Well I have been using this Hobart Welder ( IronMan 230 mig welder) for a while now and have had a chance to try it out on several types of welding jobs on both steel and aluminum...so here is the full summary review.
Early on, I wanted to see if the tap (click) voltage settings were adjustable enough to do something like an open butt V groove root pass.
Click voltage settings are sometimes perceived as not being as good as infinitely adjustable knobs....but honestly I found the click settings on this 230 volt Hobart welder to work out just fine for the stuff I threw at it.
So next, I welded some 1/4" thick hot rolled flat bar with mill scale still intact...not cleaned at all.
I set up a few lap joint welds using straight co2 shielding gas...and also did some using 75/25 ar/co2.
Straight co2 is reported to spatter more than 75/25 ar/co2 but if you hit the sweet spot on the voltage and wire speed settings , This nice and inexpensive Hobart welder welds with very little spatter and generally penetrates a bit deeper than 75/25. (for thin sheet metal thinner than 18 ga, co2 is a bit hot)
After welding the lap joints, ...
I sliced, diced, polished, etched, and found that penetration was ok in all of the lap joints I welded that day.
Next I welded a few pieces of square tubing with 1/8" wall thickness. Without a whole lot of tweaking, almost spatter free welds.
1/8" cold rolled sheet lap joints were not a problem...no surprise there because even 115 volt mig welders will do a good job on that.
1/16" hot rolled outside corner joint . setting the voltage to the settings listed on the chart inside the wire feed cover worked out ok but I had to trim the wire speed back a little to get it to run good.
btw, whenever you are welding thin sheet metal, the biggest tip I can give you is to position the part so that the weld can be made downhill...even slightly downhill helps on thin metal.
On to hooking up the spool gun for some aluminum mig welding.
On the IronMan 230 hobart welder, the spool gun plugs right into the wire feeder unit.
That is both a plus ..and a drawback.
Its a plus because the electrical connection is great and there is no extra argon connector. The shielding gas is supplied thru a small hole in the feeder unit.
but I think some might find that sort of a drawback because you cant leave the spool gun hooked up.
Six of one, half dozen of the other.
I had a really thick fixture to weld with the spool gun (actually 2 of them)
The center hub was almost 2 inches thick and most of the aluminum fixture was 3/4" thick.
I thought it would be a good idea to make some welds on scrap metal to dial in the voltage and wire speed settings and since I had lots of extra pieces of 3/4" thick aluminum leftover from the water jet cut parts, I made a few test welds and sectioned them.
After a light sanding and polishing, Some liquid Drano did the trick to etch the aluminum enough to determine penetration.
Since the first weld I did had a small void in the root, I suspected that a good preheat was in order for the fixture.
So...I preheated using a rosebud and heated the thickest area to around 200 deg F.
Preheating made a whole bunch of difference.
One more thing that I found extremely noteworthy....
I never had to change tips.
If you have ever done much spool gun welding, you know that you can really go thru some tips while you are fine tuning the settings.
And while it took me a while to find those sweet spot settings I was looking for, I never burnt a tip up.
Never did I pull the trigger and hear that dreaded "POP" and have the aluminum wire weld itself to the copper contact tip.
and That my friend is a good thing.
So the bottom line is this Hobart IronMan 230 mig welder would be a great purchase for any shop ..Its a great value and available online from NorthernTool.com andother sites.