Looking for opinions on Import welders & plasma cutters. How about the combination Tig and plasma cutters? Any advantage to stand alone cutters? What do you think or share your experiance please.
For welders, I've heard many people say to avoid the imports at all costs. They might get the job done, but I'd imagine any tech support would be non-existent. I haven't heard any feedback on the plasma cutters. I did read one post by an owner that said his worked pretty well. I think he had just gotten it and rarely used it.
As for the combo machines... Personally, I don't think ANY combo machines are a good idea: mill/lathe, TIG/Plasma, DVD/VCR/TV, etc... If one goes, the whole thing is toast.
Dont do it.
Welders buy miller
Plasma buy Hypertherm
Never have to worry about parts or consumables, plus a 3 year warranty. Forget it on an import.
A lot of Esabs are imported from europe and I wouldnt buy those either.
100% agree with macona. It shows poor economy to buy an import welder, except maybe one of the nice euro models. At that point you would be spending as much as on a domestic machine, I would think.
Along with poor support, no parts, etc. you will probably be buying less energy efficient machines, which at the number of KVA's that most welders/cutters draw, can make a big dent in your electric bill over a year.
I pulled a multimig out of a dumpster (yellow italian 110 v), replaced the power switch and the plug. works good on 1/8 inch and thinner with flux core. Worth every penny I have in it.
Good points to consider. Sad to see so many tools and machines with parts from all over the world in them. Even America brands that used to be 100% made in USA. Esab has a plant in my state. I'm guessing some of their line is made here and the rest imported. Off topic: A John Deere tractor has parts from Italy, Spain, and Japan.
As far as I know, the vast majority of Miller's are made in the USA, if this is important to you. Lincoln, less so- Lincoln has factories in Europe, South America, China, Indonesia, and other places.
Esab is a european company- so I am not sure why it is "sad" to see foreign parts in their machines- Its true, they bought what used to be Linde, and so makes some of their welders here, but many of them are imported.
The US has kind of unique ideas of what a welder should be- we are kind of cowboys, and we want our welders to be like a jeep, and are willing to pay for it- So american market welders, particularly Lincolns and Millers, are built very tough, and expected to put up with a lot of abuse, and still be high tech and modern.
In many other countries, simple cheap buzzboxes reign, as labor is much cheaper.
Or, in Japan and parts of europe, very sophisticated electronics are built for factory environments, but they would never expect anyone to throw one in the back of their pickup, or use it in their garage- so they just build very different machines, and most imports are not as desirable from our point of view.
The new cheapo chinese welders, like the ones from Harbor Freight, are basically throwaway's- very cheaply made, no repair or service available, and not built to withstand american jobsite conditions.
There are some really nice imported welders- but most do not have much in the way of support- so if you bought one, you better be good at troubleshooting electronics- like, for instance, a Panasonic Tig or Mig- high tech, high quality, and nobody has ever seen one when it comes to parts or consumables.
Or maybe a Kemppi, from Finland- Killer little high tech machines, very high quality, everybody who uses em loves em- but NO american parts or service.
Similar thing with Fronius- high tech, cutting edge stuff, but if it breaks in Tulsa or Spokane, good luck.
Buy a Miller, like Macona says. I have a shop full of Millers- they work very well, and almost never break, and parts, service and consumables are available everywhere in the USA, and resale value is high.
As always, things are not what they seem.
All welders have non American parts in them.
As for support, Miller in particular has been discontinuing support and parts for current welders.
Go order a PC-300 from them and get back to us with the results.
They want you to buy a new welder...not continue using the old one.
I'll never claim to know which Corp owns what brands these days [img]smile.gif[/img] .
Just like cars, darn it. You have to ask when you see imports for half $ of Domestic. Then see domestics with import parts [img]tongue.gif[/img] .
They want you to buy a new welder...not continue using the old one.
Thanks for the opinions, and pitfalls.
Miller may buy individual parts as imports, like capacitors.
But Miller welders are made in Appleton Wisconsin. Sheet metal is bent there, paint is painted there, parts are screwed into metal boxes there. Maybe they dont wind their own transformers any more, but I bet they do.
And as far as who owns em- no mystery there- I DO!
Yep, I put about $500 from my IRA into Illinois Tool, which owns Miller Welders. So when you buy a Miller, you can feel good, knowing any profit goes into my retirement.
The PC-300 was made 10 years ago. Of course they dont sell them anymore. The functionality of a PC-300 is a field installable option on all of their new machines. How long do you expect them to keep making something obsolete? You cant buy the original Synchrowave 250 anymore either.
Thats like bitching that I cant get a new ISA modem card for my 10 year old computer any more.
You could buy all the parts for a PC-300 and put one together if you really wanted to. All the parts are available.
I cant see where you say they are discontinuing support and parts for anything current. There is only one part that I know of that I have found to be discontinued for a recent machine (~10 years old) That is the Microprocessor board for the Millermatic 250MP. They had the board subbed out to another company and now they can get them anymore. You can have them repaired though.
Re: Ries retirement: In that case buy lincoln!
Oh yeah, Ries, I am heading up to seattle on Sat to visit boeing surplus among other things. Are there any other good surplus type stores up there?
Millers and Hypertherms are cheap compared to typical machine tools. Why bother going even cheaper?
Sadly, not much.
Beyond Boeing, there is almost nothing left.
There used to be Puget Sound Salvage, which changed its name about ten times, and last was called Pacific Industrial- they just had an auction in January, as their real estate was worth more than they gross in ten years- so they have moved, but I havent been there yet-
Pacific Industrial Supply
1231 S Director
Seattle, WA 98108
Hours: M-F 7:30 - 5:00, Sat 9:00 - 3:00
*Directions from our old 4th Ave location: -South on 4th Avenue-Curve left onto E Marginal towards Boeing Field-Right on 16th Ave S-Stay straight/slight left to go onto 14th Ave S-Right on S Director, large building on left (formerly Precision Engineering)
They are more industrial supplies and surplus- wire rope, rigging, raw materials, the occasional overpriced machine tool.
There are these guys, down by Boeing Surplus-
The first ones sell scratch and dent Jet, Wilton, and Powermatic. Occasional good deals.
And these guys may be the last actual used machinery dealer left in Seattle- when I was a kid, back before the last ice age, there were a half dozen in a few blocks down by the sports stadiums alone- but Starbucks and Amazon pay a lot more rent.
They are not more than 10 minutes or so from Boeing Surplus.
My advice is try to eat lunch at Caveman Barbecue- a few miles south of Boeing Surplus, in Kent.
Cave Man Kitchens
807 W Valley Hwy
Kent, WA 98032-2915
Just for everyones info....Hypertherm plasma systems are manufactured in the U.S. at our factory in Hanover New Hampshire. The company is owned by the employees....and we actually export more than 50% of our products. Our engineering, manufacturing, customer service and technical service are all in the U.S.
C'mon you guys. I live - Miller Dynasty 200 DX and all the trimmings. Maybe we didn't follow you to Iraq but it seems that some of us humble Canucks are keeping your union jobs safe for you. And no, not just now that we actually have a real world currency!
"We're too poor to buy cheap".