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Technical Miller sidekick mig welder questions

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hotrod fozzie, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. hotrod fozzie
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 171

    hotrod fozzie
    Member

    A buddy of mine has an older Miller sidekick he wants to make me a good deal on. Its 110 plug in, 115volts, 20 ampres. Has anyone owned or used one of these? How thick of metal can I weld? I want to do body work & lite fab work probably my thickest steel would be 1/4". I don't want to buy something that won't do the job no matter how good of deal!! Please weigh in!!

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  2. Latigo
    Joined: Mar 24, 2014
    Posts: 540

    Latigo
    Member

    Never used one but if you google it you can download the owners manual and all sorts of info on the welder.
     
  3. rsg2506
    Joined: Mar 6, 2005
    Posts: 359

    rsg2506
    Member

    I had one for close to 20 years and recently stepped up to a Miller 211. The sidekick is perfect for bodywork, sheet metal and mild fab work. My buddy bought it off me and uses it for the same purpose. In my opinion 1/4 steel is getting too thick for it but it will weld 1/8 no problem.


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  4. john walker
    Joined: Sep 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,051

    john walker
    Member

    I bought a 110V Miller once, used it for 1/2 an hour, listed it on craigslist and got most of my $$ back. I figured it would be good for all the sheet metal butt welding I do. I had two 220V welders that worked fine, just thought it would be a tad better, but the 220V ones are best.
     
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  5. RMR&C
    Joined: Dec 26, 2009
    Posts: 3,007

    RMR&C
    Member
    from NW Montana

    I bought one new in '85, still use it. Like above, great for sheetmetal but not enough heat for 1/4".
    Repair parts are getting hard to find also.
     
  6. Lakeshadow
    Joined: Sep 4, 2008
    Posts: 55

    Lakeshadow
    Member

    Is it possible to hook up a spool gun to one of these Sidekick welders?
     
  7. boltupal
    Joined: Dec 27, 2010
    Posts: 250

    boltupal
    Member
    from western ny

    No its not , and wouldnt be worth it if you could. Do yourself a favor. Get a 220 machine.
     
  8. NewToMeT
    Joined: Dec 6, 2018
    Posts: 43

    NewToMeT
    Member

    220 is obviously better for thicker material. however, if there only a rare occasion you need to go thicker there are several techniques that might allow you to cheat it e.g. Preheating, Flux Core or different gas mixes, joint construction and number of passes, depending on what you are working on.
     
  9. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,692

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I recently bought the current version of the Sidekick which is the Model 141. I bought it strictly for use on sheet metal, particularly thin metal and pitted metal for which my larger Miller 240X was too powerful, even at the lowest settings. Each of these welders has a specific purpose and as long as you stay within the intended purpose each of them is excellent.

    I am a novice welder. That having been said, I'm sure that more proficient welders could get the larger machine to do delicate work, but changing the wire size, gas mixture, welding skill level just isn't a realistic option for me. I go back and forth from heavy material to light material, so having two welders is ideal for me.

    I also use .023 "Eazy Grind" wire in the 141 to give myself an even greater advantage on old, pitted, thin and dirty sheet metal. Lots of folks here don't like this specialty wire, but it works very well for me.
     
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  10. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,111

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    no need to cheap out on a welder as they will pay for themselves within a couple years.
     
  11. Lakeshadow
    Joined: Sep 4, 2008
    Posts: 55

    Lakeshadow
    Member

    My Sidekick is 220V...
     
  12. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 1,660

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    I bought one 10 years ago replaced the whip with a new style Miller
    And just a month ago a contractor
    My can use flux or gas

    1/4” is a steach but I’ve done it perfect for floors body and fab
    Big durable welder
     
  13. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,353

    topher5150
    Member

    I don't know if I would ever do .25" with my sidekick, but I think it would handle anything around .125 and smaller quite easily.
     
  14. Lakeshadow
    Joined: Sep 4, 2008
    Posts: 55

    Lakeshadow
    Member

    Miller wants to know the serial number of my machine. Considering the polarity can be reversed and there is aluminum welding guidelines on the paper that was stuck on the inside cover, I believe there is a chance Miller may have the components available. If not I bet I can figure out how to fit a spool to this myself....
     

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  15. Kan Kustom
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 2,203

    Kan Kustom
    Member

    I have used one for years and still love it.
     
  16. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 1,448

    deathrowdave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from NKy

    I personally do not own one of the machines . I have used a few different machines as you are describing . They are great for doing , lighter duty work . I’m not a fan of flux core wire , Gas is the answer . I myself have a 110 v machine for 85% of the repairs I do the other 15% is done with a 200amp 80% duty cycle machine , it has steel and aluminum spool gun and is gas no flux core . Most machines are as good as you are a welder . My advice to you is “ don’t second guess yourself” , if you question if you should welding something or if you have a big enough welder , hire it out to a qualified welder . Welding is a learned trade by doing . I went two years to welding school , I’m not a welder by trade , but I can repair and fab for myself with the upmost safety . Just be sure to wear your PPE it’s a bit tuff today to go to a swap meet and get a new eye or two . I have learned a few tricks through the years of welding pipe and boiler fixtures , auto repairs and such . The roll up ear plugs are your friend welding also , not for noise but to protect the inside of your ears from hot slag from entering . Nothing like hearing it burn through the ear drum and you can not do a think about it . Just be safe the machine will do the rest .
     
  17. If your going to use it for body work and small things you will be good. Now if you plan to open a welding shop may be not, But if your new to welding or need some thing heaver welded get some one that can weld to do it. It live every thing else ask about hear their is all way that go bigger answer. good luck. P S my 2 cents get a self darkening helmet for body work you can see what your getting ready it hit
     
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  18. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 4,867

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I used a 110 for years and you can do some good welding with it with practice. Mine was argon shielded and the best advice I can offer is put a heavy, heavy extension cord on it to keep the voltage up.

    I replaced that little pocket MIG with a miller 220 and wondered why I didn't do it sooner. I still don't have a TIG, maybe some day.
     
  19. sfowler
    Joined: Sep 14, 2011
    Posts: 29

    sfowler
    Member

    I,ve had side kick for 25 years and is great for sheet metal but anything over 1/8 inch won,t work well at all. I have a miller 210 for that . buy what you need the first time . good luck
     
  20. Lakeshadow
    Joined: Sep 4, 2008
    Posts: 55

    Lakeshadow
    Member

    Looks good so far... 220V. Spool gun compatible.....
     

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    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  21. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,043

    Gearhead Graphics
    Member
    from Denver Co

    Have had one for quite a while. sure a 220 machine is better, but i dont have 220, and this is portable. I've used it on anything from body work to building fences. yes it is limited at thicker metal, i wouldnt trust it to build a frame. but ive made lots of gates that get daily abuse and had no issues. twisted the shaft on a large hammer drill bit once, welded it back together (half inch shaft, v bevel before weld) cranked it up to high and burned it in as best it could. didnt break again
     

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