, 2013 - 04:06 PM

I got the dimensions of the welder online, so I decided to make a cart; that way, it would have a place to sit once it gets here.

 

The one on the right is the one for the Stickmate, the one on the left is the one I made for my plasma cutter. As you can tell, I tried to keep them as similar as I could.

79A30820-8C3F-4FE8-8DAF-C2D3176BA6B0-146

 

Pretty soon I am going to have to make a new cart for my MIG welder! As the one I made for it is made out of a shopping cart, and does not match these two. :D






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