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Harbour Freight Welder

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BLUDICE, Aug 26, 2013.

    Joined: Jun 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,433


    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
  2. louisb
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 562


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

  3. madmak95
    Joined: May 12, 2005
    Posts: 769


    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.
  4. bgaro
    Joined: Sep 3, 2010
    Posts: 1,124


    i wouldn't bother, not worth the aggravation.
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  5. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 870


    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.
  6. hugh m
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 2,130

    hugh m
    from ct.

    Buy an American Miller, even a used one, and be done.
  7. fleetside66
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,090


    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.


  8. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 21,467


    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.
  9. I purchased one to fix a harbor freight wagon I had a engine sitting on,total junk!
  10. Timberbeast
    Joined: Jun 28, 2009
    Posts: 74


    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.
  11. 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.
  12. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 13,422


    Disposable. One minor part failure, and it is a total-loss. Save your money for a good used real welder.
    Joined: Jun 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,433


    That's why I ask first - thanks guys!!
  14. 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.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  15. jazz1
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,131


    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.
  16. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 2,749

    from Woburn, MA

    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.
  17. find a used miller or lincoln. probbaly pay a bit more. but worth it.
  18. 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.
  19. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 870


    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".
  20. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,130


    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.
  21. iroc409
    Joined: May 24, 2012
    Posts: 93


    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.
  22. Sometimes you gotta spend more money, but over time you'll see that it was worth it.
  23. 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....
  24. 33sporttruck
    Joined: Jun 5, 2012
    Posts: 533


    Miller Blue !!! You will never regret it. Buy it from a welding supply shop. Good Luck, Jeff
  25. studebaker eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,305

    studebaker eric
    from Fresno Ca

    From experience. Do not waste your time or money.
  26. 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.
  27. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 870


    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!
  28. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 10,440

    from South Indy

    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.
  29. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 870


    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.
  30. Deuced Up!
    Joined: Feb 8, 2008
    Posts: 2,427

    Deuced Up!

    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 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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