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Username Post: harbor freight welders        (Topic#356744)
Airlifter 
"4th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 628
Airlifter
Age: 74
Loc: Tazewell county, Virginia
Reg: 06-07-15
06-09-19 03:16 PM - Post#2768063    

I would like to buy a mig welder but I can't justify the price of the Lincoln and Miller welders. I have been looking at the ones at harbor freight. Does anyone have any experience with these welders<

1951 styline deluxe sport coupe w/'60 261 engine & 54 powerglide


 




grumpyvette 
Senior Chevytalk Moderator -- Performance Subject Matter Expert --
Posts: 17405
grumpyvette
Age: 71
Loc: FLORIDA USA
Reg: 03-16-01
06-10-19 07:17 AM - Post#2768107    
    In response to Airlifter

Ive had several friends purchase welders from HF,
the results vary considerably , my B.I.L. purchased both the 90 amp rated flux core
(returned it as worthless, after a 24 hour trial, )
he bought a $289 flux core mig ,
and also returned that after a short test,
and it should be obvious that a decent MIG welder even a rather cheaper versions will work fairly well,

he bought a lincoln mig later, and has had zero issues with it,
https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_20 ...

as with most things you tend to GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR,
QUALITY COSTS MORE

while not always true ,because designs and components differ higher WEIGHT is also an indicator of better quality
anything much under about $400-$500 is not going to be high quality and good for decades of trouble free use with only minor maintenance,
but theres a huge difference between a cheap FLUX CORE welder and a decent lower cost MIG welder... MIG WELDING REQUIRES USE OF A TANK OF SHIELD GAS AND GAS REGULATOR
hobart, lincoln, eastwood and other vendors also sell lower cost MIG welders , youll want to decide on if youll be reasonably well served with a 110 volt 140 amp mig or need something with more capacity,
understand DUTY CYCLE, if a welder says 30% duty cycle at x amps its means you weld for 3 minutes and let cool for 7 minutes before it can be used again, lower amps generally allow higher duty cycle,
anything that almost any welder advertises, that says FLUX CORE is not going too be high quality mig.
why not visit a local lincoln dealer and ask questions
the eastwood welders have a decent reputation



https://bestweldinghelmet .review/mig-welders/

https://weldingpros.net/best-mig-welder-revie ws/

http://www.kingsofwelding.com/buyers-guides/best-m...

https://www.drillpressview.com/best-mig-welder/


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005CNOVZU/?creati veASIN...



https://www.harborfreight.com/migmax-140-industria...

https://www.farmandfleet.com/products/693798-linco ...

https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-mig-welder-1 75-a...

https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-mp200i.html

https://www.harborfreight.com/search?q=mig%20welde...

https://www.eastwood.com/welders/mig-welders.html

https://weldingdirect.com/migwe11mama.html

https://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-us/equipment/mi...





IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!


Edited by grumpyvette on 06-10-19 01:52 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
grumpyvette 
Senior Chevytalk Moderator -- Performance Subject Matter Expert --
Posts: 17405
grumpyvette
Age: 71
Loc: FLORIDA USA
Reg: 03-16-01
06-10-19 09:13 AM - Post#2768119    
    In response to grumpyvette

a couple hours reading linked info could easily save you hundreds of dollars and days of problem solving,
Id point out that decent quality, 110 volt 120 amp mig will do a decent job on sheet metal,
but most are limited to work on under 3/16" thick metal and thats really pushing the limits,
now that may be on a 20-30% duty cycle, that requires you to weld 2-3 minutes and let the welder cool 7-8 minutes between welds
if you spent a bit more you get a 220 volt 180 amp-210 amp welder , if used at the amps required for sheet metal , duty cycle is far higher
maybe at 70% so you weld for 6-7 minutes and let cool for 3-4 minutes.
you rarely weld for more than a minute or two, so in reality, you can use the 180-210 amp rated migs almost constantly
if used on the lower amp settings
go a bit excessive, get a 230-250 amp mig and your duty cycles high enough that you ignore duty cycle limitations

yes Im a tool junky
I don,t know how anyone in this hobby can get by without a decent welder.
no you don,t need anything near the cost of a miller 252 mig but I would certainly ;look at the hobart,eastwood,lincoln migs in the links and strongly consider spending $500-$800 on a higher quality mig that should last for decades and select a brand where parts are likely too be available in 4-6 years



this miller 252 migs been damn useful, and its most likely the most practical choice,but I've found I use both a MIG and TIG and occasionally an ARC welder.
if limited to a single welder I think it would be a 250-300 amp range TIG with a water cooled torch, and easy switch adjustable polarity, adjustable frequency, and amps (yes the foot petal works on my tig

Duty cycle is a welding equipment specification which defines the number of minutes, within a 10 minute period, during which a given welder can safely produce a particular welding current. For example, a 150 amp.welder with a 30% duty cycle must be "rested" for at least 7 minutes after 3 minutes of continuous welding.


http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?thr...

you NEED a tank of shield gas to MIG WELD CORRECTLY, you rent those tanks with a healthy deposit or buy and have the tanks refilled and re-certified every few years

https://www.eastwood.com/mig-250-welder-eastwo od.h...

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/t...devicetype=c...


http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?thr...

http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?thr...

http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?thr...

http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?thr...

http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?thr...

http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?thr...

http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/index.php?thr...

IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!


Edited by grumpyvette on 06-10-19 09:32 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 4326

Reg: 12-29-02
06-10-19 09:25 AM - Post#2768121    
    In response to Airlifter

Cheaper welders like that tend to have an unstable arc, which makes it more difficult to get a nice weld bead with one. The cheaper welders use a lighter transformer which can't maintain as steady an arc voltage.





 
Ray P W 
Contributor
Posts: 456

Reg: 09-30-15
06-10-19 12:30 PM - Post#2768148    
    In response to 65_Impala

"I have been looking at the ones at harbor freight. Does anyone have any experience with these welders"

Airlifter,

A friend and former workmate of mine (we're geologists) had a HF mig machine fail in occasional hobby use. It was outside of the warranty time limit but he took it back to them, anyway. Instead of repairing it they replaced it with a new unit at no cost.

So it's a good news/bad news answer. They replaced it at no cost totally satisfying my friend. But, he's a really experienced welder and didn't abuse it so it should not have failed.

My experience with electric welding is I had a 240 volt 180 amp Absco buzz box that worked perfectly for about 40 years. Then I gave it to my son and now he's using it now with no issues.

My "New" welder is a Miller AC-DC stick/tig "Synchrowave 200" that is now about 12 years old. I really like the AC-DC versatility because I can tig aluminum and ferrous metals.

Looking back at all the welders I've seen in hobby use the only one that ever failed was my friend's from HF. My take away from that is that a quality welder will outlast its owner in hobby use.

I've never regretted buying quality tools. My oxy-acetylene welding rig is a genuine Victor (not Victor "style") bought in 1969 and except for replacing each of the regulator diaphragms once it's been totally trouble free for 50 years. Finding someone willing to sell me the diaphragms was a challenge, though.

Ray W





 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 4326

Reg: 12-29-02
06-10-19 12:52 PM - Post#2768149    
    In response to Ray P W

Ray - I made a set using an inner tube. They worked just fine.



 
wagonman100 
Super Senior Member
Posts: 14325
wagonman100
Loc: Baltimore, MD
Reg: 11-27-04
06-10-19 06:39 PM - Post#2768184    
    In response to 65_Impala

Check Craigslist and such. People do sell good welders used when they either finish a project or buy an upgraded welder.

Jay
Friends don’t let friends drive Fords.

1999 Silverado Z71 4X4 extra-cab short bed
1983 Malibu Fauxmad - tubbed
1978 El Camino Kustomized
1972 Monte Carlo
1957 210 handyman wagon
1957 Nomad sport wagon
1957 Cameo Carrier


 
Ray P W 
Contributor
Posts: 456

Reg: 09-30-15
06-10-19 08:11 PM - Post#2768188    
    In response to wagonman100

"Ray - I made a set using an inner tube. They worked just fine"

That's a great solution Impala. How long have those been in service?



 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 4326

Reg: 12-29-02
06-11-19 05:33 PM - Post#2768265    
    In response to Ray P W

I don't know. Did it years ago but haven't used them in a while. If the rubber fails I'll just do it again.



 
tommy49 
"5th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 2708
tommy49
Loc: Kaleva, Michigan
Reg: 09-28-12
06-12-19 03:44 PM - Post#2768342    
    In response to Airlifter

  • Airlifter Said:
I would like to buy a mig welder but I can't justify the price of the Lincoln and Miller welders. I have been looking at the ones at harbor freight. Does anyone have any experience with these welders<



I bought my Miller 180 Autoset 10 years ago and have never had a problem with it. I recently bought a Miller Diversion 180 tig welder. I justified the money spent on reliability and local availability of parts and accessories.


Tommy

49 Deluxe Sport Coupe, 4.8/4L60E swap in progress, Blazer rear axle, 4 wheel power disc brakes.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tommyfortynine /album...




 
Maxbigblock 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2738
Maxbigblock
Age: 68
Loc: Stuart, Florida
Reg: 12-16-01
06-18-19 04:25 AM - Post#2768733    
    In response to tommy49

I have been welding most of my life. A good quality welder new or used is a long term investment. Its one of those things that you are better getting something that is a little more than you had planned on spending. If you take care of your stuff, quality tools pay for themselves and cheap tools just cost you money. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a job and your equipment either dies on you are just isn't up to the job that needs to be done.

Max

I'm originally from the ONCE great city of Flint, Michigan. The birthplace of General Motors, where A C Spark Plug was formed and headquartered, where the first Corvettes were hand built, and where my 1955 Chevy was made.



Edited by Maxbigblock on 06-18-19 04:32 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
KShortell 
Senior Member
Posts: 4054
KShortell
Loc: Chesapeake, VA, U.S.A.
Reg: 04-14-01
06-18-19 05:56 AM - Post#2768743    
    In response to Airlifter

One other option is to keep an eye out for private label rebranding of one of the major players' offerings. For example, my Hobart Handler 140 is labeled as a "Weldmark 140 by Hobart Brothers" with the "Hobart Brothers" in small print. Weldmark is a regional welding distributor. Basically, it's a full on Hobart Handler 140 with a sticker package. However, it also allowed me to buy it at a great price because most folks didn't realize what it really was.

While I can run MIG or Flux Core in my unit, I've just been running flux core as I've mostly been doing outside work on fences, trailers, etc. I did weld a bit on my wife's Jeep, though. A bit tricky on sheet metal, but I wasn't welding exterior body panels. Someday, I'll finally get around to obtaining a MIG bottle.

While many folks often recommend a unit larger than you think you need, it is important to be honest with yourself as to what you intend to achieve with a particular unit. Sometimes, we progress on to bigger and bolder projects. Other times, we just have grandiose dreams about building the next supercarrier in our garage. Buy what you'll really need and buy quality. You won't regret that at all.

For example, my '08 Silverado is an LS model, not a W/T or an LT. I love it-- everything I need and nothing I don't.

Good luck!

Semper Paratus
FL05-03 Home Page
Stock is not a dirty word...


 
Brandon Fox 
Poster
Posts: 1

Loc: NEW YORK
Reg: 07-13-19
07-13-19 10:59 PM - Post#2770649    
    In response to KShortell

Thanks for this post. Its helped me.

I’m Brandon creator of fixitmanblog.com where we all learn together the crazy hacks of cutting, brazing, and welding. With a Diploma at Welding, I have spent 10+ years in Welding.


 
stacyjohnna 
Poster
Posts: 1

Reg: 10-20-18
08-07-19 12:13 AM - Post#2772599    
    In response to grumpyvette

I have found one more value for money guide:
https://www.bestreviewslist.com/best-mig-welder/





 
Stephen009 
Poster
Posts: 1

Reg: 11-06-19
11-06-19 09:00 AM - Post#2779670    
    In response to grumpyvette

The number one failure of Best MIG Welding Tools is porosity. The most common cause of porosity is welding a dirty, oily, painted surface. All these contaminants get trapped in the weld, resulting in holes that resemble a sponge. “Farmers too often fail to adequately prepare the metal before welding,” says Miller Electric’s John Leisner. “This includes grinding or removing paint, rust, dirt, and other surface contaminants and also fully grinding out cracks, oftentimes beyond what is immediately visible.”



 
gcrkfrd 
"2nd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 97
gcrkfrd
Age: 72
Loc: Neosho, MO.
Reg: 04-01-18
11-08-19 05:48 AM - Post#2779767    
    In response to Stephen009

I bought one of the little wire welders from Harbor Freight, was on sale for $99, thought it would be good enough for a small project I had. 24 spools of wire later, its still ticking, and runs on the end of a 100" extension cord.



 




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