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Formerly FJ_Marine
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6,237 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So here is the deal. I bought a small flux core welder from Harbour Freight.

Yeah I know, Harbor Freight????

I have been looking for something inexpensive and looked around quite a bit. Went to a few places and narrowed it down to the one I got and one from Norhern Tools. The one at Northern was a little more expensive but still in my price range. I went with the Harbour Freight one because the specs were almost identical. There was a slight difference in duty cycle that was in favor of the HF model. I liked the wand on the HF model vs the NT model. I also read through just about every user review on their website, focusing on any that were below 3 stars. Over 200 reviews with just a handful of negative ones.

This is the one I picked up:

Flux Wire Welder - 90 Amp

I have been working a second job at Lowes and they were throwing away some metal carts that stacks of outdoor chairs are shipped on. When I first saw one, the first thing that came to my mind was "Damn that would make a cool welding cart".

Here are the 3 carts I took home for free. Saved them from the trash monster. :)



I chose this one because I liked the angles, height and the hoop in the back.







I cannibalized the other red one to get the angle iron to make the rails for the welder to rest in. I straightened out the round bar and cut it off to make a couple of posts to hang all the cords from. Here it is all finished up.





With the welder set in place.





Still might add a few more things as I need them. Probably going to get a sheet of expanded metal for the bottom.

Sorry, but no close ups of the welds; they look like crap. :lol:
 

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Premium Member
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1,363 Posts
Very nice... Welding is one thing I wish I knew how to do. :bigthumb:
 

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Formerly FJ_Marine
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6,237 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Very nice... Welding is one thing I wish I knew how to do. :bigthumb:
Trust me, I don't know how to weld either. :lol:

I managed to build up enough molten metal at the joints so they hold..... :rofl:
 

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Premium Member
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8,997 Posts
A little lift and some armor and that bad boy will be ready for the trails :bigthumb:
Keep practicing your welding and may be, eventually, you won't need to grind as much to hide crappy welds. It worked for me :jester:
 

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Awesome! I've got the same welder, and while I probably won't ever call myself an even sub-par welder, it's certainly adequate for me. I looked at tons of reviews on the web about this welder which convinced me to pick it up, and I can say this: take the advice of the reviews and get some quality flux core wire, it will make a HUGE difference in the quality of your welds and make the learning process a lot smoother. It will also make the spatter a lot less less which reduces the amount of cleanup you need to do after the fact. It's crazy how much difference a better quality wire makes. I just took the spool that came with it to the local Central Welding Supply and asked for the equivalent.
 

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Formerly FJ_Marine
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6,237 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for confirming that. I remember reading about the wire and the tips as well. Figured I would give them both a try first just. Between my experience and your confirmation, its not just me. We sell Lincoln Electric wire and tips at Lowes. I will pick up both for my next project.

:cheers:
 

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Hi Gunny-
First the flux core wire is pretty difficult to get good welds, get a Co2 bottle and use solid core wire instead. The Gas sheild helps a lot with laying a good bead. Keep your materials really clean too, get a 4" hand grinder and the blue abrasive disks to clean the metals before you start..

Second there are some really good videos online (google to find them) on welding techniques. Try "Tony on Welding".

When you're ready, upgrade to a nice Miller or Lincoln 220V system. The extra power will help with heavier gauge material.

I'm no pro welder either but the above really helped me.
HTH..
 

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If I were ever in a pinch and needed a cheap welder I too would pick up the sub $100 flux welder from Harbor Freight, swap in some Lincoln Electric wire and go to town. You should have picked up one of their $40 auto-darkening helmets as well. Along with quality wire, being able to see what you're doing will make a big difference in your welds. I took a basic welding class last year and feel I could teach any of my friends how to MIG weld in about 5 minutes. It's crazy easy to pick up compared to stick welding. The hardest parts are dialing in the settings for what you're welding and keeping you hands steady.
 

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can i become 1/2mil90 for a little while
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2,555 Posts
Hi Gunny-
First the flux core wire is pretty difficult to get good welds, get a Co2 bottle and use solid core wire instead. The Gas sheild helps a lot with laying a good bead. Keep your materials really clean too, get a 4" hand grinder and the blue abrasive disks to clean the metals before you start..

Second there are some really good videos online (google to find them) on welding techniques. Try "Tony on Welding".

When you're ready, upgrade to a nice Miller or Lincoln 220V system. The extra power will help with heavier gauge material.

I'm no pro welder either but the above really helped me.
HTH..
Good looking cart. I worked as a welder in a metal shop for 3.5 yrs. I'll agree. Flux core can be difficult even for advanced welders. I'd go with a nice dual shield wire. That way if you are using it out side, be mindful of your local burn bans, it will still lay a nice bead. Also be sure you're not getting straight CO2, get the argon CO2 mix, straight CO2 will cause oxidation.
 

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Whoa! Lookey who chimed in...:)
 
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