View Full Version : Clarke Machines
05-30-2004, 11:08 AM
I have been making and selling metal furniture and large grills for over 11/2 years now and am ready to make the jump to MIG and Plasma from Oxy and Stick. My question is that I am looking at buying a Clarke Plasma King 30 220V plasma cutter and a Clarke 180EN MIG 220V 180Amp MIG welder. Does anyone have experience with these machines and are they worth the outlay of $$$. The prices seem great $845.00 for the Plasma and MIG is about $310.00. I am watching my money that is why I am interested in Clarke.
05-30-2004, 02:40 PM
Well, if you're going to be satisfyed with a halfassed immitation of a Plasma and a MIG, go with Clark, presuming you really only want to use the MIG 2 minutes out of every 10.
You'll be much better served buying real equipment either blue or red, from Miller or Lincoln. You can even buy Hobart, if you like Chinese that won't be supported in 7 years.
Shade Tree Welder
05-30-2004, 02:44 PM
I will whole heartedly agree with Franz, either buy Miller (Hobart) or Lincoln or you will be sorry. Hypertherm makes a good plasma and they maybe worth considering. You may see Esab their welders are crap, plasma is tolerable.
05-30-2004, 03:27 PM
Welcome to the zoo.
If you are watching your money, you can buy the Clarke & watch it be spent poorly, IMO. I think most of us go through this process when we start looking to go migging; I did, last fall & that's why I did the Google search that led me first to the Hobart forums & then to this one when it was first populated. I got talked out of being too frugal right away & hope you do too. There are a couple of guys still using the Clarke who will defend it but they are waaaay overmatched by the rest.
I had the opportunity to pick between Clarke & Hobart sitting side by side in a tool store where I am well acquainted. The owner & his top hand both said they had had no returns or complaints about the Clarke but also admitted no one had come back to brag about it either. They carry it because they like the rep who sells it to them, the profit margin justifies it & it gives them a lowball item to offer to guys who don't want to look around first.
Set the two machines side by side & the first difference you will see is the quality of the sheet metal & even the care taken in forming it. But more importantly, the Clarke transformer is considerably lighter which translates to shorter duty cycles, harsher arc. The Clarke scrimps on filtering - again poor arcs. Fact is, it is just not built to compete very well with Miller, Hobart or Lincoln. And if I remember correctly, you get a 7 foot lead with Clarke instead of the ten foot with the others; that 3 foot difference matters. Even the hose for shielding gas is a little plastic tube that makes it look like its on life support instead of a real reinforced gas hose like the Hobart has.
Then there is the matter of factory support, dealer support, availability of parts. I found out that the same local repair shop is the authorized factory service for both Hobart & Clarke so I called them & asked about the differences. That was the final nail in my decision which was that I would rather have an HH135 than a Clarke 180. They stock no parts for the Clarke & consider it to be a throwaway entry level welder.
I see that Franz & the Shadow have both chimed in now & I agree with them but I have been trying to provide you with a little more meat-on-the-bones reasons for why I do. Lincoln, Miller & Hobart do indeed now have some foreign parts in them but they are still made in the USA & have huge distribution & factory support systems. Clarke is made in Italy to compete with the Chinese tin cans like Campbell Hausfield & Century. They probably have some factory support - in Italy. So the point is for you to get your money's worth & have something to be proud of, you're just going to have to gut up & spend a little more or later wish you had. Or as they say around these parts, "just cowboy up & make the ride". :D
By the way, Miller & Hobart are both coming out with their 180's right now so there are some closeout deals to be had on their 175's. Shop around a little & save some money that way.
05-30-2004, 05:17 PM
Save your pennies elsewhere, buy a quality unit to start
06-02-2004, 09:01 AM
Thanks guys for the input. I figured as much Quality over $$$ is more important to me.
06-02-2004, 07:31 PM
ryguy, you have been given good advice. Proceed accordingly. :)
05-06-2005, 11:58 AM
might look at the htp have had no trouble with it for over 2 years
05-06-2005, 03:09 PM
You've been at this "11-1/2yrs", you finally want to make more $$$$ doing this you'll save alot of time with a mig and a plasma. Go with the Miller or Lincoln or Hobart. The money spent will be money made. Get a machine a size or 2 larger then what you think you'll need. You will wind up using it in the long run.Your on the road to making a better product in the long run.
Just my .02
B & B Fabrication and Welding Inc.
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