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Old 12-27-2007, 03:47 PM   #1
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Default Is this a decent welder?

Ok first off I need to say that I haven't welded in almost 10years, and before that I have only welded once or twice.

I have the square tube steel for my brew stand and now I just need to find a decent/cheap welder.

I have a coupon from HF to purchase this welder for $99. Would it be fine for welding up a brew stand?

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Old 12-27-2007, 04:06 PM   #2
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I have a miller and use the "no gas" flux cored wire, very good on carbon steel
1/4" or less.

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Old 12-27-2007, 05:05 PM   #3
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In my opinion, "decent" and "cheap" are mutually exclusive when talking about welders.

Nevertheless, it will likely do the job if it works out of the box (and if it doesn't, take it back and get another one).

I've sworn off HF tools. I'm frequently dissatisfied with them. The 14 inch chop saw I bought from HF is probably the very last thing I'll ever buy there. I'm not happy with it either.

Hobart Welders Forum is a good place to learn about welders and welding. They discuss other brands of equipment there, and you can probably search those forums to get a run down of pros and cons of the single-wire size, 115 volt, flux-core only economy welders.

jeff967 mentioned that he uses a Miller welder with flux-core wire. Be aware that MIller and Hobart and Lincoln are high quality welders. You shouldn't draw conclusions about the capabilities of a Chicago Electric welder from HF or suitability to task based on other people's experience with Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, ESAB, etc.

I have a Hobart Handler 187. It is a 230 volt welder, and I'm running C25 gas with solid .030 wire to make my Brutus Ten. It is definitely not necessary to have a welder like this to build a brew stand, but I'm very happy with it. It's a dream to weld with.

If you are going to use the welder for other projects besides a brew stand and you want to stick with something in the 115 volt class, take a look at Hobart, Lincoln, and Miller welders in that class. Northern Tool has the Hobart Handler 125 on sale for $299 right now. It's upgradeable to full MIG when you decide you want to weld with gas. While you're browsing Northern Tool, take a look at the Hobart Handler 140, which is the top of the Hobart line in 115 VAC class.

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Old 12-27-2007, 05:06 PM   #4
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I don't know what design stand your making. But if you are going to support scalding liquid up high you better make sure its secure.

90Amps isn't very much current and the duty cycle is pretty low. I would double check the material thickness you're working with vs what that welder can handle. But with multiple passes, proper preperation, and practice I would think that welder could be used.

Like everything you get what you pay for. I personally wouldn't buy that one.

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Old 12-27-2007, 05:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billtzk
In my opinion, "decent" and "cheap" are mutually exclusive when talking about welders.

Nevertheless, it will likely do the job if it works out of the box (and if it doesn't, take it back and get another one).

I've sworn off HF tools. I'm frequently dissatisfied with them. The 14 inch chop saw I bought from HF is probably the very last thing I'll ever buy there. I'm not happy with it either.
I realize that most of HF tools can be crap, and that there is a reason why they are so cheap. My options are to either spend $100 on a cheap welder that I most likely will not use again or spend $300-500 on a welder that I will likely not use again.

I'm sure the flip side to that is if I had a quality welder I might be inclined to use again, but for the life of me I can't think what I would use it for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billtzk
Hobart Welders Forum is a good place to learn about welders and welding. They discuss other brands of equipment there, and you can probably search those forums to get a run down of pros and cons of the single-wire size, 115 volt, flux-core only economy welders.
Sweet, I'll check that out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by billtzk
jeff967 mentioned that he uses a Miller welder with flux-core wire. Be aware that MIller and Hobart and Lincoln are high quality welders. You shouldn't draw conclusions about the capabilities of a Chicago Electric welder from HF or suitability to task based on other people's experience with Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, ESAB, etc.

I have a Hobart Handler 187. It is a 230 volt welder, and I'm running C25 gas with solid .030 wire to make my Brutus Ten. It is definitely not necessary to have a welder like this to build a brew stand, but I'm very happy with it. It's a dream to weld with.
Don't worry I'm not expecting to build the Sears Tower with a HF welder or any other HF tool for that matter.

I'm just building a simple, single tier brewstand.

From my research so far I won't be using anything larger than 3/16" square tube steel and this 90amp cheapie should be ok for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billtzk
If you are going to use the welder for other projects besides a brew stand and you want to stick with something in the 115 volt class, take a look at Hobart, Lincoln, and Miller welders in that class. Northern Tool has the Hobart Handler 125 on sale for $299 right now. It's upgradeable to full MIG when you decide you want to weld with gas. While you're browsing Northern Tool, take a look at the Hobart Handler 140, which is the top of the Hobart line in 115 VAC class.
Thank you for the very detailed information, exactly what I was looking for!


Quote:
Originally Posted by the_wickster
I don't know what design stand your making. But if you are going to support scalding liquid up high you better make sure its secure.

90Amps isn't very much current and the duty cycle is pretty low. I would double check the material thickness you're working with vs what that welder can handle. But with multiple passes, proper preperation, and practice I would think that welder could be used.

Like everything you get what you pay for. I personally wouldn't buy that one.
Simple single tier, low center of gravity brew stand. Since you mentioned that you wouldn't purchase this one, what type/brand/model of welder do you own?

What type/brand/model would your recommend and why? Just trying to get as much information as possible to make sure that an informed choice is made.

Thanks again everyone for their comments!
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Old 12-27-2007, 05:33 PM   #6
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I'd be surprised if there wasn't an HBT member in the St. Louie area who wouldn't let a fellow HBT'er borrow his welder and maybe give him a couple of pointers along the way.... anyone?

Are welders the kind of tool that you could rent for a few days?

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Old 12-27-2007, 05:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
I realize that most of HF tools can be crap, and that there is a reason why they are so cheap. My options are to either spend $100 on a cheap welder that I most likely will not use again or spend $300-500 on a welder that I will likely not use again.
Quote:
From my research so far I won't be using anything larger than 3/16" square tube steel and this 90amp cheapie should be ok for that.
kind of what i said
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Old 12-27-2007, 06:03 PM   #8
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Take this suggestion however you like, and by all means ignore it if you like...

I just took a look at the course descriptions for St. Louis Community College and there's a welding class. If you're truly interested in welding I would suggest spending your $99 on the class and learn to use the equipment. Also, the instructors are usually pretty happy to let students bring in their own projects, as long as they understand that they're expected to use the practices taught on their stuff and have it graded.

I toss this suggestion out there also because I know, at least as the community college I work at, that they should have some pretty nice equipment. After speaking with my school's welding instructor I was told that not only will one of those HF welders not have a decent duty cycle, but that you'll only end up frustrated trying to learn how to weld with it also. It won't produce a decent bead for anyone but the best welders, and they wouldn't be caught dead using it anyways. If you have to buy an inexpensive welder you're better off getting a Lincoln stick welder and learning with that.

Just my 2 cents, and I'm sorry if it sound kind of "preachy",
Matt

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Old 12-27-2007, 06:41 PM   #9
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I'd 1) offer a friend with a welder a case from the first batch to come out of your new project, or 2) buy that cheap one and make it work.

You said yourself you might not ever use it again. I couldn't justify spending $400 on a good one in that case. I'd get the cheaper one, even if it meant more work. As long as the metal you're using to fab the stand isn't ridiculously thick, that welder should be able to get it hot enough to weld... I mean, that's what a welder is supposed to do. If it doesn't, maybe you can even take it back and tell HF that it's just not good enough.

Alternatively, you could maybe find an alternative to welding... you should be able to find some other sort of fasteners that might be totally sufficient.

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Old 12-27-2007, 06:47 PM   #10
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Another alternative, have you looked on Craigslist for used equipment? I've seen a few small welders for sale locally.

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