Hobart Mig Welding Machine - IronMan 230 with spool gun


Is a Hobart Mig Welding Machine as good as a Miller?

I have a pretty thick aluminum fab job coming up. Its about 3/4" thick in places so mig welding with a spool gun is going to be the ticket.

Tig Welding would work, but would just take way too long.

The old school Millermatic 250 in the shop is not spool gun ready and needs a special card installed for spool gun use, so I figured it would be better just to get a new mig welding machine that was spool gun ready.

I dont need to weld thick aluminum very often so buying a dedicated aluminum mig welder like a Cobramatic push-pull system doesnt make sense for me at this time. ( although I really wouldnt mind having one)

From all my time pecking around on the internet at sites like Northerntool.com and Amazon.com I remember seeing a sweet Hobart Mig Welding machine package.....an IronMan 230 ... that comes spool gun ready so there is no hassle setting up to weld aluminum.

I even checked out the reviews on northerntool.com and 11 out of 11 reviews recommended the Ironman 230 Hobart Mig Welder.

And I like the name too. " IronMan" was a much better choice than say..."Hello Kitty" or "Polly Pocket" . dont you think?

I dont usually pay one bit of attention to how a welding machine looks. I care about how it welds. But I have to admit, the IronMan 230 looks cool.

Being a 250 amp mig welder and also the the fact that it comes with a plug and play spool gun feature made this machine pretty attractive for me for a spool gun setup that will be used infrequently.

Why a hobart mig welding machine instead of a Miller? There is already a millermatic 250 in the shop that handles all the thick steel jobs.

The IronMan 230 will be dedicated to aluminum spool gun work and will serve as a backup mig just in case the Miller craps out. (which does not seem likely since it has not ever had a problem).

So far, I have welded some 11 ga cold rolled, 16 ga hot rolled, and a root pass in a 3/8" thick A36 carbon steel test plate.

All ran pretty sweet. The settings recommended on the chart that comes with the machine were pretty high on the wire speed but once I trimmed back the wire speed, the arc was sweet.

So the answer to the question " is the Hobart Ironman 230 as good as a Miller?" is..... I can only compare it to what I have used but for me, its pretty as good as any other 250 amp mig I have used ....and it comes spool gun ready.

Next up is Aluminum Spool Gun welding but that will be a week or so.

What I liked about the Ironman 230 mig welder

♦ Looked very cool

♦ 2 molded cable holders screw on the side to hold mig gun , ground, spool gun etc. Thats handy.

♦ very good mig gun with a good preset stickout

♦ cast aluminum body for drive roller unit

♦ shipped with running gear with casters and ready to roll

♦ comes spool gun ready and is very easy to swap from steel to aluminum

♦ good ground clamp with dimpled brass jaw and strong spring

♦ a 15 ft mig gun that will reach all around my welding table without moving the machine

♦ crisp starts and smooth arc


Read more reviews from people who have bought the Hobart Ironman 230 from NorthernTool..com click link below

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things i didnt like so much

♦ The flowmeter. I have had much better luck with ball type flowmeters over the years.

♦ I prefer an infinitely adjustable voltage knob and the IronMan 230 has a 12 tap setting voltage control . But You know what? it was not a problem.

♦ The Weld parameter chart on inside of machine seemed high on the wire speed settings across the board. A good starting point but I trimmed it back a lot to get the puddle I like

Mig Welding Settings

Lets talk about some more about mig welding settings.After you have some experience, you wont need any charts or calculators to set your machine. You will just know.

But until then, maybe you could use some help.

aside from trial and error on scrap metal, there are several ways to get a starting point for mig settings

♦ You can use the chart that comes with the mig welding machine.

♦ you can use the weld calculators at millerwelds.com

♦ Miller also makes little slide rule calculators that can be pretty handy. or ....if you have an Iphone, you can download Millers welding app.

They also have a link that is designed to work with other mobile phones.

Miller weld calculator for mobile

I just downloaded the Miller Welding app on my Iphone 4 and its a very handy way to get a good starting point for settings for mig bare wire, flux core, tig, or stick. exit hobart mig welding machine and see more mig welding videos

Read more reviews from people who have bought the Hobart Ironman 230 from NorthernTool..com click link below

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