Re: Welcome To The Welding & Metalworking Forum
I wholeheartedly agree with you BMF. I used a machine similar to yours for about 5 months it was a sweet little machine. I was building truck beds with vacuum tanks built onto them. Used it all day everyday. Neat thing is, I can go to most any welding supply and get a set of .023 rollers for it and a few tips and go do bodywork. I don't know if harbor freight does or not they very well might. I've used cheap welders and 3 phase 400 amp mig machines running .052 and 1/16 wires both coreweld and well hobart calls their stuff fabshield 21b. It's the gasless flux wire in the trade its smokerwire cause it soots up like burning tires. The smoke itself is full of CO2 and that is what protects the weld from the air while it is molten. We don't use it in the shop though we use a coreweld wire with argon co2 mix. I guess I've worked on tanks, pipes, all kinds of structural steel.
I didn't mean to sound like I was belittling the idea of a 110 volt welders. I just don't think they are very easy to learn with. And its awful easy to mess up a weld in a big hurry with flux wire if the wire speed and voltage are wrong you will bury slag pockets all the way through. I wouldn't advise a beginner to start welding bike frames. It's too thin to miss with you either burn up the joint or zap a bunch of glop on it. I can run it and did successfully saved myself a bunch of bucks on my old pickup truck frame. I had some upper steering arm bolts rattle on the frame and broke the web of the car channel frame clear out. I beveled it up and welded it back in and never had a problem with it. If I coulda got into it better I would have rather used my arc welder. It did a nice job though the frame was about 1/8 thick at the web maybe 3/16. The little machine I had I think was 90 amps. It would have been way easier to use if it had a good 0-100 voltage control I could have dialed down the wire and still kept a short arc. It only had low which was too cold and hi which was too hot. I actually inherited it from my dad who tried to teach himself to weld with it and it made him so frustrated and mad he made me take it lol. So good luck in your endeavers.
If I had 100 bucks and just wanted to learn to weld with this bicycle type stuff I would buy a small torch set. One with a cutting head for the torch and also different size brazing tips and learn to cut, braze, and weld with the torch. I would feel better about tooling down the road on a nicely brazed bike frame than one that was glopped together with flux core. And I have seen guys that can do a nice job on aluminum with it. Looks really bad when I try it but I can solder and braze copper with one. I have a tig welder I use for aluminum.