View Full Version : Spot Welders?
05-25-2006, 06:43 PM
Has anyone had good results with a spot welder other than the Harbor Freight/Chicago Electric brand? Ebay has a couple of diferent brands at any given time- Anyone had luck with these?
I was up in the Twin Cities for a meeting yesterday. Afterwards, I went to the Harbor Freight store (off Central Ave) to buy the 110v spot welder, on sale plus I had a 20% off coupon. Lo and behold, they were sold out. Pisser, as the Mlps/St Paul area is 2 hours away from were I live; With the price of gas, I won't be making a special trip up there again anytime soon.
Thanks in advance.
05-25-2006, 08:23 PM
IIRC, somebody bought a similar unit off ebay and had a switch go bad quickly. At least HF will exchange a bad tool during the warranty period, dunno about the Ebay ones. OTOH, a spotwelder is just a transformer, a switch, and some tongs. Unless you severely overload it or physically snap something off, they should all be about the same. The HF one looks identical to the $600 Miller unit in the catalogs with the exception of the tongs. A switch can be rigged up if necessary.
05-25-2006, 09:38 PM
The HF one looks identical to the $600 Miller unit in the catalogs with the exception of the tongs.
Looks can be deceiving. I have both, having bought the HF as my Miller spot welder is 220V. Out of the box I had to make a replacement nut for the tong tension adjustment, the one that came with it had been threaded about 15 degrees out of parallel with the hole through it. The sockets for the tongs aren't parallel to each other, so getting the tongs perfectly aligned simply isn't possible.
As it is, the HF is good enough for what we use them for, and the price is right. But I'd be surprised if 1 out of 100 of them would pass Miller's quality control standards.
05-25-2006, 10:35 PM
Boy, I guess I got real lucky. My Harbor Freight 115v has worked great from day 1. I scored the lower tong/tip from AK Builder and do as good of a spot rivet as any I've seen. I over trimmed the rails on 1 project, I tried to see if the rails would come off easily. HA! When I finally got them off, the receiver was ripped apart. For production work the Miller is no doubt a superior product, but for the home builders of kit AKs, the Harbor Freight 115v unit is adequate.
05-25-2006, 11:56 PM
I got my harbor freight spot welder from there web site, and it was less then my local store would sell it.
05-26-2006, 02:45 AM
For what we do, the HF one works OK. If you are going to use it for more than just banging out a few AKs and you have the money then get a Miller or Hobart as they are put together much better and they use much better quality in the parts that go in it. I personally have the HF one and it works fine for the occasional use I give it. I used my buddies Miller before he moved and it worked much better as far as ease of set up since everything is more precise. If you get the HF, buy the modified lower tong and the replacement tip (AK builder) for the unmodified tong as the original tip on my HF didn't make it through the trial welding stage. It is made of an inferior metal. The replacement also make more visually pleasing spots.
05-26-2006, 11:01 PM
I got my spotwelder off of ebay. I think the brand is CMT or something like that. Works great! No problems. Made the modified lower tong out of copper pipe. That is the cheapest and easiest way to go.