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Unread 03-21-2013, 02:56 AM   #1
GODMODEX
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Recommend a decent welder for a beginner...

I was looking at the welders on Harbor Freight, and I was wondering if they are ok for someone looking to use them for small projects, such as welding legs onto some rock sliders, and welding a small hitch mounted spare tire carrier, nothing huge or fancy. I've welded only a couple times, but I have friends who are decent welders that could help me get a better hang of it, and I was wondering if anyone on here has used any of the harbor freight welders. Thanks! like I said, nothing huge just a couple little things I'd rather not have to outsource to someone else, and I would eventually like to fab up a couple other small simple things

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Unread 03-21-2013, 10:27 AM   #2
89yj33
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I have a lincoln 140 that i use with a argon oxygen mix. works great. Do a search this topic has been beaten to death

i had a harbor freight welder, complete crap imho, i returned it that day
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Unread 03-21-2013, 05:03 PM   #3
chinuck
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I recently got a eastwood mig mostly because of the price and most people seem happy with it. Cant really complain about the welder operates well with the flux core im currently using and even my buddy who runs a fabrication shop working with hobarts liked it.
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Unread 03-21-2013, 05:22 PM   #4
GODMODEX
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All I found in my searches was their little $90 welder I'm looking at their 170 amp mig... their return policy and warranty kick *** so I'll just go for it I think
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Unread 03-22-2013, 02:44 AM   #5
wickedwj99
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Dude I got the Lincoln 140 hd I like it but I also bought a Miller matic 211 best of both worlds one machine. Welding on the wj is fun don't burn to many holes. Lol
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Unread 03-23-2013, 03:32 PM   #6
Ezalycasaid
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Never buy a Harbor Freight welder for anything other then spot welds to hold things for mock up. In my experience Harbor Freights motto should be "Harbor Freight, when your life is on the line, it works half the time". The best welder a beginner can buy to learn on is a good one. I started with a Harbor freight $100 welder and it was horrible. I hated ponying up to Hobart Ironman 230 but it really was worth every penny. You can almost bet money on the more a MIG welder costs the easier it is to learn on. You can learn all u want on crappier/cheaper welders but your learning will be misleading. Some of your cheaper ones will have drive rollers that will slip, not have consistent wire feed, have less then adequate ground clamps, and just overall pour mechanical parts. Which will all lead to you trying to get used to welding when it wont be consistent. Im no professional welder by far but I know never to take chances on poor welds because I wanted to save money. Just my .02.
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Unread 03-24-2013, 07:54 AM   #7
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I have the Lincoln 140HD also and I love it. I want to step up a larger unit maybe next year just to do some thicker material or I might just get a TIG next year. Too many decisions, LOL.
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Unread 03-25-2013, 12:30 PM   #8
Kenbo-Slice
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In all seriousness, if you want to learn to weld (I mean really LEARN to weld) save your pennies and get a nice big machine.
Good quality machines are the best to learn on and cheap machines will most likely just frustrate you and potentially scare you away from the trade. Personally, I wouldn't buy a welder that is less than 180amps.

Once you learn how to weld, you'll be a step ahead because you'll already have a quality machine that you can use. That's not saying a quality machine can't be had for cheap. Try looking for a used one locally on craigslist and stick to good names. (Miller, Lincoln or ESAB. I personally, wouldn't buy a Hobart welder unless it's an OLD monster 3-phase TIG)
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Unread 03-25-2013, 11:31 PM   #9
jeeprg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenbo-Slice
Once you learn how to weld, you'll be a step ahead because you'll already have a quality machine that you can use. That's not saying a quality machine can't be had for cheap. Try looking for a used one locally on craigslist and stick to good names. (Miller, Lincoln or ESAB. I personally, wouldn't buy a Hobart welder unless it's an OLD monster 3-phase TIG)
Why not buy Hobart? Have you had bad experience with their machines? Both companies are owned by ITW and a lot of their welders now are rebadged Millers. The Hobarts might have some cheaper parts throughout and I think the MIGs have voltage taps as opposed to infinite controls on Millers, but they are essentially the same. If you are looking for a machine for weekend warrior type stuff Hobart might be the way to go. It's a lot easier to justify spending the extra money on the nicer machine when it will be used for a business and make that money back for you as opposed to sitting in the garage collecting dust until another project comes about for it.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 08:40 AM   #10
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Personal preference on machines, but outside of that: part quality, ease of getting said parts and local following of brands by distributors. I imagine some of it has to do with where the machine is bought but I imagine it's the same type of deal as John Deere. Buying one at Home Depot is not the same as buying one at the local equipment company. The brand is the same but the grade is different. Industrial vs. homeowner grades.

I am not aware of any big box store that sells Miller machines and there is a reason for it. I have used all the big name brands and my favorite to work with are Millers. For what it's worth, I wouldn't buy a Lincoln at Home depot, Sears, Tractor Supply or any other store like them. They are not the same quality of machines that one would purchase at a welding supply shop.

Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks are both owned by Paccar, not all of the parts are shared. There are many companies that have branches off of the same mother company. Quality is not always shared between the branches.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 08:43 AM   #11
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I love Hobart they make good stuff
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Unread 03-26-2013, 10:46 AM   #12
Ironworker709
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenbo-Slice View Post
For what it's worth, I wouldn't buy a Lincoln at Home depot, Sears, Tractor Supply or any other store like them. They are not the same quality of machines that one would purchase at a welding supply shop.
For what it's worth....The ONLY difference is the little shaft that holds the steel drive wheels are plastic.

And they only sell the tap amp range adjustment instead of the continuous adjustment...

Everything else is 100% the exact same machine as the ones from the dealers/distributors.

I've had mine for about 4 years and beat the crap out of it here at home on side money projects and have yet to have ANY problems with it besides needing a new gun liner(19.99 at the local weld supply store) after my son used it and was ran over with my grandson's 50cc 4 wheeler....

I've yet to see anyone complain or need to return them because of these 2 little different parts...

And to be honest..the ONLY gripe i had with mine is the plastic shaft,it was hard to change out the different size wire drive wheels at first,seemed to of stuck on there...a tiny little dab of white lithium grease solved that issue permanantly

And i've used many a Hobart machines in fab shops and feild work in the professional industry work and they run and last just as flawless as any other brands....Hobart machines in my opinion are really under-rated for those who don't know or use them....

You really can't beat the price and quality of those machines for the budget minded backyard/garage fabricators.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 09:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 89yj33 View Post
I have a lincoln 140 that i use with a argon oxygen mix.
Argon oxy mix??
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Unread 03-27-2013, 08:30 AM   #14
jeeprg
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Surely he means C25 as keeping O2 AWAY from the weld is the whole point of shielding gas…
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Unread 03-28-2013, 10:42 AM   #15
GODMODEX
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I have welded before but it's been a second, the friend I'm going half n half with this on is really good at welding as well, and I have a friend with a really nice Lincoln and a Miller as well that I can practice on I suppose, I just have limited access to them because they use them for work. From what I understand with gas, some decent wire etc this welder will do what I need it to do. If it really sucks that bad, harbor freight has a good return policy and I have been eyeing a couple of the lower end hobarts and lincolns, but I will probably give the HF welder a try first. Most of the bad reviews are from people with only their flux welder, or people not running gas it seems like... I've found lots of good reviews online from people using gas and this welder
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