08-23-2006, 04:45 AM
Anybody ever use harbor freight’s welding wire? I just ran out again and $19 for a 10lb spool looks tempting but a total waste of money if its junk.
Good/bad/OK? Welds well? Good welds?
08-23-2006, 09:25 AM
I've used it, but I tend to look in the bin while I'm there -- sometimes they carry Lincoln's wire spools too. It seemed to weld just fine for me though.
08-23-2006, 09:55 AM
Wow, that's cheap. I'm used to the $35-45 price tag on those big spools. If you get one let us know how it works out. I just paid $10 for one of those 2lb spools of the Lincoln wire.
08-23-2006, 11:35 AM
yea, the little spools are like $5 for er70s6, which is also cheap, but not as cheap as the big spool... but I'm sooo tired of running out of wire on the little spools that I'd prefer not to even experiment with them (last night I ran out literally on the last maybe 1/8" of a bead on a pressure vessle, there's enough there that it's sealed but the end of the bead has a crater in it where it meets up with the head of another, there is no good way to fix it, even grinding it out I'll end up with a lump because no matter what I do it'll be cold, all appearance since it should work as is but still)...
I work next door to a fastenal and they usually give me the "1000count" price on things... i'll check them to see what esab wire goes for..., I bet even with the discount it's more then 2x
08-24-2006, 02:07 AM
Well.. I donno…
I chickened out and got a 2lb spool instead of the 10, it was still $5 which is a little more then half of what I paid for the same size spool of Campbel Hosfeld loaded with 1lb of wire. Interestingly, unlike the CH, Lincoln and Hobart spools of wire that I have sitting around the HF spool does have all of it’s standards testing information right on the spool that the rest don’t bother with.
Part of the problem is that I’m not a robot, and if you’re really fussy, your mood changes slightly, you’re more or less tired… and your welds go/look somewhat different, so it’s hard to compare.
I took a drill and drilled a row of holes into the weld where I ran out of wire and then ground it a little bit with a carbide bur hoping to redo it without too much of a lump… no such luck. At first the stuff didn’t want to feed right at all, it kept getting stuck so the first thing I did was lay down a big lump and pile of spatter when the wire hit, didn’t feed and burned off to the tip, set my shirt on fire… played with the wire tension, played with the wire feed, fed a foot or so of wire through it, removed the wire feed wheel and put it neatly back on the roll, finished welding that end cap… I don’t know, it seemed like it wouldn’t feed evenly and I couldn’t control the pattern as well as with the CH wire. It literally looked like hammered dog shit… functional and I doubt it will leak but you could really see the difference. I was welding a circular plug in the end of a heavy wall tube with the tube standing up on end, 2 tacks, and then I’d lay a bead down 1/3 of the way around counterclockwise, go back 2/3 and start the next bead… trying to keep heat even and tension even around the piece. In this case you could see the first bead, the second and then where I ran out between the 2 there’s the big lump and then the last 1/3 just didn’t have the smooth pattern, it looked like someone that just learned to weld did it.
I went to weld on the next cap, very conscious of what the other didn’t lay out well, tacked and ran my beads… Now they came out next to perfect, I really couldn’t wish for anything better, nice, even, the weave looks like TIG dimes (I usually do that, for some reason it impresses people so I might as well go with it), night and day difference. Quite acceptable, I wouldn’t feel bad showing someone that bead.
So then the question is was the wire tangled up for the first few feet on the spool, was I just off, was I expecting the weld just to lay itself down, or did I take extra special care in the second piece to compensate for the adverse conditions? 2 things that I am sure of, this wire doesn’t seem to have as heavy silicon deposits on top of the bead as all the other S6 wires that I’ve had/used that I’ve paid attention to, and I think I got _slightly_ more spatter with it (still next to nothing and what was there was tiny, so it’s hard to quantify, might just be dirt or something).
So it is capable of laying down an acceptable weld and is useable… but no “I’m difinitly going back and getting that 10lb spool…” at least yet. I think I’ll wait and use this stuff a few days/weeks and see what I think of it, maybe I was just having an off day today and the stuff is fine, but even if it is not quite as nice as the bigger name stuff it is SO much cheaper that it might be worth using unless I find something dramatically wrong with it, which I doubt after that last bead. If someone posts something here around in a few weeks to remind me I’ll try to post an update.