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Old 08-26-2013, 10:11 AM   #1
BLUDICE
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Default Harbour Freight Welder

90 Amp Flux Wire Welder 120V
to be used for very small jobs on car - filling holes, etc
anyone have one of these - opinion please - thx
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Friend bought one and had to return it three times to get one that worked. (sorta) Really cheaply put together and hard to use.

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Old 08-26-2013, 10:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Mine was temperamental. Welded good one minute bad the nexts. Never could figure it out. Finally nutted up and bought a millermatic 180. Best thing I ever done.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

i wouldn't bother, not worth the aggravation.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I have one. To make it acceptable, replace the puny ground clamp with a good one and pop in some Lincoln NR-211 wire.

Don't weld anything over .125" thick, regardless what the manual says (mine says it can weld 1/2"... yeah right). Even at .125" thick, you gotta bevel the joints.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Buy an American Miller, even a used one, and be done.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I had nothing but good results with mine, although thin sheet metal can be a challenge. You just have to up your grinding skills, that's all. At the risk of a total shit-storm, I'll admit that I did my whole build with one (not the frame). Here's a before & after on my doors, although I must admit that pictures always make things look better.



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Old 08-26-2013, 11:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

This is probably the 100th time the question has been posed since I joined the HAMB and the answers are always the same. They just aren't that good and service and service parts are non existent. The easiest way to get a welder service tech at a real welders supply store to laugh until he hurts himself is to carry in a Harbor Freight welder and ask if he can fix it. After he recovers from rolling around on the floor the answer will be NO take it back to Harbor Freight.

I'd much rather see you save a bit more and buy either a new or used Miller, Lincoln or Hobart mig welder. Then you can take it in and get it serviced and they will all need service if you use them and you can get parts for them. Quite often you can find a Hobart 140 on sale for around 400 or less at the local "farm and ranch" store or a Lincoln at Home depot or Lowes on sale for a reasonable price or one on Craigslist where a guy bought a 110 V unit and then decided he needed a bigger welder.

If you do buy a HF unit buy the extended warranty so you can take it back when it craps out and go again.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I purchased one to fix a harbor freight wagon I had a engine sitting on,total junk!
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUDICE View Post
90 Amp Flux Wire Welder 120V
to be used for very small jobs on car - filling holes, etc
anyone have one of these - opinion please - thx
I bought a Lincoln Century 140 from an on line store for about $350. Welds very well it does everything I need it to do including an occasional frame repair. For heavier jobs I still use my stick welder.

Do not use the cheap welding wire, it just dosen't weld properly. I use only Lincoln or Miller wire it is worth the few cents more that it costs.

Good luck.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

HF stuff is throw-away.... Not to say there aren't some decent values to be found there for the lo-bucker, but when it fails, throw it away. It will cost more than it's worth to fix, assuming you can get the parts (unlikely). I buy their air tools, and those $20 4" grinders aren't bad either, but when they go bad I pitch 'em.....

And run shield gas, not flux-core wire. You'll just make a mess on sheetmetal with flux-core.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Disposable. One minor part failure, and it is a total-loss. Save your money for a good used real welder.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

That's why I ask first - thanks guys!!
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Get the replacement extended warranty- 70% of them are junk in a few uses or DOA.
30% give some good use.

You'll be getting $90.00 worth of a 500.00 machine, so don't expect much but you could get lucky.

Your mileage may vary, and I'm not saying you could ever do the same-
but after the 4 returns of their plasma cutters, i did get a good one that has yet to let me down. It's paid for itself many times over, but the first 4 were junk within a few days.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:50 PM   #15
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Keep in mind the Lincoln welders sold in retail shops such as Menards or Farm and Fleet are not the same units sold in shops who cater to welders Price dictates quality!..The retail store Lincolns are cheap knockoffs and parts are unavailable.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:13 PM   #16
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

If you absolutely need a way to stick metal right now for less than $100. Sure, but keep it for light stuff and don't do anything structural.

It's messy, but if you get one that works, it will stick metal together as long as you set the wire in the feed just right.

When you get a quality machine, this thing will likely become a nuisance to trip over.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:34 PM   #17
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

find a used miller or lincoln. probbaly pay a bit more. but worth it.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:44 PM   #18
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Well, you're first problem is that you're purchasing from Harbour Freight....
They should rename that place "Palace of sh*tty tools"
Got a dolly from there to move my big upright player piano. The thing wouldn't even roll. I got a multimeter from there, thing was cheap. Only thing I got from there that was good was sand paper, and a soldering Iron. I'm sure they probably have some okay tool sets, but...quality seems to not be a priority in that place.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:47 PM   #19
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

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Originally Posted by 56PontiacPiano View Post
Well, you're first problem is that you're purchasing from Harbour Freight....
They should rename that place "Palace of sh*tty tools"
Got a dolly from there to move my big upright player piano. The thing wouldn't even roll. I got a multimeter from there, thing was cheap. Only thing I got from there that was good was sand paper, and a soldering Iron. I'm sure they probably have some okay tool sets, but...quality seems to not be a priority in that place.
They give those multimeters away for free with the mail coupons! That outta tell you something. They tried so hard to give me one by saying, "Are you sure? It's free!". I cut that short by telling them, "No thanks, I have a Fluke meter at home".
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:06 PM   #20
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I'm taking welding classes and last semester a student brought one in to show the instructor. The instructor laughed and told him to share his wealth with everyone, since he was throwing money away. A friend asked me to use one and the damn thing was like welding with hot rocks and a stick. It just isn't any good.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:28 PM   #21
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

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Originally Posted by fsae0607 View Post
They give those multimeters away for free with the mail coupons! That outta tell you something. They tried so hard to give me one by saying, "Are you sure? It's free!". I cut that short by telling them, "No thanks, I have a Fluke meter at home".
Those meters, for using on cars checking voltage and stuff, are actually pretty accurate. There have been several people that have tested the results against higher dollar meters and had the same results.

I have a couple because they were free, and have tested them against my $60 (not a high-dollar Fluke by any means) older Craftsman and they have been consistent (reading DC volts and impedance).

I've been wanting to learn to weld and thought about going with a HF welder, but from everything I've read I think I'll get a gas blanket capable MIG from one of the big names, or at least Northern or Eastwood. Northern has one that comes with a regulator for a little over $300, and it gets decent reviews. Still no Hobart.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:34 PM   #22
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Sometimes you gotta spend more money, but over time you'll see that it was worth it.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:36 PM   #23
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

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Originally Posted by iroc409 View Post
Those meters, for using on cars checking voltage and stuff, are actually pretty accurate. There have been several people that have tested the results against higher dollar meters and had the same results.

I have a couple because they were free, and have tested them against my $60 (not a high-dollar Fluke by any means) older Craftsman and they have been consistent (reading DC volts and impedance)..
Yep, those meters are better than you think. I picked a couple up to throw in the glove box and my 'mobile' tool box, and it checked good against my $200 Fluke. Note that they don't like damp conditions, keep 'em dry....
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:40 PM   #24
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Miller Blue !!! You will never regret it. Buy it from a welding supply shop. Good Luck, Jeff
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:13 PM   #25
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

From experience. Do not waste your time or money.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:31 PM   #26
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Funny thing is, even though their welders are junk, the flux-core wire from HF is pretty damned good. It's made in Italy, not China, and it welds pretty nice and smooth with very little spatter, especially for flux-core. It's cheaper than the Lincoln wire I was previously using, and in my opinion it welds far better in both my little Craftsman buzz-box and my Lincoln 180. Go figure.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:40 PM   #27
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I agree, those little multimeters have their place. I actually have one in our kitchen's "utility" drawer for when I'm too lazy to go out to my garage to fetch my good DVOM. They always got beat up in my DD truck toolbox, so now I just keep a test light in there.

I bought that HF flux core welder to learn wire feed welding. I can lay a decent (functional) bead with it. I've fixed a few items around the house and made a few brackets and fixed the broken parts on my HF manual tire changer. It's a decent welder for doing non-structural, mickey-mouse stuff. But if you're going to be welding frames and what not then yes step up to a good US made welder.

If you have one of those 90 amp HF welders the best upgrade you can do right off the bat is to get a good ground clamp. The difference is night and day!
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:51 PM   #28
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Quote:
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I agree, those little multimeters have their place. I actually have one in our kitchen's "utility" drawer for when I'm too lazy to go out to my garage to fetch my good DVOM. They always got beat up in my DD truck toolbox, so now I just keep a test light in there.

I bought that HF flux core welder to learn wire feed welding. I can lay a decent (functional) bead with it. I've fixed a few items around the house and made a few brackets and fixed the broken parts on my HF manual tire changer. It's a decent welder for doing non-structural, mickey-mouse stuff. But if you're going to be welding frames and what not then yes step up to a good US made welder.

If you have one of those 90 amp HF welders the best upgrade you can do right off the bat is to get a good ground clamp. The difference is night and day!
That much difference in the ground clamp? really? I have a nice ground clamp that I salvaged when my NAPA stick welder bit the dust. I may switch them out.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:55 PM   #29
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

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That much difference in the ground clamp? really? I have a nice ground clamp that I salvaged when my NAPA stick welder bit the dust. I may switch them out.

Yes. I ran a bead before and after to compare. Before my beads looked like bird caca. After it looked a lot better! Honestly, I think the ground clamps that come on the welder are for a battery charger; very little contact area.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:08 PM   #30
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I pick my share of stuff at Harbor Freight. I did not have much luck with their wire welder. I was looking for the same thing...an inexpensive wire welder for smaller jobs. I ended up getting one from Eastwood. No problems with it and they are a sponsor of the H.A.M.B. Hard to beat that...!
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:23 PM   #31
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Save your money and get a brand name WITH GAS !
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:30 PM   #32
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I will throw my $.02 in..I got one and changed wire to Lincoln flux, to use on a some sheetmetal repairs on a 69 Cougar restoration I'm doing. It takes a little practice to get the speed setting right and to do sheetmetal I just stitch it all around and then fill in the spaces. Time consuming but it does work well. Haven't tried to weld anything over 17ga yet, like was said earlier 1/8" is probably the limit. I got mine for $70 on sale. I did have a much better gas mig several years ago, so I do know what a good welder is like, but for what I needed to do it works just fine. HF sells some crap but if you know what to buy you can get a good deal. So, far sand blaster-good, welder-good, powder coater-good, powder coating powder-bad, HVLP spray gun-good, wagner type electric painter-good, car bluffer/polisher-good. It helps to read the reviews for sure.
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:07 PM   #33
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

pay more now and get a good one...i bought the one your talking about..it did my car..BUT never looked like those nice weld dimes laying on dimes look...thats where its at
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:16 PM   #34
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I had the same question, did not buy a HF welder.
Check out this post.
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=784871
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:17 PM   #35
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Hobart or Miller.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:29 PM   #36
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I've been welding (sticking metal together) for most of my life & gotta say-do not buy one of those welders! my brother-n-law has one & damn~ that thing sux! check C/list or other trading places or even pawn shops, just save your money & buy a name brand welder~Chuck
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:33 PM   #37
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Buy name brand I have had my miller for 15 years never had a problem tried cheap welders before that never worked right I tried HF wire to save money you get what you pay for never again only use miller wire now plus get one that uses gas I use co2
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:35 PM   #38
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Just about everything from harbour freight is a POS.. Constantly replacing sanders, grinders, and other misc tools. Every air tool we've got their had to be replaced a month later. But their cheap soo...
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:40 PM   #39
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Friend of mine just bought a miller new from welding shop he paid little over 500 it can he used with either 110 or 220with the plug they give you
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:46 PM   #40
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Even a bulky old Miller would be better than anything at HF. Infinity serviceable. The old ones are just bigger.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:41 PM   #41
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Why is it so many guys want to use the worst tool available and the worst choice of welding processes? Body work is hard enough. Buy a torch
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:42 PM   #42
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

My dad has never bought new tools! All of them are either from garage sales, swap meets or flea markets. Working in the mechanical field for 20+ years, I still hate going to his place to work on stuff while I have 2 fully stocked boxes of professional tools at home!!


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Old 08-27-2013, 07:34 AM   #43
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

you get what you pay for, if you do buy it make sure to buy the extended warranty. I bought a pancake air compressor, it crapped out on day 95 and no, I hadnt bought the warranty.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:09 AM   #44
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I've owned both Lincoln and Miller equipment. The Lincoln stuff was fine, but my nod goes to Miller. I use my Miller welder and plasma several times a week. They've both got lots of hours and have never given a second's trouble.

The comments about buying at a welding store are also correct. Lowe's (pushing HF in the race to the bottom), Home Depot, etc. all have products with brand names on them from ceiling fans to welders. They ARE NOT the same products you would buy in a specialized supply store. Ask any plumber about the faucets, for example. Delta faucets from Lowe's have plastic parts that quickly break; Deltas from a plumbing supply house are all metal. The big box stores have the manufacturers cut corners so they can get the price down. Surprisingly, the price often isn't any different, even more, than from a reputable supply house.

If I ever buy anything from Harbor Freight or Northern Hydraulics I consider them disposable products.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:56 AM   #45
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Its good to start with then graduate to a much better quality welder. I have a friend that swears by his. I still have my flux core hf welder but I use my HTP MIG 120 now.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:59 AM   #46
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

For an amateur builder a Hobart unit should be fine. I've had the HF flux unit and liked it...it's just not good for automotive fab work. You can shop around and find pretty good prices on a Hobart online. I think my 140 was $425 new free shipping.

Used would be cheaper, but I just have a fear of buying someone elses problems when I buy something used. A $250 $300 used welder might not be a good deal if you have to replace parts that are worn out like the liner.
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:13 PM   #47
gimpyshotrods
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Quote:
Originally Posted by 64Cyclone View Post
For an amateur builder a Hobart unit should be fine. I've had the HF flux unit and liked it...it's just not good for automotive fab work. You can shop around and find pretty good prices on a Hobart online. I think my 140 was $425 new free shipping.

Used would be cheaper, but I just have a fear of buying someone elses problems when I buy something used. A $250 $300 used welder might not be a good deal if you have to replace parts that are worn out like the liner.
Buy a used one, from your local welding supplier, if used worries you.

Liners are under $20.
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:18 PM   #48
falconvan
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

Not sure on HF but I bought a $300 140 amp Clarke welder at the local feed store over 10 years ago and it just keeps on going. I keep saying when it breaks i'll buy a good one but it refuses to quit.
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:30 PM   #49
rokkett77
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Default Re: Harbour Freight Welder

I have been looking for a good quality MiG welder myself. I had been considering one from Sears that looks nice. Im not a welder so I couldn't tel you if its a POS or not. It gotta be better than any welder from HF though.
http://www.sears.com/craftsman-mig-w...p-00920569000P

My cousin is a welder by profession and suggested a Hobart - they are American made and the internals are pretty beefy.
http://www.sears.com/tools-welding-e...R&viewItems=50
I know he has a Hobart, I don't remember if it is the Handler 125 or 140. I do know its a nice unit.

Last edited by rokkett77; 08-27-2013 at 12:40 PM.
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