what about the cheapo welders at harbor frieght

mattskanNovember 27, 2004

I am not a welder. I am I happy homeowner who thinksit might be useful to have a welder for those litle repairs around the house . A harbor frieght store just opened up near here and I am intigued by the welders. Mig or arc I read where both are recommended for beginners . What do you guys think of the chepos?


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Just my opinion, you would be better off with 220V for either. Mig is easier to learn, beads generally looks neater that beginners have done, and is better on thinner materials, I like stick for heavier metals and the ability to weld metal that is rusty or painted without having to grind it bare.
If you look around you can usually find a good used 220V stick welder like one of the older Lincoln toombstone type within reason. Then there are the accessories, hoods, auto darkening is good, rods, etc. etc. Important, learn and observe the safety issues. Others will probably have additional thoughts and there is another thread or two on this same forum with more detail.
Good luck with what ever you choose and let us know how you do.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 7:32AM
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Note.... A cheap Mig is not easy to learn...
I weld for a living and I have a friend that bought a cheap Mig and I cant weld a good weld with that welder for nothing... A good Mig is easy to use, but not cheap...
Buy a 220 arc welder and you will get more for your money...

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 8:18AM
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i dont know if its considered cheap or not, but i bought a 110 clarke mig unit, 10 yrs ago, and built two race car chassis with it. paid 289.00 at a farm store for it. i did modify it with a cooling fan to extend the duty cycle

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 5:38AM
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I haven't used any of the cheap welders, but have used a couple of 110 v migs(Miller and Lincoln) and they don't compare to my 220 v Miller mig( $852 w/ 20 yr lease on the gas bottle). It is 175 amps and I am totally pleased with it, even on thicker materials provided I vee it before welding. A good stick welder can be had for a lot less, but for what you say want to do, I'd buy the mig because it is so much easier to weld thin metal. That's my 2 cents for what it's worth.
Mike A

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 9:06AM
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Bill H:

Are you my almost twin? I bought a 100 amp Clarke welder from Kitts Surplus Sales in Detroit about the same time. I also added a small computer cooling fan for the same reason. It's amazing how well that thing welds and it's only a 110 volt unit. The fan keeps the rectifiers cooled down so the cut-out doesn't open up. I still try to schedule my welds so I don't go too far overboard on duty cycle. 1/4 inch steel is no problem for it. I bought a flowmeter for it to keep from wasting gas. The regulator supplied with the welder works ok, but I like to be a little more precise.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 4:38PM
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I recall that my welding instructor said that he liked Millers better than Lincolns.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2004 at 3:20AM
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Lincoln is a good welder, I have a Lincoln gasoline welder/6KW genset that I bought used. The thing I don't like about Lincoln is the way the people are whipsawing each other on the assembly line. They can work as long as they want, as fast as they want. If they want to work through their scheduled breaks and lunch periods they can do that. The company makes out really well because they can get people to produce more for less and not have to pay overtime or hire more people to get more production. When you have a company like Lincoln run a production line like this without agreements over work output and time schedules, you create conditions that only serve to turn what remains of our industrial base into 25 cent an hour Chinese sweatshops. We're in a race to the bottom and that bottom isn't too far away.

On almost every construction jobsite in Michigan, the only welder you will find is a Miller welder. Lincoln and Hobart are hard to find. The pros know what is best.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2004 at 11:04AM
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hey gooseberry guy, those clarke welders work good for the money dont they. i used about a 4 inch 110 fan on the side of mine. bought mine in lima oh. but i now live in the detroit area. small world huh

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 12:00AM
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Bill, Hey.

Since you're in the Detroit area, you've probably been to Kitts Surplus in Livonia. I hate to go there since I always wind up with another 50 bucks on the charge card. I haven't been there for a while since I'm about 5 hours north. I'll probably have to get down there for another tool "fix" soon.

I managed to fit my fan on the rear panel, top left looking at the rear. There's just enough room to fit a muffin fan and finger guard in there. It's amazing what a little extra ventilation will do!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 10:34AM
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HELLO FOLKS, I am a beginner welder, and can't seem to find the "Weld Puddle." I have a Cheap ASTRO auto darkening helmet, and the Harbor Freight, 120v 90amp EASY-MIG flux core wire welder. I can't seem to penatrate the metal.
HELP ... ... Thanks-To-All, Jim.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 9:50AM
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Pooh Bear

I'm not a welder either.
I got a Harbor Freight Arc110 stick welder thru Ebay for $5.
That was a couple or three years ago.
It works fine for my occasional use. I use it on 220 volt.

For big welding jobs it lets me tack everything in position
and then take it to a welding shop to be welded solid.
This saves money by fitting up and positioning it myself.

Plus I have been able to do a few small jobs.
I welded a hay ring back together, and a gate.
I welded something on my brother's 4 wheeler.
I welded the drag links end on my neighbors tractor.
So my welder is great for the occasional small job.
Even practicing is fun. I burn rods and learn at the same time.

I see no problem for someone who is "not a welder" to buy
one of these units. It let me try out for cheap whether or
not I really wanted to try my hands at welding. Some day
I may move up to one of the bigger name brands.
For now I'm happy with my little $5 "el cheapo" HF Arc110.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 8:58AM
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