- Versatile storage
- Mediocre ‘Made in China’ hardware
- A great value for a hobbyist on a budget
If you’re a hobby welder like me, you likely have a small MIG welder sitting on a flimsy sheet metal rolling cart that came as a package deal at one of the big box tool stores. If you’ve been welding for a while you might also have a box or two of welding pliers, slag hammers, fixture clamps, and extra tips cluttering up a shelf or bench somewhere in your shop. Wouldn’t it be nice to keep all of your welding supplies organized? Harbor Freight can help you with that.
I’ve had good and bad experiences with Harbor Freight tools and equipment in the past. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and Harbor Freight primarily sells inexpensive ‘Made in China’ tools and shop equipment. Be that as it may, there are some great deals to be had at Harbor Freight.
This Chicago Electric branded Harbor Freight welding cabinet is a pretty solid piece. Though it’s made from sheet steel similar to the cart you’ll soon be posting on Craigslist, there’s a lot more structure to the cabinet. The front of the cabinet rolls on a decent pair of locking 360 degree casters and the rear wheels are reasonably heavy. The drawers offer great storage and roll smoothly on their guides with no evident bind, even with a pile of pliers weighing them down. If you’re running shielding gas you’ll appreciate the gas bottle guides and retention chains on the back. The cabinet also includes four side hooks to hang your cords, cables, and welding helmet.
My only complaint with the welding cabinet is that I had a hard time threading the retaining bolt into one of the rear axles. Some of the screw heads were also blocked up with metal chunks. I was able to clean up the axle threads with a tap and clear the screw heads with a small pick. Neither of these issues are huge, but they’re certainly not things you expect to deal with after purchasing a brand new product.
This welding cabinet does fulfill its intended purpose well. All of my welding gear, including my welder is now consolidated and organized in one central location. The rig remains mobile and accessible as well. I have to call the Chicago Electric Harbor Freight welding cabinet a successful value.