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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Does anyone know anything about this welder? Harbor Freight had it on sale for $60 and sales person said they were selling fast.
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I have an arc welder for heavy things but was looking for something for smaller, thinner pieces of metal that the arc welder blows holes in.

I can be a real sucker for a seemingly good deal. I guess time will tell how this works out.
 

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I have one of those, very basic. It helps if you have previous welding experience with thinner material. With only two amperage settings it is easy to put too much heat too quickly thus blowing holes. Variable flux wire feed rate can overcome some of this but experience and Youtube videos can help. Have been watching Full Custom Garage show on TV where fabricator Ian Roussel does amazing things stitching the sheet metal bodywork together with a wire feed. Quick pulses followed by a cool down pause seems to be the key to success.
 

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So Joe, you are in the know: How important is having quality flux wire? Have heard anecdotes that those cheap Harbor Freight welders benefit from upgrading wire from that which comes with the Harbor Freight unit...Trying to save elime from spending much more than $60 on the welder.:D I do like their auto-darkening helmet.
 

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I have a harbor freight welder and can verify the wire it comes with suxs. Get Lincoln flux core wire much better. Yes gas is better but more $$ and you need a tank, then get gas, oh crap ran out in middle of project. Darn now I want 2 tanks more $$ lol. I use pam spray to help splatter not stick so much. Yep, clean... metal is very important.
 

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My use of flux core is minimal. After a little experimenting with flux core, I made the switch to shielding gas. Much happier. I don't weld enough to worry about the tank running out quickly. I am careful to make sure the valve is off when the job is finished. Been several years in the same tank of gas. I am very happy with my setup.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the advice. I will do as suggested and get Lincoln wire and Pam spray when I finally get around to using it. I have an arc welder for the big clunky things so I have some welding experience but I am far from being good at it. As often as not I grind a weld off and do it again.

I agree, gas would be better but for 60 bucks how can I go wrong? (Ha ha, famous last words.)
 

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I've got one. I like it quite a bit for small jobs. Nice to be able to carry it pretty mcuh anywhere and plug it into 110 and go to work. I will also suggest replacing the wire that comes with it with some name brand quality wire. That by itself will help get good welds out of it. You aren't going to be building battleships with it but it will do a surprising number of jobs around the house.
 

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elime:

If you have been using an stick welder you will really like using a "squirt gun" welder. Can't give any experience with the HF. I use a Hobart 210 MVP (gas shleld) for the last couple years to mod my Jeep and build it's cage. Love it but it has voltage taps instead of continuous adjustment like the 210 Miller. One thing a flux-core is better at than gas shield is outdoor welding in a breeze when your shielding gas gets blown away! Like the others said, get the best wire you can. Clean metal is key. Flap discs and acetone are your friend. Weld as much and as often as you can, other than having and experienced welder by your side, get into a CC class or watch a lot of videos. I love watching this guy Jody on weldingtipsandtricks dot com.

Mike
 

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I hate to be the nay-sayer of the group but personally i would return that thing for something better. The biggest issue you are going to find with it is its AC output not DC. Lets just say that for wire feed flux core welding AC current is sub optimal. With DC you will get superior penetration and much cleaner welds. It also has no gas option, minimal heat controls and only 90 amps which is simply not enough.

A buddy of mine bought one of these and he ended up returning it. Bottom line is it was hard to get anything better than cold spattered welds with the thing and it really struggled on 1/8" thick steel to get even a reasonably strong weld. I have a lot of welding experience and i could not get a decent weld from it, neither could my father who was a certified welder with decades of experience. I own a portable Hobart 140 and its a superior welder to this HF one, yes its a lot more money but you get what you pay for... I find that little Hobart is decent but about as low on the power scale as i would want. at 140A its still limited as to what it can do. for up to 3/16" mild steel its fine and it has the option for gas. I personally am not a fan of flux core at all unless conditions dictate it.
 

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It is not worth the frustration to not have a decent welder. Spend the money to get a welder that has some heat settings so you can weld light tin to making a single pass on 3/8. You will have it for many years and will be able to do jobs that you would not have though of as you get better aquainted with laying a good bead. I have a lincoln wirefeed with co2 that I have had since the mid 70's. Built many trailers, winch frames, truck beds with hoists and repairs on my tractors. You will not be disappointed.
 

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I have this welder as well. Does fine for small jobs. I replaced the bracket on my TW that the cyclerack attaches to with it. Used it to attach some hog panel to a gate for the goat pen. Like I said it's fine for small jobs and a learning tool. I would love to have a 3-5 hundred dollar machine but I don't do enough welding to justify it. My arc welder has done quit on me after sitting for several years unused. I say buy it and play around with it, and if you think it's something you like to do and have a need for larger projects then upgrade.
 

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Sure the Harbor Freight item is a cheap limited use item but remember that the Original Poster stated he has a stick welder for bigger jogs, has no intention of becoming a professional welder for the next 20 years and likes a bargain. So we should tell him to spend $800 instead? Sure, the best stuff certainly is the best stuff but lesser stuff can also work. After all this is a Yamaha TW200 Forum, not a BMW Z8 forum.
As far as TW repairs go my equivalent "garbage" unit has so far repaired three broken welds on two different CycleRacks, repaired two crossmember that the cycle rack attaches to, replaced an entire crossmember and knocked together an entire replacement subframe from 1/2 square tubing. So with care one can accomplish some good for less than the cost of a single professional welder's fee for any one of these repairs.
 

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Sure the Harbor Freight item is a cheap limited use item but remember that the Original Poster stated he has a stick welder for bigger jogs, has no intention of becoming a professional welder for the next 20 years and likes a bargain. So we should tell him to spend $800 instead? Sure, the best stuff certainly is the best stuff but lesser stuff can also work. After all this is a Yamaha TW200 Forum, not a BMW Z8 forum.
As far as TW repairs go my equivalent "garbage" unit has so far repaired three broken welds on two different CycleRacks, repaired two crossmember that the cycle rack attaches to, replaced an entire crossmember and knocked together an entire replacement subframe from 1/2 square tubing. So with care one can accomplish some good for less than the cost of a single professional welder's fee for any one of these repairs.
So true, we all have different needs. Us do it yourselfers save a lot of cash staying away from local shops.
 

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I can guarantee this guy doesn't use a Harbor Freight $60 Special.:D

If you want to see some awesome metalwork check out any of this TV series. Finally a reality show that actually shows the build being entertainingly explained. If Ian wasn't such a nice guy I would hate him for how expertly he free-hands a perfect cut with an angle grinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
paint is your enemy......... duty cycle very important.......20% = two minutes of welding out of 10...or burn down...lololo
That is 2 minutes out of 10 at maximum output. None of my welding lasts 2 minutes. Everything else, the cleaning and the setup may take forever but the actual welding is done quickly.

BTW, how is Messer welding wire?
 

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No experience with that welder.
Been welding for 40 yrs.
As long as the rollers are adjusted correctly and the duty cycle is followed, there should be no major issues with that welder.

Do use the best wire. Nothing beats quality wire, especially outdoors.
Everyone that has responded has given great advice.
Jody at weldingtipsandtricks.com is a great guy that shares all his experience.
I buy all my TIG consumables from him.

elime:

If you have been using an stick welder you will really like using a "squirt gun" welder. Can't give any experience with the HF. I use a Hobart 210 MVP (gas shleld) for the last couple years to mod my Jeep and build it's cage. Love it but it has voltage taps instead of continuous adjustment like the 210 Miller. One thing a flux-core is better at than gas shield is outdoor welding in a breeze when your shielding gas gets blown away! Like the others said, get the best wire you can. Clean metal is key. Flap discs and acetone are your friend. Weld as much and as often as you can, other than having and experienced welder by your side, get into a CC class or watch a lot of videos. I love watching this guy Jody on weldingtipsandtricks dot com.

Mike
 
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