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lucywalker
06-12-2006, 01:53 PM
does anybody have experience with the HF chicago electric 230V mig setup HF is selling now and how does it stack up compared to the hobart 230V low end unit? Im tossing around ideas here and would like to see if these are comparable or if the CE is way down there. I have used mig quite a bit in past life and need to do some more but dont trust the 120V units as much as the 230V ones, would appreciate the advice from some already-users here. what are your experiences and recommendations for this HF unit?

RC-Racer
06-12-2006, 03:13 PM
In my opinion, when comparing the two, Hobart is the hands down winner. It is well supported and reliable. The HF unit support is basically non existant and quality is questionable. Also, HF prices on Hobart are not the best. You can find some good deals for Hobart on the net.

Roy Hodges
06-12-2006, 06:47 PM
Something i always WONDER - if one buys some off-brand stuff, will you be able to get replacement parts later? Even though it usually comes with a parts list , does THAT mean the parts will be AVAILABLE ? I am usually afraid to gamble on it , if it is something major ( maybe I am just "chicken ? " )

gnm109
06-13-2006, 11:13 AM
Something i always WONDER - if one buys some off-brand stuff, will you be able to get replacement parts later? Even though it usually comes with a parts list , does THAT mean the parts will be AVAILABLE ? I am usually afraid to gamble on it , if it is something major ( maybe I am just "chicken ? " )


No chicken involved. Harbor Freight, as far as I know, either cannot or will not stock spare parts for anything that they sell. I've yet to have a favorable answer out of them whenever I asked for any sort of spare part for anything that I ever bought there.

I bought a Mill Drill there because it was inexpensive. So far, in about ten years, it hasn't needed any parts. If I ever do, I will have to make them.

I also bought a large blast cabinet from them. I tried to get a replacement blast spray gun from them when mine went South a year later. No dice. I managed to get a good replacement from Snap-on though.

So, my take on it is...if you buy something from HF, make sure that you will not be needing parts. They are a great source for sanding disks, cotter pins, grease fittings, roll pins, hose fittings and other "consumables". When it comes to parts with HF, you're on your own. It's strictly a "one-shot deal" with them.

So, with that as a background, if I were going to buy a welder of any sort, I would look at Miller, Lincoln, Hobart and so forth to name three. All of those have excellent support and technical advice available. With a welder, parts support can be very valuable in the period after your purchase

Roy Hodges
06-13-2006, 02:58 PM
I AGREE WHAT YOU SAID- i was just trying to get the point across- and hopefully most people will heed what YOU said , when it comes to a MAJOR purchase, and , even a "buzz box" welder is a "major purchase . "

stroker_dave
06-13-2006, 11:34 PM
I went down to HF last weekend during their sidewalk sale and saw their Chicago Electric Arc-120 on sale for $79.99. I've been wanting to learn how to arc weld and 80 bucks for a toy ain't bad (in a manly sense), so I bought it.

Since then, I've run practice beads and done a few small projects (helper finger, hook mounted on some 1 1/4"-wide steel attached to my bench to hang my helmet, etc...) and, in all honesty, I'm having a blast with that little arc welder. I bought 1 lb of 1/16" 6013, 1 lb of 5/64" 6013, and 1 lb of 3/32" 6011 to practice with, and have gotten to the point where I can run some pretty decent beads. I have it wired for 115V right now, but if I ever upgrade to 230V in the garage, I can re-wire it and use it as a 230V machine.

I have a friend who uses a buzz box for spot welds when he works on his project car (he also owns a Farmhand 115 Mig and loves it...that was part of the reason I bought mine besides $$$), and even he's interested in how this welder works out for me because he wants something more portable.

I've also bought a few air tools, a 4 1/2" electric grinder, a 5-speed benchtop drill press, and a bunch of hand tools from HF. Yeah, the quality isn't high-end and if my family eating was dependent on my tools, I would probably go with a name brand. But for my use at home, HF allows me to buy tools without breaking the bank.

And RC-Racer isn't kidding about HF's prices on Hobart welders: they are ridiculously high. TSC actually has pretty decent prices from what I can tell, whether on their 140A/110V Mig, 180A/230V Mig (Handlers?), or their AC and AC/DC buzz boxes (StickMates, I believe).

Just my $.02.

Dave

steve45
06-14-2006, 11:29 PM
No chicken involved. Harbor Freight, as far as I know, either cannot or will not stock spare parts for anything that they sell. I've yet to have a favorable answer out of them whenever I asked for any sort of spare part for anything that I ever bought there.

I also bought a large blast cabinet from them. I tried to get a replacement blast spray gun from them when mine went South a year later. No dice.

So, my take on it is...if you buy something from HF, make sure that you will not be needing parts. They are a great source for sanding disks, cotter pins, grease fittings, roll pins, hose fittings and other "consumables". When it comes to parts with HF, you're on your own. It's strictly a "one-shot deal" with them.


I bought one of their blast cabinets last year and some other items for which I wanted some spare parts (including a syphon tube for the spray gun). The local store was worthless. I went online and got a very courteous response. They were able to provide any and every part I wanted. One item was backordered and they offered to take the part off of one that had been damaged in shipping so I wouldn't have to wait for it!

Hang on to your parts lists!

lucywalker
06-15-2006, 04:06 PM
So, as I was saying, does anybody have one of these 230V HF mig units that can tell me how it runs and holds up? I see from the specs that the hobart is rated a little higher for duty cycle and amperage but its still a far cry from the 180 amps that you would expect from its name. the HF unit is rated lower as I would have expected, and priced a lot lower ( sells for a little over $200 out the door using the 20% coupon). I'm still wanting to find out if the HF unit contactor shuts off the wire power when the trigger is relaxed. for about 1/3 of what the hobart goes for around here, its worth a little conversation to see what this unit can do. it has the gas solenoid and wheels for no extra $ but uses a switch selectable power range so its not all the same controls as the hobart. I dont expect them to be comparable but when it comes to value parity for cost it looks like the HF might actually be out ahead at the starting line

Tailshaft56
06-15-2006, 11:38 PM
You might want to check Toolking for a Hobart factory reconditioned mig.

Joker11
06-16-2006, 01:48 AM
I bought a Hobart and I gave it away after using it once. I never used a HF unit, but my best guess is that it absolutely without a doubt can not be worse in any given way than the Hobart.
10 years down the road I wish I would have kept the Hobart to use on my boat as an anchor.
I only buy one brand of welding gear now. I will let you guess which one.

MAC702
06-16-2006, 02:04 AM
I see from the specs that the hobart is rated a little higher for duty cycle and amperage but its still a far cry from the 180 amps that you would expect from its name.
The rated duty cycle is at a RATED amperage. It still maxes out at 180A at the top end, but that will have a lower duty cycle.