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Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review (Updated 2/3/18)

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Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review (Updated 2/3/18)

Postby Ryan » Sat May 20, 2017 8:50 am

Well, I was typing away a nice lengthy first impressions review and *poof*. Gone. I will start using the "save draft" feature from now on lol.

I have a job to do today so I will bring it along and test it out a little more. I will say that I am so far very impressed. LOVE the Tweco accessories. NO paper manual, just a USB stick and a quick start guide. I only have a tablet right now so sucks for me. However most very thing is self explanatory if you have atleast been around a welder and can operate say a smart phone. There is some basic info in the interface but nothing most don't already know. You can access the settings charts for each process in each of the specific process menus if that makes sense. You can also get part numbers for all the replacement consumables from the menu. I did test out the stick mode with a 50ft extension cord on a 120/20 circut. 1/8" 7018's set to 120 amps and 50% arc force. I absolutely loved the arc. Never used hot start or arc force and had fun playing around. Decided to crank the arc force all the way up and set the amps to max (130a on 120v) and force the rod into the 1/4" plate. I got about a 4" bead before the breaker tripped. Of course I was expecting that but I like to max things out :mrgreen: All in all I think I will really like this machine. There is alot to touch on but I have to go put it to work today. More to come.

Please comment with anything you wish for me to cover. I will be back later
Last edited by Ryan on Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review

Postby Ryan » Sun May 21, 2017 11:54 am

Well I didnt get to do much welding yesterday. I made a couple brackets out of 1/4" on the table so not too much of a test there. The arc quality is just frikin sweet. I have a Lincoln Wirematic 250 that has been my go-to machine and I really like it over the Millermatics Ive used. But this Rebel seems much tighter and more crisp. Even easier to get tuned in than the Lincoln. The additional feature of inductance control is nice too, however I dont think it offers much over not having it. You can control your spatter and have a little better looking bead I guess, but I learned to do that with correct tuning of the machine and correct travel speed. And a wire wheel lol. BUT it is another tool in the box when you are in the field and just trying to make things happen and fast. So its cool.

I did compare the SMIG feature against manual MIG mode. I did prefer tuning it myself because that is what i am used to doing. However i do see an advantage. It does a great job of compensating for change of wire stick out and travel speed pretty well. I varied the distance to my test piece from about 1/2" out to around 1 1/2" and it compensates pretty quick. It is actually pretty neat. When I am up under a vehicle, piece of machinery or working on a weldment going from one position to another I can just keep going instead of crawling out and turning down my wfs or amps to go from flat to vertical to overhead or speed up and slow down when I get to a thick to thin joint and so forth. I am looking forward to testing it more in this manner because I think that is an advantage for me. But I do feel like i need to test it out before actually employing the SMIG feature on my work.

As for the machine as a whole. Well it looks cool. Though it is hefty to tote around with an 11lb spool inside, it has two sets of handles and is still compact. Fits nicely in the back of my jeep cherokee with room for my chop saw and crates with grinders, gloves, and tools. So the portability is still practical. Now if I want to lug it up some stairs Im gonna have to get on my mother's industrial sewing machine and fashion a nice removable strap. It is extremely easy to use. It seems pretty durable. It should withstand being unhooked, loaded, unloaded and getting jostled around and such with no problems. Will it survive a fall from say waist high or slipping from my hands when snatching it up in a fit of anger because I have to reset everything to reach my work? We will eventually find out im sure lol :twisted:

Ya'll should know that I do not like electronic crap. I am a 60 year old man stuck in a 33yr old body. I like having control and simplicity. I feel like this machine still gives that to me while simplifying alot. There isnt 20 different buttons with a feature rich menu that has to be completely scrolled through to get where you want. You select your process and it turns into that specific machine. Now i REALLY like the menu knob that you use to scroll and select the menus and features. I used it with a pair of new welding gloves that are stiff and extra reinforced and had no issues using it. In the menu of your selected process you have everything there. One knob for wfs and one for amps in MIG mode. SMIG is one knob for selecting thickness of material and the other for.....bead profile(?). Dont know what they call it because I dont have a PC to access the manual on the provided usb stick. There is a parameters icon with a menu for inductance, burn back time, spot/stitch on/off and timer, and something else im forgetting. Stick mode is pretty basic. One knob for amps and the other to turn the arc on and off for safety i guess. It also has a parameters menu for arc force and i dont remember what else.

I also want to note that there is a seperate gas port and control solenoid for mig and tig. The smaller rebel doesnt have that and the torch has a gas valve. I could not find anywhere on Esabs site where this is highlighted and was almost a deal breaker. I was happy to see two seperate inlets. Cant wait to get the tig torch. Im wondering what it would take to set up a lower priced pedal. The one offered for the rebel is over $200.
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Re: Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review

Postby rick9345 » Sun May 21, 2017 1:48 pm

mix/matching/making/adapting is a crap shoot.
your statement says it all

"Ya'll should know that I do not like electronic crap. I am a 60 year old man stuck in a 33yr old body. " :geek:

Buy the Rebel plug and play.
Everlast 250EX
Miller 250 syncrowave
Sharp LMV Vertical Mill
Takisawa TSL-800-D Lathe
Coupla Bandsaws,Grinders,surface grinder,tool/cutter grinder
and more stuff than I deserve(Thanks Significant Other)
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Re: Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review

Postby cherwolf » Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:46 pm

Mates,
I am kinda puzzled with those solenoid torches, valves lift scratch ingition TIGs. If I buy a 160 amp MMA welder machine that has "simple" TIG scratch option and has torch with gas valve, can I use a more advanced TIG torch with built in solenoid and get things workin`? (I am at the point where asking directly what I am not sure about is easier than pretending that I know it and continue shoveling internet)

(Only TIG I have worked with was multi thousand $ Fronius TIG machine which worth I did not know back then, it has HF start, two control buttons on torch, I just learned to TIG SS with it, without knowing what it was)
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Re: Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review

Postby Otto Nobedder » Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:45 pm

cherwolf wrote:Mates,
I am kinda puzzled with those solenoid torches, valves lift scratch ingition TIGs. If I buy a 160 amp MMA welder machine that has "simple" TIG scratch option and has torch with gas valve, can I use a more advanced TIG torch with built in solenoid and get things workin`? (I am at the point where asking directly what I am not sure about is easier than pretending that I know it and continue shoveling internet)

(Only TIG I have worked with was multi thousand $ Fronius TIG machine which worth I did not know back then, it has HF start, two control buttons on torch, I just learned to TIG SS with it, without knowing what it was)


If you upgrade to a machine that controls the gas for you, you can usually completely unscrew the valve from the torch and replace it with a "button" back-cap & o-ring that fits that torch. This eliminates remembering to open the valve, and seals where the valve sits. I do this with my #9 flex head when I put it on a Sychrowave.

Steve
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Re: Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review

Postby dlewis69 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:38 am

Hey Ryan, I am thinking about ordering the EMP 235ic and I see that you have been using yours for a while. Still like it?
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Re: Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review

Postby Ryan » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:20 am

My apologies for being so late to respond! I have been using the welder on a weekly basis. I onlt use it for MIG and stick. I have not messed around much with tig yet. Im still setting up my shop getting ready for a cnc plasma table.

This Rebel 235 is a super nice machine. I havent had any issues whatsoever. MOST of the welding Ive done has been with a 7.5kw generator because Im STILL waiting on 220 in the shop. It does run on the upper end of the gen's capacity. If i turn the hot start above 35% when stick welding it will cause a power fault and the machine will "lock up" and you have to restart it. I do think this is better than the machine smoking itself. I am very pleased it runs so well off a "big box" store generator. I need just a little bigger generator to stretch this welder's legs. I have been mostly using the machine in the field for some equipment repairs. It's not bad to load and unload without a spool in it. I have been keeping an 11lbs spool in it out of convenience and you can notice the difference but I knew what I was buying. I definitely made the right choice among all the other multi process machines out there. It is very rugged and nicely armored in all the right places. I can horse it into the back seat of my truck and let it flop over with no worries. The handles are one of my favorite features. When i carry it alone, banging and bashing it around is difficult not to do sometimes. Ive not scratched it or dented yet thanks to how they protect it so well. The only other multi welder that I know of that may be a little more rugged is the Miller Multimatic 200. It was made to live on the road, but falls way short in performance.

So how does it weld?? Hot. My Father-in-Law, who taught me to stick weld, was pretty impressed with it. He was a tank car welder in the railroad industry for 20yrs. When he saw this machine he was not impressed at all lol. It seemed very gimmicky and the screen was an instant turn off. But when he started welding with it he changed his mind. He went on a job with me last week for a major repair on a gooseneck trailer. I let him take point with the welding since he doesnt get to very often. After turning it down from his first setting a bunch of times he went to town. This machine will blow through 3/8" plate with a 1/8" 6010 no problems. I havent messed around with thicker stuff or 5/32" rod yet but I will for grins. My father in law was impressed with how hot it welds and how smooth the arc is. This is all with the Arc Force set to 0.

On the Mig side, it welds better than my Lincoln 251. Sometimes it seems like there is a little too much going on with all the different adjustments and settings. Im used to voltage and amp setting. This has pre and post flow timer, inductance, spot and stitch timer. Thats on the manual mode. The sMig is way different for me. You have material thickness(wfs) and bead profile(to me, this is heat setting) I dont care for the thickness settings they have. Im pretty sure its set for fillet welds. I have not found their parameters in sMig to be hot enough for their intended material thickness. So I just pay attention to the wire speed. I also keep the "bead profile" setting to max. It doesnt seem to make it much flatter, but the puddle is "wetter". The arc quality seems to stay really consistent in sMig. Its sort of a dummy mode but I dont think it is set hot enough. But I was taught to set the machine as hot as you can handle :twisted: If I dont want to mess around with fine tuning mig settings, I just use sMig and set my wire speed, paying no attention to the suggested thickness. This works well and the arc is usually just right. Super nice for quickie jobs. Each welding mode also has 4 memory settings which is just awesome. I use that almost every time I weld.

I could blab on and on because Im happy with this machine. It really is a machine that can do most things. In the shop or in the field. A couple weeks ago I had it strapped to the front rack of my Polaris Sportsman with the generator in tow repairing some fencing. Why? Because the guy that built it years ago apparently had to run 200+ ft of extension leads from his rig because it couldnt get close enough. Alot easier than wrestling with a couple hundred feet of copper spaghetti noodles!
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Re: Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review

Postby Vaquero » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:51 am

Ryan wrote:My apologies for being so late to respond! I have been using the welder on a weekly basis. I onlt use it for MIG and stick. I have not messed around much with tig yet. Im still setting up my shop getting ready for a cnc plasma table.

This Rebel 235 is a super nice machine. I havent had any issues whatsoever. MOST of the welding Ive done has been with a 7.5kw generator because Im STILL waiting on 220 in the shop. It does run on the upper end of the gen's capacity. If i turn the hot start above 35% when stick welding it will cause a power fault and the machine will "lock up" and you have to restart it. I do think this is better than the machine smoking itself. I am very pleased it runs so well off a "big box" store generator. I need just a little bigger generator to stretch this welder's legs. I have been mostly using the machine in the field for some equipment repairs. It's not bad to load and unload without a spool in it. I have been keeping an 11lbs spool in it out of convenience and you can notice the difference but I knew what I was buying. I definitely made the right choice among all the other multi process machines out there. It is very rugged and nicely armored in all the right places. I can horse it into the back seat of my truck and let it flop over with no worries. The handles are one of my favorite features. When i carry it alone, banging and bashing it around is difficult not to do sometimes. Ive not scratched it or dented yet thanks to how they protect it so well. The only other multi welder that I know of that may be a little more rugged is the Miller Multimatic 200. It was made to live on the road, but falls way short in performance.



So how does it weld?? Hot. My Father-in-Law, who taught me to stick weld, was pretty impressed with it. He was a tank car welder in the railroad industry for 20yrs. When he saw this machine he was not impressed at all lol. It seemed very gimmicky and the screen was an instant turn off. But when he started welding with it he changed his mind. He went on a job with me last week for a major repair on a gooseneck trailer. I let him take point with the welding since he doesnt get to very often. After turning it down from his first setting a bunch of times he went to town. This machine will blow through 3/8" plate with a 1/8" 6010 no problems. I havent messed around with thicker stuff or 5/32" rod yet but I will for grins. My father in law was impressed with how hot it welds and how smooth the arc is. This is all with the Arc Force set to 0.

On the Mig side, it welds better than my Lincoln 251. Sometimes it seems like there is a little too much going on with all the different adjustments and settings. Im used to voltage and amp setting. This has pre and post flow timer, inductance, spot and stitch timer. Thats on the manual mode. The sMig is way different for me. You have material thickness(wfs) and bead profile(to me, this is heat setting) I dont care for the thickness settings they have. Im pretty sure its set for fillet welds. I have not found their parameters in sMig to be hot enough for their intended material thickness. So I just pay attention to the wire speed. I also keep the "bead profile" setting to max. It doesnt seem to make it much flatter, but the puddle is "wetter". The arc quality seems to stay really consistent in sMig. Its sort of a dummy mode but I dont think it is set hot enough. But I was taught to set the machine as hot as you can handle :twisted: If I dont want to mess around with fine tuning mig settings, I just use sMig and set my wire speed, paying no attention to the suggested thickness. This works well and the arc is usually just right. Super nice for quickie jobs. Each welding mode also has 4 memory settings which is just awesome. I use that almost every time I weld.

I could blab on and on because Im happy with this machine. It really is a machine that can do most things. In the shop or in the field. A couple weeks ago I had it strapped to the front rack of my Polaris Sportsman with the generator in tow repairing some fencing. Why? Because the guy that built it years ago apparently had to run 200+ ft of extension leads from his rig because it couldnt get close enough. Alot easier than wrestling with a couple hundred feet of copper spaghetti noodles!


Hey I enjoyed the narrative. Too funny on some parts. Hey keep us informed on anything interesting you find with the 235. Keep up the great work.
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Re: Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review

Postby Vaquero » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:24 pm

Ryan wrote:My apologies for being so late to respond! I have been using the welder on a weekly basis. I onlt use it for MIG and stick. I have not messed around much with tig yet. Im still setting up my shop getting ready for a cnc plasma table.

This Rebel 235 is a super nice machine. I havent had any issues whatsoever. MOST of the welding Ive done has been with a 7.5kw generator because Im STILL waiting on 220 in the shop. It does run on the upper end of the gen's capacity. If i turn the hot start above 35% when stick welding it will cause a power fault and the machine will "lock up" and you have to restart it. I do think this is better than the machine smoking itself. I am very pleased it runs so well off a "big box" store generator. I need just a little bigger generator to stretch this welder's legs. I have been mostly using the machine in the field for some equipment repairs. It's not bad to load and unload without a spool in it. I have been keeping an 11lbs spool in it out of convenience and you can notice the difference but I knew what I was buying. I definitely made the right choice among all the other multi process machines out there. It is very rugged and nicely armored in all the right places. I can horse it into the back seat of my truck and let it flop over with no worries. The handles are one of my favorite features. When i carry it alone, banging and bashing it around is difficult not to do sometimes. Ive not scratched it or dented yet thanks to how they protect it so well. The only other multi welder that I know of that may be a little more rugged is the Miller Multimatic 200. It was made to live on the road, but falls way short in performance.


So how does it weld?? Hot. My Father-in-Law, who taught me to stick weld, was pretty impressed with it. He was a tank car welder in the railroad industry for 20yrs. When he saw this machine he was not impressed at all lol. It seemed very gimmicky and the screen was an instant turn off. But when he started welding with it he changed his mind. He went on a job with me last week for a major repair on a gooseneck trailer. I let him take point with the welding since he doesnt get to very often. After turning it down from his first setting a bunch of times he went to town. This machine will blow through 3/8" plate with a 1/8" 6010 no problems. I havent messed around with thicker stuff or 5/32" rod yet but I will for grins. My father in law was impressed with how hot it welds and how smooth the arc is. This is all with the Arc Force set to 0.

On the Mig side, it welds better than my Lincoln 251. Sometimes it seems like there is a little too much going on with all the different adjustments and settings. Im used to voltage and amp setting. This has pre and post flow timer, inductance, spot and stitch timer. Thats on the manual mode. The sMig is way different for me. You have material thickness(wfs) and bead profile(to me, this is heat setting) I dont care for the thickness settings they have. Im pretty sure its set for fillet welds. I have not found their parameters in sMig to be hot enough for their intended material thickness. So I just pay attention to the wire speed. I also keep the "bead profile" setting to max. It doesnt seem to make it much flatter, but the puddle is "wetter". The arc quality seems to stay really consistent in sMig. Its sort of a dummy mode but I dont think it is set hot enough. But I was taught to set the machine as hot as you can handle :twisted: If I dont want to mess around with fine tuning mig settings, I just use sMig and set my wire speed, paying no attention to the suggested thickness. This works well and the arc is usually just right. Super nice for quickie jobs. Each welding mode also has 4 memory settings which is just awesome. I use that almost every time I weld.

I could blab on and on because Im happy with this machine. It really is a machine that can do most things. In the shop or in the field. A couple weeks ago I had it strapped to the front rack of my Polaris Sportsman with the generator in tow repairing some fencing. Why? Because the guy that built it years ago apparently had to run 200+ ft of extension leads from his rig because it couldnt get close enough. Alot easier than wrestling with a couple hundred feet of copper spaghetti noodles!


Ryan,
Let us know what you're discovering with the 235. I am planning to purchase one to replace my older transformer model. I find your story funny and interesting. I am not too concerned on portability but very keen on sMIG. I kicked the tires on sMIG and the other features and then looked inside to see the construction. That sold me. Anyway. thanks for your review.
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Re: Esab Rebel EMP 235ic Review

Postby Ryan » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:04 pm

Okay, it's time for an update! Ive got alot of good stuff to talk about. However there is a serious issue Ive just had with it.

I have not been up to a whole lot with this machine lately. We have been smacked down with one deep freeze then thaw after another. Kind of a mess here in East KY. The schools cancel at any sign of a possible flurry!

The good:

How do I like this machine? It is great. The arc qualities in mig, tig and stick functions are excellent. Ive only learned tig welding from watching Jody and others on youtube. Im getting better and really enjoy it. I dont see anything wrong with lift tig for DC operations. It works awesome!

TIG:

I just recently discovered how the 4T function works and it is really neat with the "flashlight arc". Touch the tungsten to the material, press and hold the button. A yellowish low amp arc(dont know how low?) lights up and you can easily position your torch exactly where you want. Then you release the button and it starts the "real" arc and upslopes according to how you set it up. When you are done, hit the button. You can also modulate the button on and off if the heat is getting ahead of you. Its a little hard to do and stay on track so I see the pedal in my near future. Ive only done 1/4"-3/4" plate so I havent needed the pedal yet. I wasnt sure if I would even like lift tig on this machine, but I really like it and when I get the pedal I will give the thin stuff a shot.

Yesterday, I reattached a sheared off splitting wedge for my neighbor's Dyna brand processor. It is 3/4" thick and after beveling it I tig rooted it and it came out really awesome. This is a perfect example of why I needed a multi machine. I couldnt get in there and see well enough for stick or mig. I was able to with the tig torch because it flexes and swivels just right for weird positions. I could also get my hood in real close to see without smoke, spatter, and slag obstructing and distracting my view. I set the machine at 175 amps and went to town. It's the best work Ive done with tig yet. Time will tell if I did a better job than the undercutting mig weldor(yes "or") did at the factory.

MIG:

Ive done alot of mig welding over the years. To me a good mig welder is a good mig welder. And that is how I have felt about this machine. It's a good mig welder. I decided for this splitter repair that it was a good opportunity to try some .045" dual-shielded wire. All I have to say is "OMG!!". This machine is spectacular with dual shield flux core. Any position, any thickness within the wire size range. I always start at what I think is the "high end" settings for any particular process and dial down from there. Had no problems. I settled in at 360ipm and 25.7v for a hot pass and then down to 350ipm and 25v for everything else. I even did some little crack repairs on some 3/16" with a 1/8" groove cut at this setting. You better get your butt moving cuz this stuff lays down fast. My Lincoln wire-matic 255 doesnt run the same wire quite as good and I think the world of it.

Edit: I forgot to mention the sMIG mode. Because I dont use it. I prefer my own settings and I habitually keep my tip to work distance where it needs to be. This seems to me to be the biggest thing the "sMIG" feature compensates for. Maybe Im wrong, but I am old school. Though when I first got the machine I used it welding on a frame in really tight spots where I couldnt watch my tip to work distance so well and was going from vertical to overhead. Now that I know how this machine runs I know my settings and dont bother with sMIG. It doesnt seem to drive the arc in like I want. Also, turning the "bead profile" setting all the way up doesnt flatten out the bead at all. Inductance settings dont seem to change this. When in regular mig mode I can get the exact results I want. But as I said before, I prefer hot and fast. Like my women :lol:

Stick:

Not much to say here. It is as good a stick welder as the Miller Bobcat 225NT i use. Also the option for cellulose rod(6010/6011) works great. I also discovered by accident it runs 7018's in the 6010/6011 just fine. However I didnt do a "cut and etch" on that so have your grain of salt after reading this. The hot start and arc force funtions are great.


The Bad:

I was almost done with the splitter repair running the dual shield when it started having what seemes like a feed issue. I went through all the remedial action everyone else does. Go back to welding and all the sudden it seemed like the wire would vaporize inside the nozzle. This kept happening and then the machine started to hum erratically. Okay, time to call tech support. Call em up and the guy is definitely not very excited to help. He didnt even go into the usual spiel of remedial action. He first insisted it was the wire because he just helped a guy for a long time on the phone and concluded it was the wire. Huh?!? Um, Im no idiot. I own and operate a small fab shop. Been running mig machines for about 10 years. I can identify an issue like a bad spool of wire or wrong setting, etc. Hey it happens. I have a junk spool sitting on my tool box right now. This is not a consumable issue. The guy has me do a factory reset. Same problem. So he says I have a feed issue with the liner or gun and HANGS UP. This bozo HUNG UP ON ME!! Oh boy. So I call Customer Support since tech support left me out to dry. I tell them what happened. They say they cant help me because they arent tech support. Okay so it took a minute to iterate that my call is not for tech support, but to complain about the LACK OF tech support. They put me on the phone with cust. serv. manager. He says they dont do tech support. Okay. Lets try this again. So we get over the "we arent tech support" hump. I go on hold for tech manager. He was busy. So they found me a COMPETENT tech guy(awesome!!). Customer service did stay on the phone with me until they got me to some help. That is nice because some companies just send you down the "memory hole" and you get lost in tele-space. The competent friendly tech guy gets on the phone, hears my breakdown of the problem, has me check a thing or two. He then tells me to take the machine back to my LWS for warranty service because it has a bad board. I asked him if i get it to work for stick welding if I can still us it. He says if it works thats fine. If it blows up I will get a new one.

So i finished the job with the stick function since the Bobcat is up on the mountain and the wire-matic is at another shop I do occasional repairs for. It is definately not itself and I wasnt happy with how it welded but it worked. Rough arc starts and it wouldnt run my 6011. It really sucks that my work was botched because it was looking beautiful with that dual-shield. If the wedge wings break off Im going to be angry. But it was an emergency repair. Ya do what ya gotta do.

This was my biggest fear. Using an unproven new to the market machine in a working shop. I do have back-up welders, but I do what most job shops do. Keep them where they are most utilized. So I gotta go fetch my old(proven) machines until this is resolved.

Now it happens that you get deadbeat tech support with any product. When that was resolved I couldnt complain. The guy good at his job did his job. The jerkbag miserable button pusher just crapped on me like he does everyone else in his life.

If this was a machine used for a hobby, side job, or just occasional stuff I wouldnt be worried. If Esab lives up to their 100% customer satisfaction guarantee spiel thats cool. Good on them.

I am trying to decide if I even want to keep this thing. I cant have it do this to me again. I admit its partly my fault for not having another machine on hand. Yet if I cant place my trust in this thing I dont really want it around.

If i bought the Everlast instead and it broke down who knows how long I would be without it. But even if my LWS gets me a brand new machine by the end of the week there is a chance of me losing a job or two. I have a mig welder and stick welder. I do not have another tig machine. So I have some thinking to do. I just recently got some tig work. If I get more and have no tig machine i might lose this customer. That will be salt on the wound.
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