The “Flux-Core ONLY” Problem
What is “True MIG” welding?
There’s a big problem with the entry-level welder market. Most sub-$300 machines are strictly “flux-core” welders. (Flux-Core means that the shielding atmosphere for your weld is produced by burning the flux in the core of the special wire) Some manufacturers even have the stones to call their flux-core only welders, “MIG” welders. I believe that’s disingenuous. A true MIG welder is one where the machine feeds solid wire into a shielding atmosphere that flows from an external gas bottle. Flux core and true MIG are two totally different processes.
Flux-core has downsides. Compared to true MIG with an external shielding gas, flux-core produces a dirtier weld with more slag and spatter. That’s a problem when you’re doing automotive welding, looking good is important! Flux-core also requires more heat than MIG welding. When you’re working on thin sheet metal, that’s a problem. Worst case scenario, you end up blowing a hole right through your sheet metal. Best case scenario is the excessive heat causes your panels to oil-can.
Similar to the warpage on this metal roof. (photo credits: westernstatesmetalroofing.com)
Oil canning is when a panel warps due to excessive heat. Flux core does have positives though. It works great in dirtier conditions, and it doesn’t require a bottle of shielding gas. This makes it perfect for working out on the farm, but not so great when you’re in the garage.
MIG90, Flux-Core AND true MIG welding.
The MIG90 (as far as I’m aware) is one of the first machines to fill that gap in the entry-level welder market. This machine allows you to do both processes. Flux core if you’re on the move and you don’t want to bring a gas bottle. Or if you’re at home, you can get a small 40CF bottle and get those high quality true MIG welds. MIG welds are cleaner, and cooler than flux-core. They look good enough for most automotive applications, and (with correct technique) there’s very little warping/oil-canning.
Extra accessories, price, and warranty
For less than 300 bucks, you can have yourself a MIG90 that does both flux-core, and true MIG. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get into welding. This machine comes with everything you need for true MIG welding. We’re able to include a regulator, a 5-foot long gas hose, AND a 2 lb spool of our .023 wire to get you started. That’s a $70 value that just comes included with the MIG90, effectively for free! That’s tough to beat. This price also means that the beginner should have plenty of room in their budget to get a good helmet, jacket, and gloves.
The warranty. 3 years… That’s unheard of at this price point. 3 years of worry-free MIG welding when you go with the MIG90. Not only were we able to design a machine that does both true MIG and flux-core, with all the extras you need, at a good price. We also stand behind the quality of this machine. Not all of our competitors can say that.
To take it a step further, we also offer a 90 day, 100% satisfaction guarantee. It says so right on the product page, front and center.
This means that if you DON’T like the MIG90, we’ll take it back within 90 days. That’s how much we think you’ll like our welders. Not many people take advantage of this, but it goes to show how much we stand behind the quality of our products.
Other features that make the MIG90 great.
This is the good part, trust me.
When it comes to actually using this machine, there are some features on it that just TOTALLY blow the competition out of the water. First thing I noticed is that the controls feature infinitely variable potentiometers.
Take this Lincoln for example. These are NOT infinitely variable pots. The settings chart says E/5. As you turn the knobs, they click into place on “E” and on “5”. There is no 5&1/2 or E&1/2. There are no micro-adjustment in-between settings. The MIG90 however, does allow you to fine-tune in-between settings. You can dial in this machine exactly how you need it. Little more or less power? Little more or less wire speed? No problem, you can do that with the MIG90.
Another thing I noticed with the MIG90 has to deal with the torch itself. This machine uses common Tweco style consumables. Not only can you buy those consumables at Eastwood, but they are also readily available at the local welding supply shop.
The torch is also replaceable. We’ve seen that the torch is a common failure point on competing machines. For most of these machines, the torch is fixed and is not replaceable. To make this even worse, most other machines come with a short, 90-day warranty. The MIG90 is more easily serviced. Considering the MIG90’s 3-year warranty, it starts to make the choice more clear.
The MIG90 has some other great features too. Weight is a big one (or should I say a small one); the MIG90 tips the scales at 14 lbs. It feels more like a lunchbox than a welder. This makes traveling very easy. Also, if you don’t have a welding cart yet, the form factor makes this welder easy to move around the garage. I’ve been pulling this around the studio for the welds on my Honda CB750 cafe racer, and it’s been working flawlessly.
The MIG90 also plugs right into a standard 120v wall outlet. No special 240v outlet in the garage required. This saves you even more money. Just some standard wall outlets and standard extension cords will work perfectly for the MIG90.
Last but certainly not least, the MIG90 is a solid little welder. It runs off of the latest IGBT inverter technology for smooth, predictable welds. The duty cycle is 25% at the full 90 Amps, and 60% at 65 Amps. This means that this little machine can weld mild and stainless steel, anywhere from 24 ga to 1/8″. To be honest, 1/8” capability will have you covered for 95% of all automotive jobs. (some truck frames get thicker, but that’s the only common thing.) You can be reasonably sure that the MIG90 will always have you covered as far as capability.
Who doesn’t love a good TL;DR? (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
- Flux-Core OR true MIG welding with an external shielding gas.
- For under $300, you get…
A 3-year warranty
A 90-day satisfaction guarantee.
Includes a 5’ gas hose, regulator, .023 & .030 contact tips, and a 2lb. spool of .023 wire.
Leaves plenty of room in the budget for safety gear and equipment.
- Infinitely variable potentiometers allow you to micro-adjust to the perfect settings
- The replaceable torch makes for easier maintenance than competing welders with hard-mounted torches.
- Plugs right into a 120v wall outlet.
- Compact and lightweight at around 14 lbs.
- Welds as thin as 24 ga to as thick as 1/8″
- Latest IGBT inverter technology.
- Duty cycle is 25% at the full 90 Amps, and 60% at 65 Amps
As always, thank you for reading,
Media Host/Eastwood Content Creator/Honda Motorcycle Wrangler