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I've been thunking about getting a welder and making a custom smoker... probably a ways off. I have a fair amount of experience using a MIG welder - They're very easy to use and do a decent job. I bought the welder I learned with from Harbor Freight Tools. It was a 240v welder and handled up to 1/4" steel plate with good penetration. I had to change the ground wire that came with it to a larger gauge wire - It was pretty cheaply made.

The 240v requirement was pretty limiting. I've been looking at this 135 Amp 110v welder. I've had good experience with stuff I bought from them: The specs say it has a 20% duty cycle at 90 Amps. I'm wondering if I can get enough heat out of it to skip weld up to 1/4" plate with enough penetration.
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