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Discussion Starter #1
Are you a welder? Well, I am not one. I haven't welded anything since I was in high school metal shop and Jimmy Carter was President. :) Problem is as my props got more and more complex, the need to do some welding became more and more a reality. There's only so much you can do with JB Weld, PVC, and super glue.

So this year I was at a pawn shop and I saw a couple of these flux wire rigs for sale for about $100. I started looking into them and found they are simple to use because they don't require gas, they run on 110V house current, and 90 amps is plenty of power to weld most of the stuff I was working with.

I started looking on Craigslist and found a welder, a stand, four spools of wire, a face mask, and a grinder all for $100. Some guy bought the stuff to do some repairs and now they were just sitting around the house. I bought his equipment, brought it home, watched some Youtube videos, and started seeing how much damage I could do. I've welded a broken bed frame, a shock mount on my Roadrunner, and this weekend I used it to weld rebar onto some steel plates to make stands for three props. The welds aren't gorgeous, but they are strong and work for what I need. I just turn it on, set the power to High, set the wire speed to about 8, and off to the races.

So even if you've never welded before, these things make it super easy to get the job done yourself and really elevate your game when it comes to making props. They sell brand new for about $100 at Harbor Freight or used for about $75. I highly recommend getting one.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you go on the Harbor Freight webiste, they usually have coupons you can download and get a better deal.
 

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Funeral Crasher
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Thanks for the heads up. I'll have to check it out.

I wonder if it's strong enough to weld exhaust joints on cars?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would think so. I've welded a lot thicker steel than exhaust pipes with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yep, you get a heck of a lot of bang for the buck. And it's amazing how they free up your creativity. We made a Skellington figure over the weekend, and it has heavy wire in the arms to pose them. Not a problem, but then my son decides he wants to recreate a picture of Skellington holding up a jack-o-lantern and that wire isn't up to the task. So I replaced the wire with rebar, but the center of the body is Styrofoam and every time the wind moves that pumpkin, it causes that rebar to make the hole it's in bigger and looser, and now Jack's arm is down too far.

This would be a major engineering issue before this welder, but now... quick trip out to Home Depot, get a couple lengths of 1/2" x 36" steel bar, and I can weld up an exoskeleton that will be behind the figure and that aligns the arms to the body. :) Problem fixed for under $10.
 

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Funeral Crasher
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It looks like those things are on sale now. I wonder how long the sale lasts?

Then, I'll have to watch some YouTube videos to learn how to weld. Oh, boy.......

annamarykahn---let me know if you want me to pick one up and ship it to you. Luckily, my Harbor Freight is only about a 15 minute drive for me.
 

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black light queen
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It looks like those things are on sale now. I wonder how long the sale lasts?

Then, I'll have to watch some YouTube videos to learn how to weld. Oh, boy.......

annamarykahn---let me know if you want me to pick one up and ship it to you. Luckily, my Harbor Freight is only about a 15 minute drive for me.
thanks for the offer!

but looks like only $6.99 shipping :)

what else besides a welding helmet and flux core wire will i need?

amk
 

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Funeral Crasher
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$6.99 shipping? Not bad...... I still need to get one before the sale ends.
Then I need a "Welding for Dummies" book. :)
 

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How much flux do you end up chipping away or not? The price is a bargain to get into welding. I bought a Hobart Handler 140 about eight years ago, and went with gas right away. By the time I bought the tank, helmet, other welding accessories; had around $900 into it.

So, glad you are liking the Harbor Freight welder.

Some of my personal thoughts on pneumatics and such. http://bourno.weebly.com/pneumatic_blog

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Discussion Starter #15
My welds are rarely pretty, but they are getting better, but they do hold. :)

One issue I've had for a while is I keep seeing great deals on old, used, mannequins but they never come with bases, and bases are usually about $40-$50 shipped, which is a lot of a couple pieces of metal. Now that I have this welder, I go to Home Depot and get these steel panels that are used for roof corners. They are about 1/8" thick, and about 1' x 2'. Plenty big for a mannequin. Then I weld on some 3/8" rebar or some threaded pipe from the junk drawer and voila! I have bases for about $12. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
thanks for the offer!

but looks like only $6.99 shipping :)

what else besides a welding helmet and flux core wire will i need?

amk
Mine came with an angle grinder, which sucked because I had just bought one a couple weeks before. They cost about $12-$20 at Harbor Freight (I think I paid $12.99 during their last sale), and in addition to grinding with them you can also put a cutting wheel which makes cutting stuff like rebar and pipe a snap. What you actually need the grinder for is to grind off any rust or paint where you'll be welding at to get a better contact area. You also want to make sure you clear a good spot to attach the grounding clamp.

If you're welds are like mine, they aren't very pretty, so you can use the grinder to grind down the welded area and smooth it up a bit.
 

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I had never welded before and had an idea to do a metal sculpture for a local magazine call-for-artists.
Picked up one of these welders, watched a couple of youtube videos and in 2 weeks, had this piece finished.

Pics and link to write up....
https://www.behance.net/gallery/3694771/Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Fame-Induction-Tribute-Sculpture

I will say the using the wire directly form the box was a mistake.

just throw away the wire that comes with it and get yourself a fresh roll of flux core wire from home depot.

Makes a HUGE difference.


 

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lies dead but dreaming
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OK My cert card for welding pipe is expired but given a few hours practice I am pretty sure I can still pass a guided bend test to re-certify. For some one like me who has done occupational level welding a little machine like this will drive us nuts. for a beginner.. it's not bad.. just learn to control your wire feed speed and travel time. Welding is about comfort and leting the machine do it's job.

now that being said, this bears repeating:

I will say the using the wire directly form the box was a mistake.

just throw away the wire that comes with it and get yourself a fresh roll of flux core wire from home depot.

Makes a HUGE difference.
definitely toss the spool. it will be both cheap and oxidized. It give you nothing but frustration and heart ache.

Additionally:

1. invest some money into a decent set of gauntlets. TBH as a right handed welder I wear the gauntlet on my left hand and a regular _all leather_ work glove on my right for increased dexterity and shedding how much weight I have to hold up.

2. cover all skin with heavy cotton. sunburn from welding is intense and painful (experience talking) wear close toed leather shoes.. you will regret synthetic running shoes (more experience)

4. prepare your space you will be very surprised how far welding sparks fly.

3. do _not_ skimp on your hood. an auto darkening set to #10 shade should be fine for this. if you want to use a fixed lens go to a welding store and buy a gold lens. Auto Dark and gold lenses block 100% of UV the traditional green lens only blocks 80% of UV meaning you can still get flashed even wearing the hood. As a bonus #10 is good enough for solar eclipse viewing.
 

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We have a couple Harbor Freights local. The price is good for that 90 amp. I had one a few years ago.....
I sold it to a friend. I like MIG instead but for $90 you can teach yourself and have alot of fun. Go for it!
 
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