To start off this review on Metal Man FC125, it is important to note that you can not expect a whole lot from a 125A flux core welder that is designed to be affordable to the user.
It has been around for years, but there is not much info available about that particular welder, so I thought it would be a great idea to write a short review on it. Especially for those who do not know much about welding, hopefully after reading this article you get an idea of what you are buying and if it is a good fit for you.
So let’s have a deeper look into the details into this machine!
The Power source to run the welder
The first question you should ask when you are looking for a new welder, it if it can run on your current electrical system. There are vide variety of welders and many of them do not run on 120-volts but on 220-volts instead. So it is important to keep your eyes peeled when doing research.
Like all similar class welders, this particular welder can only be operated on 120-volts, but at least 20 amp breaker is necessary. So it can almost be used anywhere, except remote places, even if you have a generator.
Controls of the machine
One thing that many welders seek when buying a new machine is the infinite voltage control. As expected from lower-tier welders, you do not have that much control over your settings. Namely, with this FC125 the voltage settings are tapped with a switch. It is possible to only switch between the minimum and maximum voltage settings, which will limit your controls quite a bit. It will weld nonetheless, but it can be much more difficult.
The wire feed speed, on the other hand, is infinite. I guess all the welders have infinite wire feed speed control, so nothing exceptional about that.
The overall design of FC 125
The overall design is as expected. It is nice and sturdy enough so you do not have to keep it hidden or isolated fearing that it will break. It weighs less than 40 pounds, which is not a lot, but at the same time, thanks to the size, it can fit 4 inch and 8-inch spools of wire as opposed to some small machines alike. Using bigger spools is a great way to save some money on filler because of the more you buy, the better deal you will get.
Like with all welders in this class, it has a short power cable, which limits the portability a bit, but with an extension cord, you would be fine. The ground clap and gun liner are only 6 feet long as well, so you can not move around your garage or shop without some extra extension cable.
The welding gun used is Tweco style so you do not have to worry about finding replacement contact tips and whatnot. Though to avoid replacing them in the first place, consider purchasing some nozzle gel along with the welder. It helps you to prevent the welding spatter to stick on your contact tip.
Does it pack a punch?
The Metal Man FC125 does pack a punch, to be honest. As the name indicates, the maximum output is 125 amperages, so it would be possible to weld materials up to 3/16 of an inch. The minimum amperage is 60, making it possible to weld a minimum of 18 Ga thin materials according to the manufacturer.
The duty cycle is more than enough considering the size of this machine. The duty cycle is rated 20% at 80 amps. For beginners out there it means you can weld 2 minutes straight out of ten before it needs to cool down.
The power it produces and the duty cycle are definitely enough for weekend warriors.
Usability of the Metal Man Wire feeder
This welder is flux-core only. What that means is you can only weld mild steel with it. That limits the variety of projects you can work on, but for the most, I think that is enough. At the end of the day, maybe a few years down the line, you decide you would like to tackle other projects as well. You can always upgrade buying a slightly more advanced welder.
Flux core also has a huge advantage over regular MIG welding. Namely, you can use it to weld outdoors. With MIG it would be possible because the shielding gas would be carried away. If you would like to learn more about flux-core welding and what it is, read this article as well.
From the practical side, you can work on everything that is mild steel, between 18 Ga and 3/16 thick. Perhaps you are working on some scrap metal art or fabricating fences and gates for your farm or even repairing your truck exhaust. Similar small stuff here and there can be done with as long as you have enough skill and experience under your belt.
As far as the truck frames and structural stuff like ramps go. Work on them with caution so no one gets hurt, or even better, if you are not sure your skills are up to par, pass those kinds of projects to a professional.
Things that could be improved
For the money, there is not much to improve to be honest. It is designed to be a small cheap welder for a weekend warrior. I believe it would fill its purpose without any issues.
- What you could upgrade perhaps would be a ground clamp. They are cheap and you could get a heavy-duty one for 10 bucks. Better ground connection equals better welds.
- Another thing to buy as an addition to the welder would be a high-quality filler wire. For that, read this post here where I list the 3 best ones you could buy. Using a good quality wire will improve your beads tremendously. Perhaps it is the best way to level up your welding game.
Who should buy it this 125A welder
As I said, it is designed for simple projects at home. So if you are looking to start a business, then definitely find something more heavy-duty. The same goes if you are looking to weld more exotic materials like stainless steel and aluminum.
For beginners, it is one of many options. Some prefer well-known brands and some do not. I believe it can do the job that it was designed for so if you are a beginner or an occasional welder, it might be a way to go. How it holds up I am not sure. Based on experience, cheap welders can last a long time if you take proper care of them.
Some extra equipment you might need to start with flux core welding
Since more than likely, you are a beginner or someone who has little to no experience in welding, make sure you take proper safety precaution before welding.
Do not even fire up the machine unless you have proper protective gear for your face and eyes. Besides that, you have to invest in proper fire-resistant welding gloves and a safety jacket. As an extra tip, never wear any nylon while welding. The slag will melt right through it.
From the tool’s side, you will need at least a decent wire brush to clean the welds and possibly something to grind the welds. If you need to cut materials, make sure you have something for that as well.
To sum it all up, I am sure it is a decent small welder for weekend warriors to get some experience in welding. If you like it, you can always upgrade to a bigger machine, and if not, then the Metal Man FC125 is probably enough for your projects. Nevertheless, this machines provide you with a great amount of value considering the price.
If you are doubting on which welder to buy, I have two other article recommendations for you to read.