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I'm wanting to buy a small 110 MIG welder. I plan to do simple tack welds and not structural welds. All structural welds I'll have a welding shop do the strong stuff. Anyway, I'm looking at the welders at Harbor Freight. I found these two units.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=6098

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=55247

Would these be good units to start with? If not what should I be looking for?

These discriptions say that they are able to weld with or with out gas. What advantage is there to welding with the gas? How does using gas change the welding process?

I'm kinda welding dumb so any help would be appreciated.
Brian
 

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Your flux-core (non-gas) welds will be quite a bit more brittle and probably not hold up to the rigors of space-travel..er, the rigors of road travel. Some other, smarter folks can probably tell you other reasons to use gas.

I have learned the semi-hard way that 120v Centurys and Hobarts aren't even close to as good as Millers (in my opinion), so I would bet that the Harbor Freights suck. My problem with the Hobart was in the pinch rollers and the arbor for the wire spool, always had a hard time feeding despite new tips and several pinch roller adjustments. Can't remember why I was disappointed with the Century, but I was...been a long time.

As I said, there's people who know a HELL of a lot more than me, these are just my personal experiences. There's probably an opinion or so on metalshapers.org, too.
 

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I actually use that welder (thanks ******) for alot of minor bullshit fabwork. It works good if you have clean seams to start with. The major fallback (besides being fluxcore) to it is there is no amp adjustment. It's either "high" or "low". So it takes some getting used to. But for just tacking shit together it'll do just fine.

The advantage to using gas is that the gas provides a clean "atmosphere" for the weld. Leaving a nice bead, assuming you are using the right setting, metals, etc.. Fluxcore wire is already covered in a shield and elimanates the need for gas. However, fluxcore a lot of times can pop and spit all over if you aren't careful. But I've been able to lay down some clean welds with a fluxcore wire. I still prefer using gas though.
 

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BrianPettit said:
I'm wanting to buy a small 110 MIG welder. I plan to do simple tack welds and not structural welds. All structural welds I'll have a welding shop do the strong stuff. Anyway, I'm looking at the welders at Harbor Freight. I found these two units.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=6098

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=55247

Would these be good units to start with? If not what should I be looking for?

These discriptions say that they are able to weld with or with out gas. What advantage is there to welding with the gas? How does using gas change the welding process?

I'm kinda welding dumb so any help would be appreciated.
Brian
The harbor freight welders are total junk. They arent good for anything. I used one in my upholstery class and it "barely" held the metal frame around the seat springs together. I know I am spoiled with my Miller 251.
The miller 130 is an awesome welder for doing general welding and well worth the price and easily found super cheap on Ebay new from welding shops.

-Jason
 

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I weld for a living, so to speak. I have three electric welders and a torch set. I own an old Millermatic 185 and an old LTEC 250 Migmaster (now ESAB) I would upgrade my Miller in a heartbeat for annother LTEC/ESAB machine. Miller and Hobart are the same company now, no difference in the machines but the knobs and colors.

Never been a fan of Lincoln Welding products, don't like the arc form and adjustability controls. I always feel like I can't quite find the sweet spot.

On the other hand my LTEC is about the smoothest and quietest MIGs I have ever run, and I have run a bunch! LTEC/ESAB is the best machine available in my honest opinon.

I understand some of you guys not having a lot of money, but thowing money at cheap tools doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. And something like a welder, something that should not be a disposable tool, something you should be able to use for years on end and get quality results from every time, I would never skimp on.
 

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ELpolacko said:
... Miller and Hobart are the same company now, no difference in the machines but the knobs and colors.

Never been a fan of Lincoln Welding products, don't like the arc form and adjustability controls. I always feel like I can't quite find the sweet spot.
I have to agree with the Lincoln comments (I think the power settings actually vary while welding, and that's my experience on two 220v units, one digital and one analog), *but I think that Hobarts and Millers are still separate units internally, even though the Hobarts carry a Miller gun. I don't recall ever struggling with a Miller like I did the Hobart. If the smaller units ARE the same, I'll go with a DVI Miller and pay the extra.

*Ford owns Maserati. Know what I mean?
 

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Polock Joe said:
I love the Lincoln 125 for a cheap welder
Maybe $500 is cheap to you. I think it's alot especially if the guys just wants to tack a few things together.

And with a little skill, knowlege, and practice you can make good solid welds with almost any welder.
 

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Joey said:
Maybe $500 is cheap to you. I think it's alot especially if the guys just wants to tack a few things together.

And with a little skill, knowlege, and practice you can make good solid welds with almost any welder.
I think its you can make good looking welds with almost any welder.
 

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2 wheeler said:
I told you thats not a mig.Its a soldering iron .thats why those handle bars keep breaking.guhaaa
I'm going to choke your head the next time I see your punk ass.
 

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I have a cheap Harbor Frieght MIG, using flux core and it works fine for tacking shit together and welding on micellaneous mounts and stuff.
Once you get the hang of the settings, it's not bad. I definitely got my $200 worth out of the thing.
Most weeks I use it more than my pecker.
 

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Lincoln bought century last i heard. I have had a century 100 years ago as my first welder. Dumbest thing ever, the spool didnt feed right, there was a lack of adjustability, lots of splatter. I thought I was the worst welder ever until I finally bought a little Weld-Pak. Still a peice of shit, but way better then my century. I agree that lincoln has some damn stupid controls and I agree that buying a cheap welder is not a good idea. It becomes very frustrating.

I had heard miller bought hobart as well but this is all garage talk I am going off of so what do I know
 

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Most weeks I use it more than my pecker.
ahahahhahhahhahhaaa

I got a craftsman 110 flux core with the option to mount gas. I haven't converted to gas yet. And I haven't really used it on big jobs yet either. But just tacking stuff together works tits. And it was only about $300 brand new.

I will never buy tools from harbor frieght again. I would rather walk into that store, throw my money on the floor and walk out. Then I wouldn't have to throw any of thier shitty tools in my trash can.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well thanks for all the replies fellas. I wanted to let everyone get a chance to chime in here. I don't view the welder as a disposable item. I'm just wondering if this certian one is decent to use. I don't need top of the line because how much I will use it. I pretty much hearing that it is not a good buy. I want to learn to weld better so I guess the better the machine the easier it will be to learn.

Soooo. Pretty much one for the Harbor Frieght, one for the Craftsman, a few for the Lincoln and most for the Miller. If I can scrape together the cash I will go for the Miller.

Thanks again guys.
Brian
 

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BrianPettit said:
Soooo. Pretty much one for the Harbor Frieght, one for the Craftsman, a few for the Lincoln and most for the Miller. If I can scrape together the cash I will go for the Miller.
Well damn, if you have the cash for anything better the the harbor frieght then you should get it. I thought you were in the position to get either the harbor frieght or nothing. As with most tools the better qualitytools you can afford the happier you will be.
 

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I have a friend w/ a barely used Lincoln/MAC 220 for sale. $500 for everything. You'll need to pay shipping...but this is a value at twice the price.

PM me if you want his info. Shipping should be about $50.

Or...you could grow some hair on your chest and buy a Oxy-Acetylene set-up. Gas welding is for champions. Or, maybe it's just for wankers like me who are ludites.
 

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Use the flux core welder for tacks and when the guy that's gonna finish it gets it he will curse you up and down the other side. Nappy did a good job tacking his frame but when trying to weld next to it with a regular mig it acts up. I had to grind the flux core out to get a good weld.

Why give it to someone to finish weld it? get a good welder and learn how to do it yourself. Practice a lot and get someone to look at your practice pieces and tell you if they are good. Welding with a mig is not that hard. 90 percent of it is knowing your heat and wire settings. The biggest tip I can give you is get comfortable when welding. You need to steady your hand.
Clark
 

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My problem was that I was always going to scrape the money together to buy a decent welder. Then when I actually had a little bit of scratch in hand I'd end up with another project car or bike, be broke again, and still have no welder.

Maybe someday I'll save up and buy some willpower?
I finally just bought the cheap piece of shit welder for about one big night's bar tab and now I'm getting practice welding. Just know your limits with it (I think Clark was being overly kind in critiquing my welds here).

Mabye it's just me, but put a bike and a nice welder side by side for the same price and the guy that can't yet weld is gonna get more excited about the bike. That's been my problem.

I guess I'm saying what Joey said- if it's Harbor Freight vs a better welder, by all means step up. If it's Harbor Freight or sitting around wishing you could get metal to stick together, go for it.

My 2 cents anyway.
 
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