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Harbor Freight TIG welder

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by narducci, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. narducci
    Joined: Jan 3, 2008
    Posts: 194

    narducci
    Member

    I hear a lot of negatives about the HF TIG welder. I bought one about 3 months ago and want to report positives on it.
    I am not a TIG expert by any means and its been 20 years since I did any TIG work.
    I havent had any problems with this unit, I was worried about the duty cycle but it has never kicked out on me yet.
    I have welded 4 x 2 x 3/16 wall tubing for the frame and 18 ga body panels.
    I wasn't expecting much when I bought this but I am pleasantly surprised.
    Just my 2c
    Building the rod in Decatur, AL
     
  2. Give us your oppinions on it a year or 2 from now when it is burned up or you can't get parts/consumables for it.
     
  3. Bort62
    Joined: Jan 11, 2007
    Posts: 594

    Bort62
    BANNED

    Who Cares? It costs 200 bucks and you can buy a 3 year waranty for it for like 20. If it shits out on you after 3 years drop 200 more and buy another.

    If you aren't welding every day and don't want to make a lifelong investment - it's perfect. As long as it works ok.
     
  4. narducci
    Joined: Jan 3, 2008
    Posts: 194

    narducci
    Member

    Thats what I say, I paid $ 160 for mine
    Comsumables that fit an ESAB 120 volt portable ( $ 1200 ) are a direct replacement, Ive already used some
     

  5. UnIOnViLLEHauNT
    Joined: Jun 22, 2004
    Posts: 4,824

    UnIOnViLLEHauNT
    Member

    Ive heard the same thing, nothing but praise about it. Anyone have a link or work they have done with it?
     
  6. Bigblock351w
    Joined: Feb 16, 2008
    Posts: 115

    Bigblock351w
    BANNED

    WELL its about god damn time the harbor freight produced somthing that
    dosent blow ass
     
  7. tdoty
    Joined: Jun 21, 2006
    Posts: 821

    tdoty
    Member

    Figures.........I talked myself out of buying one a few hours ago.

    My HF MIG is going on 3 years old, with ZERO problems. But, I just couldn't quite talk myself into the TIG. Maybe next time it's on sale?

    Tim D.
     
  8. Noland
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,237

    Noland
    Member

    Hay, what ever floats your boat. Welders is honestly one thing I try to go with a good brand but if it works for you GOOD, I also understand where your coming from $1200 is alot for a welder that you use once in a blue moon.
     
  9. I certainly wouldn't trust it to do any heavy structural welding, I wouldn't weld chromemoly, or frame rails, etc, but I'd do some patch panels with it.
     
  10. Just read that Honda-tech thread,,,, its just AC with no DC? No type of reostat control? Just going off of what was posted on that link.

    Do yourself a favor,,, find someone who will let you try a real TIG and someone who will let you try one of these. Apples to oranges here. I'm glad you bought this and like it, but I can't imagine anyone who is really familiar with a more functional tig will share the oppinion. This tig seems to me like a lot of guys that have english wheels,,,,,, just have one for the bragging rights of saying,, "yea, in my shop I have a,,,,,,".

    Those pics of the close ups on the welds speak volumes on heat control. That guy gave about 50 excuses why, but would love to see a consistant bead from yours. Have any pics?
     
  11. UnIOnViLLEHauNT
    Joined: Jun 22, 2004
    Posts: 4,824

    UnIOnViLLEHauNT
    Member

    That link isnt working for me, anyone else?
     
  12. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,793

    flatford39
    Member

    Doesn't work here either.
     
  13. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=91811
    It's a DC welder, not AC. I do not have one of these units, but I have used a variety of different TIG machines over the past few years. I recently had a Miller Synchrowave 180 that was a great machine. But at the same time, at work I used a small Lincoln DC arc welder, with a TIG torch hooked up to an Argon bottle and do scratch start TIG welding with that. No foot pedal, no current control while welding, absolutely nothing fancy, and it works very well as well. I do a lot of Stainless, up to 1/4" with it and it performs well. I would compare the harbor freight unit to this (just from what I see). Again, I think I would purchase this setup strictly for body panels and shit, but not frame work or anything.
     
  14. I'm not sure why the link doesn't work for you guys, works fine for me-but try copying and pasting it in your browser and seeing if that works.
     
  15. HF scratch box_WEB.jpg

    Man for $200 bucks you can't beat it, I use it on non critical welds.
    The Big Blue Monster does the real stuff.

    The welders don't get along to good together, cultural synsitivity training has yet to hit the world of welding machines.
     
  16. lrs30
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,206

    lrs30
    Member
    from Kentucky

    What HF welder are you guys talking about???? Curious if anybody has a link, I would like to see what all it comes with, and what else I would need to start....Thank's ryan
     
  17. It's what they call a scratch tig
    you need a regulator, gas bottle, rods and extra tungsten tips

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=91811
     
  18. lrs30
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,206

    lrs30
    Member
    from Kentucky

    So being DC no Aluminum welding huh????
     
  19. nubz69
    Joined: Sep 9, 2005
    Posts: 23

    nubz69
    Member

    I bought one of these and it works pretty damn good. I am sure it could be modded to add a foot pedal and I think it might have been done before but I don't know where the info is.
     
  20. lrs30
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,206

    lrs30
    Member
    from Kentucky

    What mix gas is recommended on steel, I use a 75/25 mix on my mig is it the same? And I see it comes with a gas hose, no regulator?Just curious the one I used to use was a Lincoln Square wave Tig water cooled machine, just curious about this machine, sounds like a cool little tool for the price
     
  21. Tetanus
    Joined: May 20, 2007
    Posts: 235

    Tetanus
    Member

    Its probably a miller.:eek:We had two miller high end tigs burn up on us in the last 5 years at work.before the millers we had a hobart that lasted over 10 years and its still working.Its in my shop now I stole it for $300:D I think the millers are chinese like the hf ones.
     
  22. Black Primer
    Joined: Oct 1, 2007
    Posts: 966

    Black Primer
    Member

    Can this type of setup be adapted to any arc welder? I have an old Miller Thunderbolt just sitting in the corner collecting dust.
     
  23. lrs30
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,206

    lrs30
    Member
    from Kentucky

    from what I understand you do not need an arc welder with this machine, or am I wrong.. I have seen other's that require a arc welder , but I believe this is a stand alone....
     
  24. Bort62
    Joined: Jan 11, 2007
    Posts: 594

    Bort62
    BANNED

    Why wouldnt you trust it for structural welding? A welder is a pretty damn simple piece of equipment. Once you get an arc going, the electricity is the same regardless of how much you paid for the welder. (with DC, anyway). The only thing I would be worried about w/ a cheap welder is the Arc starting and longevity of components. There isn't a whole lot to a scratch start DC tig other than a rectifier and a gas valve.

    I say it's a great idea for someone who doesn't have a TIG otherwise. I almost bought one last week just to see how it worked. Coincidentally, I went out and bought a Lincoln precision 185 instead, but I still think the HF TIG has value.

    I plan to buy a HF MIG in a couple weeks as an accessory to my TIG for one handed tacking shit together.

    I mean shit, 200 bucks... if it lasts you one project it's worth it. For those asking, this is a power supply AND TIG unit. No need for another power source.
     
  25. redrico1
    Joined: Feb 24, 2006
    Posts: 85

    redrico1
    Member

    bought the 220v dual HF mig 2 years ago for 200 bucks best money i ever spent.
     
  26. I wouldn't use it for anything structural simply because I don't trust it's amperage rating. With a good Miller or Lincoln, I feel I can get pretty close to what it's set at, but for 2oo bucks I just don't trust it enough. But again, I'm gonna get one for body panels. For those that asked, you can take any DC Arc welder and convert it to scratch start weld, all you need is the proper TIG torch and a bottle of Argon and a regulator. With the HF unit, all you need is a regulator and a bottle. For general TIG welding, Argon is the prefered gas. And no, this machine will not do aluminium. I feel if it lasts, and you get a warranty, it's well worth the money.
     
  27. sorry i dont feeling like giving any money to china ill stick to my Lincolns
     
  28. Glen
    Joined: Mar 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,789

    Glen
    Member

    If America would quit supporting that side of the economy we would be in a better position. I have bought stuff there in the past but I try to avoid it.
     
  29. sammyg
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 183

    sammyg
    Member

    The only stuff I buy from HF is shit that I don't want to spend a minor fortune for at big box when it will just wear out, such as wire wheels, grinding wheels, cut off wheels, you know.
    I don't think I'd trust that machine
     

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