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Thread: Harbor Freight TIG welder review

  1. #1
    Administrator pirate56's Avatar
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    Default Harbor Freight TIG welder review

    I took a ride up to WPB and met GTBeharty today, he bought a harbor freight TIG welder and we exchanged some emails about it. At first glance I was pretty skeptical as to how this shoebox size thing could weld. Since I spent most of my 25 years weldingwith Millers and a few buzz boxes I really did not expect to much. We got it set up and to my surprise this little box puts out a nice steady clean arc. I sold my shop about 10 years ago and haven't welded since but it only took a few minutes to get the feel of it again. We didn't have much scrap to work with but we laid some beads on an ols peice of steel and welded an old saw blade together. The welder has plenty of power for small items and sheet metal, you couls do a pretty good job up to 3/16" with 100% penetration.
    The only draw back to this welder is the lack of HF, which means you have to scratch start it, and it doesnt have a flow meter to regulate the gas flow. However since you won't be using it to build bridges or nuclear submarines it is a moot point!
    If you are thinking about buying a small welder for gun work this is an ideal tool, much better than a MIG welder.

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    hotbarrel's Avatar
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    I am very glad someone posted this. I have been in fovor of this welder for some time. yes the strike arc takes a few to get used to but it is fine. as you said TIG is way better than mig.
    SKShunter has ordered one but dose not have yet, I know he will be very pleased to read your review...
    GUYS anyone on the fence.. the HF T.I.G. is on sale for $199. you can add a zero and then some to that for the price of the tig I bought. this is a great deal comming from HF at 199. unfortunatly for me they did not have it in their catalog till just a few weeks after I bought my miller. I DIFINATLY WOULD HAVE GOT THE H.F. for the cash differance.

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    Gunco Regular tarawa's Avatar
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    Pirate56 is one heck of a welder. He gave me plenty of pointers and I figure That I may be able to try it on a receiver....in about a year or two!!!!!
    gtbehary........ ak builder, hack machinist, nuclear worker and violin huckster!

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    Gunco Member boss429's Avatar
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    That's good news.When they dropped the price from $269 to $199 made me think it may be junk since was already so cheap!

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    Gunco Member Bullet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boss429
    That's good news.When they dropped the price from $269 to $199 made me think it may be junk since was already so cheap!
    What is the duty cylce of that machine (or is it an issue like with Migs)?

  6. #6
    Administrator pirate56's Avatar
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    If I rember at max amps it is 50%, but for the power range you would use for TIG it is near 100%. The machine is surprisingly powerful, at 30% power it puts out a strong, steady clean arc. for gunsmith type welding I don't think you would need more than 30% power. the only thing extra this needs is a flow meter for the gas.

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    BANNED mbadboyz's Avatar
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    That is great news! Yosuthnmasa and I have been looking for a tig welder and this just might be his ticket. That sounds like a good price as well. Thanks for the update and review.

  8. #8
    Administrator pirate56's Avatar
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    I think for the money this can't be beat. I looked at the one miller makes and it is about 7x as much money, it is ac but it doesn't have hf so you have to scratch start it too.
    The only other alternative is to look for a used machine. I had a miller 150 hf when I had my shop and it was a great little welder, I would like to find one of them again.

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    Friend of MCMXI Preacher's Avatar
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    I too have used one of these machines. While I am no welding expert, I had no problems whatsoever. Especially if someone is good at torch welding. Essentially that's what a TIG is, an electric torch. Or at least that's what my experience was.
    You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.
    I Like 1911's.

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    Gunco Member Rule .308's Avatar
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    I'm kind of torn on this one. I'd like to have a decent stick machine and if it could do Tig as well that would be great. To get any kind of name brand machine that will do this you are looking at $900.00+. The guys over at the Welding Web have nothing good at all to say about the Harbor Freight stuff.

    Welding Web review
    Rule .308

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