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I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!..........

General welding questions that dont fit in TIG, MIG, Stick, or Certification etc.

I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!..........

Postby Ryan » Wed May 03, 2017 10:58 am

Hello all. I am trying to make a tough decision on a welder. I just got my shop built and am starting to outfit it with some new equipment. I currently have a lincoln wire matic 250. It's just an okay machine. It has some random stuttering issue that I've given up trying to troubleshoot. I am not a big fan of mig welding. I like it when I have alot of fab bing and tacking. I've been using an ac 225 buzz box for the last two years and I use it when I need a real man's weld. However, I despise the thing. Everytime I use my neighbor's miller bobcat I fall into a dream state. Oh how I long for a sweet arc.

So, my problem. I can't decide what I really want. I could happily replace both welders but I am trying to minimize my purchasing. I will have a cnc plasma table coming soon. I really really want to learn tig and have to learn to weld aluminum. However I have never used a tig machine. I've been researching this process for years and have watched most of Jody's videos on tig welding. It looks tough. Not sure if I want to get into something else with a steep learning curve just yet. But boy I would love to have a machine with a sweet arc for stick welding.

As for price range I'm thinking somewhere around $1600 for the machine. I'm not worried about budgeting the bottle and consumables. I have had my eye on that Everlast 250ex for a while. Seems like it has all I could want. But I started looking at the mts 251 and the mig 275p. I see that guys are doing some sweet aluminum welding with their spool guns with pulse. I didn't know thin aluminum with a spool gun was possible. And it looks faster which I like. The 275 also has the option for a push pull gun which is pretty cool. I've also been looking at the used market. I found an insane deal on a lincoln square wave 275 with cooler for $1500 and a syncrowave 250 with pulse for the same price. I am second in line to look at them. The only issue is power consumption. I will be running a hypertherm powermax 65 or 85 on my cnc table. Of course right out the chute I won't be running the welder wide open while the plasma is going. But all of you know there comes a time. It's just so hard to walk away from these beautiful pigs. Though I surely don't want to buy an indy car to go grocery shopping. I want to get some opinions on used and new equipment. I do lean towards inverter based machines but I love old school reliability. I drive a ford idi diesel lol

And also what should I do about aluminum. Nobody in my county does aluminum or even tig welding. In fact, there is only one welder and he is never working. I'm already doing some fabricating out of a gravel floor "shed". The community seems to have alot of interest in what I have been doing on the side.

Another thing I consider is breakdown. I am a former owner op truck driver so this is important too. If I get an Everlast and it craps under warranty it will be gone for 3 months. This being a business I will either have to lean on my current machines or buy another. Buying another isn't completely out of the question if I love it and it makes me money. If I buy a used red or blue machine, I can choose a few different local places to take it to. But it will cost me money too.

Here is a breakdown of what I'm considering. Please add or subtract as you see fit.
Everlast 250ex: What's to say?
Everlast mts 251si: multi process, pulse feature, spool gun for aluminum, 40% Duty Cycle at 250 tig/200 stick, 120/240v
Everlast 275p: synergistic and pulse features, spool or push-pull gun, 50% Duty Cycle at 275a mig/200a stick
Miller syncrowave 250 needs no introduction
Lincoln square wave 275 probably gone already otherwise out of my price range I think
Miller multimatic 200: I just think these are cool. Not quite a shop machine but I can hook it up to the gen and weld anywhere
Dinosaurs: miller dialarc hf, miller a/bp, hobart tigwave 250, heliarc 306 fully loaded (been watching this one), miller 330st aircrafter, miller syncrowave 300 (too big?), lincoln idealarc 300/300 tig hf, miller dx250 multiprocess (what's this worth with only 20hrs?)
I will only have 200a amp single phase service. I may be stuck with an inverter machine. Don't know
Anybody else's head spinning?
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Re: I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!......

Postby Farmwelding » Wed May 03, 2017 12:17 pm

If the syncro is a good machine, I would go with that for tig and stick. As for the multimatic 200, I think you would rather go get the multimatic 215 or powermig 210mp. Cheaper, better. Just my opinion of course. Te syncros are good machines and are bullet proof-provided they haven't been destroyed already.
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warning!! Bad English may be in post. It's off a phone/autocorrect. I've had teachers with worse spelling!
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Re: I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!......

Postby Ryan » Wed May 03, 2017 2:04 pm

Thanks for the insight. I had a feeling there would be lots of love for the syncrowave and for good reason I've read. My only concern is power consumption. I did some reading up on the syncrowave 250 draw and am a bit confused. Some say they run their machine on 70amp breaker and 6awg? Is that a branch or dedicated? I would do alot of stick welding but I don't see myself maxing it out.
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Re: I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!......

Postby kiwi2wheels » Wed May 03, 2017 2:19 pm

My 0.02c ..........forget the Aircrafter and Syncrowave 300 for age and reliability reasons.

If you don't go the new inverter route, I'd lean towards the Lincoln square wave 275 with cooler for $1500 or the Syncrowave 250 , then Idealarc 300/300 as second option. In both cases, they should be complete packages so you can have someone who is good on TIG check them out thoroughly. Don't discount a Dialarc in good condition at the right price either.

Your available power source may be the deciding factor.
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Re: I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!......

Postby Louie1961 » Wed May 03, 2017 3:57 pm

A syncrowave 250 needs 6 gauge feeders, but it absolutely does not need a sub panel unless you are more than say 80 feet from the main panel. The manual recommends a 110 amp breaker. I love my Syncrowave, it is a REALLY good stick welder. As far as it being a power hog, that is only really true if you are running a production environment. I pay an extremely high price for power (around 20 cents per KWh delivered). I determined that if I weld 8 hours a week, which is a lot for me, I might spend an extra $10 per month on electricity. It definitely takes a circuit that can deliver higher amps than an inverter would require, but the cost of actual electricity used is going to be peanuts unless you run it 60 hours a week. A lot of folks also make the mistake of thinking "oh it needs a 110 amp breaker, so I have to wire it with 2 gauge". That just isn't the case. Heck, I ran mine on a 50 amp breaker for a long time.

Another welder you may want to consider is the ESAB fabricator 252i. https://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/ ... g-w1004401

For $1700, it is a 300 amp MIG/TIG/Stick welder. it is very well reviewed, and some folks run .035 dual shield through it. It is reportedly a good stick welder with arc force control and hot start, and it will do DC TIG with a foot pedal. I really do think this is probably the best bargain out there right now.
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Re: I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!......

Postby Ryan » Wed May 03, 2017 9:22 pm

Thanks for the advice. The esab looks like a nice machine.
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Re: I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!......

Postby Farmwelding » Wed May 03, 2017 9:38 pm

Ryan wrote:Thanks for the advice. The esab looks like a nice machine.

Only thing that the ESAB lacks is the ability to weld aluminum with tig. Other than that I agree that the ESAB is a pretty good deal. Just depends on what you want to do.
A student now but really want to weld everyday. Want to learn everything about everything.
warning!! Bad English may be in post. It's off a phone/autocorrect. I've had teachers with worse spelling!
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Re: I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!......

Postby Ryan » Wed May 03, 2017 9:44 pm

Anyone know anything about a l-tec heliarc 306 hf? Comes complete with cooler, torch, stick leads and cart. Looks nice but are these reliable?
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Re: I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!......

Postby Notapro » Wed May 03, 2017 10:34 pm

I have a L tec 250 and love it, it requires a 100 amp breaker but i run on a 60 with good results. It came with a nice bernard cooler and 18 torch. I dont like the stiff leads for the torch but it stick welds like a DREAM. Parts for these machines are hard to come by and I believe L tec was bought by Esab. their 252 looks alot like my 250.
I really do like it, It starts on low amps well and can cook 1/4" aluminum. peak amps is 320 for my machine. I was worried when I bought it but the price was right and I was tired of looking . I dont regret the purchase.
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Re: I thought buying another welder would be "easier"!......

Postby Ryan » Thu May 04, 2017 12:09 am

Thanks for your reply. That sounds like a nice machine there. I am tempted to go check the heliarc 306 out. I am sketchy about it breaking down and being a boat anchor. But if it is in good working order I wonder what it's worth. They are asking $1000. Seems kinda high to me as its a one shot deal. If it breaks down I would be left with some leads and water cooler on a nice green cart. A used syncrowave with all the same trimmings might run me $2k from what I've been seeing. I too am growing tired of looking. I can in no way justify buying a new blue or red machine. Especially considering how much the Hypertherms cost. I almost just went with an ahp alpha tig but I don't want a doa pos with no customer service. Not worth the gamble.
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