surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed
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  1. #1
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    Sep 2016
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    43

    surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Hello all, recently used some Harbor Freight 6011, 3/32 which I had purchased awhile ago, but never really got to use because I had a inexpensive 120v ac welder purchased on ebay. these electrodes seem to strike an arc and have the same penetration as the Lincoln electrodes that I use. I'm totally surprised, since I seem to hear a lot of negative stuff about Harbor freight merchandise.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Western New York State, USA
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    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Quote Originally Posted by hothead2016 View Post
    Hello all, recently used some Harbor Freight 6011, 3/32 which I had purchased awhile ago, but never really got to use because I had a inexpensive 120v ac welder purchased on ebay. these electrodes seem to strike an arc and have the same penetration as the Lincoln electrodes that I use. I'm totally surprised, since I seem to hear a lot of negative stuff about Harbor freight merchandise.
    .
    .
    6011 HF rod i bought had more than normal ionizer compounds to work better at pulling a longer arc with low arc voltage machines.
    .
    only bad thing about the HF 6011 i bought is some had flux covering rod ends requiring tapping the rod to start arc like used with 7018. tap start not normally done with 6011 as usually flux is removed from rod ends
    .
    so HF 6011 burned or formed arc better than average but some would complain about difficulty starting arc. for myself it took 2 seconds to realize flux covering rod end on some of the rods and then i just used tap start to get arc going with no problems

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Sonoma County
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    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Or swipe the tip against the concrete floor to clear it.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2015
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    Western New York State, USA
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    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    Or swipe the tip against the concrete floor to clear it.
    .
    .
    you can use right hand to bring sticks one at a time to 4.5" grinder held in left hand to sand flux off rod ends and put rods back in rod container. me i just tap started the arc same as i would with 7018.
    .
    i saw review on HF site guy said he could not start arc with rod. i can only think he never heard of tap starting the arc and was a scratch arc starter. sometimes the littlest things we think nothing of are a very big deal to other people

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    203

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Quote Originally Posted by hothead2016 View Post
    Hello all, recently used some Harbor Freight 6011, 3/32 which I had purchased awhile ago, but never really got to use because I had a inexpensive 120v ac welder purchased on ebay. these electrodes seem to strike an arc and have the same penetration as the Lincoln electrodes that I use. I'm totally surprised, since I seem to hear a lot of negative stuff about Harbor freight merchandise.
    Proof is in the pictures ...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Western New York State, USA
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    1,717

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Quote Originally Posted by Dee_veloper View Post
    Proof is in the pictures ...
    .
    .
    i have no pictures.
    .
    i just once heard HF 6011 was bad or hard to start so i of course bought some to try.
    .
    took me about a second to figure out some rods the flux coating was covering the rod end and to tap start the arc like when using 7018. i had no trouble using it and found i could pull a longer and more stable arc length if i wanted too.
    .
    i am sure a few beginners were struggling to start a arc. most would have no problems with it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    78

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    I've used brown Hobart 1lbs (different than their white 5lbs & larger size boxes) Lincoln and harbor freight 6011's, the Lincoln's didn't burn like the Hobart's or HF's which were a very hot arc. I prescribe to running stick hot such that it doesn't stick, I hold a tight arc, and vary my travel speed to make up for overheating the base metal. I've found it pretty easy to get these 6011's to light up quite literally, and try blowing out a 6011 that's on fire, when your welding helmet keeps falling and smacking you in the throat. I've used them on both my Hobart AC205 and Forney 100ST, the HF 3/32 6011's worked well on the angle iron supporting the target reel system at work, if people didn't shoot the target system so much I'd never have bought the little Forney inverter.
    That the purpose was unattainable, if not foolish, was not so important,
    Dr. Alvin Weinberg on the Aircraft Reactor Experiment
    http://energyfromthorium.com/ http://thoriumremix.com/2016/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    43

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    I have some Hobart 3/32 6013's in which the ends are covered in flux. whenever I use them, I have to make sure to scrape it off.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    203

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    I've been buying the Vulcan 3/32 7018. I find that I like them better than the Lincoln Fleetweld 7018. The Vulcan brand have a very distinct clear puddle. They burn very smooth and the slag falls right off.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Tampa, Florida
    Posts
    430

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    I need to try some of the 6011 again since I got the new machine, I like the 7018 it seems to burn well, but I can get just as good 7018 at the LWS cheaper.

    But HF is closer, and I am guilty of buying a lb or two to burn when the LWS is closed or I can’t make the drive over.

    You running inverter hothead? My previous machine required very close(too close) arc length to keep 6011 running, heard it’s not uncommon. Hopefully not so with the new machine.
    -Mark Smith

    Vulcan ProTig200
    Vulcan MigMax 215

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sonoma County
    Posts
    668

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Quote Originally Posted by Dee_veloper View Post
    I've been buying the Vulcan 3/32 7018. I find that I like them better than the Lincoln Fleetweld 7018. The Vulcan brand have a very distinct clear puddle. They burn very smooth and the slag falls right off.
    Maybe with the new Vulcan line HF really has joined the world of competent products.

    This is a 180 degree change from their prior stance. That was best illustrated by their including 'DC Only!' flux wire with their AC-only 90 amp 'mig' (Flux core only) welders. HF never did sell AC compatible flux core wire but they continue to sell AC-only flux wire welders. No wonder beginners had a hard time.
    HF MIG-180 with all the mods.
    Grizzly H8153 Stick/Tig Pulse 130/160.
    Wards PowrKraft AC-230. Stick & carbon arc.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    CA
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    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Off toppic but not all new HF products are better than before. Take the Diablo line of products for example, I purchased the 3/8” air hose and it is pure garbage. Don’t be fooled by the new diablo name and buy the air line. If HF put as much money into the hose as they do the packaging, they might have a half decent hose.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

  13. #13
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    Jan 2009
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    Sonoma County
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    668

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Thanks for the warning. That's no improvement.

    I started an outdoor painting project last year that needed all my long air hoses. The HF ones had aged, and burst near the connectors where they had been flexed too much. There were many halts to splice hoses during the project. I found using their 8 ft 'remnant' coming off the compressor worked best. Let that cheap hose take the heat and curvature stress, add better hoses beyond that.

    And a comment: their PVC hoses are so stiff that they are a pia to try to roll out straight after they have been stored in the original tight-rolled plastic wrap. They stay kinky. I got rid of a couple, too much frustration.
    HF MIG-180 with all the mods.
    Grizzly H8153 Stick/Tig Pulse 130/160.
    Wards PowrKraft AC-230. Stick & carbon arc.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    CA
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    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Yeah and the neon lime green husky air hose at HD is just as bad. Stay away from that crap as well.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    ct.
    Posts
    961

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    I used to buy 1/16 6013 at HF for welding thin material.
    It was much cheaper than at lws and seemed to work
    just about as well.
    Miller a/c-d/c Thunderbolt XL
    Millermatic 180
    Purox O/A
    Smith Littletorch O/A
    Hobart Champion Elite

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    147

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    Thanks for the warning. That's no improvement.

    I started an outdoor painting project last year that needed all my long air hoses. The HF ones had aged, and burst near the connectors where they had been flexed too much. There were many halts to splice hoses during the project. I found using their 8 ft 'remnant' coming off the compressor worked best. Let that cheap hose take the heat and curvature stress, add better hoses beyond that.

    And a comment: their PVC hoses are so stiff that they are a pia to try to roll out straight after they have been stored in the original tight-rolled plastic wrap. They stay kinky. I got rid of a couple, too much frustration.
    Bit OT from HF, but the Smartflex from TSC have worked great for over a year, out in the Louisiana sun.
    Fabricator 252i
    FP120
    Cutmaster 42
    Victor torches

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sonoma County
    Posts
    668

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Quote Originally Posted by tkevan View Post
    Bit OT from HF, but the Smartflex from TSC have worked great for over a year, out in the Louisiana sun.
    That's good to know of a better alternative.
    HF MIG-180 with all the mods.
    Grizzly H8153 Stick/Tig Pulse 130/160.
    Wards PowrKraft AC-230. Stick & carbon arc.

  18. #18

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    I pretty much only buy HF 6011 with the 20% vulcan coupon which makes it $2 a pound. It seems to burn hotter than other brands and runs very nice on AC. Their 7018 claims AC/DC but you might as well be trying to weld with a sparkler on a restart if your using AC.

    Their diablo air lines are great compared to PVC air lines. I have a 100' 3/8ths that's lasted a few years and just picked up another 25' for $9.99 anything else in that price range is PVC and has all sorts of problems from it being stiff.
    Hobart betamig 1800
    Hobart handler 135
    Marquette (Miller) Roughneck 1E
    Century 295 AC/DC Arc welder/scratch start TIG rig
    The key to welding is to go slow and wing it.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    CA
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    4,207

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Quote Originally Posted by Hypervisor View Post
    Their diablo air lines are great compared to PVC air lines. I have a 100' 3/8ths that's lasted a few years and just picked up another 25' for $9.99 anything else in that price range is PVC and has all sorts of problems from it being stiff.
    Is this the Red or Black air line. I bought the Red Air line and it's junk IMO. I have not tried the solid Black Diablo air line. It might be a different story.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Knoxville TN
    Posts
    18

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    I've had the solid black diablo air line for about 3 months now and so far it is fine. The line is not in direct sunlight which I'm going to say is a big factor in the life of HFs hoses.

  21. #21

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    Black, I've never tried the red air lines. What problems do the red ones suffer from?
    Hobart betamig 1800
    Hobart handler 135
    Marquette (Miller) Roughneck 1E
    Century 295 AC/DC Arc welder/scratch start TIG rig
    The key to welding is to go slow and wing it.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    4,207

    Re: surprised at how the harbor freight electrodes performed

    The Red line is pretty thin, kinks easy and the outside layer is wrapped around like a layer of tape.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

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