I have no real welding knowledge or experience, yet. I'm planning on doing some custom frame mods and repairs on minis and karts. I was told that wire welding is easier, but stick welding is better. Is this correct ?
I'm not ready to buy a new Welding setup, so I been shopping for a decent used setup. Found a "Like New" per seller Lincoln Red Buzz Box stick welder. Is this a good choice ?
Building a new shop. Is putting in a designated for welder 220V a good idea ?
I will answer the designated welder outlet question first. YES! Plus, you really need more than one. One in the work area where you intend to weld and one by the outside door so you can access something to big to get in the building or can't get in the building because its already occupied. Plus, you will end up wanting a dedicated 220-volt extension cord for the welder.
Since you have zero experience welding you need to avoid random advice that you find on YouTube. There are a lot of folks on there making videos that aren't welders and are full of... well you know what it is. This guy is certified in airframe and is also a certified instructor. He has a lot of information. weldingtipsandtricks - YouTube
Don't buy just any random welding machine, do some research and see what the world has to say about the machine before you buy it. I am just a hobbyist, but I have a small fortune in welding machines and complimentary equipment. Just because you have a budget to buy a machine of XXXX amount you are just starting. You need lots of things to go with it. Jody in the above link reviews a lot of machines which might help you too.
A good welding helmet of quality is the very first item. I have 2 of these, one is 20 years old. Digital Elite™, Black (QR) External Grind, Clearlight 2.0 | MillerWelds
A very practical helmet that will protect your eyes in multiple situations. I have one of these too and absolutely hate it for multiple reasons. 3M™ Speedglas™ 9100 Series Welding Helmets | 3M United States
A quality grinder is the second most important item as every piece needs to be prepped either in shape to fit or length to fit or just remove rust/paint to get a clean weld. You want a grinder with a high amp rating for load handling capacity. You can toast a 4 amp grinder in one job or you can buy a 9 or 11 amp grinder that will last for years of heavy use. I prefer Milwaukie grinders with a paddle switch. I will not use a grinder with a flip on flip off switch. It you drop it, and it runs down your leg it will send you to the emergency room and still be laying in the floor running when you get home from the ER. I also suggest that every grinder is the same. That way you don't have to figure it out when you pick it up. I have 8 or 9 that are all the same. Plus, it allows you to set them up with different attachments. A flap wheel, a grinding stone/wheel, a cut off wheel and a wire brush. ONLY use knotted wire bush on these grinders. They turn 10,000 RPM's. All mine are Milwaukie 4 1/2''. Specifically, this one Used Milwaukee 4.5" Super Magnum Sander Grinder #6153-20 45242042296 | eBay
You need clamps and magnets to hold/fixture items that you are trying to weld. Vice Grip C shaped clamps are quick and easy. The cheap magnets work but all they do is collect metal shavings. then they aren't reliable. I use magnets that you can cut on and off made by Strong Hand Tools. Adjust-O™ Magnet Squares - Strong Hand Tools
or Adjust-O™ 90° Dual Switch Magnet Squares - Strong Hand Tools
Gloves are a must have item. Don't buy the big old stiff gloves that you see for cheap buy a welding specific glove. You want flexible gloves so you can maintain dexterity when holding or picking up something. I prefer Tilman brand gloves and have been using them for over 50 years. I started welding when I was 12 with a Lincoln Buzz box. Specifically, this glove is my favorite. 1356 “C” Grade Top Grain Cowhide MIG Glove – John Tillman Co. (jtillman.com)
They will serve you well and you can buy them from numerous vendors on Ebay if you don't have a welding shop close by. Don't buy just one pair. Always keep at least 2 pairs on hand.
And proper welders' pliers. These will help in removing the nozzle on a MIG gun as well as remove the tips and clean out any spatter build up you may have. I have had several pairs over the years but once I bought a pair of Channel Lock brand welders' pliers, I threw the rest away. This is another don't buy just one item. You will be glad to have at least 2 pairs if you are MIG welding. I use these. 360 9-inch Welder's Pliers | Channellock, Inc.
This is the best and you won't have to replace them. I keep a pair on each MIG machine and even a pair on my Tig machine. Along with a pair that stay on the welding table.
And a nice addition to your shop is a belt sander. Not a necessity but something that you will turn to more than you realize once you have one. I have 4. 1 little Horrible Freight 4 x 36. Never use it... 2 Craftsman 6 x 48 3/4 hp that I use occasionally. But I use this beast all the time. A Jet brand 6 x 48 1 hp. I use Norton Abrasives brand belts and they are outstanding for life span and function. JET 6in x 48in Belt/12in Disc Sander w/Open Stand - JET Tools - Quality Woodworking Tools
Its pricey but I bought mine used at an equipment auction for about 20 cents on the dollar at the time.
All my Welding machines are either Lincoln or Miller. Except for my Lenco-Spot spot welder. They have been the industry standard for body shops for decades. They have all served me well. Doesn't mean that other machines aren't good and won't do what you need. But when you walk in an overhead crane production facility and everything on the floor is blue it means they work and don't give trouble. I have watched them welding on the opposite side of 1'' plate and the HAZ on the none weld side was 4 or 5 inches wide. I asked the welder what amperage he was running, and he said the machine was wide open. That equated to 500 amps with .060 flux core wire with gas shielding. This was a 90 foot long 100-ton capacity bridge crane.
2 big things I always try to tell people when they are starting out. They sound trivial but amount to a lot when a weld might hold your safety in its quality.
1 - Clean metal welds the best. No popping or spitting or bubbling up little volcanoes due to contamination.
2 - And this one will serve you forever if you start out following it. The better the fit, the better the finish. Filling big gaps from poor fit is not the best end result.
And lastly if I were you and had no welding experience, I would buy a quality gas torch and gas weld everything. It was industry standard forever until "faster" processes were developed. You can heat and bend things. Heat and shape things. Cut things. Weld steel, aluminum, stainless and copper or brass. And if you can gas weld efficiently you can pick up almost anything and weld with it. Buy a Victor or a Smith. It's how small air frames were built for years, and it is still used by air frame fabricators to this day. A good friend has built several tube frame dune buggies with nothing but a gas torch. And they face far more stresses than a Minibike or Gokart frame.
Will cheap or cheaper stuff do the job? Sure. Will it last? Depends on how you treat it as much as how its built. Any of the above items can be substituted for more money or less money but truly you should be looking at this as a long term investment not as a budget investment.
Good luck with whatever you choose! Search this website and you will find a lot of the above information in different threads already. There are huge build threads. There are grinder threads. There are welder threads and on and on. There is no substitute for time spent under the hood practicing. Weld everything you can find to practice on and then weld on critical things. A muffler shop is a good source of scrap tubing. Its thin but will give you loads of experience time and usually they will let you pick up there cut offs out of the scrap bin for free or just a few bucks.