I tried the Harbor Dual MIG 151

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  #1  
Old 11-10-05, 01:36 PM
mcurtin
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I tried the Harbor Dual MIG 151

If you’re new to welding, like I am, this beginners tale may help you make your decision on WHAT MIG TO BUY.

I started down the extreme budget path by buying the Harbor Freight Dual MIG 151 ($199 + $30 for the warranty). I have other Harbor stuff, like grinders and their 2.5 HP tile saw. Those items have worked great, so I half expected similar results with the MIG.

Out of the box everything assembled fine. I mounted the flux core wire and poked it into the feed roller, set the tension and pulled the gun trigger to feed the wire. It would run a couple feet and stop. The feed roller would then start screaming. I stopped, pulled the wire out and tried again. Same thing! After several more mis-feeds, bird-nests and gun disassembly, I finally got it to manually feed. My son was helping to hold the gun cable as straight as possible.

Now I could start welding. After a couple hours of making a lot of smoke and splatter, I could make what I thought was a decent bead. I continued to weld scrap and get a feel for this thing. After a couple evenings of sucking enough smoke I decided to get an Argon/CO2 tank.

I went down to a local welding store (Jones Welding Supply in Portland) and got the tank, gauge and hoses. All this cost more then the welder! Now I’m welding with gas and .025 wire, which by the way was much easier to feed through the gun. The results are a lot better! The next day I turn on the gas and I hear the gun leaking. What the heck I say. I dismantle the gun and push the gas tube back into its hole. All better now! I continue to practice with scrap. Next I start making a rail for my deck. At this point I’m realizing that I cannot get a consistent weld on the same type of material and joints, some look good, most look bad and need a lot of grinding.

I run out of .025 wire and install some .030 wire. The Dual MIG 151 specs say I can use this size, but I cannot get this wire to feed consistently. I tried every possible tension setting and both sides of the drive wheel and still can’t get a reliable wire feed. If I hold the gun just right, it feeds okay, but pivot the gun just a little and it may start binding. Needles to say, if the wire is not feeding right, the results show it.

At this point I’ve really had it. I start browsing this forum for tips. The most obvious being, you get what you pay for, so I start looking at “real welders”. My choices are the Lincoln SP175 or the Millermatic 175. I pick the Miller because of the Spool Gun option.

I get the unit home, unpack it and within 30 minutes I’m ready… and no wire jamming. I start welding and I swear to God the first beads look better then any done with the Dual MIG 151. My jaw drops. I’ve attached a picture for reference!

PIX of Millermatic 175 VS the Dual MIG 151

Conclusion: Get the Dual Mig 151 if you don't care how it looks and have lots of time to spare. Make sure you use .025 wire too! Other wise stick with the brands that everyone has been telling me to get!
 
  #2  
Old 11-23-05, 11:03 PM
Carcass
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Picking welder

I decided to bite the $$ bullet, and get a Millermatic 210 with a spoolgun, WOW!!! I have used several types of MIG welders, and I have to say using the Miller makes all others obsolete. My first pass of mild steel using the chart inside the welder looked like a seasoned veteran did it. It was clean, great penetration, and the "sizzle" was right on.

If you can, spend the $$ for a 220V "Good Name" unit you can grow with. You will be happy you did. Stick with Miller, Lincoln.

 
 

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