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 Post subject: Harbor Freight welders
PostPosted: February 7, 2014, 2:39 am 
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Joined: November 11, 2013, 2:11 pm
Posts: 97
Location: Frankfort, KY(for now)
Tell what y'all think about harbor freight welders. I have a 90 amp flux core welder from harbor freight that my dad brought for me for my 16th birthday and I've built 4 board track racers with it without any welds breaking(the frame tubes were 1 1/2 x .120 DOM tubing.) I'm trying to work up the money to upgrade to a more powerful welder.


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PostPosted: February 7, 2014, 10:43 am 
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Joined: October 24, 2008, 2:13 pm
Posts: 4046
Location: Carlsbad, California, USA
jazz2561 wrote:
Tell what y'all think about harbor freight welders. I have a 90 amp flux core welder from harbor freight that my dad brought for me for my 16th birthday and I've built 4 board track racers with it without any welds breaking(the frame tubes were 1 1/2 x .120 DOM tubing.) I'm trying to work up the money to upgrade to a more powerful welder.


I started out building the infrastructure for my build with that same H/F welder. On 0.120 material, it obviously can be made to work, but on 16 gauge (assuming you use that more or less standard Locost material), you'll find it a real challenge. Flux core is too hot and it's very easy to burn through. Besides, the slag clean-up is going to be totally annoying.

Next, I tried a good quality, but old fashioned and simple, scratch start TIG welder. For several reasons, it was too slow and too awkward for me as a new welder, especially in some of the tight joints on a Locost chassis.

Last, I bought a 110V, Miller 140, MIG welder and that was the ticket. You can tack easily and quickly (not true with TIG in most areas of the chassis), it welds "out of position" easily, is very fast and is also highly adjustable. Once I switched to 0.023 wire, the quality of my welds on light tubing went up quickly. The good, adjustable welder and the smaller wire provides very subtle control and then it's a matter of dialing things in to your personal attributes such as hand speed and welding style (circles, half-moon, back and forth, etc.).

Some guys have success with the automatic settings feature on the Miller 140 and some people like me prefer to do lots of coupons and testing to find the right combination. I'd highly recommend a switch to a machine like the Miller 140 or similar machine from another quality welding manufacturer. The welder will be to you as a Locost fabricator what a hammer is to a carpenter - you want to make sure you have a good one. Your welder is one tool you shouldn't skimp on IMHO.

Cheers,

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: February 7, 2014, 4:39 pm 
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Joined: November 11, 2013, 2:11 pm
Posts: 97
Location: Frankfort, KY(for now)
Lonnie-S wrote:
jazz2561 wrote:
Tell what y'all think about harbor freight welders. I have a 90 amp flux core welder from harbor freight that my dad brought for me for my 16th birthday and I've built 4 board track racers with it without any welds breaking(the frame tubes were 1 1/2 x .120 DOM tubing.) I'm trying to work up the money to upgrade to a more powerful welder.


I started out building the infrastructure for my build with that same H/F welder. On 0.120 material, it obviously can be made to work, but on 16 gauge (assuming you use that more or less standard Locost material), you'll find it a real challenge. Flux core is too hot and it's very easy to burn through. Besides, the slag clean-up is going to be totally annoying.

Next, I tried a good quality, but old fashioned and simple, scratch start TIG welder. For several reasons, it was too slow and too awkward for me as a new welder, especially in some of the tight joints on a Locost chassis.

Last, I bought a 110V, Miller 140, MIG welder and that was the ticket. You can tack easily and quickly (not true with TIG in most areas of the chassis), it welds "out of position" easily, is very fast and is also highly adjustable. Once I switched to 0.023 wire, the quality of my welds on light tubing went up quickly. The good, adjustable welder and the smaller wire provides very subtle control and then it's a matter of dialing things in to your personal attributes such as hand speed and welding style (circles, half-moon, back and forth, etc.).

Some guys have success with the automatic settings feature on the Miller 140 and some people like me prefer to do lots of coupons and testing to find the right combination. I'd highly recommend a switch to a machine like the Miller 140 or similar machine from another quality welding manufacturer. The welder will be to you as a Locost fabricator what a hammer is to a carpenter - you want to make sure you have a good one. Your welder is one tool you shouldn't skimp on IMHO.

Cheers,

lol at least you know it was welding the 14 gauge with no problems


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PostPosted: February 8, 2014, 1:08 am 
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Joined: October 19, 2009, 9:36 pm
Posts: 2139
Location: meadview arizona
i have a seeley 180 amp mig, i have had it for more than 20 years its 220-240 volt, this welder has kept me in good standing for a long time and does all i ask of it.

quality costs money son, i have used other welders but it's like an old pair of slippers.

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this story shall the good man teach his son,
and chrispin chrispian shall ne'er go by,
from this day to the end of the world.
but we in it shall be remembered.


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PostPosted: February 10, 2014, 10:01 am 
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Joined: August 12, 2012, 6:38 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: worcester county, Massachsetts
I started the B-3 frame with my Oxy-Acetylene gas torches back in july of '10, but soon scored a new-in-the-box Northern Tools MIG-135 off of EBay for a measly $180 that september.

It was pretty cake to setup and use (I'd done MIG before, though with 20+ year hiatus). I figured out best wire speeds for the various materials (the supplied recommended speeds were a bit off), and marked them on the dial with a sharpie. I routinely weld all the way up to its 3/16s steel limit, though the thicker plate and tube like a nice-red-hot preheat before striking the spark. on the usual 16 ga tube and .125 plate its got plenty of initial juice.

I have every confidence I will wear out on the car building before it does.

THe northern tool unit is in about the same steel case as a Hobart, and a couple other non-miller/lincoln brands, which of course makes me wonder that they all have the same initial oriental provenance - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The HF welder reviews seem okay, and their return policy is pretty good...I have to admit I'm gathering a fairly significant HF tool collection, and I am not displeased with any of them, so far.

at some point I will likely upgrade to a 180 amp welder (would be nice to not have to impose on my auto-shop buddy for the use of his 180 amp lincoln whe I need to welld .25 thick and above) and the HF unit will be on the short list.

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The B-3 build log: http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=13941

The Jag Special Build Log: http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=19012


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