View Full Version : Is this welder ok for general work?

05-04-2006, 12:54 PM
It appears that Harbor Freight has their 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder (44567) on sale. It was $199.99 is now $119.99. I'm not looking for an all in one welder or something to weld 1/2" steel.

1) Is this a decent welder for smaller projects (1/8" or maybe even 3/16" steel)?

2) Is the Flux Wire expensive or hard to get?

3) What are my limitations gonna be with this type of welder?

[Edit:]4) This is a MIG. Do I need a TIG?

Thanks in advance for any comments or feedback.


05-04-2006, 11:26 PM
I bought one of their $500 MIG's. Very sorry, went to a jr. college and learned on a Miller, very smooth wire feed which makes for a good weld. Never could come anywhere close on the HF unit, had a problem where wire feeds, etc Never used!!!

05-05-2006, 12:48 AM
it would probably work fine for smaller projects , a friend had an old buzz box that could only burn 3/32 rod nothing bigger but he built a pretty cool dune buggy/sprint car cross design with 1" square tubing that was pretty impressive , and that thing was probably the lowest end arc welder at crappy tire (Canadian Tire), the only problem that i saw with it was when the rod stuck it would blow the breaker each time ,but that was probably due to the fact his house wiring was ancient

05-05-2006, 12:56 AM
The tiny flux core units pretty much suck, imo. Far better off to spend an extra $50-100 and get a decent stick welder with enough amps to actually fuse metal. (imo again)

Something like this (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=44568) or a bit better. If you want to upgrade to tig later, all you need is a hf arc stabilizer, gas tank and regulator and a tig torch and you can convert the stick unit.


05-05-2006, 07:00 AM
Thanks for the input guys, this has been very helpful. I think I'll pass on this one. I think I'll keep my eye out for a good used one. Thanks again.


05-05-2006, 10:38 PM
I think it is good to pass!

If you are like me you will spend 4 months following the papers and swap sheets for somethng suitable and not find anything. After you get he money together and buy new there will be like 10 different MIG welders pop up for sale within a couple of weeks of purchasing your new one. Just a warning.

That aside I do suggest thinking seriously about a 220 votl MIG, especially if this is your first welder. Many have mentioned the wisdom of a MIG welder and a small Buzz Box, which isn't a bad idea but a 220 volt MIG gives you just enough extra to make the machine viable for just about anything a hobbiest may have in mind. A buzz box should be added to the inventory of tools of course but if you are equiped with a 220 volt mig you should be able to put that off for a bit.


05-08-2006, 09:25 AM
Ok, I did a search here & on google for "Buzz Box" and don't quite have the FULL idea of what this is. It appears that it is simply a common *Stick* welder (an arc welder). Is this all there is to it? Are all arc welders 'buzz boxes'? Thanks in advance.

05-08-2006, 09:11 PM
A buzz box is usually an ac arc welder, a basic transformer driven stick welder. They are called that because, well, they buzz. Especially under heavy load.

05-09-2006, 01:23 PM
Sorry about the terminology, but MisterB pretty much nailed the description. A Buzz Box is a basic stick welder often AC but I think it is fair to include AC/DC machines. I include DC because it relly makes a lot of sense to include that in a machine you buy.

Personally I believe that many people can get by with a 220 volt MIG welder for personal use. If your interest take you to heavier structures or poor base materials then a stick welder makes good sense. A Buzz Box is still a limited machine duty cycle and amp range wise but is generally supportable with most home electrical services.

I say generally but one of the reasons i went with a MIG was also the fact that my current electrical service pretty much is a limiting factor. When your whole world runs off a 50 amp breaker you have to make choices based on that until upgrades can happen.

I grew up in farm country and I would have to say that there was at least a Buzz Box on every farm in the area. Some had better of course but the point was that in this case a stick welder was a good solution and a buzz box matched the skils of the weldors well. I did not get any indication that you where interested in that sort of machinery so I did not initially mention it. The point being a stick welder in a sense complements the MIG in that it can handle heavier work than a MIG can, while a MIG dles wel on thinner materials. I should qualify that some as you can weld ships together with a MIG if you have the money to invest in the right welder. Ship building is a wholly different class of welding than what I imaigne you are interested in, even stick welders for such are out of home buyers ranges.

The point is that a a 220 volt MIG can handle everything from sheet metal to light structural. This often covers a hobbiest interests and frankly a bit of professional work. If your interests lay with the thinner gage stuff I really don't see a stick welder as the best introductory/first machine. There is also a good argument that the machine to come after a MIG would be STICK and TIG combo machine.


05-09-2006, 07:32 PM
FYI, I do very light personal work, and I have done fine with my hobart MIG 140. Its a very good machine, and as far as I can tell, has surpassed its ratings.

In retrospect, I should have gotten the hobart 180, which is 220V, but I also like the fact that my unit can be thrown into my trunk, and plugged in almost anywhere (with enough amperage of course).


05-11-2006, 09:58 AM

The Hobart 140 is listed as "Hobart 140 MIG & Flux Cored 140 Amp Welder". Does this mean that it CAN take flux-cored wire but is not REQUIRED to?

Still learning here... It seems that "MIG" means that the gas is supplied by the welder (via a bottle) whereas with "Flux-cored welding", the gas shield is supplied by the flux inside the wire? I looked up the differences between MIG and TIG but am still a little grey as to when/why I would use one or the other.

Rather than explaining here, pointing me to a good explanation of 'ALL' the differences between these would be sufficient. Thanks for your patience here. :)

[Edit:] I think I just found my answer at http://www.northerntool.com/catalog/buyersguides/welding . A pretty good explanation of the differences here.

05-11-2006, 10:05 AM
The Hobart 140 can use flux core OR gas as shielding. I am pretty sure (correct me if Im wrong) that all gas MIGs can also use flux core. However, not all flux core wire feeders are gas capable.

Unfortunately, Im writing a few papers right now, and cant really find a good link for you as of this moment.


05-15-2006, 02:25 AM
This a post I wrote on another site I use often, might help you alittle with understanding whats what :) with the MIG, flux core (aka gasless welding wire) is a steel wire w/ a flux core (duh :p ) the flux acts as a sheild to keep air out of the weld while it is in a molten state, air=bad causes holes in the metal, Mig is more of a slang term btw, if you are looking at GMAW welders (aka mig) be sure to pick one that DOES have hookup for sheild gas, with sheild gas the welder will get better weld penetration and somewhat cleaner welds
I'll try to keep a eye out over here and answer any other questions ya might have

IMO, choosing a welder depends on what you plan to weld with it (metal thickness/type) for most fab work on off road stuff, you can get by with a stick (SMAW)welder, which works great for 3/16"+ thick metal, IMO lighter gauges with a stick is too much of a pita. GMAW (Mig) with flux core, or even better gas sheiled solid core is best IMO for doing light gauge metal or production work, mig is also alot easyer to learn to run a bead with soon as you learn the machine settings, as others said you can weld thicker metals with out too much trouble (up to 1/4") thicker w/ a high amp 220 unit. Finally there is GTAW (tig) alot harder to learn unless you have welded with a O/A rig, if so Tig welding steel is pretty close to the same as pushing a puddle with O/A, Tig has a few things over the other welding types, a good tig machine can weld just about all metals at any thickness, its also the cleanest welding process (no slag or spatter), draw backs are large though, tig boxes are $$ for a good one, its VERY slow, over all cost wise it is the most expensive welding process

05-28-2006, 03:20 PM
Well, I have a clarke 130EN at home and I suggest this machine if you want something cheap but still powerful and can be used in the garage. I use a Pensonic(sp?) FX500 at work I use(it's junk imho) and I did use a Lincoln Power Wave 455(pretty nice machine)....

05-28-2006, 04:49 PM
A buzz box is a high frequency generater that is used to jump the gap usually used on tig units to help strike the arc. they are also frequently used on better arc welders to help strike the arc as well.

The reasone they buzz is they create extreamly high frequence AC that can jump several inches between torch and weld object. These units are WAY easier to use than NON-buzz box units. As the NON-buzz box unit require you to stike the arc and have the possiblity of sticking(or welding) the electrode to the work piece.

my 2cents