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TheKid
10-27-2009, 03:23 AM
My cheap wire feed welder gave me too many problems lately. I replaced the liner, which worked for about a year, but the wire stopped feeding again. I found out it needs a new wheel that pulls the wire. I don't use the wire feed that much anymore, but there are times when it comes in handy, like tight inside corners.
I ordered a new wheel from HF. I bought the welder from Pep Boys, but it has many of the same parts that the HF welders have. My buddy who knows welders, says the guts are better than the HF models, but everything else is identical. Anyway, I don't need the aggravation of having a welder conk out just when I need it, so I bought a new Lincoln from Home Depot for $269. (Reduced from $341) I just opened it tonight to set it up for tomorrow.
All I can say is, Wow. What a difference. The spool holder is nowhere near as chincy as the cheap welder. (Which, BTW, wasn't all that cheap. It cost $179 3 years ago.) The speed control works better, and it's MUCH slower, even at top speed, than the cheapie. The feed mechanism is much better also.
Even at the slowest speed, My friend said the feed on the cheap welder was way too fast. The only advantage of the cheapie, was that it took both .035 and .030 wire. The Lincoln uses .035 only. But it has 4 amp settings instead of 2, and the handle is heavier duty. In fact, the little screw that held the handle on the other welder ripped right through the tiny tab after only a few days.
As for extension cords, the Lincoln manual says up to 25' of 14ga is fine, and from 25'-50', 12 ga is recommended. It operates on a 20a breaker (or fuse) and a 20a socket.
I'll find out how different they are performance wise in a few hours.
So now I have a backup wire feed, and a backup stick welder.