View Full Version : So what's the review on these inverter-based combo machines?
11-22-2006, 10:04 PM
I keep seeing these machines on eBay that have plasma cutting / TIG combination features. I emailed one seller about them but I was a little overwhelmed with the excessive exclamation marks in his response - it felt a little bit like an informercial. Considering I haven't seen a lot of these around or heard any reviews, I would like to know more.
Has anyone used these? I am seeing that now the newer machines have AC capability (Mitech Super 160). If they are any good, I would snag one up in a minute because they sell for less than $1500. A 40A plasma cutter and an AC TIG in one machine just sounds too good to be true, considering that I would have to spend about $3k to get some decent machines that match that.
Just FYI, I recently purchased a defunct Hypertherm Max43 (getting an estimate to rebuild it) and am really wanting to find a used Miller Syncrowave 180SD, so that's the kind of capability I'm looking for.
11-22-2006, 10:39 PM
I don't have one but have read a lot of comments on the import type stuff. Results seem to be something of a mixed bag. From what I gather the construction of the units is a little on the flimsy side. Things come loose in the trip over and cause shorts and other problems when the units are put in service. That said the better dealers go through the units and and check for problems and test them before shipping to the end user. That's my take from kind of reading between the lines.
11-24-2006, 05:27 AM
coin flip at best, most get less than faverable reviews.;)
11-26-2006, 11:07 AM
Sadly, we're playing with an expensive hobby fellas. I understand the need to buy the lesser name machines when you're staring out as money is tight. However, if you do the math involved in buying two welders (the first import that died and can't be repaired, then the second 'real" one to replace it) it's not cost effective to jump the gun and buy something that isn't a proven, sure fire machine. Good, name brand machines, will last you the rest of your life with minimal repair / maintenance. Once you learn to weld, you gonna get good at it, thereby becoming excited at what you can build. Then, perhaps your import machine won't keep up with you and your abilities, then your in the market again for a better welder. Trust me when it comes to high ticket items like these welders...buy crap once, cry twice. Buy good once, cry once. I have a friend who has a Miller "Sidekick" 120 volt machine that's over 25 years old and has pushed out THOUSANDS of spools of wire, reliably, on time and without fail, and has never broken down. Miller still services these machines if it ever does. Can't say that for Harbor Freight.
11-26-2006, 11:18 AM
I have had a Mitec 120 amp unit for over a year. The tig function works well. The plasma function is weak at best but I only cut schedule 10 SS 304l so it goes through that like butter. It has never given me a bit of trouble to this day. I have purchased a TA Pro wave 185 recently and the results were amazing in comparison. The pedal control aloows me to produce much better results. For the money the combo machine was well worth the money and I still use it as a plasma cutter. I have had 4 people buy it with no problems what so ever. Food for thought. I am just a hobby welder. I make Honda turbo manifolds.
11-26-2006, 12:00 PM
i think if you go into it knowing you are likely to get what you pay for you might be ok, best to go for one of the off brands some one else has had good luck with like the one CS has and can say is ok. but keep in mind also resail will be little to none when you get ready to go up to a bigger system. my Miller units will resell at close to new $$ as i keep them looking nice and miller keeps them working nice.
also be shore you can get consumables at a good $ if you save $400 when you buy but the consumables are $10 every time you buy then you will end up opaying more for less machine verry quickly.
its almost always better to hold off save for a bit longer and get a good one, you will have better resale when ready and likely less isues with performance.
i also understand lack of $$ i tryed for years to save up enough for the Dyn 200 but after 3 years went for the TA-185 due to lack of $$. but i also fallowed the TA-185 for the 3 years looking at how many got them and how many had problems with them. i can safely say the TA-185 has a good tract record and was a safe purchase. i take good care of it keeping it coverd and expect a good resale value should i decide to move up, and good performance from it wile i have it. but the TA-185 is not exactly a off brand just not one of the verry top dogs but close. my MIG and plasma are Miller and yep it took a lot of saving to get them. the biggest thing to get over is the want for it now. its hard to keep saving for a good one when you know you can go out and get a lesser one now.
my advice wait it out and save for a good one it will serve you well for many years if you get the right one.;)
11-26-2006, 05:39 PM
Did it come with that cover? That is nice! Mine didn't come with a cover or a cable cover but I got the welding supply to throw it in.
11-26-2006, 07:29 PM
Fun4now makes his covers, and has them for sale for most anything. Check out his "signature" at the bottom of his posts. Check out his ebay store, it shows a number of his custom covers for welders and plasma cutters. I think, once I get thru the holidays, I'm gonna hafta treat my MM 210 to one of these, his cover for a MM 210.
11-26-2006, 08:36 PM
i make the covers, or rather the wife and i do.:) i looked all over the web trying to find a cover when i first got my TA-185 and when i couldnt find one decided to make one. showed it off on the miller ask andy site and was set apon with requests for covers for them. that was the start, now we have patters for about 25 welders and some other specilty stuff. we only use high quality fabrics that will last, and embroider on the name or design to give it a realy classy look.:cool:
the MM210 cover has been our biggest seller you will realy like the design, i think i got it about as close to perfect as you could ask for.:) and now that we started making tank covers to match you can take the ugly tank out of the picture too.:cool2:
11-26-2006, 08:49 PM
Thanks for the replies, guys.
I guess I'm just wondering how much of the price of a brand name inverter is just in the name. Could it be that these things are the same as the difference between a Sony and a Daewoo? Or a Harmon Kardon and a JVC?
11-26-2006, 10:38 PM
most of the no namers are porely put togather, and even if they use the same components they are not the same when you start ataching things with hot glue guns and bubble gum, and using wire 3 sizes under what the namers make them use. this is a case where you realy do get what you pay for.
$3000 for a name brand plasma and TIG V/S $400 for a multy purpose that dose both, what do you realy expect, the same thing in a diferent box. not going to happen.
i know all too well how hard it is to come up with $$ for shop toys, it took me 3 years but i expect to have my TIG for 10 or more years or resell it to upgrade, so its werth spending the $ to get a good one that will do just that.
if you are looking for some one to tell you its all a scam they are all the same in diferent boxes, its not going to happen. buy a cheepo expecting to get a cheepo, or buy a good one that will be in your shop long enough to make it werth it, or have the resale value you need when you get ready to upgrade.
the closest thing to a cheepo i could even conside recomending is a ryland at around $1000 and i say that with a grain of salt as i only even sauy it as i know a few with them that think they are ok.
face it welding tools are expensive and there is realy no way around it, its always best to buy the best tool you can if you expect to get any long term use out of it.
11-30-2006, 09:30 PM
I worked with a friends Mitec DC unit (160...I think) and actually found that it did a pretty decent job (no go pedal though) for mild and stainless steel. The plasma cut function worked quite well on 1/4", but the torch itself was pretty cheesed! I think that with a hammer and a die you could probably pound out the copper consumables yourself!! I think with a little ingenuity you could probably mess with the unit and upgrade the thing to a pedal control, but you could get a nice econotig with AC for a few hundred more.
I guess if you want to have something light weight that can plasma cut, stick weld and do limited TIG work for the price it may be worth a toss of the dice, but I can't give you a reliability statement about the units! Oh by the way my buddy showed me the directions and they were totally written in Engrish...Ahhhh Verrrry GOOOD safety: Caution arc rays may burn the shin! For a minute I thought that I was going to get a Martha Stewart type guinea pig cooking recipe if I kept flipping through the pages (please folks don't take that as an offensive remark...if you've actually been to Shenzhen or any of the remote areas you know what I'm talking about)!
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