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Thread: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

  1. #1
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    So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    OK, so generally of course I'd love to hear if anybody here owns the little Chicago Electric 70 amp arc welder. I've been thinking about buying one at some point down the road just to tack together some wire stock for some candlestick holders or some decorative crap like that. Having a small 110 volt welder for that sort of thing would be nice.

    The point of this post though is to find out if those of you who have used this welder have had problems with circuit breakers blowing. The harbor freight website says it's input is 110 volts 34 amps, which would mean most 20 amp household breakers would blow if this welder was actually used at its 70 amp setting.

    I'd be interested to know what you think. I might save my pennies for the little HF inverter unit, which would probably prove more useful and just as portable in the long run....

  2. #2
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    First off, I can't comment about this specific machine, but I can about welders in general. I think you're going to be urged to stay away from Harbor Freight welders in general. Once you start welding you're going to find more and more things to weld, then suddenly you'll find yourself without enough welder, or a HF machine that has gone **** up and not repairable and you're into it for 2-300.00 dollars. By the time you've cussed this thing and tried to get it repaired, you could have bought something like a Hobart from Tractor Supply or another farm store that have descent prices not much more than the HF machine.

    I'm a Miller man myself. My 135 and lease bottle were purchased in 2001 for about $650, and it will last me the rest of my life. I have used the hell out of it and it never gives me any trouble. If it does there's three places in my town that can repair it. That's the biggest hurdle you'll find with HF machines...non-repairable by local welder dudes. After I've used my 135 for 25 years, it's cost me $25 a year to own...not bad.

    Buy quality once...cry once. Buy crap once...cry twice. Hope that helps.
    Ronnie Lyons
    Meridian, Idaho

  3. #3
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    I don't know anything about the 110V HF arc welders but I've burned through a lot of rod with the HF ARC-180 130A AC/DC welder and I am very happy with it (for around $120).

    The only bad thing I have to say about it is the cord and leads that come with it. I replaced those before I ever used it with some good quality rubber/neoprene coated cable and leads.

    This ARC welder runs on 220V so I had to add a circuit from my garage subpanel. Alternatively, you could run such a welder off of a dryer outlet.

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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by ronnielyons
    First off, I can't comment about this specific machine, but I can about welders in general. I think you're going to be urged to stay away from Harbor Freight welders in general. Once you start welding you're going to find more and more things to weld, then suddenly you'll find yourself without enough welder, or a HF machine that has gone **** up and not repairable and you're into it for 2-300.00 dollars. By the time you've cussed this thing and tried to get it repaired, you could have bought something like a Hobart from Tractor Supply or another farm store that have descent prices not much more than the HF machine.

    I'm a Miller man myself. My 135 and lease bottle were purchased in 2001 for about $650, and it will last me the rest of my life. I have used the hell out of it and it never gives me any trouble. If it does there's three places in my town that can repair it. That's the biggest hurdle you'll find with HF machines...non-repairable by local welder dudes. After I've used my 135 for 25 years, it's cost me $25 a year to own...not bad.

    Buy quality once...cry once. Buy crap once...cry twice. Hope that helps.
    Preaching to the choir my friend. I buy Snap-On tools for the shop and have an old AC/DC Miller Thunderbolt. I also have access to a Millermatic 250 and SynchroWave 180 when I need 'em. Buy quality, get quality.

    But the machine I'm looking at is about 70 bucks new. My recent experience with ****ty tools (rebuilt a motorcycle engine with a $24 toolkit purchased at Target) has lead me want to try to work with more crappy tools as a challenge. If I do buy this little arc welder, it will never see serious use.

  5. #5
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    But the machine I'm looking at is about 70 bucks new. My recent experience with ****ty tools (rebuilt a motorcycle engine with a $24 toolkit purchased at Target) has lead me want to try to work with more crappy tools as a challenge. If I do buy this little arc welder, it will never see serious use.
    Your in luck then. That machine should provide the challenge you're looking for .

    At 34 amps in and 70 amps out it can't be much more than a 2:1 step up xformer. Maybe 3:1 with a lot of loss . If the input rating is even close to accurate you won't be able to do much without tripping breakers off 120v circuit.

  6. #6
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    I feel more manly with an electrode holder and rod in my hand, but when I want the weld done right the first time and quickly, I flux-core, MIG or TIG it. At least for me, getting a good weld at lower voltages with my HF ARC-120 is very difficult, but it could be my welding skills. It get used to fix broken roto-tiller blades and broken garden tools where higher voltages are needed. I got my son a HF 90 amp flux-core wire-feeder for around $90 on sale with a coupon and he's having a ball with it.
    TeddCo
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    Welding at lower amperages can be more difficult with SMAW welding. I can weld consistently with a Miller Thunderbolt at 50 amps AC when I have to with e6011 3/32 rod. Different rods obviously play a big role in the amperage game though. Welding DC is also easier in my opinion, although I can weld in any configuration.

    To me, using a stick welder represents an art that very few people actually master. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't mastered it yet, although my joints are usually strong at this point.

  8. #8
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    CDG

    If you are still interested in the HF Arc-100 70 amp stick welder, it was $39 when I was in the local HF today.
    TeddCo
    HTP Microcut 400 & Invertig 160DC
    Smith Dual Guard MD-510 OA Rig
    Lincoln SP135+
    Hobart Stickmate LX 235/160

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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    CDG if you haven't bought one already check out a clarke at welding depot. I wanted a little hobby welder last winter and I was a little scared of the hf one .I got an 80e which is clarkes low budget model for 100 or less shipped to my door and they have a great warranty.That is one tough little welder and I have had a blast with it.For 30 bucks or so more you wouldn't regret it.I'm not anti hf I have been spotted there plenty of times
    pro-level dumpster diver Hobart 125EZ

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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by CDG

    If I do buy this little arc welder, it will never see serious use.
    Thats what I said when I was considering penny pinching those extra ~$80 bucks on the Mig I got. I figgered what the hell, I'll never use gas. Ya, right. Good thing the female in me talked me into plopping down the extra cash.
    Last edited by 3 weelin geezer; 12-16-2007 at 05:16 PM.

  11. #11
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    As you can probably tell from the other post by me in this forum, I invested instead in a Dual MIG 151 unit from Harbor Freight. Used and broken, I got the one working great for a total cost of 36 bucks. I think the other one will work with a few new parts as well, although it might not be worth fixing...

  12. #12
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    $36? Hell, thats not bad even for an HF frankenstein. At least it works for 'now'.

  13. #13
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    I have the little HF 70 amp welder your looking at. (at least I think we are talking about the same one) It is a little stick welder - DC inverter. Anyhow - I use it all the time. I have one compartment in my service bed that I keep the welder, some rod, a hood etc. I have used it for everything from making up brackets to building gates etc. I am in the field all the time but steel is only part of my work. If I am not dedicating a day or more to a welding prodject and I need to put something together, I just grab that little inverter, some 3/32 6013 drag rod or 6011 and go to town. I have dropped it, abused its duty cycle to the max and it keeps on working! Actually I never expected it to last as long as it has or work as well! Never had it trip a breaker yet.

  14. #14
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    I was actually referring to the little AC buzzbox that they sell for 69 bucks on their website. Glad to hear their little inverter is a good unit just the same - I was considering one of those at some point in the future as well...

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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    WoodStoneSteel is that the 80 amp inverter welder you are talking about? The one that is kind of tan colored and about 119.00 on sale sometimes? I was curios about that myself. My little 110 arc welder is ac and it just won't do 3/32.It will burn it but not the metal
    pro-level dumpster diver Hobart 125EZ

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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    stevinator

    Yes - mine is the 80 amp little tan inverter. I thought that was the welder being discussed. This unit burns a 3/32 6013 very nice and a 6011 or 10 ok. It will not weld a 3/32 7018. The cables are short and it is inconvienent having to be moving the welder around a lot though it only weighs a pound or so...still it is very handy and takes up less space than a portable site radio!

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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    If the 70amp welder uses 34amps input it will trip the breaker. I have the 80amp inverter it uses 20amp input it welds good and does not trip the breaker. I tried 7018 3/32 and it won't weld so I had some 7018AC 3/32 rods and they weld good

  18. #18
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    Thanks Guys for the info. If they ever have that on sale and I have a coupon,oh somebody stop me.
    pro-level dumpster diver Hobart 125EZ

  19. #19
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    Re: So what's up with the little 70 amp welder?

    No, the HF 70 amp arc welder does not trip breakers. I had one for about 6 years...never once tripped a breaker. It welds....but not great. I've wanted to smash it with a 4 lb hammer more times than I can remember!

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