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  • Used American vs. new Chinese?

    I've been researching & looking for a decent AC/DC TIG hobby machine for a little while. I did a bit of TIG over a decade ago before I ran around overseas for a decade. It's not going to see much more than an occasional weekend or 2 a month of use.

    I believe in getting quality. Even if it costs you a significant bit more in the short run, it usually pays off in the long run. I'm just having a hard time rationalizing a used American (Miller/Lincoln machine costing double a new Chinese made one. Is it going to be that much better for occasional hobby use getting a used American machine?

    My budget is about a grand & I've more or less figured I'll be getting a used machine.

    I'd love to get a Dynasty 200, but after months of searching Craigslist & Flea-Bay, I really haven't seen anything significantly under $2k. I'd like something more than a Diversion (haven't really seen any used anywhere either), and that's almost in my price range. That leaves me with tracking down an old SyncroWave or looking at some new Chinese machine.

    I'd much rather have an inverter based machine due to the tiny amount of garage space I have for my garage/shop.

    Do you guys have any thoughts? Not looking to start a flame war or anything, just looking for input to help figure things out.

    Devin

  • #2
    The problem with the chinese equipment is well, It's chinese !! You will be surely dissapointed. Buy Harbor Freight clamps and magnets but save yourself the pain of the having to go out and buy good equipment after you have spent money on something that no one knows how to fix or obtain parts for.

    Buy an old Miller or Lincoln and be done with it. The Diversion is a good value for for a new machine.


    My .02
    Mountain Metal
    Dynasty 200 DX
    Coolmate 1
    Miller Trailblazer 302 W/ Kohler
    Miller Suitcase 12VS Wire feeder
    Weldcraft 26 TIG Torch
    Miller 210
    Spoolmate 3035
    Thermal Dynamics 51 Plasma
    Victor O/A
    Jet 7x12 L Cooled Band Saw
    Delta Drill Press
    Dewalt Chop

    Comment


    • #3
      For one How much power do you have in the garage available to power your welder and what voltage?
      This will be a big factor in selecting a machine.
      No not know what you have in term of volts and amps available to you I'll give you a starting point.

      First would be a used Econo tig. Not a great machine but for what you are talking in amount of use it would be fine. A used one should be less then a grand.
      Pro's: Basic machine with AC for aluminum welding decent amperage range 140 to 160 amps depending on how old the machine is
      Cons: Draws a lot of power need a 50 Amp breaker of 220VAC to get the full potential from the machine, It's heavy and has no wheels so you would need a cart. No balance, dig, or pulse control. No post flow timer adjustment.

      Next would be a Syncrowave 180 or 200
      Pros: Nearly a professional level machine, High frequency start. Balance control and adjustable post flow timers.
      Con's: Again pulls a lot of power, Both will require a 50 amp breaker of 220 VAC. Big and heavy like over 200 lb. Not a full function machine but a far cry from an Econo tig but it's a far cry from a Dynasty too.

      All I can say about the chinese machine is BEWARE!!
      Yes you can get a great machine for the money with some good features but when that machine (especially the inverter machines) takes a dive then what? What you are paying for is the ability to get you machine fixed should something break or fail.
      I know guys that have had Riland machines for years with no problems and others that have had them die a few days after getting it. I was looking at either and HTP machine or an Invertiweld, And they are the only ones I'd recommened for getting an off brand inverter based welder because both offer good warrantees.

      Other then that save and get a good machine you'll be glad you did. I'm very happy with my Syncrawave I just wish I'd got a 250 instead of the 200
      Miller Syncrowave 200 W/Radiator 1A & water cooled torch
      Millermatic 252 on the wish list
      Bridgeport Mill W/ 2 axis CNC control
      South bend lathe 10LX40
      K.O. Lee surface grinder 6X18
      Over 20 years as a Machinist Toolmaker
      A TWO CAR garage full of tools and a fridge full of beer
      Auto shades are for rookies
      www.KLStottlemyer.com

      Comment


      • #4
        I put in a [email protected] 220v plug in last month for my table saw (16 year old Delta Unisaw which was better/cheaper than something new). I'll be dropping a 15' run of 6 gauge & appropriate [email protected] breaker & socket whenever I get motivated (probably whenever I get the welder). Anything standard 1 phase shouldn't be a problem.

        I've more or less written off the Econotig as everything I've seen on them is about the same price as a new Diversion & has a really low duty cycle (to bad it's based on 10 minutes, and not day or months :-p).

        Comment


        • #5
          I'll add to the list of old machines the big tanks. You can run them at partial power on 50 amps. To get the full ouput, you'll need 100 amps.

          Miller Dialarc HF
          Miller Syncrowave
          Miller 330a/bp
          Lincoln Idealarc 300/300
          Hobart, Airco and Linde tigs of the same behemoth era.

          You can usually pick these machines up cheap and there very likely to be in good working condition no matter how old they are. It's tough to kill one of these beasts. Even if it's already 30 years old when you get it, it'll last you another 30 years for your own use and probly still be working after you're dead and gone.
          Millermatic350P/Python, MillermaticReach/Q300
          Millermatic175
          MillermaticPassport/Q300
          HTP MIG200
          PowCon 300SM, MK Cobramatic
          ThermalArc 185ACDC, Dynaflux Tig'r, CK-20
          DialarcHF, Radiator-1
          Hypertherm PowerMax 380
          Purox oxy/ace
          Jackson EQC
          -F350 CrewCab 4x4
          -LoadNGo utility bed
          -Bobcat 250NT
          -PassportPlus/Q300
          -XMT304/Optima/Spoolmatic15A
          -Suitcase8RC/Q400
          -Suitcase12RC/Q300
          -Smith oxy/propane
          -Jackson EQC

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Fallon View Post
            Is it going to be that much better for occasional hobby use getting a used American machine?
            A definite yes.

            80% of failures are from 20% of causes
            Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
            "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko
            "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal
            "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Fallon View Post
              I put in a [email protected] 220v plug in last month for my table saw (16 year old Delta Unisaw which was better/cheaper than something new). I'll be dropping a 15' run of 6 gauge & appropriate [email protected] breaker & socket whenever I get motivated (probably whenever I get the welder). Anything standard 1 phase shouldn't be a problem.

              I've more or less written off the Econotig as everything I've seen on them is about the same price as a new Diversion & has a really low duty cycle (to bad it's based on 10 minutes, and not day or months :-p).


              Originally posted by Desertrider33 View Post
              I'll add to the list of old machines the big tanks. You can run them at partial power on 50 amps. To get the full ouput, you'll need 100 amps.

              Miller Dialarc HF
              Miller Syncrowave
              Miller 330a/bp
              Lincoln Idealarc 300/300
              Hobart, Airco and Linde tigs of the same behemoth era.

              You can usually pick these machines up cheap and there very likely to be in good working condition no matter how old they are. It's tough to kill one of these beasts. Even if it's already 30 years old when you get it, it'll last you another 30 years for your own use and probly still be working after you're dead and gone.
              If you can possibly swing more input power, I see Lincoln Idealarc’s and Miller 330 a/bp go in the 300 to 500$ range all the time. Just a few weeks ago there was an ad in the local paper for a Miller 330 a/bp “come and get it, just haul it away”.
              Caution!
              These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

              Comment


              • #8
                Don't forget about the Lincoln Tig 175 or 185. These are good machines equal to the syncro 180/200.
                MM250
                Trailblazer 250g
                22a feeder
                Lincoln ac/dc 225
                Victor O/A
                MM200 black face
                Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
                Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
                Arco roto-phase model M
                Vectrax 7x12 band saw
                Miller spectrum 875
                30a spoolgun w/wc-24
                Syncrowave 250
                RCCS-14

                Comment


                • #9
                  I opted for used American myself, I never even considered a chinese welder when looking for one. You could try a local industrial surplus dealer in your area. I bought my Miller 340A/BP for 300.00. Yeah it's a heavy old machine but it welds very well. You can always pick up a used Lincoln 300 Stick/TIG for around the same price. I wouldn't buy a welder off e-bay unless it's close enough to check out before you bid on it. Another thing you want to do with any of the used machines is to check and make sure the serial number corresponds with the machine the seller is offering and perhaps even the local law enforcement agency to check if it is a stolen unit.

                  Lately with the flood of chinese tools hitting the U.S. market I've been very careful of what I buy in the way of tools. I personally have opted to buy used American made rather than new chinese whenever possible. However with some of the newer technology tools and equipment it isn't always possible.

                  Weigh your options carefully and decide what is best for you. Keep in mind as others have said with the import machines service and parts availability might be scarce to non-existent. Although my Miller machines are approaching 40 years old I can still find both parts and service for them.

                  Good luck with whatever you decide to purchase.
                  Blondie (Owner C & S Automotive)

                  Colt the original point & click interface!

                  Millermatic 35 with spot panel
                  Miller 340A/BP
                  Victor O/A torches
                  Lincoln SP125
                  Too many other tools to list

                  03 Ram 1500
                  78 GS1000
                  82 GL1100 Interstate

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sonora Iron View Post
                    Just a few weeks ago there was an ad in the local paper for a Miller 330 a/bp “come and get it, just haul it away”.
                    Where was that unit when I was looking for a stick/TIG machine? Just my luck. I've seen them on e-bay both Miller and Airco for 50 to 100 just to get rid of them, but always too far away to make it worthwhile.
                    Blondie (Owner C & S Automotive)

                    Colt the original point & click interface!

                    Millermatic 35 with spot panel
                    Miller 340A/BP
                    Victor O/A torches
                    Lincoln SP125
                    Too many other tools to list

                    03 Ram 1500
                    78 GS1000
                    82 GL1100 Interstate

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No hurry....

                      Originally posted by MMW View Post
                      Don't forget about the Lincoln Tig 175 or 185. These are good machines equal to the syncro 180/200.
                      I dont think you are in a hurry so take your time and buy all means buy american. There was a video on U tube of a gentleman smashing a chinese made tig welder. They are junk, poorly made, and enjoy getting parts! If you follow craigslist, and keep up on it, you can easily make your budget. I bought my lincoln precison tig for 800 bucks, it was nearly new. Dont rush into a decision just to have a machine collecting dust!
                      Kevin
                      Lincoln ranger 305g x2
                      Ln25
                      Miller spectrum 625
                      Miller 30a spoolgun
                      Wc115a
                      Lincoln 210mp
                      F550 imt service truck

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you need AC TIG that restricts you somewhat. After 5 months of looking for a used AC TIG machine (in Canada, admittedly), I ended up buying a Diversion. If you don't want to do aluminum, consider the Maxstar line.
                        Diversion 165
                        Lincoln SP175T
                        Ryobi Drill Press
                        No Name Portable band and chop saws
                        '97 Triumph Trophy 900 (3 cylinder, hence Triple!)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I was in the same position a few months ago. I wound up getting a Lincoln Precision Tig 185 and I'm very happy with it.
                          MM175
                          PrecisionTig 185
                          Lincoln AC Tombstone
                          Century fluxcore
                          Victor OA

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            looks like p&h with water cooler. Good luck

                            tig welder works 650$ call me 818-522-7447
                            $650
                            Craigslist, the owner says it works. Any questions let me know. Good luck.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Where are you located? I might sell my water cooled syncrowave 250, Its a big machine though.... size and power wise...
                              Voigt Precision Welding, Inc.

                              Miller Dynasty 200 DX, Miller Syncrowave 250, MillerMatic 252, Hypertherm Powermax 45, Auto Arc Trailpower 8000,272+187 lb Peter Wright anvil, 120 lb Fisher-norris, and more! Buffalo drill press, Grizzly Horiz. Bandsaw, Edwards shear, Barth Shear, bantam mechanical ironworker, Hopkins fly press, Doall Bandsaw, brown and sharpe surface grinder.

                              2007 Silverado 2500HD (tow vehicle)
                              2000 Camaro SS (Race car)
                              sigpic

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