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Welders....Talk me out of this one..

So, I really have the itch to do some welding and sheet metal fabrication. Been looking at this on Harbor Freight
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=44567+

Any reasons why I shouldn't go with this for my first welder?
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83 944 white w/Boxster wheels
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Old 02-10-2004, 01:29 PM
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One concern I have is the duty cycle rating. It's really bad. 12% at 80 amps means that when you are welding with 80 amps you can only weld for 12% of time which would equal 7.2 seconds out of a minute.
On the plus side it is really cheap.


You get what you pay for.

Examine what your intended use is and decide if this fits your needs. I would opt for a welder with a higher duty cycle. The problem is you normally have to run more power to it. Usually 220 volts. Where as the one you have selected can plug into a normal 15 amp house hold outlet.

Good luck
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1983 944 guards red with 16" Fuchs, Host of Wisconsin area timing/ balance shaft belt tensioning party
1987 944S Purchased from Legion. Corvette LT-1 V-8 conversion with Mega Squirt II
Check on progress ---> www.porschehybrids.com/gallery/speedracing944
Favorite Road = www.tailofthedragon.com 318 turns in 11 miles (11 min 20 sec best run)
Old 02-10-2004, 02:23 PM
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I seeeeee...
Duty cycle finally explained....Thank you.

I am kind of assuming that it is going to be about the same on all of the 110 models?

I DO intend on getting more and better equipment in the future....
....torch set
....nice mig/stick setup
.....eventually tig

Just think this might help me "cut my teeth" a little.

Probably use it for spot welds, patching in panels and brackets that I fabricate. Also wouldn't mind creating the odd "fix" for some of the problems that come up.
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83 944 white w/Boxster wheels
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Old 02-10-2004, 02:27 PM
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It should work for that just as long as you are welding under 3/8" thick metal. The welder looks like it would suit your intended purpose so go for it. Let us know how she works for you. Later after you upgrade you can always sell it. As an after thought double check to see how thick of stock you can weld with it. The thicker the stock the more amps you will need.
I hope this helps.
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1983 944 guards red with 16" Fuchs, Host of Wisconsin area timing/ balance shaft belt tensioning party
1987 944S Purchased from Legion. Corvette LT-1 V-8 conversion with Mega Squirt II
Check on progress ---> www.porschehybrids.com/gallery/speedracing944
Favorite Road = www.tailofthedragon.com 318 turns in 11 miles (11 min 20 sec best run)
Old 02-10-2004, 03:09 PM
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Seems like a good starter set up.
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Old 02-10-2004, 03:28 PM
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Not bad for a starter, but keep in mind it will be money out the window when you decide to move up. The one big problem I see with it outside the limited duty cycle is that the smallest wire you can use is .030. Keep in mind, the thinner the metal the smaller diameter wire is needed to get a good weld with no burn through. Personally I like to use .027 wire for sheet metal, but with practice .030 will work. In addition, I don't think you can add on the gas shielding on this welder so if you want to move up in the future you will have to purchase a new welder. Oh, and flux wire loves to spit at you when you use it!
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Old 02-10-2004, 05:35 PM
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Now theres more great info!


Kurt V!-----no 951 yet....I am surprised
Always good to hear from ya.


I think I may just get this little welder today...got an additional $10 off at the store so its hard to resist.
I will just practice up until I get the hang of it and then go up to a $300-400 unit that has all the bells and whistles......

THanks for all the great advice guys...


Anyone think I should just forget it and start with a torch set-up?
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Old 02-11-2004, 06:03 AM
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It's a flux wire welder that doesn't appear to be upgradeable to a true MIG.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=9011

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=55210

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=4270

Not sure how much you'd want to spend. But I'll tell you now, for learning you want a true MIG. The biggest difference between flux core and MIG welding is the slag. When you are watching your weld and the puddle welding with Flux, what you actually see is the slag build up. After welding, you chip off the slag to see the actual weld you made.

With MIG welding what you see is what you are doing, nothing to chip off afterwards. The gas also helps cool the area as you weld, to keep distortions to a minimal(important for sheet metal and body work).

I'd also do a 220volt if you can. If you don't have a 220 outlet, most garages are located near the laundy room, and the dryer runs on 220. You can make an adapter/extension cord to run the welder(that's what I do).

Also for someone who is learning, I highly recommend an auto dimming helmet. A good auto dimmer you never have to lift up, you can line up your welds, get your hands in place, and start welding without ever lifting or adjusting the helmet.
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Last edited by BlueQuestTSi; 02-11-2004 at 06:53 AM..
Old 02-11-2004, 06:51 AM
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Thanks Jack.....

I know what you speak of is the set-up I really want. I just have the urge to buy the "for now" set-up. It comes complete with helmet etc.

Can't justify the $300 for mig and tank when my 44 needs new rubber...Hmmmm welder or safe tires....hhhmmmmm..

I really have my eye one the #3 link you gave me jack...hobart...very nice. Thanks for all the practical info.



BTW- what is the budget up to on the 83'. I would love to see your progress!
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Old 02-11-2004, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TCMdocs944

Anyone think I should just forget it and start with a torch set-up?
Nope! I own a mig welder and an oxyacetylene setup, I'll tell you right now that with the exception of fine brazing work the torch doesn't get much use. If you're just learning how to weld, get the MIG setup. With a torch you will be burning through panels and warping the hell out of all of your metal, it just doesn't compare to the ease of use you get with a mig or tig setup.
After you get your mig, do NOT, under any circumstance, skimp on the eye protection. Don't EVER weld without it. My mask has a lens that is so dark I can be in a very well lit room and not see anything whatsoever through it. I can look at a burning 100watt lightbulb and see its shape, but that's about it. But I'll tell you, as soon as I strike an arc, it's like the whole world is lit up.
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Old 02-11-2004, 08:31 AM
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I have a simular unit from Cambell/ hausfield from Wallmart and I love it.I have welded exhaust system , mounts, brackets. Even built a full trailer using only this little welder. Its a lot tougher than they say.
I have even welded stainless with it. My only gripe is that the flux wire seems to splatter more than stick welding.
Its a great home unit.
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Old 02-11-2004, 10:19 AM
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Ok....I think I get this one for now then move up later..


Thanks for all of the opinions guys...I love this forum for info ..

I got more good advice today than a month of searches and reading.
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Old 02-11-2004, 10:47 AM
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I think you will do ok with this one as you know its limitations. When you get it go out and find some old metal real estate "for sale" signs. They are about the same gauge metal as the sheet metal on your car. Good material to practice on before you work on the real thing.
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Old 02-11-2004, 12:27 PM
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Just picked up the welder from Harbor Freight...

discount + coupon = $119....Not bad.

Now I just need stuff to practice with.

....Signs seem like a great Idea...
.........Probably try to put a bung or two in some tubing....
............Make a simple bracket or box.....

What would you try to do for a first project?

QUESTION - Anyone know if dissimilar metals can be joined? Or must it be same/same?
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Old 02-11-2004, 02:05 PM
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I have seen a guy new in welding weld together Aluminum and low carbon steel. I am still trying to figure that one out. I would go to an industrial place or a body shop and just ask for scrap steel. They will hand it over quite easily. You can practice on that. Let us know how you like the unit. Give us an update.
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1983 944 guards red with 16" Fuchs, Host of Wisconsin area timing/ balance shaft belt tensioning party
1987 944S Purchased from Legion. Corvette LT-1 V-8 conversion with Mega Squirt II
Check on progress ---> www.porschehybrids.com/gallery/speedracing944
Favorite Road = www.tailofthedragon.com 318 turns in 11 miles (11 min 20 sec best run)
Old 02-11-2004, 03:11 PM
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I will do ...and and update on research...

...So far the dissimilar metal thing seems possible but you view one as the "base material" ie..thicker and more of it , and the other as "what you are attaching to it"

I will post some messed up pictures of my first weld projects and any tips or tricks I learn....Not alot of info about flux-core welding out there.
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Old 02-11-2004, 05:02 PM
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Good luck welding aluminium & steel together! I think Ferrari has a patented process the use for that and it's more like brazing rather than welding. They use a molten metal that sticks to both steel & aluminum.
Old 02-12-2004, 01:33 AM
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From studying....Aluminum seems very tough.

The little mig setup I got will not do it probably..Need argon gas to sheild.

Flux cored mig WILL do very well with sheetmetal though. Saw some photos of a wacky guy making a armor helmet....went throught the whole process and turned out great.
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Old 02-12-2004, 08:50 AM
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For thin steel, I prefer brazing, much cleaner results and you don't heat up the metal as much, making it brittle at the edges of the welds (carbon migration).

Also to weld aluminum, you need AC power, not DC like MIG. So a TIG would be much, much better for aluminum. Good test is to weld beer cans together; can't do that with MIG.
Old 02-12-2004, 12:36 PM
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When I get a proper garage/shop I am going for a MIG/TIG/Stick setup that I saw for $995....Can't remember the catalog....TIG is sooooo sweet!

Also a torch set-up will mysteriously show up in the shop as well.....

....Don't you need one for anealing(softening) panels before you beat them? Also cutting, braising, etc....?
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Old 02-12-2004, 01:51 PM
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