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Harbor Freight Welder

This topic contains 24 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  MTRoads 3 hours, 57 minutes ago.

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  • #656180

    MTRoads
    Pro
    Near Glacier National Park, MT

    Anyone in the states have the Vulcan ProTIG™ 165 Welder with 120/240 Volt Input from Harbor Freight?

    I have a desire (and need) to learn some basic welding, the main task at this point is welding some brackets on a utility trailer for lights.

    Another project will be welding brackets on the back of a boat trailer I recently bought in order to put a full-width roller on the back and possibly a different ‘bed’ on the trailer for the McKenzie river boat being built in the shop.

    No experience welding to speak of, but I think I have enough projects to support buying a small welder that can handle the small jobs around the shop.

    Anyone have this welder, and if so – what do you think of it?

    Stan
    From the Northwest corner of Montana.

    #656871

    MTRoads
    Pro
    Near Glacier National Park, MT

    How about any of the Harbor Freight welders, any suggestions?

    Stan
    From the Northwest corner of Montana.

    #656882

    Not experienced with TIG, but by the jobs you are describing, a MIG might suit your needs better. TIG has to have an absolutely clean surface, can be affected by wind and breezes while a MIG is much more forgiving and easier to use. More of a point and shoot with MIG, particularly some of the newer digital ones. Don’t discount flux core either. It may not be the greatest method, but it will stick 2 pieces of metal together. Oh, and I think MIG machines are generally less expensive too.

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #656938

    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    It will probably be fine for what you want. We bought one for my stepson for Christmas a few years back and he hasn’t had any problems. I am by no means a expert but mig welding is pretty easy. Get the flux core wire or you will have to have a gas cylinder also. The gas gets a cleaner weld with less slag.

    #657032

    MTRoads
    Pro
    Near Glacier National Park, MT

    Ok, so it sounds like a Mig rig (see what I did there) is the way for me to go starting off.
    HF has the MIGMax 215 120/240 so as soon as our store opens here (it’s framed in at this point, should only be another month or two) I’ll have to see about picking one up.
    Thanks for the input.

    Stan
    From the Northwest corner of Montana.

    #657036

    There are a lot of reviews on that little MIG welder, on and off You Tube, and from what I have seen people seems to think it works well for a guy just starting out learning to weld in his own shop. On top of that, it doesn’t cost a bunch.

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #657081

    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    On top of that, it doesnโ€™t cost a bunch.

    That is the thing, great piece to learn on and then if you stick with it then you you can upgrade. Best way to learn how to weld though is an adult education course in welding. Check you local technical college for a night course.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #657098

    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    I am in pretty much the same ballpark as you Stan. No experience welding, but it’s something that I’d like to learn how to do. I was thinking of that one as well. Thanks for starting the topic. I am wondering what setup some of the more experienced welders on this site are using also. But I definitely think an entry level unit is the way I’ll start out. I like the idea of taking a course as well. I know there are schools around me that do it.

    #657153

    MTRoads
    Pro
    Near Glacier National Park, MT

    @mrfid, yeah – getting ideas from others was the main point although I did specify the HF units above. If others have information on similarly priced entry level units I’d like to hear about those also.

    I have a feeling if I had a small welder, and a bit of training – it would be put to good use. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Stan
    From the Northwest corner of Montana.

    #657234

    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    Arc welding is the easiest to learn first then with the basics you can move to wire feed welder. Best to learn how to stitch two pieces of thick metal together to get the basics. Trying to learn on sheet metal and you keep blowing through it.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #657240

    Arc welding is the easiest to learn first then with the basics you can move to wire feed welder. Best to learn how to stitch two pieces of thick metal together to get the basics. Trying to learn on sheet metal and you keep blowing through it.

    Yeah, sheet metal is a totally different beast to weld. You use more of a series of tack welds instead of running a bead. Space each tack far apart so the heat doesn’t build up and warp the material and keep going like that until all the tacks meet up.

    Stick welding is pretty forgiving of dirty material and once you have that down other types come easier. TIG is probably the hardest and is like oxy-fuel welding where you have a rhythm with the torch hand and another rhythm with the filler rod, plus you control the amperage with your foot. TIG needs very clean metal but has very little to no spatter and great penetration.

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #657260

    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    I have a feeling if I had a small welder, and a bit of training โ€“ it would be put to good use.

    Haha for sure. Me too. Keep us updated on your progress. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it when you get it.

    #657264

    smallerstick
    Pro
    Listowel, ON

    I have a feeling if I had a small welder, and a bit of training โ€“ it would be put to good use.

    I hear you on that. It’s been a long time since I did any welding; my experience was mainly gas welding but I have used stick a few times. I tried MIG a couple of times; my BIL has a new one, but it would take some getting used to.

    I know that, if there was a welder in my shop, it would be put to good use, too. I will be following your experience very closely.

    Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm.
    ...... Winston Churchill

    #657267

    Sorpa
    Pro
    Pierrefonds, Qc

    TIG is too pretentious to start learning to weld.
    As Jim said you need very clean surfaces, no wind, and above all :experience.
    MIG I think is the easiest way to start welding. And, given your described projects you don’t need gas.

    #657344

    MTRoads
    Pro
    Near Glacier National Park, MT

    Ok, thanks for all the input. After reading through the comments and looking at the different rigs available through harbor freight it appears these are my options.

    1. Get a low end stick/arc welder to start learning on and then upgrade later.
    2. Get a Mig setup to start with and possibly take a bit longer with the learning curve.
    3. Spend more and get the Multi-Processor Mig, Tig and Stick welder.

    A bit more research and then either wait for a road trip to the nearest location with a Harbor Freight – or wait for the one to open here in the spring.

    Stan
    From the Northwest corner of Montana.

    #658531

    MTRoads
    Pro
    Near Glacier National Park, MT

    Think I found another ‘need’ for a welder, saw a firewood/kindling splitter in the hardware store the other day that should be a good starting project to learn on – and a useful gadget once completed.

    Stan
    From the Northwest corner of Montana.

    #658575

    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    Ok, thanks for all the input. After reading through the comments and looking at the different rigs available through harbor freight it appears these are my options.

    1. Get a low end stick/arc welder to start learning on and then upgrade later.
    2. Get a Mig setup to start with and possibly take a bit longer with the learning curve.
    3. Spend more and get the Multi-Processor Mig, Tig and Stick welder.

    A bit more research and then either wait for a road trip to the nearest location with a Harbor Freight โ€“ or wait for the one to open here in the spring.

    i’ve been stuck in the same position. I have a few projects I would love to weld but I don’t have a welder and I have to wait till spring before i start running 240

    #658625

    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    You too r-ice, looks like the welder fever is catching on. Nice to see guys interested in welding.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #658641

    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    You too r-ice, looks like the welder fever is catching on. Nice to see guys interested in welding.

    oh i’ve been thinking about it for a while, but since i’ve moved, i don’t have a 240 outlet anymore, I also gotta work on getting my shop up and ready, unfortunately the shop is slightly smaller at the new place. It was the price to pay for an amazing yard, maybe i’ll end up building a shop in the back and running electricity out there. I have been wanting to get in to welding for a while, its just which one do you pick up, the prices for the welders just keep fluctuating, I am looking at the everlast machines, but if the HF ones work just as well, id like to keep some money for material.

    #658700

    MTRoads
    Pro
    Near Glacier National Park, MT

    Lacking in a second 240V line where a welder could be plugged in here also. Figured the 120/240 units could just be used on thinner stock using the 120V setting to get started learning.

    I see they state on most that using an extension cord is not recommended. Unfortunately, my 240V line is about 16′ from the door to the shop – so that’s not going to work out to start with.

    Stan
    From the Northwest corner of Montana.

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