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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
First, I'm not looking for brand loyalty arguments and I'm not trying to start a brand loyalty war. Seriously.

I've been looking to upgrade my old Hobart Ironman 210. Partially I'm tired of the harsh arc and partially I just like buying tools.

I've been looking aggressively for MM252's and right the now the cheapest I can find is $2400. With some (now past) Zoro sales I could get it to maybe $2300.

So turns out right now retail on the Lincoln 256 is $2105. "Holy shit" said I. And they're running a 10% rebate thru Jan 7 putting it at $1900. Holy double shit. That's $500 less than a Miller 252

From what I can see the specs are identical for both machines, including adjustments, options and duty cycle.

Lincoln Power MIG 256:
http://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-us/equipment/Pages/product.aspx?product=K3068-1(LincolnElectric)

Miller 252:
https://www.millerwelds.com/equipment/welders/mig-gmaw/millermatic-252-mig-welder-m00218

So unless someone can give me a solid reason based in fact on why the Lincoln is inferior it seems like an obvious choice.

I know Miller is great on warranty service. Honestly I've never needed warranty service for any wire feed and it's unlikely I'd need it with Lincoln unless I got a lemon out the box. I'm not working the machine hard enough and I generally take good care of my tools.

Also I might suggest others shopping consider this. I've searched online and over the years it appears sometimes the Lincoln is more expensive, sometimes the Miller. I really don't know what causes prices to change so much beyond obvious stuff like inflation. And while it seemed common at one time for these machines to retail $1700-$1800 (or less) I'd argue this might be the last time in a long time we see this class of machine sub-$2k.

Furthermore, can anyone who's truly used a Lincoln 256 comment on arc quality? Would you describe it as harsh or soft(er)?

-Please don't suggest a 350P
-Please don't suggest CL, that's obvious


If anyone has truly constructive input I'd love to hear it. Ford vs Chevy doesn't help.

edit: also net weight specs claim the Lincoln to be 40 lbs heavier. I know sometimes this is misleading as it may include packaging, pallets etc

edit edit: right now Miller is not offering any rebates that include the 252
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also more tech questions:

1. is anyone having problems with 15' leads not feeding well? I've been running a 12' on my present 210 and it's been fine but I remember reading sometimes 15' is too long for reliable feeding? Urban legend?

2. and it's a dumb question: the Lincoln for some reason lists "CORED WIRE SIZE RANGE" as .035 to .045. It can run .030 solid, yes? The wording seems odd, why would you only list "cored wire" capability? Maybe they're just worried about .030 flux core bird nesting (which has ALWAYS been my experience)?
 

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Also more tech questions:

1. is anyone having problems with 15' leads not feeding well? I've been running a 12' on my present 210 and it's been fine but I remember reading sometimes 15' is too long for reliable feeding? Urban legend?
I'm running a 20' whip on my MM251 and have almost zero issues running 0.35 solid wire, and absolutely no issues with 045 solid. That said, you can't expect to tie the whip in knots and have it feed well with any length.

I don't run Flux core or anything smaller than 035, so I can't speak to that.
 

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Also more tech questions:

1. is anyone having problems with 15' leads not feeding well? I've been running a 12' on my present 210 and it's been fine but I remember reading sometimes 15' is too long for reliable feeding? Urban legend?

2. and it's a dumb question: the Lincoln for some reason lists "CORED WIRE SIZE RANGE" as .035 to .045. It can run .030 solid, yes? The wording seems odd, why would you only list "cored wire" capability? Maybe they're just worried about .030 flux core bird nesting (which has ALWAYS been my experience)?
Can't say much over the two welders other then I owned a Lincoln 170 mig (smallest 220v back in the 90's) a Miller 210 older big unit and now a Miller 252. I use Miller stuff at work also. Not sure if rumor is true but I've heard Lincoln 256 and that are made over seas. Turn off to me.

All that said, I use a 25' lead running .035 and no issues so long as you pay attention on how the lead is laid out on the floor, no sharp turns.

In reality, I'm sure both welders would work fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Can't say much over the two welders other then I owned a Lincoln 170 mig (smallest 220v back in the 90's) a Miller 210 older big unit and now a Miller 252. I use Miller stuff at work also. Not sure if rumor is true but I've heard Lincoln 256 and that are made over seas. Turn off to me.

All that said, I use a 25' lead running .035 and no issues so long as you pay attention on how the lead is laid out on the floor, no sharp turns.

In reality, I'm sure both welders would work fine.
Interesting point. I sent an email to Lincoln (wonder if they'll respond?)

In '12 one guy reported his 256 as Made in Mexico
Where are the New Lincoln Migs made Now?
 

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Discussion Starter #9

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$2429:
Millermatic 252 MIG Welder 907321

Lincoln responded, 256 still built in Mexico. Doesn't bother me much but to each his own
It means something to me to help keep people employed in this country. I think every bit helps keep the the machine going here. I don't think it would feel too good to be laid off because your work was moved out of country. But that's me.
 

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Not exactly apples to apples. I have a powermig 255 and I think the 252 welds nicer. Not nice enough to sell mine and buy one but if I needed a new welder I would go blue. I recently scored a 255 for a buddy off of CL. The guy I bought the 255 told me that he chose to keep a 252 and sell the 255 as he liked the puddle better. I would be interested just for the sake of curiosity how much better the 256 is than the 255.
 

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I have welded a good bit with both. I was raised around red welders. Dad teaches welding for a living and worked for Lincoln as an instructor. He has 256 and it welds great. A good friend of mine has a MM252 with the two bottle cart and the spool gun. I have welded a good bit with. I like it a lot. IMHO pick whatever you get the best deal on and you will be happy.
All that said and I just picked up a MP210 under the BuyRed rebate deal. Deal end January 6th I believe.
 

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I went MM252 myself, but I liked both machines. I'm pretty big on USA made if I can do it but they're all gonna have at least a few global components on them. That's what tipped me in favor of the Miller. If that doesn't bother you, I'd pick whatever has the best price or whatever you think welds better.

The Lincoln has a nicer construction to me. Supposedly has potted electronics where the Miller does not. Also, steel face vs. plastic on the Miller. That's probably the thing I hate the most about mine but whatever, function over form. Lincoln has quicker adjustments due to more controls but the Miller isn't hard to set up when you turn it on and I rarely change anything.

I don't think you can lose with either.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the input all. I just ordered the 256 from IOC. $2090 before 10% rebate
Ok, have had the machine for a little while and have some time with it. Overall, I like it a lot. Shipping via freight was timely and the rebate process was really easy. I had my check within about a week of submitting the claim. $2090 - $211 rebate = $1879

First, the two CONS I see: the power cord sucks ass. Super stiff. This is a major pet peeve of mine, everyone tries to cut cost on cords. For fuck's sake I'd gladly pay an extra $10 for a nice flexible cord. This cord is ST, the cord on my Ironman 210 was STOW and magnitudes nicer. However this is an easy fix.

Second, the fan is not thermostatically controlled. I believe the MM252 is? Instead the fan runs for 6 minutes once it detects an arc. Period. Honestly for this reason alone if I were a tech school (I'm not) I'd go Miller. I asked my instructor about this, they have about 23 MM252's and he said the fan-on-demand noticeabley improved the noise level in the shop. Most of us don't have multiple MIGs idling at once, so FWIW.

I'll do a separate post w everything I LIKE about the machine (and there's a lot) soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Ok, here's what I LIKE - and I'll probably forget a few things:

1 - I like the bottle holder. It cradles a T cylinder perfectly
2 - I love the 15' lead and the Lincoln gun. The trigger is a little bigger and very light for action, but I really like it. The lead is super flexible; where they fucked up on the power cord they made up for with a nice flexible lead
3 - I like that the door has no latches. It just swings shut and pulls open. Plus the door is intelligently designed to only consume ~25% of the top of the machine, meaning you don't have to clear EVERYTHING off the machine to open the door fully.
4 - I like the drive mechanism. It's fawking burly and incredibly quiet - ya know how cheap wire feeds sound like a child's RC car trying to accelerate as they feed wire? Not this machine. No high pitch whine, no sounds of an electrical motor straining. Just a mild hum if anything.
5 - I like the nozzle; I don't know what they do to it but it literally looks chromed. NOTHING sticks to this damn thing, it keeps dropping perfect rings of slag into my puddle though :D
6 - I like the ability to slow wire speed until it arcs

As for arc quality, I DO like it, but I'm still working to find the sweet spot for my style. Honestly going from 6 power taps and arbitrary wire speed to actual volts and actual ipm is a bit challenging (for me). I've found the suggestions on the cover to be too cold, but that's just me. Overall the machine is a pleasure though and I smile each time I get to play w my new toy.

edit: here's a shot of the door fully open. Note the power cord in the background still standing up off the floor :shaking:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Oh another pet peeve: the ground is a few feet shorter than the lead. I prefer them to both be the same length, but minor detail.

Their "coil claw" is at least an attempt to give the user a way to coil and hang the ground and lead, but it's a bit too low to the ground IMO
 

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The fan works the same way on my older Power MIg 255c too. Short lead too, def. pet peeve. Good power cable on it though.

I use higher settings than on it too, but good place to start until you get that perfect sizzzzle. I have a sharpie in the front tray I write my settings down with. After not using it for well over a year I found my old settings too fast for starting over with the welder again.

I just got a 300A magnetic ground, going to give that a try and see how i like it. My only concern is welding too close to it but now that it can go on surfaces I can't clamp it may actually be much easier to keep it further away.

I also got a handful of their angle magnets they're awesome and surprised me with their strength too bad they cost soo much I'd like a couple more of the big ones. (mag switch ground + magnets)

Keep us updated :smokin:
 
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