The Eastwood MIG 135 Welder is a product that promises to be “as good as the ‘name brands’, but at a fraction of the price.” With an MSRP of just under $300, the MIG 135 weighs 57 pounds and measures 9.5 x 16.1 x 14.5 inches.
It welds in the 25- to 135-amp range and runs off from a regular household current of 120 volts and has adjustable wire feed and speed settings. Plus, the Tweco-Style Gun with an 8-foot hose can handle stainless steel, 3/16” solid core wire, ¼” flux wire and aluminum, and it ships with a regulator.
This portable welder is perfect for the hobbyist and enthusiast, DIY home projects, shop and garage work, and light fabrication. Expect great beadwork and a quality weld, even on a delicate project, and, what’s more, the unit is backed by their “no-hassle return policy” and a 3-year warranty.
Eastwood is so confident you will enjoy their product that they encourage you to try it for 60 days, and if, for whatever reason, it is not the welder for you, return it for a full refund.
The Eastwood Company, DIY Done Right Since 1978
The Eastwood Company started out as an auto body and restoration shop in Pottstown, Pennsylvania in 1978. Owner and creator Curt Strohacker started his business with the motto, “Do-It-Yourself” and “Do the Jobs Right” after having worked at a service station in high school.
He had also learned to repair cars at some point along the way, so as the refurbishing and aftermarket market spiked in the 1970s, Curt put his skills to work by opening a shop. The rest, as they say, is history. And the business grew from a quarter of a page newspaper ads in 1978 to full-color catalogs and a website featuring an online store now.
Almost entirely grown out of mass mailings and an online presence, the first Eastwood catalog reportedly only featured eight black and white pages.
So, to supplement catalog sales, Eastwood sold its merchandise directly at car shows, and by 1985, Eastwood ads ran in over 50 publications, including Popular Mechanics, Hot Rod, and Car Craft.
The catalog prospered as well, growing to 96 pages with a four-color cover by 1986. Circulation reached more than 100,000 auto restorers, and by the end of the 1980s, Eastwood supposedly had at least 500,000 reported clients.
But don’t take our word for it. In 1998, Eastwood earned the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for “Environmental Excellence,” which recognized the company for the “low environmental impact” of its proprietary HotCoat® system, and the next year, the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) rated the system the “Best New Product” of the year in 1999.
And while Eastwood’s HotCoat power-coating system owned late ‘90s headlines, in 2003, the company introduced its next innovations: the English Wheel and Planishing Hammer.
These two useful and popular tools enabled home hobbyists and enthusiasts to access commercial-grade metal-shaping tools for their shops and garages for under $1000, which, again, ARMO acknowledged with a 2004 “People’s Choice” award.
Moreover, Popular Mechanics gave a nod to Eastwood Company twice in two years, once in 2011 with the “Editor’s Choice Award for Product Innovation and Design” for HotCoat® and again in 2012 for their MIG Spot Weld Kit.
Eastwood Company, Still a Company for Enthusiasts
Today, the Eastwood Company is still very much a company of the people, and their magazines and brochures are as popular as ever – full page, full color, and published monthly – and now with a website that contains sections for tools and shop equipment and their ever-popular powder coating and paint products.
But you will also find a plethora of technical articles, helpful videos, a forum, a blog, and how-to tips and tricks. You will find the full product line for purchase online, as well as rolling sets of featured products and online deals.
And for you Luddites out there, in 1999, the Eastwood Company expanded their brick-and-mortar headquarters to include an on-site retail store and warehouse. And despite experiencing a massive fire in 2015, their inventory level is back up to about 4,000 items.
Not only does Eastwood cater to classic restoration, but its ceramic paints and powder-coating products, welders, shapers, and other garage tools lend themselves perfect toward applications involving muscle cars, rat rods, street cars, motorbikes, and trucks.
As the aftermarket parts and custom vehicle industry continues to grow, customers’ demand for easy-to-use shop product grows, too.
Eastwood MIG 135 Specs and Inclusions
Products like the Eastwood MIG 135 Welder are a perfect example of a tool that anyone can own and operate in their own garage or shop. It runs off from a normal household electrical current and has a 20% duty cycle at 90 amps.
Plus, it comes with all of the parts you are going to need to hit the ground running, except your own cylinder of CO2/Argon. Let’s take a closer look at those Eastwood MIG 135 specs listed below.
- Weight: 57 pounds
- Overall dimensions: 9.5” X 16.1” X 14.5”
- Output amperage range: 25-135 Amps
- Maximum output no load voltage: 28V DC
- Maximum input amperage: 20 Amps
- Input voltage: 120 VAC 60 Hz
- Wire feed rate: 40-450 IPM
- Welding wire spool sizes: 4-8 inches
- Includes 6-foot power cord
- Includes a precision-drive motor, wire, and tips
- Includes 0.023″ steel MIG wire with extra 0.023″ contact tip
- Includes gas regulator with hose
- Includes a Tweco-style gun with consumables and 8 -foot ground cable
- Includes a switchable drive roller
- Includes a wire brush
- Includes a welding face shield
- “Quick set” weld chart specifies settings for each material thickness
- 3-year “no hassle” warranty Included with purchase
As you can see, there is a lot to like about this little welder. What is more, it comes at a cost that is around $200 less than its nearest competitor. Plus, with all of the added value included with the Eastwood MIG 135, you can hit the ground running in your home garage or shop.
The History of MIG Welding
Modern historians believe that the principles of modern welding traces back to the early 1800 and the discovery of the electric arc by Humphry Davy.
Davy, for what it is worth, was a noted British scientist known for having discovered potassium and sodium in 1807, as well as calcium, strontium, barium, magnesium, and a host of other elements.
But it was Vasily Petrov who is credited with first producing a continuous electric arc with a carbon electrode, which was the way it would continue for the next 100 years or so until a metal electrode replaced the carbon one
. But it wasn’t until 1948 that modern gas metal arc welding, or GMAW for short, was created at the Battelle Memorial Institute.
During the 1900s, coated metal electrodes were introduced and a “coating of lime helped the arc to be much more stable.” Throughout this century, several other welding processes were developed, including seam welding, spot welding, projection welding, and flash butt welding.
Some other more modern flavors of welding include friction welding (developed in Russia) and laser welding (developed at Bell Telephone Laboratories).
But no other welding application is as popular as GMAW or MIG welding because of its relatively low cost, easy-to-apply nature, versatile application options, and appropriateness for home use.
MIG (metal inert gas) actually got its name from commercial applications that welded aluminum with an inert shielding gas. It is still the preferred term used by welders all over the industry and at home, and application can happen in three ways:
“I’ll have the MIG Three Ways, Please”
What is interesting about the Eastwood MIG 135 (or any MIG welder) lies in the versatility in which it can be used. For $300-$500, you can procure a home machine that will bind metal together on the molecular level by either using a spray transfer, globular transfer, or short-circuiting method.
Generally speaking, the way the MIG welding process works is that a metal electrode made out of aluminum, magnesium, copper, and steel is passed from a wire reel to a motor which forces it through the nozzle.
Inside of the nozzle, the gas, the current, and the electrode are combined to produce molten metal once the trigger on the handle is depressed, which also produces a welding (electric) arc between the nozzle and the base metal. Let’s check out the applications below.
With this method, small droplets of metal, heated to liquid by an electrode, are transferred to the weld area as hundreds of droplets per second.
This method is stable and relatively free from spatter, and large diameter electrodes can be used. The only caveat is that usually argon gas is used, which can quickly get expensive.
With Globular Transfer, carbon dioxide is used in conjunction with an electric arc to force blobs of metal into the weld, resulting in Jackson Pollock-like spatters.
High welding currents are used for increased welding speed and greater weld penetration, and welding heavier sections requiring stronger welds are joined by utilizing this process.
This time, liquid metal is transferred in individual drops at more than 50 per second, and the electrode tip “short circuits” the drops as it touches them. Low current is utilized for this method.
There are also several advantages of using MIG welders beyond these joining options, including higher deposition rates than in TIG welding, consistent arc stability, high-quality precision welds with solid and attractive results, and high-speed welding.
Disadvantages include possible high spatter areas. MIG welding is also not recommended for use with steels thinner than 5mm.
Eastwood MIG 135 Wrap-up
The Eastwood MIG 135 falls right in line with many of the Eastwood Company’s DIY-rated parts and products. This home garage and shop welder is portable, powerful, and can be used in any 120-volt home-rated power outlet. It comes with hoses, tips, and protective gear, and has been recommended by Popular Mechanics.
Plus, if we have not mentioned it already, Eastwood is going to throw in a sleek 3-shelf welding cart and a black-powder finish for the MIG 135, which already has a low MSRP of under $300. Combined with the company’s no-hassle return policy and a 3-year warranty, what have you got to lose? They will even let you try it for 60 days with no commitment to buy.
The Eastwood Company may not have the heritage of a Lincoln Electric, but their products are tested and used by people who are into car shows and aftermarket parts, and as a kid who started out as a service station attendant, Curt Strohacker probably wouldn’t have it any other way.