Harbor Freight welding supplies


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Old 04-01-15, 01:03 AM
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Harbor Freight welding supplies

I went to Harbor Freight Tools recently to get some things. Among them I got a self-darkening hood that I still haven't tried out while actually welding and also a two-pack of welding goggles.

It said right on the package the goggles were for gas welding only, do not use for arc welding, but it also said (and I missed it in the store) that they had a #10 tint.

Well, I want to cut some steel for my lawnmower project and I get the goggles that have the flip-up lenses. I mark the steel, set up the torch, light it and then lower the dark lenses. HEY! Who turned out the lights? Even when doing the actual cutting I couldn't see what I was doing, I couldn't believe my eyes were that bad. well, I was able to get the metal cut but then I started looking more closely and THEN I saw on the package about the #10 tint. I mean, c'mon, EVERYONE that knows anything about welding knows a #10 is for ARC welding and that you cannot use goggles for arc welding unless you want a horribly sunburned face. For gas welding a #4 or #5 tint is most common and maybe going as high as a #6 for heavy cutting.

So now I need to go to the real welding store and see if they have a comfortable pair of goggles. I'm NOT going to the one close by as the salespeople there are quite unfriendly. Luckily there is a Praxair not too far away.
 
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Old 04-01-15, 04:31 AM
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I've bought a lot of tools from HF over the last 30+ yrs and I know what you mean about their instructions/descriptions not always being accurate

3 yrs ago my old victor oxygen regulator died and with a coupon I bought a HF regulator for about half of what the victor rebuild kit cost. I was leery of it but money was tight ..... and it still works great.
 
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Old 04-01-15, 05:05 AM
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Furd, be sure you put those in a bag and get your money back. Not only is that fair to you, but if stuff doesn't get returned they never know it doesn't work and keep selling it. The return pile is the only language they understand.

You used to buy stuff and it lasted a lifetime. Then a smart a$$ clerk told me, when it breaks, that is the end of IT'S lifetime, end of warranty.

Bud
 
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Old 04-01-15, 03:40 PM
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I also buy a lot of stuff from Harbor Freight. I do so because it is far less expensive and most of the time I don't need high quality as I will only be using it once or twice or if it breaks it is no big deal. I once saw a site that gave unbiased reviews of almost HF sold and one thing in particular stood out...don't buy edged (meaning sharp) items from HF as they simply do not last.

I read the HF posted reviews and I must say that HF is at least semi-honest in that I see a lot of negative reviews, something you might expect to be purged. This last trip I first looked on line to read the reviews of bench grinders and the one I had selected got mostly good reviews except for having poor tool rests and unbalanced out-of-round grinding wheels. Well, you might think that I should avoid that but since I wanted to use it with a wire wheel and a buffing wheel, the tool rests and lousy grinding wheels meant little to me. It was on sale for $10 less than regular and I used a 20% off coupon so that made the price fairly decent. I looked at it in the store and decided it should be okay.

Once home I set it atop the pedestal base and started it up. It took forever but seemed to run semi-okay with a fair amount of vibration. Turning it off it coasted for a long time, something often mentioned in the reviews, and so I took off the one wheel and put the wire wheel on. I turned the switch on and nothing but a hum. The drag of the wire wheel on the outside cover kept it from even starting. To shorten the story, I found that the starting capacitor was way undersized and needed to be about three times the size to give decent starting. Later I took it apart again and spaced the wheel guard out with a pair of washers which now allows it to start. It vibrated horribly until I removed the other grinding wheel but now it is okay. HOWEVER, while it is "rated" as being 3/4 horsepower there is no way in the world that it is a true 3/4 horsepower but it will serve me for what I want.

I've read reviews on HF MIG welders and that they can be fairly good machines IF you don't attempt to use the HF wire. It seems that HF MIG wire is very poor quality welding wire so I will also avoid buying any of their stick electrodes or even brazing rod. I also bought some of the plastic electrode carrying cases. Reviews state that they are NOT watertight but I don't plan on taking them diving and even if not totally air tight they are going to be far better than leaving the electrode in a cardboard box or just in the open air. At a sale cost of $5 they are about 1/3 the cost of the cases in the welding store.


And yes, Bud, I WILL return the goggles. I've posted my reviews on the HF website but who knows if they will actually show as the last time I checked it would only show the first ten.
 
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Old 04-06-15, 11:18 PM
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I tried out the Harbor Freight self-darkening welding hood today. WOW, I should have bought one years ago! I might just get one of their MIG machines and some good wire and see if it is better than my fifty year old Crapsman (Sears) buzz box.

Oh, I DID return the goggles, no problem whatsoever.
 
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Old 05-03-15, 02:13 PM
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I wont touch harbor frieght any more
 
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Old 05-03-15, 05:27 PM
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I'm pretty close to the point of getting rid of my tools because tools mean work. I'm also pretty close to never entering a Harbor Freight store again as I simply don't need or desire much that they sell.

I will likely buy an inexpensive sabre saw because I have a project that I need to cut at least two, maybe four, curved corners. I seriously doubt that I would use the sabre saw after that project. I may just use my Roto-Zip and belt sander instead.

Oh, follow up on that "3/4 horsepower" grinder; I can barely touch a piece of material to the wire wheel without the machine slowing significantly. Unfortunately, I have made too many modifications to it AND I tossed the lousy grinding wheels so I can't return it. Maybe I can unload it for a few bucks when I have my yard sale. I really should have known better.
 
 

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