HF Mig welder questions

I swapped a set of almost new 5 lug Chevy steel sawtooth wheels today
for an "as new" Horrible Freight Mig-100 welder today, as new. Ive not
got any flux core wire for it yet, but before I go out and get some, I
was wondering if there were any tips, warnings, hints, tricks etc
about using this machine.
Im a (fair) stick welder, not bad with Tig, but havent used mig much.
I know this is a chicom import and I dont expect much, but I figured
it would fill in when I had to do small quick work, or on thin stock,
which Ive been doing with small stick or gas welding.
Any particular choices of wire is better than others? HF has 2lb
spools of .030 flux core for $13. Any other places with better prices?
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This is what I got for the 4 rims, which I snagged, just before they
went into the dumpster of a shop whose owner has more money than sense
and a nut on Corvettes.
"You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle
behind each blade of grass." --Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
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Run the machine as close as possible to a 20-amp outlet. If you use an extension cord, make it 12 gage. These little 115 volt boxes don't work as well if there's any droop in the line voltage.
Keep the wire dry. I remove it from the machine and store it in a ziplock bag backfilled with dry argon from the TIG. The least little bit of rust on the wire will cause it to feed erraticly and/or jam.
If you can stick weld at all you'll find fluxcore very easy to use.
Reply to
Don Foreman
Don't be surprised, but that fine MIG you got is not made in China :) It's freakin' Italian :)
A friend of mine got one and I used it a little. His is the 130amp 220 volt version and from what I know about welding (basically nothing) it performed real well. I imediattly took the cover off to see how it worked (something I can't help but do with everything I get my grubby little mits on)It seemd like it was reasonable quality and if the xformer holds out should last a long time. My dad still hasn't forgiven me for taking apart his 35mm Argus camara 30 years ago.
Good luck, Oliver
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I few weeks ago I was at a local steel supply which also happens to take in scrap metal. While I was standing there a pickup and trailer came in full of aluminum wheels. It happened to catch my attention so I walked out on the loading dock along the scale to take a look. What they had was a load of "take-offs" from the local Chevy dealer! This was a pretty good sized trailer too, probably 8' X 16' with 4' side walls, full! Seems they get quite a few people buying new trucks that want something other than stock for wheels, so they install whatever the customer wants, and the take offs go in a pile at the shop. The fellow from the dealership said they sell a few, but they aquifer more than they can get rid of, so to the scrap yard they go! The man who owns the scrap yard had to promise to scrap them or they would not bring them to him. Seems to me it would be better to Ebay them! Greg
Reply to
Greg O
Hi gunner
I have one of them italian jobs that sounds similar to the one you scrounged. Mine has a gas valve and a CO2 tank also. Seems to work ok for a lot of things but you have to monkey with the settings on each job to get good results. Once you find the sweet spot for the job, it does a pretty good job.
These little buggers are especially good for those times when you need to make one danged 3" weld on something at a customer's site and don't want to scrounge their welder or try and find a 220 v connection for a "real' welder.
As was mentioned in another post, rust is a terrible enemy on these. Also, you will probably find that the wire tends to stick in the gun a little due to droplets from the spray transfer action. I make sure that I have a good pair of wire cutters close and dress the end of the wire before each run (getting rid of the ball that forms in the end as well as making sure the wire is free to go). Only takes a second but it can save some real frustration. If you miss the fact that it's a little jammed by a drop of flux or back spray, you can get a tangle at the spool end which means you need to re-feed the whole line.
Gunner wrote:
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I have a Harbor Freight Italian Dual MIG 220V 120A welder and am fairly happy, except for the fact it only has four heat ranges. I am not familiar with your model personally. Thus, my comments are in general:
I have found that Lincoln flux core wire spatters less than HF's wire. I used two or three spool's of HF's before changing based on a friend's recommendation. Nore - once I got my gas set up, I've not used flux since - it is a world of difference.
You'll need/want to order some spare tips from HF for the unit as they do wear out. I have spare gas cups, but haven't ruined mine yet - but sure have cleaned it a lot.
Invest in a good anti-spatter spray or dip to keep the cup and tip from getting lot of splatter from the flux core wire.
Do you intend to run gas, or is this their flux-only unit? As noted earlier, you'll get a far nicer weld with gas. In theory, with gas, you can weld other metals. I have no idea if aluminum wire will go down the feed tube without kinking all up - it's softer and I just haven't tried it yet (despite having both the wire and the Argon gas!)
I've run the heck out of my unit and it's still working. Note, when the weld starts getting erratic/awful, that's when the unit is getting too hot. If your's is like mine, there is a thermal protection switch built in, but I haven't seen it shut down yet. However, if the weld gets real lousy, then it is time to wait and let it cool. The manual for your unit should tell the duty cycle. I'm hoping HF has it online for you.
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The stuff I've been using for several years for home shop use is E71T-11. Hobart calls it Fabshield 21-B .030", Lincoln calls it Innershield NR-211MP .035". I think the Lincoln wire is sold at HDepot as someone else mentioned, and other places, in 1 lb spools of .035" for small machines. A weld supplier would probably have other diameters and spool sizes in the fluxcore. Fluxcore is considerably more expensive that an equal weight of plain wire, but it's easier to not have to drag a bottle around if you take it out of the shop.
This wire has a bright appearance, which I assume is a slicker wire to push thru the liner. It seems to be a mild steel, in that you can usually file the welds if you're using it on mild steel. When using it on unknown/mystery alloys, it will sometimes dredge up some of the content of the metal and have hard spots in it. There are other wire alloys that are extremely hard, but I don't have any references handy.
My experience with fluxcore wire that has a dark grey/black appearance (looks like HRS) is that it's more problematic than the bright looking wire. One of the brands is Forney, I think.
WB ............
Reply to
Wild Bill
i read Gunner's post about being labeled, 'from China', maybe that Italian Company opened a factory there? if yes, then it s/b a good unit, imho.
when i shopped for a mig a few years ago, i was very price concious and 'auditioned' a Campbell-Hausfeld 100 (105?)a 110v unit, well made (Italian) but with an aluminum transformer. that made it almost luggable.
btw, Gunner, you can lose the cup (if it even has one) with flux wire and it is easier to see the arc (but harder to keep it). also, some folk use PAM for the tips. good luck, --Loren
Reply to
Loren Coe

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