Sub $500 Welders

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So it appears I need to upgrade to a MIG gas setup finally to do some sheet metal work on my old beater car. I tried like heck to make my old Craftsman flux welder do it, but there was no way (no surprise there, lol). I know everybody is going to recommend going Miller, Lincoln, or Hobart, but those are just gonna be out of budget right now. I still will have to buy the core bottle and 75/25 gas and that will probably set me back $250 alone. After this project I'll probably use it here and there for some light duty projects. The Jeep needs a new muffler so a light duty welder would definitely help in that one as well.

I've been looking at a couple options so far. First one is the Harbor Freight Titanium 140


Seems to get alot of positive reviews online.

Second, and less expensive option is the Eastwood 140. The internals look almost exactly like the Titanium.



I'm leaning twords the Eastwood for price, but it looks like almost the same specs as the H-F for $100 less (both are even inverter which makes me believe they're the same machine inside). Heck, probably came from the same Chinese assembly line. Like I said before, this will be light duty work. The duty cycles are kind of low for each machine, but are fine for what I'm doing. What you folks think?
 
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Keep in mind you will need a cart too.
I have the hf cart, allows a decent size bottle.

My mig on the hf cart.
IMG_20200105_203149163.jpg
 
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I have the HF Mig 140. I purchased the extended warranty. Only had it six months now for some basic sheet metal work on a classic car. It works well.
 
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I don't know how it works over there, but rather than pay deposits, buy bottles or whatever you do, I have an old dive bottle and use CO2. Not as nice a finish on the weld, but it works and is a far cheaper option for me.
 
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I'm having a very similar debate myself. I'm 43 years old and haven't welded one thing since high school shop class, but I'd like to have one just to learn on and for simple repairs.

I would probably be just fine with a cheap and small flux-core only unit, but leaning toward spending a little more to get a 140 with gas option just to be a little more future-proof.

I hadn't looked at the Eastwood unit before, but have mostly been scanning FB Marketplace for a Hobart or Lincoln.

Good luck with your purchase!
 

Delta

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Well lets hope this turns out ok; decided to buy the Eastwood. Looks like it'll be here tomorrow, nice being close to their headquarters. Won't have time to mess with it till next week where I'll get a gas bottle and cart.
 
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I've always been a fan of Everlast welders, they are made in china but pretty decent and offered with 5 year warranty. I recently purchased the 2021 Cyclone 140E but have not fired it up yet. I used to have their 300 amp arc welder and a Tig+plasma unit but they were negotiated into the sale of my previous home.

I think the Eastwood, the harbor freight, and other china welders are going to be similar. A friend has a "Yeswelder" brand and it works. Most of them, even the Lincoln/Miller chinese models, are going to use similar inverter circuitry.
 
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ive been putting the hobart 140 through its paces for a year now and it works well once you swap to a real ground clamp. no inverter, just a plain old transformer..
 
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I think HF inverter welders have come a long way in the last few years. If you need a budget welder to do some small work then it should be fine. I bought a Millermatic 175 years ago and love it. It was worth the money and has paid for itself.

just my $0.02
 

Delta

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Thanks to all that have taken the time to reply!

Got the welder in Wednesday (even had a cool conversation with the new FedEx guy) but didn't get to mess around with it until today. Got the cart for it assembled and everything unboxed.

dyXWU4C.jpg


J3FUPYy.jpg


Seems like a decent unit for my use. Got the supplied wire in and everything ready to go. Just have to hit up the nearest (30 miles, ugh) welding supply for a gas bottle tomorrow!
 
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Thanks to all that have taken the time to reply!

Got the welder in Wednesday (even had a cool conversation with the new FedEx guy) but didn't get to mess around with it until today. Got the cart for it assembled and everything unboxed.

dyXWU4C.jpg


J3FUPYy.jpg


Seems like a decent unit for my use. Got the supplied wire in and everything ready to go. Just have to hit up the nearest (30 miles, ugh) welding supply for a gas bottle tomorrow!

Do yourself a favor and look to see if a farm store in the area has shielding gas. I use a welding company and it’s a pita because they are only open M-F. Usually I need a new bottle when I’m working on the weekend. I noticed recently that Farm & Fleet has shielding gas. They are open 7 days a week. It’s probably more expensive but for the small amount you’ll use it’s probably worth it.

Just my $0.02
 

Delta

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Do yourself a favor and look to see if a farm store in the area has shielding gas. I use a welding company and it’s a pita because they are only open M-F. Usually I need a new bottle when I’m working on the weekend. I noticed recently that Farm & Fleet has shielding gas. They are open 7 days a week. It’s probably more expensive but for the small amount you’ll use it’s probably worth it.

Just my $0.02

Unfortunately in my area the only nearest place that sells the gas is a welding supply about 35-40 minutes away up and over the mountain. I'll just have to watch the levels and see when I'm nearing a re-fill and exchange appropriately. Part of living in the middle of nowhere...
 
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For sheet metal or anything else thin, I much prefer to TIG weld it. You just have so much more control. I use an Everlast 161 HF TIG which is was (I think) ~$550.
 

Delta

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Gas bottle acquired today. Wanted to get a bigger bottle, but as with the current state, was unavailable. Got the bottle setup and flow adjusted.

iziFIhn.jpg


Afterwards I found a junk mower blade to play around with. Took one pass to really figure out the settings; there's a chart inside the welder, but I've found them to be a crapshoot. Was able to dial it in by ear and how it was flowing. Obviously the top left is the first run, also was able to get some sheet metal scraps and play with that. Was surprised how strong just the tacking was, either it being the welder or skill, I dunno.

ij6N2rD.jpg


Overall seems to be a decent machine for what I'm going to use it for. I'm used to the 480V welder at work, but if you know how to weld it's easy to adjust...
 
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