Welders

Forney 261 140 FC-I Review: DIY and Hobbyist MIG Welder

Forney 261 140 FC-I Review

Photo: Forney

What We Like

  • Infinite voltage control
  • Runs on standard home power
  • Wire feed speed control
  • Portable at only 19 pounds
  • Durable metal housing
  • Compact and space-saving

What We Don’t Like

  • Amperage is fixed at 140 amp
  • Not suitable for aluminum welding

Bottom Line

A powerful, portable, and easy to use flux-core wire welder that excels in maintenance, repair and DIY projects around the home.

Introduction

If you love welding and desire a tool that delivers reliable performance across many light-duty projects around the home, the Easy Weld 140 FC-I’s robust controls, ease of use, and portability make it an ideal choice.

This DIY welder’s infinite voltage and wire feed speed control grant you superior control over the welds you make while helping with fine-tuning arcs for different materials.

Forney 261 140 FC-I Review

Forney 261 140 FC-I

Photo: Forney

Performance: An Excellent Balance of Power and Convenience

Also known as the Easy Weld 140 FC-I, this welder was designed to be the ultimate light-duty DIY and home repair/maintenance tool, especially for welding enthusiasts and hobbyists.

With the welder, you will be able to deliver excellent welds on thin plats and sheet metal. Because the welder adopts an inverter-based DC output, it achieves higher electrical efficiency for smoother arcs.

You’ll be pleased to know that the welder plugs into your standard household 120-volt, 20-Amp power outlet. So, you can use the tool straight out of the box without an elaborate setup, which is a plus if you’re just getting started with welding.

And if a 20-Amp (with a 30A circuit breaker) outlet is not available for use at your worksites, you can still connect your welder to the standard 15-Amp outlet using the 20A-15A adapter that comes with the machine.

It produces a superior amperage of 140 Amp, which is more than capable of supporting welds of up to 1/4-inch of mild steel when using multiple pass techniques and beveling. But for normal usage, it excels at welding sheet metal from 18 gauge up to 3/16-inch thick with a single pass.

As for wire capacity, the welder will support up to 0.03-inch self-shielding flux-core wire. And to get the best out of the wire’s performance, the welder offers a 10-position wire feed speed control, which helps to vary the heat being delivered to your welds.

To support the performance versatility that this welder supports, an 8-foot MIG gun has been included and then supplemented by an 8-foot ground clamp. Both combine to offer your welder a decent reach across your worksite and workpieces.

Design & Construction: Solid Build and Simplified Controls

Because of the welder’s compactness, its metallic housing makes it a very solid unit that should withstand normal operating conditions in light-duty and home welding applications.

At the welder’s top is a rugged handle that offers a gripping surface for ease of transportation. The handle also doubles as a cable-wrap which you can use to manage the 2 main cables that come with the welder.

All the 4 corners of the welder’s housing are reinforced using hard plastic to protect the unit especially because it mostly rests on the ground during operation. These are subtle enhancements that will ultimately contribute to extending the longevity of your tool.

Wire spool installation seems like a detailed process, but it appears so only when you’re getting familiar with welder installation. So, let not the process intimidate you if you’re a beginner. The user manual offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide on the same.

Overload Protection: Automatic and Reliable

As expected for any decent MIG welder, the 261 140 FC-I has a capable thermal overload protector built into the machine. It is triggered when the duty cycle is exceeded or airflow has been cut off.

There is a dedicated LED that lights up when the thermal protector has been engaged. And when this occurs, the welder may cease to output any power. All you need to do is wait for the unit to cool down for at least 10 minutes, while the machine is still ‘ON’.

The reason why you need to leave the welder on for it to cool is that the process depends on the cooling fan, which requires power to run. Therefore, even with thermal overload, do not switch off the power supply to the unit.

After the machine has cooled off sufficiently, the thermal overload LED turns off automatically. That said, after using the welder for a while and getting used to it, it's unlikely you’ll be pushing its limits to thermal overload states.  

Portability: Lightweight, Compact and Easy to Move Around

Because the 261 140 FC-I is built for welding enthusiasts, hobbyists, and repair/maintenance, its manufacturer considered the need for portability and made the unit not only compact but also lightweight by MIG welder standards.

It weighs only 19 pounds (8.62 kg), and effectively resides in the lightweight territory of flux-core wire welders, especially considering some models have weights neighboring 50 pounds or more.

When it comes to moving the unit around for your personal projects, it should not present any portability challenges. You can lift it easily with one hand, and shift it across short distances with relative ease.

Portability is further enhanced by the welder’s top plastic handle, which has a large surface area to provide a firm grip. If you’re doing minor repair works indoors, or just welding through your DIY projects in your home workshop, the unit’s portability will come in handy.

Finally, this welder is notably compact at only 16.75 x 12 x 8.13 inches. Combined with its weight, it will prove very easy to load in your car or truck and transport it to a different site, for instance, your welding class or even to a minor repair project away from home.

Price: Good Value for Money

The 261 140 FC-I is not a budget flex-core wire welder, but for less than $250, there’s a lot of value the machine offers especially if you’re just getting started with welding and hope to establish yourself in the profession.

Its performance has proven reliable for light-duty welding applications, and its ease of use means you can focus less on the tool and more on the task at hand. The infinite voltage and simplified wire feed speed controls are designed for convenience.

Also, you get a lot of portability, which is a plus when it comes to MIG and flux-core wire welders. If you’re looking to make some returns on your investment, the welder’s ability to support offsite projects is a major boost towards achieving this goal.

One of the worthy competitors of this MIG welder is the Lincoln Electric K2278-1. It is also a hobbyist unit that excels at home repair and other light-duty projects. It has variable amperage of 35-88 amps hence slightly more versatile than the 261 140 FC-I.

However, the K2278-1 misses out on a wire feed speed controller and is significantly heavier at 45 pounds, which is a major blow to portability. Also, it is not exactly pocket-friendly. There is a lot more value that the 261 140 FC-I offers for its target users, and buying it is a no-brainer.

Verdict

A powerful MIG welder that simplifies operation using infinite voltage and wire feed speed for the welding enthusiasts and hobbyists.

The Forney 261 140 FC-I is your go-to home welder that guarantees reliable performance across multiple repair/maintenance tasks in the home with its ease of use and robust power controls.

Specs

  • Product Name: Forney 261 140 FC-I
  • Product Brand: Forney
  • Product Dimensions: 16.75 x 12 x 8.13 inches
  • Welding Process: Gasless/flux-core welding only
  • Power Input: 120 Volts, 20 Amp
  • Power Output: 140 Amp
  • Flux-Core Wire: Up to 0.3 inches
  • Duty Cycle: 30% at 90 Amp
  • MIG Gun: 8 feet
  • Ground Clamp: 8 feet
  • Weld Capacity:  Up to 1/4 inch
  • Product Warranty: 1 year
  • Unit Weight: 19 pounds

Key Features

  • A high 140-Amp amperage to support welding of up to 1/4-inch mild steel
  • Decent 24-gauge up to 1/4-inch welding capacity on mild steel
  • Infinite voltage and wire feed speed control, for ease of welder use
  • Versatile 2-pounds and 10-pounds flux-core wire capacity
  • A heavy-duty 8-foot MIG gun and 8-foot ground clamp for intensive welding
  • Strong metallic housing to protect the welder from harsh operating conditions
  • Lightweight and portable at 19 pounds to support the DIY and offsite projects
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