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Thread: US vs Chinese TIG Welders
02-10-2011, 12:20 PM #1
US vs Chinese TIG Welders
I am looking for unbiased opinion on Chineses vs US Tig welders based on actual experienece - not just hearsay.
I own Deckel, Schaublin and Doall machines - all are great and work well. I also own a Taiwanese sinker EDM (Chevalier). It too performs well and on a recent service call (the second in 16 yrs of service) the tech who worked on it noted that they very seldom require service.
I mention this because, in trying to research Chinese Tig machines, the all too often comment is - 'you get what you pay for' or 'typical chinese junk'. When it comes down to brass tacks I discover that these opinions are not based on ownership or even actual use.
One also reads that many of the brand names such as Miller and Lincoln incoprporate parts and even complete boards manufactured in China and that they are merely assembled in the US. I cannot get to the bottom of this comment either.
The machine will be used for light to medium duty work - two or three times a monht for perhaps an hour or two at a time.
Comment from those who have actual experience with machines of either or both origins would be appreciated.
02-10-2011, 01:10 PM #2
I can appreciate wanting the value of an import machine. All of the domestic companies offering TIG machines of any capacity are expensive. The Asian guys are stepping up to the plate with some slick looking machines. My major concern is what happens when a board goes kaput and you're left with $595.00 worth of nothing?
Your questions has been brought up before and agreed there's always the "don't buy Chinese" argument. Maybe you'll find someone that steps up to owning one of these machines.
This should make for an interesting thread
02-10-2011, 01:44 PM #3
I would just like to point out that both Miller and Lincoln sell a LOT of american made Tig welders in China.
Leading one to believe that the Chinese dont think the Chinese made machines are as good as the american ones.
I have not used a $500 chinese tig welder- but I am dubious.
This is not to say that eventually they wont get good- but you get what you pay for.
I have a buddy who imports chinese induction heating forges. They are pretty good quality, and electrically they are not dissimilar to a Tig welder. The cost between $5000 and $8000.
Which tells me that, sure, the Chinese are perfectly capable of building good Tig welders, and they would probably cost in the two to five thousand dollar range, just like good ones from Miller, Esab, Fronius, or Lincoln do.
There isnt much low wage labor in making a tig machine- the basic costs of making one in Finland, or Wisconsin, or Shanghai really wont vary that much- sheet metal, capacitors, copper, they are all world priced commodities. So when you see a $500 machine that is supposed to be "just as good" as what everybody else sells for $2000 and up, you wonder whats going on.
Government subsidies? Black Market MSFETS?
Buy one, and let us know what you think.
I spend about as much as one of those ebay cheapies costs every year on my Tig welders, keeping em in hoses and torch parts and consumables- it aint a very big gamble, in the real scheme of welding costs.
02-11-2011, 04:35 AM #4
Thanks to both of you for your replies.
With regard to repairs it is perhaps interesting to note that on the welding web Lincoln and Miller owners have complained of repair costs that are sometimes double the cost of a Chinese welder.
Ries, thanks for your comment. May we ask how you know that Lincoln and Miller sell significant numbers of machines in China? Your point re the cost of a machine is well taken and I think that an experiment is in order. Would you pm me or post the name of yr friend who sells induction furnaces. I have an interest in that direction too.
02-11-2011, 07:44 AM #5
Both Miller and Lincoln have had a significant presence in China for 30 years.
Miller only exports to China, but Lincoln has factories there.
I have seen Chinese Weldors posting online, complaining about the quality of Chinese machines, and discussing how on important work, like pipelines, or aerospace, Miller, Lincoln, and European brands are preferred.
Both Miller and Lincoln have chinese websites, but they are in chinese, which I cant read.
they both exhibit at the Chinese Welding expos, have dealers around the country, and sell plenty of machines.
As for repair costs- yes, its true, a $3000 to $5000 machine (about what my two tig welders cost new) will have parts that cost money. I have had very few repair issues with my miller welders- none whatsoever with my inverter machine, some electronic problems with my old transformer style syncrowave- but, amortized out over the 25 years I have owned it, the repairs, versus the work I got out of it, have been small potatoes.
If your ONLY concern is initial cost, then certainly a Chinese machine is going to be the cheapest.
But if they go down, they are basically disposable.
Whereas there are dealers in most every town in america who stock common repair parts for Miller and Lincoln, and can get anything they dont stock in a few days.
The fact remains, you get what you pay for. There is no magic secret that allows the chinese to sell a $3000 machine for $500.
You are buying a $500 machine.
Cheaper parts, cheaper assembly techniques, no factory support. Fittings that are plastic instead of brass, $1 switches instead of $60 ones - there are real differences and reasons for the price.
Its a gamble, and one that some people consider perfectly acceptable.
I do not. I have a good $20,000 worth of american made welders in my shop, and they make me money day in and day out. If one goes down, I want it fixed tomorrow. And with Miller and Lincoln, that has never been a problem.
Miller is also extremely conservative about their ratings. My 250 amp Syncrowave easily puts out over 300 amps in a pinch, and everything about all my Millers is built to industrial standards.
I once lost a Mlller mig welder out the back of the truck- (dont ask- he doesnt work here anymore) and after hammering out the sheet metal, it has worked fine for another 15 years.
02-11-2011, 07:56 AM #6
Many thanks for your input. As you will know from the machines that I own and should add use daily, I really appreciate good quality stuff. They have all been good investments and have made me a lot of money. So - I understand the 'you get what you pay for' view on life! The money issue that I am struggling with here is the amount of use that I expect to get out of the welder. Pretty limited really.
Again my thanks .
02-11-2011, 08:50 AM #7
02-11-2011, 08:52 AM #8
02-11-2011, 09:00 AM #9
I have (and use) the Everlast PowerTig 250EX, the Power I-Mig 250p, and the PowerPlasma 1000...I have absolutely no complaints and I have saved something like $8500-11,000 over the comparable Miller/Lincoln/Esab units. Altogether I have $5100 into my welding equipment and I fab everything from mild to stainless to aluminum.
In fact it was because of these machines from this company that I was able to go into business for myself...the cash saved on the machines was invested elsewhere...like my StrongHands welding table. Got 2 of them and 2 of the starting kits with all the clamps that I need for fixtured welding...for right around $5000. Added a small (2x2) portable CNC plasma cutter for under $3000 from Torchmate.
I would still be saving right now, or getting by with only one process, rather than adding equipment if it weren't for the affordability AND the quality of these "Chinese Junk". I use this equipment at least once a day, in some process that makes or saves me money.
My equipment has 99% of all the same options/functions of the big-name stuff, but has a price-point that is outstanding.
IF you have a problem...I have found the email response and support to be fast, courteous AND on-target.
You don't have to believe just me...check out: MultiProcess Welder and
Tig Welder Review
for a review from a professional who doesn't have a horse in the game.
Here is the website to the manufacturer of the equipment I use: Plasma Cutters, Welders, Arc Tig Mig Welding Equipment, Diesel Generators, Welding Accessories, Consumables
I encourage you to make the decision for yourself based on your criteria and the money you have available...you don't need a Ferrari to pick up the milk!
02-11-2011, 12:53 PM #10
No cigar for me.
I'm still not buying one. It's not a matter of money, features, capability or amperage. It's just a balance of trade with me. Although I'm sure that my Lincoln and Miller equipment probably has a few outsourced parts, I won't spend any more money on imported goods than I have to.
To each his or her own.
02-11-2011, 03:28 PM #11
Yep, lets all go buy china welders.........then our welding equipment industry can be the equal of our machine tool industry.........extinct......
02-11-2011, 03:36 PM #12
Newman and Moonlight
Whilst your patriotism is appreciated and in fact shared, your comment has nothing to do with the topic.
Thank you indeed.
02-11-2011, 04:02 PM #13
02-11-2011, 04:13 PM #14
Better yet...where were all the "patriots" when I was getting my ass shot at in Iraq and Afghanistan? I didn't see you quit your job and join the military to defend this country. Nope...it was mostly poor kids from the country and the city, trying to better their lot. Very noblesse oblige of you!
The jingoism and rhetoric in this forum is laughable. You live your life as you see fit and and I'll live mine as I see fit. Judge me if you want, but if you ever called me "unpatriotic" to my face, I would smash your teeth down your throat.
Just remember...I'm using "Chinese Junk" to build American product. I've created a new company and hope to employ other American workers. I never could have done that had I kept saving for the "patriotic" fairy who was going to sprinkle my shop with magic machinery, just to salve your sense of entitlement.* I did what I had to do to get the job done...FOR ME. Because nobody else in this country was looking out for me, so damn straight...I looked out for myself.
I'll start buying American when it's affordable, quality and they look out for MY job, MY welfare and MY future.
*Actually, I had saved up a nice little nest-egg to buy "All-American"...and it disappeared in 2008 with the rest of my 401k, my job and eventually my house. I dug in and rebuilt from zero. I did what I could with what I had and used those means at my disposal to better my situation. But I guess that's not good enough for the old-timers on this forum who actually SOLD this country out a long time ago. No...far better to slough that responsibility and blame it on the younger generation...what else would you expect from a bunch of assholes who have already had their day in the sun?
02-11-2011, 04:50 PM #15
I do not want anyone to tell me that equipment that is 2nd rate is great. Similarly I do not want someone to tell me that a machine is made in America when it is merely assembled here from parts made elsewhere. What I did ask for and where I belive your comments have nothing to do with the subject was opinion based on experience.
02-11-2011, 05:19 PM #16
You and 307Startup have issues that go well beyond Chinese versus American equipment. You both sound pissed off at the world. I can't help you there. He even wants to knock my teeth out. Guess things aren't going too well with him.
All I know is that everytime in the past when I've tried to discuss Chinese equipment, someone here told me to STFU. I guess the rules have been relaxed.
02-11-2011, 05:33 PM #17
When you make an insinuation that I'm somehow LESS of an American because I buy what I can afford, I take that as insult. Regardless of however you want to backtrack on that, YOU said it...now own it.
You have the freedom of speech, but that doesn't mean that you have the freedom to insult me without being held accountable. If you called me unpatriotic to my face, I wouldn't just sit there and allow you to keep running your mouth without the realization that your actions had better match up with your beliefs...thus you'd be spitting out a mouthful of teeth if you were that brazen and stupid.
But then again, I'm not afraid to back my beliefs up with actions. Just as I have on numerous deployments in service of this nation.
You want to treat me like a fellow citizen and show me some courtesy and mutual respect for my contributions? We would have no problems, I might even buy you a beer. But never doubt that insulting my allegiances and denigrating me for making an honest go of life is not something that I or any real man takes lightly.
02-11-2011, 05:40 PM #18
02-11-2011, 05:48 PM #19
What's truly unfortunate is that you have an irrational and poorly-formed belief that you feel gives you the right to insult someone who works just as hard as you do and loves this country as much as, if not more, than you do.
ow2knives asked for an opinion from an experienced user about some equipment...regardless of COO, the stuff that I use isn't on par with the cheap crap from Grizzly or Jet, it's an awesome bang-for-the-buck. I gave him an honest opinion based on this experience.
It's not your position to tell either of us that we're killing America because we're leveraging our money with available technology & equipment that doesn't have your preferred COO emblazoned on the side of it.
At least it's honest about what it is...Chinese welding equipment, not Chinese welding equipment masquerading as American welding equipment!
02-11-2011, 08:44 PM #20
I bought a Chinese TIG. I have had it for about 5 years now and it has performed flawlessly. I use it in a situation just as you state.
I fabricate small steel brackets on the weekend to make some extra dollars and occasionally they require stainless so I bought this TIG. The machine I bought has all the bells and whistles for just over a $1000. To get the same thing in Miller or some other high end brand was easy 4 to 5 times the price. If I were to require the unit to work 40-60 hrs a week on the Space Shuttle I may have invested the extra money but for what I use it for and require of it, it works great.