hey folks. I've been reading the forum for a little while and finally decided that the time had come to seek your opinion on a small problem I've been having. For the past few months I've been learning some basic Stick and MIG work (mostly on Miller equipment), but seeing as how I'm limited to whatever equipment my welding class makes available in the classroom, I think it'd be beneficial to have my own welder for home practice. I'm primarily interested in doing some light to medium steel structural work and just your general light steel fabrication.
now here's my primary problem: the almighty dollar. MIGs are just way too expensive (such as the MM 210 and 251 I've used in school) and I'm awfully confused when it comes to choosing between welders like the Stickmate and Thunderbolt which for all practical purposes seem to be identical.
For a relative newcomer, what would you guys suggest I pursue? Is there an affordable MIG alternative or is SMAW really the only (cheap) way to go? Is it advisable to buy used equipment? If there is some cost effective means to better myself indepedently, I'd be more than thrilled to hear about it.
thanks in advance for any feedback and/or assistance you can offer. I look forward to contributing more to this board in the future.
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