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Harbor Freight Welder
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TDW1980
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Joined: 24 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30 11 5:01 am    Post subject: Harbor Freight Welder Reply with quote

Anyone ever got one of the little mig welders from harbor freight that they run the coupons on all the time for 89.99 with the flux core wire that doesn't use gas? If so do they weld decent and what is about the maxium thickness metal they will work on?
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Flash Gordan
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30 11 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually own one of these and the first thing I'll tell you is do not use the welding wire that comes with it. It is garbage. Go to Lowe's or Home Depot and buy a roll of .035 Lincoln welding wire. The Lincoln wire flows smoother and with a lot less splatter. And about 1/4" is about all it's good for. Anything thicker and you might as well go buy a gas MIG machine for $500.
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TDW1980
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31 11 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Flash! I figure if it works at all hell its worth 90.00 bucks thanks for the heads up on the wire too.
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Flash Gordan
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01 11 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One last tip. Practice, practice, practice with it. The first few welds I did with it, I just played with the wire speed and the high/low power switch. Also read the manual that comes with it. It does have some useful information. Not a whole lot, but some.
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TDW1980
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02 11 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I did quite a bit of welding in high school shop and then a little more when I went to Auto Diesel college just been a few years since I have picked one up if it runs anything like a standard mig I should pick it back up pretty quick I haven't even had time to run it yet lol. I just looking to fix up a old barrel type smoker I had for years just wanted to weld some new metal inside it and few upgrades just something to play around with.
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StickPigBBQ
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02 11 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too own on of these. For the money and as a hobby welder they are great, especially if you have little to no experience. I have built a few things to include a vertical RF cabinet style smoker with it. I will tell you one thing from personal experience though......once you buy this and want to start doing more projects you will quickly see that this welder will not handle thicker metals very easily and the duty cycle isnt all that great either. For small projects its a good machine. I have had mine for a long time now and its still running fine.

And definitely +1 on Flash's comment about the .035 Lincoln wire or any other kind of wire than the crap that comes with it.
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TDW1980
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03 11 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I was replacing a blower motor in the wifes van last night and while waiting for her to come back with the new one figured I would go ahead and spool up the welder got it feeding through when out the end of the torch comes a spring about 8-9 inchs then it stops and the wire starts to bunch up tried hand feeding it through with a cut piece from the front and it always stops after the length of spring comes out never expeiranced this before with any other welder any ideas what may be wrong?
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03 11 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TDW1980, I do not know a lot about wire feeds but it sounds like the liner is messed up. Personally I would bring it back save my money and buy at least a 140 Hobart. Unless your just interested in sheet metal work I doubt a 90.00 machine is going to produce acceptable results on metal thicker than 10gauge material. These are just my thoughts. Smile
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TDW1980
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03 11 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks k.a.m. I just bought to have something I could plug in a 110 outlet and weld small stuff eventually I will probably get something larger but I do not really have a need just yet. I do think I may take it back though and get another one if I can't figure out something tonight on it.
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TrailerBuilder
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03 11 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you pay $90 for a welder, thats exactly what you are getting, not much. The HF welders are little cracker boxes that arent good for much of anything other than small home projects. I would think 11ga would be pushing its limits on material thickness for sure. I would definatly take this one back, and if you have to have one, get it replaced, but I would save the money and start looking on Craigslist for a bigger machine at a decent price. Ive seen a Miller 135, which is 110v, on CL here for $525. Thats a great price on a good welder. I have one, it is tedious with 1/4 material, so I turn to my 250, but its a tried and true machine that has given me no issues in the 10+ years I have owned it. I also have seen Hobart and Lincoln 110 machines on CL for $400 to $600 for used ones.

You will be a lot happier with a better machine and you will have a whole lot less issues and down time.

Just my 2c worth Very Happy
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Wreckless
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03 11 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrailerBuilder wrote:
When you pay $90 for a welder, thats exactly what you are getting, not much. You will be a lot happier with a better machine and you will have a whole lot less issues and down time.

Just my 2c worth Very Happy

+1 TrailerBuilder. If I had $90 to play with, I would go to the bar, give to charity, most anything other than spending it on something that was just going to piss me off.
TDW1980...If you are not already experienced in welding, this will leave you wondering why anyone would want to do this. If you have some experience, this will leave wondering where your skills went. Shocked
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TDW1980
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04 11 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the feedback, like I said I was not expecting the world with this welder if it will weld a bead and thin sheet metal then it has done all I am expecting for that price basically I have not welded much at all since High school but i did have 3 years of it and was pretty good at it by the time I went to Nashville Auto Diesel college, where we had a refresher with mostly wire feed machines there. The only one that gave me trouble and I never could really get down was Tig welding I still say to this day that not just anyone can be taught or learn Tig welding you have to have a natural gift for it. Basically right now all I have is a old rusted up offset charbroil style barrell smoker that I cooked on for 6+ years that I am looking to tack some new sheet metal in, maybe weld up the smoke box lid and add a bigger door and re paint it. I have a new combo unit but the charcoal/ smoke side not as large as this old unit and no where near the cook room as this old faithful lol so I thought I would put a light touch up on it and use it for larger cuts and bigger cooks.
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purplewg
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05 11 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You will get far more out of $90 worth of lap dances than a $90 HF welder.
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TDW1980
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05 11 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

purplewg wrote:
You will get far more out of $90 worth of lap dances than a $90 HF welder.

Laughing
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05 11 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

purplewg wrote:
You will get far more out of $90 worth of lap dances than a $90 HF welder.

I remember my first lap dance. Although I cannot recall her name for some reason. Laughing
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animal
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05 11 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a rule, NEVER BUY anything from Harbor Freight that has a power cord. The hand tools are okay. specialty tools ?. The Impact sockets are great. Most of the time we cant find the difference between the hand tools and craftsman, makes me question Sears and where they are getting theirs.
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purplewg
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05 11 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KAM, I certainly understand the feeling.... Shocked

I have even quit buying crapsman hand tools. I bought some end wrenches a year ago and they were between metric and standard. Kobalt is my choice now but my box is pretty full so it is only for something special.
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TrailerBuilder
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05 11 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

k.a.m. wrote:
Quote:
I remember my first lap dance. Although I cannot recall her name for some reason.


Does Betty or Wilma ring a bell?

(Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, there a modern stone age family.......)
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05 11 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrailerBuilder wrote:
k.a.m. wrote:
Quote:
I remember my first lap dance. Although I cannot recall her name for some reason.


Does Betty or Wilma ring a bell?

(Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, there a modern stone age family.......)

Man your mean this A.M. it must be the heat. Laughing
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TrailerBuilder
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05 11 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Buddy Laughing Laughing

Havent burnt any steel in a while, just breathing this sheet rock dust. I think its messing with my head Shocked
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