harbor freight TIG set

Hi, Whilst l;ooking at the little Plasma cutter mentioned in the recent thread, I saw a very very cheap TIG set , for 200 USD, which, by the
time I shipped it back here to the UK, paidduty tax, shipping etc, would still be less than half anything I've seen here.
Any comments on this as an entry level DC TIG ? <http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber‘811>
Run away screaming, or a decent deal ? BTW Can I use DC tig on stainless steel ?
Thanks for your comments.
Steve
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Steve,
I know nothing about this HF unit. It would be nice if they would include a copy of the manual for this unit like they do with a lot of their other stuff. Things I can not see in the picture or wording is a regulator for the gas flow or how to start the arc. It might be a scratch start. If it works at all it should work with SS just fine. Best of luck,
Eric D
Steve Taylor wrote:

would
<http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber‘811>
stainless

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Hi, Well you may get lucky w/ Harbor Freight junk from time to time. If you are ordering this and have no place LOCAL to take it back when it pukes out on you, then I would have to say stay far away from this setup from Harbor Freight. They sell bottom (if not below bottom) of the line products. We have Harbor Freight store right here in town were I live and as much as you wanna possibly purchase this setup my personal opinion would be look elsewhere. Harbor Freight mostly carries CHICAGO ELECTRIC products and they are all low grade made in China products and for the most part are disposable when something goes wrong. I don't own this Tig welder nor would I take any chances w/ equipment like a Tig welder purchased from Harbor Freight. I'm sure others will reply soon. I'm pretty sure anybody who has been to Harbor Freight or has purchased tools from them will tell you the same thing. Spend the extra bucks on something good that you can get parts for. In the long run you will save yourself $$$ and headaches. Good luck and keep looking!!! Troy

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Harbor Freight sells all kinds of stuff. They are known for their cheap and inexpensive tools, but they also sell Dewalt, Miller, and other brand name tools.
Asking here is the right thing to do, but only pay attention to those that have bought exactly the tool you are thinking of buying. Be sure to pay watch the the part number. Harbor Freight sell a lot of things that look alike and sell for about the same price, but are made by different companies. And the quality varies.
Sorry I can't help you on the TIG set. I can say that their TIG torch sold as low as $29.95 is a decent buy.
Dan
Darby wrote:

as you

and they

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| Harbor Freight sells all kinds of stuff. They are known for their | cheap and inexpensive tools, but they also sell Dewalt, Miller, and | other brand name tools. | | Asking here is the right thing to do, but only pay attention to those | that have bought exactly the tool you are thinking of buying. Be sure | to pay watch the the part number. Harbor Freight sell a lot of things | that look alike and sell for about the same price, but are made by | different companies. And the quality varies. | | Sorry I can't help you on the TIG set. I can say that their TIG torch | sold as low as $29.95 is a decent buy. |
The torch isn't on the web site anymore. I was interested in it, to get another day, but it just ain't there anymore!
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If you are at a level where you are considering TIGging stainless, don't let your equipment hinder your talent. If you progress any further, you will outgrow the unit soon. Yes, you can scratch start, but then you will have marks left where you do so. Not a good thing when welding on high quality goods. Not having controllable starts means your quality will suffer. You will not be able to precisely start your weld. You would not be able to progress into aluminum, which is a very profitable TIG function.
Good equipment costs money, but there are upsides. Like availability of parts. Service centers. Repair facilities. Warranties. Superior performance. At HF, they usually just give you another, and hope it lasts, or that if it fails again you just chuck it. I don't believe I have EVER seen a repair desk at a HF.
If you are just going to fool around with TIG, a Miller Thunderbolt, a flow meter, a TIG torch, and a bottle will get you going, and you will have a FAR superior rig. But it won't do aluminum. If you are considering growing at all, bite the bullet and spend what you need for a decent one, lease one with a buyout clause, or just do existing work and put the money in a sock in the barn until you can buy something good.
AND ANOTHER THING - You want a reliable unit. What good is it if it doesn't work each and every time you want to use it, or you have to mess with it more than you should? Or it's "in the shop"? When it ain't working, you ain't making money. Take this into consideration when weighing a cheap-o unit versus a brand name quality one.
Cheap ain't good, and good ain't cheap.
Hope this helps.
Steve
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The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of a bargain has faded.
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My comments about Harbour Freight and their service, if it plugs in or has moving parts look elseware . I bought one of their 2.5 Kw spot welders last summer while on a trip south of the border , brought it home , put the plug on it and tested it on three spot welds on 20 gauge body metal. Worked fine so I put it away till the fall planning on using it for my 47 Dodge rod project. Well the beautiful summer weather changed and it was time to start the 47 Dodge project. The first spot weld went ok , the second one let massive amounts of smoke and flame from the winding ( typically not a good thing). No problem....Harbour Freight has a good service plan.....NOT. Six unanswered emails explaining the problem all including the many other complaints that are already posted on the internet as well as one hour on hold to be told there will be no warrantee as well as we would rather NOT DEAL with Canadians. I will pull it apart and rewind it. It was a good price for a spot welder a very bad price for a boat anchor. Save you money and but the HTP invertig and you will find out what international service really is about.
Just my two cents worth to avoid others from becoming victims.
Pete

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guys.......
reconsider buying welding equipment from harbor freight or from sources that has no or little warranty. I only buy stuff from harbor freight that I am ready to dispose at any time. most of their stuff have no comsumables available, if anytihng goes wrong would you be shipping that TIG back to..... where ? and when would you see it again?
my best advice is to get to be friends with your local welding supplier buy your stuff there and take it back to him/her if it is broken.
I have had really good luck with miller , they swapped my plasma cutter on the spot at the store and sent the bad unit to miller. same for my TIg torch , I only called them to ask what size is the tread inside the torch body to run a tap through it to clean it up, (the back cap was binding) instead of teling me the size, miller shipped me (2nd day) a new torch with hose assembly without asking what happened to it. (it was under warranty)
my new thermal arc 185 is a great machine, but all torch / work clamp connections were loose when it arrived , and the gas solonoid rapidly leaks down the pressure once the gas tank is shut off. keep in mind these are brand name tools , yet all of my stuff already had some troubles one way or an other. my tractor supply 4x6 band saw, same as HF 4x6 saw, went south just before the 1 year warranty expired, the 2 gears in the gear box chewed each other apart to the point where the motor could not turn it over any more. I got lucky and got a new replacement, but the new one is much worst than the first one was, the whole thing shakes, viborates.
I can't imagine buying a TIG from harbor F.
as the earlier poster said , you may get lucky but unlikely.
good luck
On Sun, 30 Jan 2005 12:07:54 +0000, Steve Taylor

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Look in your area for a used rig. For what you would have spent on a HF unit, you might just buy a really good used unit that someone doesn't want any more. I have gotten some killer deals on welding equipment from people who quit welding, retired, lost interest, need money, etc, etc. Put the word out. I bet you won't have to wait long for a bite.
Steve
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Steve, The plasma cutter is an entirely different animal, I would not compare the two. Here is my personal experience. - I have a Miller SD180 that I bought to learn GTAW on and I got fairly good with it just by practice and reading and learning from a few ol' timers who shared the wealth between their ears with me. I then had a chance to trade a blower and carbs that was collecting dust on a shelf for a full-feature Aero-wave by Miller and the machine change alone (after playing with the pulser,etc.) My welds looked 1000% better and the only change was the machine. Same filler rod, same base materials, same two hands and amateur skill level. The machine does play a very,very, significant role in the process. A cheap machine will likely yield poor results as stated by the gentlemen above in the posts. GTAW is where critical and "proud" welds are seen by my clients and I owe them the best I can give them. A Harbor Freight Chicago Electric TIG is just a disaster waiting to happen. E-bay for a Maxstar or even a used SD180 (I'll sell mine) or an Econotig or Hobart from Sears. Why stress out about a questionable machine when you can refine your skills on a welder you can rely on. I was given the same advice before my 180 was bought and frankly, I think it was the best advice I took. I spent more time on my welding practice than farting on the phone getting nowhere with Harbor Freight. That stuff is disposable really. I have been waiting 8 weeks for them to ship me cups for my powder-coating machine I got off E-bay for 30.00 GTAW is not an area to skimp on in my opinion.
respects, Rob

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Steve Taylor wrote:

Thanks for all the helpful comments and feedback: runaway screaming seems to be the right answer...
I am looking at UK-sourced stuff, and there is a huge step in price between scratch and HF start. The only set I have used was an HF start, but for a near doubling in price, I am considering my options carefully !
Are there great benefits to HF start ? I assume the start of the weld is more ponounced with a scratch-er.
Thanks once again.
Steve
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for me the ability to point the torch to the exact place exact distance and the correct angle for the aplication. hit the remote pedal and and the arc/weld begins. lift arc is OK , but once you get used to HF you never turn back.
I never used scratch start but experimented with lift arc, there was many ocassion when the arc did not start, guess.... 3 out of 10 times. this may have to do with fine metal particles/ oxides depositing on the tungsten during welding. how ever scraching or tapping the tungsten prior to start may break that layer loose. I think Ernie covered this topic a few weeks a go.
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Does anyone have a part number for this thing? I looked for it at the HF Web site and did not find it.
Thanks.
Owen Davies
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91811-3VGA

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