April is National Welding Month. This is a really special time. It's when grown men convene to talk openly about "bird poop," "fish eyes" and "wetting out"-- and arguing about who's more "golden from the shoulder to the holder." One cannot help but be drawn to such stout-hearted bonding... which is why it's a great time to take advantage of the welding supply deals currently running at Harbor Freight Tools.
Like, for example, the Chicago Electric 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder. A sweet acquisition for those looking to get into welding without dropping a big chunk o' change-- now, for a limited time, only $99.99 with coupon! Build or repair a boat trailer, create an anchor, a 55-gal drum BBQ, a bullet catcher box for a .22... fix an ATV snow plow skid plate or broken exhaust pipe... do some light body work or make a trellis for the garden-- this baby won't quit! And it will pay for itself in no time!
This 90-amp flux core arc welder's got the functionality of a MIG welder without the hassle of using gas. Rather, it's designed to use self-shielding flux-cored welding wire, which means set-up and use are easy. It comes with variable speed wire control, thermal overload protection and works on a myriad of metals (excluding aluminum and stainless steel).
And while you're pulling together your welding equipment, make sure you pick up a Chicago Electric MIG - Flux Welding Cart. This is a favorite among HFT customers, and it'll take no time for you to become a member of the fan club. First of all, Harbor Freight's welding cart is nearly identical to others on the market that sell for a whole lot more. Conservatively rated at 100 lbs., this cart will handle your welder and gear with agility and smooth maneuverability on your shop floor. A tilted top shelf provides easy access to the controls, and the bottom shelf gives you a lot of storage space. This welding cart features a heavy-duty steel construction, and a powder coat finish for ultra durability, making it perfect for novice and pro welder alike-- and this month it's on sale for only $39.99 with coupon!
Meanwhile, get maximum protection from the Chicago Electric Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet with Blue Flame Design (not that the blue flame offers any additional protection, but it looks wicked cool to envious friends and passers-by).
This lightweight and sturdy welder's helmet features a superior auto-darkening mask lens that makes operating your arc, MIG or TIG welding safe and clear. Plus, that auto-darkening lens measures a generous 3-7/8" x 1-5/8" wide to give you a full view of your work. It comes with a ratcheting helmet headband and padded interior for a comfortable fit, and as I said, the cool design will make you want to hum the Mission:Impossible theme every time you stoke up the welder.
You'll be amazed at how fast it darkens and lightens. You can weld, chip slag and grind without ever touching your helmet, or take it off and put goggles on. And now, for a limited time, you can pick up one of these most excellent welding helmets for only $39.99 with coupon! That's a deal at twice the price!
Finally, if you're an armchair hobbyist, or only anticipate the occasional cutting or welding jobs, I submit to you one of the welder's favorite tools-- the Chicago Electric Oxygen And Acetylene Welding Kit. Here's a complete welding kit that handles a broad range of cutting, welding and heating applications. The kit comes complete with oxygen and acetylene hoses, welding nozzle, cutting tip, cutting attachment, goggles, torch handle with built-in flashback arrestors and check valves, tip cleaners and striker-- all packed in a heavy-duty storage case! With this kit you can be nearly prepared for everything. This is a PERFECT GIFT for that welder in your circle-- versatile, portable AND affordable at only $129.99!
Celebrate National Welding Month with these and other great welding supply buys at Harbor Freight Tools!
Billy Kulakowski was a mean griller, everybody in the cul-de-sac agreed. Every block party weekend, Billy was given a wide berth as he worked his magic on his meats and wood chips and butt rubs. When he was in the zone, Billy was like a wild-eyed chainsaw juggler jacked up on Pepsi Max. Head down in the smoke and sizzle, flipping tongs, spatulas, sauces, spices... his little water spray bottle keeping the furious flames at bay... no one dared approach him, not even to offer him a cold one. Story's told, one time somebody did, and there was an incident. Something about a misheard word, a scuffle and-- things getting out of hand like they oft times do-- an airborne super-duty wiener fork took out a bounce house. Three kids were never found. It took a while (a couple of months, I suspect), but the cul-de-sac moved on, and so did Billy's grilling.
Yeah, Billy Kulakowski was a mean griller. A man's man. Word had it, Kenny Rogers was even writing a song about him.
Then one day, a family of five bought the old Johnson split-level-- the Kleeburgs from Huntsville, Alabama. When the father, Joe Kleeburg, heard about the block party coming up, he peeled out of his driveway and some time later returned with three 55-gallon drums, some angle iron, mesh metal and a Chicago Electric 5" Double Cut Saw from Harbor Freight Tools. Ducking into his garage, he wasn't seen again for the rest of the week.
Nine o'clock the morning of the block party, everybody was setting up their usual station. Billy took his designated double-wide spot; 10 aluminum charcoal starters filled to the brim with cooking coals lined up on the sidewalk in front of him. No sign of the new neighbors. But then at 9:22, the Kleeburgs' 3-car garage came to life and the doors slowly rose...
Billy didn't have a chance. And, after considerable effort, Kenny Rogers managed to fit "Joe Kleeburg" into "Billy Kulakowski"... but, that's another story.
The Chicago Electric 5" Double Cut Saw cuts through plywood, sheet metal, galvanized pipe, flooring, plastic, paneling, Formica, and so much more, without burning, chipping or melting. Its portability makes it great for tight spots and on-the-fly work, and it'll save you hours from having to cut steel with a grinder. Packing a powerful 7.5 amp motor, this saw cuts forward or backward with the same power and precision-- with no kickback! And for just $59.99-- even less with your 20% off coupon!-- it'll be a lifesaver around the house and garage over and over, again.
Bare Bones Method of Building a Grill Out of a 55-Gallon Drum
Things You Will Need:
- 55-Gallon Drum
- Masking Tape
- Chicago Electric 5" Double Cut Saw
- Angle Iron
- Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder
- Mesh Metal
- Metal Rod
- 1/2" Steel Box Tube
- Two Heavy-Duty Hinges
- Steel reinforcement plates
- 2x1" steel ro
- Find a 55 gallon drum. Sometimes you can avoid buying a new one by checking out Craigslist or other local classifieds, pet shops or weed n' feeds. Try to avoid one that housed toxic chemicals, but just to be sure, when you cut off the lid, build a large fire inside of it to thoroughly burn out any lingering harmful substances. Then, once cool, dump the ashes and give it one last thorough hosing.
- Next, you're going to want to divide the drum into quarters. Use the masking tape along the sides and ends of the barrel, make sure all the quarters are even. Lay the drum on its side and, using the double cut saw, carefully cut one of the quarters about 3 to 3/12" from the barrel's edges-- this is going to be the lid for the grill.
- Build a large fire inside of it to thoroughly burn out any lingering harmful substances. Then, once cool, dump the ashes and give it one last thorough hosing.
- Next, take some angle iron and weld a rectangular shape out of it. Then weld it into place in the middle of the drum. This will provide as a rest for the grill.
- Find a good mesh that can be used as the grill surface, preferably a heavier gauge metal, and one where the edges are flattened so there are no sharp points sticking up. This will also make it easier to scrub after grilling. Weld metal rod along all the edges, and add cross bars so the mesh will retain its strength and shape. Cut out a piece 1/8" smaller than the opening of
- Take two lengths of 1/2" box tube and make relief cuts every two inches so you can bend them to the shape of the barrel. Once you've got the shape you desire, weld the cuts smooth. This creates a sturdy cradle on which you'll be attaching the legs. Then weld the half moon shapes to the barrel.
- Attach hinges to the barrel and lid, and reinforce it with steel plates on the inside.
- Determine how high you want your grill to be (3-ft. is good) and accordingly cut the 2x1 into legs. Cut relief marks throughout the legs, too, to allow the grill to have a little bit of give. This will make the legs bend outward and, ultimately. give it more stability in the long run. Attach the legs and you have your very own, cheap and efficient 55-gal. drum grill.
Of course, you'll probably want to add handles, a couple of vents, a hole on the bottom for dripping. If you came this far, though, I trust you can take it from here.
Maybe you've been thinking about getting into welding. Perhaps you've had a run-in or two with a home or car repair where you thought a welder would be just the thing. Or maybe a buddy recently modded a grill or trailer, or made a cool metal rack on the cheap with his handy-dandy welder, and you thought, 'Dang... I'd like to do something like that." Well, join the club. But before you go out and get the coolest, top-of-the-line welder, you need to hang on and know a few things.
Welding--like any craft-- is a skill . It takes a lot of practice to get even close to being competent. When you first take hold of that welder, for heaven's sake, don't use it on something you don't want ruined. Practice on LOTS of scrap metal-- preferably around the same thickness as what your first project is going to be. You should be able to find some good stuff at your local metal or welding shop. Get used to the action and the way the metal reacts. Work on avoiding "bird poops" (the unsightly metal globs you sometimes see on rough welding jobs), and start feeling comfortable with your developing "technique." Then, use some scrap to make something you don't care about, like a homemade grill for a fire pit or bookends out of 350 engine pistons. Only after you've gotten a handle on that kind of stuff should you attempt a project that does matter.
- Start Small
You wouldn't learn how to ride a motorcycle on a Harley Fat Boy or start target shooting with a Tac-50. The same goes with your first welder. Welding is not a low-cost activity, so before you know you it's something you want to get into, starting smaller and cheaper is the way to go. An ideal model with which to "get your feet wet" is the popular Chicago Electric 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder. It's easy to set up, can weld metal up to 3/16" thick and is perfect for small projects around the house and garage. A quick browse through the 90 amp's customer reviews will give you an idea of what it's capable of. Here are a few comments:
"I'm a former auto technician and have welded hundreds of times over the years using various machines. I was hesitant to purchase this item... but after doing so I am thoroughly pleased. It's was very easy to set up. Made numerous repairs to an existing metal decorative fence. It handled the 12 ga metal without hesitation and I decided to attempt it on another project that was heavier metal. It worked flawlessly producing strong welds on 3/16 metal... Overall a great machine at a great price. I'm completely pleased!" DennisF - Temple, TX
"Very easy and fun to use. Fabricate anything I need to my (on) trucks and machinery. Very happy!" Landscape Designer - NJ
"Wow, this is nice. How could you go wrong with the price, well worth the money. I'm going to buy one for my boy who has never welded before. Thanks for a great product." Boonie - Mt. Vernon, IL
"I needed to do some light welding on my car. I figured it was either hire someone or get my own welder and teach myself. I bought this with a 25' #12 gauge extension cord and an auto dark helmet. I had never used a welder before, I don't even have a book except the book that came with this welder." Mike - Hollywood, FL
"It's a awesome welder and works great, can't ask for much more. I love it. I made prerunner bumpers and skid plates, also welded up a few exhausts. I even made a welding cart and welding table with welder. Overall, buy this welder and make stuff with it and sell the stuff you make well worth the money!" T-Man - redneckville
Once you've mastered your 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder, you can expand to bigger projects and maybe move up to a Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder or 180 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Feed Welder for more power and thicker metal.
Obviously, the foremost thing to keep in mind about welding is safety first. Most of it is common sense, but for the sake of health and property, keep in mind that welding can be dangerous. Welders throw sparks, they can cause fire. Be sure to remove anything flammable from the area you're working in, and if you're welding on the grass or near bushes, it's probably a good idea to wet down the ground. Also, wear a long-sleeve shirt, pants without cuffs, and long Welders Gloves. Of course, also get yourself face and eye protection. I particularly like the Chicago Electric Auto-Darkening Helmet with Blue Flame Design.
Once you get the hang of it, working on welding projects can be a blast-- for the home, the car and all kinds of hobby projects. And Harbor Freight's got the perfect, low-cost way to start!
If you like to play hard in your Jeep, you'll definitely want to soup up your front axle-- not exactly a light-duty job. Nevertheless, JP magazine shows us how to do just that-- affordably and professionally-- using tools from Harbor Freight! In an article entitled "Straight and Narrow," in the Sep 2012 issue, JP editor Cole Quinnell takes us through the steps of getting it done in a weekend and be ready for work Monday morning. To do the job, however, Cole advises that you first need to collect a few special tools:
"In addition to the normal selection of hand tools, you'll also need a Pickle Fork, a Ball Joint Press and a 35mm Socket to fit a spindle nut, all of which we picked up at Harbor Freight." (capitalization added)
He added that you'll need a decent MIG welder capable of welding 1/4" steel. The Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder would be a quality, affordable tool for the job. Of course, gearheads across the country already know, when you're looking to do a heavy project, Harbor Freight's your tool headquarters.
This is a great article for prepping your Jeep to "handle all but the most abusive off-roading on 35-inch tires"-- and no one knows their stuff like JP. So get yourself a copy of their September issue and check it out!
In this country's growing Survivalist Nation there's a tribe known as the “Urbivalists”-- or “urban survivalists”—preppers who live in towns and cities, and have adapted their survivalist skills to more metro environments. One such urbivalist is Dan, a "self-proclaimed tenderfoot and city kid" who runs a survival-themed blog called The Daily Prep. Recently, Dan posted a video of a shopping trip he made to Harbor Freight--
--which included a tour of some of his favorite products. “It’s a man mall!” he proclaimed.
It’s no wonder HFT is popular with those who take survival preparation seriously. A renowned purveyor of hard-to-find and odd hardware-- plus, a huge selection of essential tools and supplies at extremely low prices-- it’s a no-brainer. (Brains? Zombies? Apocalypse? Harbor Freight!)
So, what were some of the products Dan thought fellow preppers should look into? The video does a good job showcasing generators, welders, tarps, car battery jump starters, jerry cans, rope, axes & hatchets, duct tape (“of every kind!”), magnesium fire starters, solar panel kits, knives, slingshots, safes, winches, flashlights and batteries-- and Harbor Freight’s low prices make preparation a lot more doable.
FYI, for those looking to prep their home for the garden variety emergency, HFT also carries towing supplies, trailer hitches, alarms & security products, jack stands, engines, head lamps, cast iron frying pans, face masks, space saver vacuum bags, air compressors… you get the point. Harbor Freight is the “go-to store” for your doomsday prepper needs.
The Daily Prep isn't alone when it comes to survivalist forums swapping favorite HFT products that they keep in their arsenals. Surf the 'net and you'll find tons of great ideas. And while you're at it, why don't you share yours with us?
It’s funny how, as you get older, you start doing all the cool stuff you wanted to do when you were a punk teenager. Back in the 70’s we were all car crazy, and many’s the time I envied the guys in the neighborhood who were out on their front lawns, working on their Dodge Challengers or GTO “Goats”—
—not just because they HAD them (which would have been enough), but because they could actually work on them. Somehow, they managed to have the tools and supplies it took to keep their wheels “cherry.” Nowadays, though, when you hear (and feel) a carb-powered 426 Hemi thundering down the road, it’s a geezer you’re more likely to see behind the wheel than a punk. And chances are that geezer is one of us.
Classic car restoration is more popular than ever, and with the help of online parts stores, chat forums and YouTube videos, guys who thought they’d never get to rebuild their favorite classic rides are now living in their garages (and on their lawns), doing just that.
If you’ve decided to restore a vehicle yourself, I salute you. Not only will you save thousands of dollars, you’ll be embarking on a long, challenging-- even therapeutic-- journey that will reap dividends for years to come. But before we start doing that victory lap to “We Are the Champions,” let me suggest some basic tools you’ll want right out of the gate to make the dream a reality (unless, of course, you like repeatedly going back & forth to the store when you’re in the middle of something):
The Must-Have Tool
The Air Compressor will quickly become your best friend over the course of your restoration. It’s the first thing you’ll need to get for your arsenal. Between the Die Grinder, Paint Sprayer and Impact Wrench, you’re going to get a lot of use out of it and, believe me, you’ll thank yourself every time you’ve got a big chore that you don’t have to do manually. It needs to have a decent enough CFM—at least 5-6 CFM per minute at 90 psi-- so that the long bursts of sanding, buffing or cutting won’t wear too hard on the compressor. You could get the job done with a 29-Gallon Tank Unit, but if you can swing it, go for a 60-Gallon Compressor, with power to spare. By the way, the Die Grinder is great for polishing the inside of the head ports, cleaning up metal and using with a cut-off wheel to repair panels.
A Compression Tester will help diagnose vital motor issues, such as worn piston rings, burnt valves and bad head gaskets. This is a great first tool to use when you get your new project car home. You can even take it with you to test a car before you buy it!
While it’s not vital for the project, you may want to consider picking up a “cherry-picker” Engine Hoist, especially if you’re planning to restore more than one vehicle. A good 2-Ton Shop Crane should be sufficient, and will more than pay for itself in the long run.
Most likely, you should have the cylinders re-bored. A cylinder bore gauge is needed to check for taper, out-of-round and oversize on the cylinders if you are rebuilding the motor yourself. Any critical wear on the cylinder can be reached with this gauge. An Engine Cylinder Hone will de-glaze the cylinder walls and give them a nice, smooth finish.
Next, you’ll want a valve spring compressor to remove the valves for a rebuild. Also a cheap valve lapping tool, with grinding compound, helps reseat the valves.
Piston Ring Pliers will help you remove and replace the rings on the pistons without breaking them. A Piston Ring Compressor is needed for the installation of the pistons. Also, a piston groove cleaner will remove the carbon crud from the piston grooves.
A Dial Indicator is used to measure run-out on things like the flywheel, and endplay on the crankshaft. While there are various types of mounts, including magnetic base and screw mounts, I recommend the clamping mount because it’s faster and easier to work with.
Next, a Stud Puller is a must for removing stripped, rusted and otherwise stubborn head studs, as well as exhaust & intake manifold studs.
Have a complete Tap and Die Set on hand, preferably with both SAE & metric. You’ll find this invaluable for cleaning up old bolts and restoring rusted holes.
A good Digital Micrometer is needed to precisely measure anything.
MIG Welder. You won’t get through a restoration job without it. Why a MIG welder, as opposed to another type? Well, for starters, if you’re new to this kind of project, the MIG is the easiest to learn. Also, they work with the most common types of metals, overhead welding is easier, and the MIG welder works fast.
You’ll also want a Hammer & Dolly Set, otherwise known as a “Body & Fender Set.” These tools go a long way in repairing and straightening steel panels, and all-around custom fab work. This one, made by Pittsburgh, probably has the best price you’re going to find, and one look at the customer reviews should convince you there’s no need to keep looking.
A Step Drill is essential to make quick, clean work out of drilling large diameter holes for auto-body jobs such as installing chrome trim, and for firewall holes.
As you work on your project, you’ll find a Bench Grinder and Drill Press are extremely helpful in the auto restoration process. Plus, a Wire Wheel on the grinder is a must and makes cleaning up parts quick and simple.
Finally, get a Creeper, Paint Stripper, Transmission Jack, Dent Repair Kit, and a Comprehensive Mechanics Tool Kit, and you’ll be equipped to tackle most everything involved in your car restoration, as well as many other future projects. Of course, you’ll inevitably be needing cleaners, sealants, lubricants and the odd part along the way, but consider yourself the proud owner of an equipped auto restoration garage.
Surfing for BBQ-ing tips the other day, I wandered into some chat forums where it’s “All-Barbecue, All the Time.” Make no mistake, those “Q-ers” are serious about cooking their meat. The best cuts, types of fuel, which wood for smoking, the tools, curing, venting, seasoning & preparing, temps and times. To them, grilling a steak is like customizing a car-- the body may be pretty, but it’s all about what goes under the hood.
Not happy with their out-of-the-box units, some guys retrofit their BBQ grills (as I said, like a car). For example, Phil Lee of Hawg Heaven Smokin’ Barbecue modified his smoker…
...with 10” air tires (#30900) to better deal with mobility on lawns, parks, campsites and such.
My favorite modification is the BBQ trailer: A Q-er will either remove the legs from their BBQ grill, and then bolt or weld them onto a utility trailer, or build one up from scratch--making them über-mobile! Here’s a great example of a customized, homemade barbecue trailer-- created by a fellow named Spankerchief-- on SmokingMeatForums.com…
...using the Haul-Master 1720 Lb. Capacity Super Duty 48" X 96" Utility Trailer with 12” Wheels (#94564). In fact, every BBQ forum I clicked on had at least one thread where an adventurous “trailer Q-er” incorporated a Haul-Master utility trailer from Harbor Freight. Several put their projects together using the popular & affordable Chicago Electric 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder (#68887).
The online BBQ cooks were all loaded for bear with gear that supported their grilling operations. The Propane Torch with Igniter (#91037) was a favorite-- for its turbo performance and for its great, low price. The Instant Read Digital Thermometer (#95382) was also popular, for its accuracy and, again, price. Also included were the Compact Food Slicer (#42787), Electric Meat Grinder (#99598) and plenty of protective wear like nitrile, PVC-dipped and/or welding gloves.
Needless to say, I was bitten by the BBQ bug and ended up getting a “barrel-style” barbecue grill with smoker side box, as well as the igniter and thermometer. I also picked up this pair of welding gloves, and, of course, a BBQ cookbook. I'll probably get the 10” wheels next (they look cool).
Now all I have to do is experiment on the meat and hope I don’t burn anything vital... like Sunday dinner.
Check out the Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with Blue Flame Design (Chicago Electric 91214) from Harbor Freight Tools! For arc, MIG or TIG welding, you can’t go wrong with this auto darkening welding helmet that goes from clear to dark as soon as you start welding! The superior lens takes just 1/25,000th of a second to darken from clear #4 to its dark state and the variable shade control allows you to adjust the darkness from shades #9 to #13.
The lens on this welding helmet also includes high/low light-sensitivity adjustment as well as ultraviolet and infrared protection so you can see clearly and work safely. And with a padded interior for a comfortable fit and its stylish blue flame design, this amazing welding auto darkening helmet is the perfect way to top off your welding wardrobe.
For a safe and efficient welding helmet auto darkening is the way to go. Just put your welding helmet on and start welding! And, of course, for affordable auto darkening welding helmets, Harbor Freight is the place to go! The equally eye-catching Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with Racing Stripe Design is also available, so pick the look that fits you for a price that fits any budget.