Friday, July 4, 2014

The next best thing to a Flux capacitor

While not quite as cool as time travel, welding is something that's been at the top of my list of things to become proficient at for quite a while.  I took a welding class in college and learned the ins and outs of stick welding (as well as what happens when your buddy in the booth next to you falls asleep and strikes an arc on the wall) and have dabbled here and there throughout the years but never built solid welding skills nor owned a welder that was worth a darn as exhibited by the terrible looking downpipe I built for my turboed Ford Escort a few years back.

Enter the father's day 2014 and the Northern Tool 125A Flux Core welder.  Purchased for $90 refurbished with a $20 off coupon, I wasn't expecting much but was hoping for at least consistent wire feed via the metal drive roll as the plastic rollers were the biggest issue with the Harbor Freight Flux welder I bought to complete the Escort project.  Upon arrival, the Northern welder looked quite a bit better built than the one from the 'Freight and after a few weeks of use I'm much happier with its performance than I ever was with the other couple of cheapo welders I had.

One tip I gleaned from the reviews on Northern Tool's website was that high quality .035 diameter wire seems to really help with feed and weld quality.  Heeding that advice I picked up a spool of Lincoln Electric's Innershield .035 wire which not only feeds nice but leaves alot cleaner of a weld than cheaper flux wire I've used in the past and at $10 for a 1lb spool it's not really that much more expensive.

Overall I'm very impressed with the welder, especially for the price, after setup and some fiddling with settings I was able to lay a pretty decent bead without much fuss:

On to the projects!

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