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  1. #3261
    Super Member California's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    5,750
    Location
    Sonoma County
    Tractor
    Yanmar YM240, YM186D, and another YM186D

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck

    If you weld often, sure. Like a lot of HF stuff the $79 90A welder is just sufficient to get some work done. Nearest comparable Hobart I see is $369 before buying a bottle and gas. (another $100???) Plus more hassle to disassemble and store the better welder. I just lift my welder onto a shelf when I'm not using it.

    Those are two different price (and quality) categories. AC vs DC output, for one example.

    At a price level of $369 plus the bottle for a 'real' welder I would be money ahead just taking my welding projects to a welding shop, if I didn't have the $79 welder.

  2. #3262
    Bronze Member Tchara's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Posts
    77
    Location
    Temple, TX
    Tractor
    Branson 3520R

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck

    I bought it to learn and do small welding jobs around the house. I'm not planning on opening a welding shop anytime soon. I read and viewed several reviews of the HF welder, and most thought it was a good welder for the investment.

  3. #3263
    Super Member California's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    5,750
    Location
    Sonoma County
    Tractor
    Yanmar YM240, YM186D, and another YM186D

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck

    Tchara, that is an adequate welder for small projects. I wouldn't be surprised if it is the model used all over Asia to build the cheap furniture with rough welds for Target and Walmart, etc. As I showed in my photo at the bottom of the previous page, it is capable of some practical work.

    One thing I noticed: the Blue Flame helmet is excellent but it doesn't adjust light enough to see the weld puddle with this little welder. (The helmet's manual says its for 125 amp Flux welder or larger). So working 'blind' is one strike against you starting out, when you are trying to figure out what you are doing. You might look for a helmet with a broader range than anything sold at HF.

    Many beginners start out with a used 220V stick welder from Craigslist etc. You can easily find one for $50 and up for AC models - those were widely sold in the past and there are a lot of them out there. Like this flux welder, the AC welders don't make as smooth welds as proper modern equipment but their advantage is real simple technology that is near indestructible, so an ancient and inexpensive one works just as well as a recent one. The only thing inside them is a huge heavy transformer and a cooling fan. If the transformer works then maintaining the rest of the welder is so simple anyone could do it. Oil the fan annually, and clean connectors if needed. There's nothing else to maintain. A 220V 200A welder will do most anything you need on a farm. (So long as a nice looking weld isn't the top priority). I think this is the type used in WWII shipyards, for an example of a wide application for these. 70 years later a 'modern' cabinet is the only improvement.

    Or - as widely advised here - put up several hundred $ more and buy decent modern equipment. For me, I don't have an application that would justify that.

  4. #3264
    Bronze Member Tchara's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Posts
    77
    Location
    Temple, TX
    Tractor
    Branson 3520R

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck

    Thanks for the input! I noticed with that helmet It was hard to see the work and what I was doing. I thought it was something you had to get used to. I didn't realize there was a difference in helmets. As far as the one I have, is the lower setting going to give me more visibility or a higher setting?

  5. #3265
    Super Member California's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    5,750
    Location
    Sonoma County
    Tractor
    Yanmar YM240, YM186D, and another YM186D

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck

    '9' filter, or setting, is the minimum on HF's helmets but its not low enough for the 90A flux welder. The higher numbers (darker filter) are for higher-current welders.

  6. #3266
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    4,897
    Location
    Washington NC (Inner Banks)
    Tractor
    Kubota L5740, Gravely 8199G

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck

    Well today is my birthday and my wife has agreed to a shopping trip to Harbor Freight. have my coupons printed out, and we are headed there today to see what kind of trouble I can get in, looking for accessories for my new welder. Need a fire blanket, a welding cart, and whatever else they can entice me with. Cautiously optimistic what they have will not be too lightweight, though I wish they had a hundred dollar welding cart instead of a 60 dollar one. Get me interested in the cheap one, but give me a reason to buy better. Not like we are going to overpay in that place as long as everything is on sale or a coupon used. Am interested to check out their powered metal band saws, curious to see if it looks like what Northern Tools sells for the inevitable 30-50% more. I do not want to use a cut off wheel to cut bar metal so sooner or later, I'm going to need something with a motor on it.

    So, armed with the all the good collective wisdom here, I will see what Haifong Harry has to offer me. Now if I could get my wife to then go to Tractor Supply with me, I'd be, well, dreaming... but she likes their gardening stuff so maybe another day.

    Speaking of coupons, here's an interesting HF tidbit. They run different coupon values in different markets. I stopped my car magazines as I can now read online, but what's in the back of Autoweek and most others is a current HF ad, with the best prices. The one ton crane which discounts for 139 is 99 bucks in that car flier. some of the tool benches are also much less.
    So anytime I go to the doctors, I rip out the latest HF ad in the rear pf the car magazines, which is fine with them, and the lowest priced coupons are in there. It's a bit much when they have two "super coupons" out, one 30-50% less. Goes to show the base markup working here...

  7. #3267
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    5,642
    Location
    Ohio
    Tractor
    JD 5520, 790 TLB-- Kub L4300, B7800, MX5100

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck

    daugen---you are correct...different prices in different places and it all changes every 15 minutes. I've seen the one ton crane that you mention for $99 as well as $200 over the past year or so. Same with most everything--I make a mental list and when the pricing bell tolls the right price, I get it. By the way, the two ton crane has a longer reach so is more useful and can be had for around $145 when you get lucky with the "sale" price and have a coupon. Plus get a free tape measure or flashlight to boot.

    What I find interesting is the number of people in the store with no coupon that simply pay retail prices.
    ******

    May I be the kind of person my dogs think I am,

  8. #3268
    Veteran Member chopped's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
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    1,660
    Location
    New England yankeee

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck

    I agree with the wondering about the coupon part.I think many peaople are "above" that.LOL Or think they are.And some of those people might be tickled pink if you offered them one but then a few would feel insulted.I know when I food shop two things come to mind. One is that while I'll hoard the sale items when they are on sale, There has to be people who dont bother with sales and pay 'full' price. That's what makes the deals good.
    Also I think many assume that when i use a credit card, that I cant afford the food and have to pay a credit card interest. Which is just the opposite. I pay in full and get cash back rewards.

  9. #3269
    Platinum Member 3v0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    520
    Location
    Oklahoma Pan Handle, United States
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck

    Quote Originally Posted by chopped
    Which is just the opposite. I pay in full and get cash back rewards.
    LOL we are doing the same. We run everything we can through the silly card. Way back it used to be a predator card where the made it impossible to not pay fees. Now it is our turn.

  10. #3270
    Platinum Member 3v0's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    Posts
    520
    Location
    Oklahoma Pan Handle, United States
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck

    I would love to get a quick hitch at that price but I do not see the 22 inch wide variety I need for my BX. I think someone said they existed at one time.

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