A note about harbor freight welders

Ask questions about Harbor Freight trailers, or questions about building your own...

A note about harbor freight welders

Postby Thelgord » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:34 pm

I have had the 90 amp a/c mig welder for a little over two years. It's actually been a good little welder for what it is. I have made a roof rack for my truck and a cargo basket for a utility trailer with it. I have also made some smaller pieces and have done some minor repair work with it. The best I could do with it, and get a solid weld, was 14 ga steel tubing. Even though it worked very well for that, the machine was almost maxed out. Yes there are mods you can do, and adding a rectifier helped, but it was still limited and they tend to burn out. I didn't feel comfortable welding on my trailer frame with it, so I waited.

Last week I purchased the mig 170. This thing is a beast. Even though I am still running flux core, I get far more penetration. My trailer frame and tongue are 1/8" wall tubing. Fortunately I started with a test piece. My first settings blew a hole clean through the wall, and I wasn't even maxed out. After getting some practice in, I found the right settings and went to work. I have tried everything I can think of, short of causing actual damage, to break or crack the welds. These are solid, and for the first time, my welds actually looked really good.

Yes the 170 amp can use gas, but a bottle and a regulator is another $150 not counting the gas, so I don't have that yet. My advice for those looking to make their own frame, and are considering a harbor freight welder, skip the 90/120 amp and get the 170. It is so much more welder and will handle anything you can throw at it. I even welded two scraps of 1/4" angle just to see if it would. No issues.

Now I just have to wait for the new leaf springs from etrailer and I will have a functioning trailer again, even though I haven't started the camper part yet.
Thelgord
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:09 pm

Re: A note about harbor freight welders

Postby mgb4tim » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:19 pm

I used one the 90-amp HF welders for years. Last fall it dies, but I stumbled upon an unused 140-amp Lincoln welder for $350 on CL.

Night - and day... Maybe it's the Lincoln brand flux core wire, but much cleaner welds.

The new one came with a regulator, so I'll eventually invest in a tank, and enjoy less expensive wire, and hopefully even cleaners welds. I'll keep the flux core around for outdoor, windy jobs.
mgb4tim
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:05 pm

Re: A note about harbor freight welders

Postby Socal Tom » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:51 pm

mgb4tim wrote:I used one the 90-amp HF welders for years. Last fall it dies, but I stumbled upon an unused 140-amp Lincoln welder for $350 on CL.

Night - and day... Maybe it's the Lincoln brand flux core wire, but much cleaner welds.

The new one came with a regulator, so I'll eventually invest in a tank, and enjoy less expensive wire, and hopefully even cleaners welds. I'll keep the flux core around for outdoor, windy jobs.

the HF welders are junk. I had one too, its not the wire. The name brands have much cleaner welds. I assume they have more consistent power. I often recommend HF tools to people, but not the welders.
Tom

Sent from my Lenovo A7600-F using Tapatalk
Socal Tom
Donating Member
 
Posts: 935
Images: 9
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:21 am
Location: San Diego Ca
Top

Re: A note about harbor freight welders

Postby Dale M. » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:22 am

I have a Hobart Handler 140 and run shield gas (C25) and solid wire (GMAW) and won't eve go down the aisle in HF where welders are, they are really poor machines only made to sell cheap... Will not buy any Chinese wire or welding products... IF you spend the money for shield gas and regulator and solid core wire, I'll bet you will never go back to fluxcore again except our of necessity to weld out side in breeze...

Dale
Lives his life vicariously through his own self.

Any statement made by me are strictly my own opinion.
You are free to ignore anything I say if you do not agree.

Image
User avatar
Dale M.
2000 Club
2000 Club
 
Posts: 2647
Images: 18
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2005 8:50 pm
Location: Just a tiny bit west of Yosemite National Park
Top

Re: A note about harbor freight welders

Postby Thelgord » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:06 pm

Almost all of my welding is done outside. Part of the reason I am not in a hurry to get a regulator. I a smallish tool shed and a 10x18 concrete pad I work on. I have tried welding inside the shed, it's a bit tight, but ok for small pieces.
Thelgord
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:09 pm
Top

Re: A note about harbor freight welders

Postby working on it » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:21 pm

Thelgord wrote:Almost all of my welding is done outside. Part of the reason I am not in a hurry to get a regulator. I a smallish tool shed and a 10x18 concrete pad I work on. I have tried welding inside the shed, it's a bit tight, but ok for small pieces.

Me too. Actually, all of my welding has been outside, where I can see any stray hot metal and douse it immediately with the garden hose. I've got three sheds (full of junk collected by my wife), and the three bay garage (full-up with automotive gear & parts, my TTT, my Chevelle, and one bay usually filled with furniture, as I am re-building the rafters/joists one room at a time). I wait until the south breeze dies down, close the trailer bay door, and weld with the wind blowing toward the closed door. Somewhat limiting, but that's the method, so far. My Northern Industrial (Northern Tool) 110v flux-core welder is probably similar to the HF model, but never seems to reach its duty-cycle limits, and I'm pleased with it. It is a stand-in for a Northern Industrial 220v stick welder, until I get better 220v wiring to my garage. But, still, I need to set up a safe space to weld anyway, before going to a bigger, better welder, and large projects.
limited welder, limited space, limited projects.png
limited welder, limited space, limited projects.png (436.32 KiB) Viewed 373 times
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
  • 147697148333
  • 148599125895148106
User avatar
working on it
1000 Club
1000 Club
 
Posts: 1510
Images: 427
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:05 pm
Location: DFW Texas
Top

Re: A note about harbor freight welders

Postby Thelgord » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:25 pm

I have been tearing down a trailer and putting it back together. The 170AMP welder was just what I needed. Finally got the tongue reattached and the axle back under it. All I have left is attach the lights and make a set of fenders and I have a good utility trailer again. My wife has convinced me that I need a utility trailer, and really she is right. The five foot bed on my Tacoma is great and all, but when hauling lumber I really need a trailer.

Now that I am getting used to extra amps from the 170AMP welder, I feel completely confident in my ability to make another trailer from scratch. This time it will be the dimensions I want rather than trying to adjust my designs for my TD to a trailer that is just a bit too far off to do correctly.
Thelgord
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:09 pm
Top


Return to Trailer and Chassis Secrets

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest