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Thread: New LS-160 experiences [Long]

  1. #1
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    New LS-160 experiences [Long]

    Hi All,

    I posted a long time ago about what the diffs between Longevity and other manufacturers were and after a long time digesting the discussion and continued reading, I was going to be passing thru the SF Bay area and I decided to see for myself. Long. was very accommodating and allowed me to test-drive an LS-160P combo machine. They pulled a new crate and Jesse set it up with air, Argon, and their testing cables (in retrospect, I should have tried it with the cables that came with it). I tested it in the same test bench area that Long. has posted previously. It's not really a welding area, but rather a test area, so it's not really at the right height for good welding position, but since I just wanted to make sure that all the features worked more or less as advertised, it was fine.
    And they were - stick, TIG, plasma all worked without a hitch, altho the welds and cuts I made were butt-ugly. It had been long enough since my welding class that I wasn't too worried about the look of the work, but that it worked at all.

    So, after a couple of deep breaths, I carved a large chunk out of my CC and drove away with 70lbs of LS-160P in the back of my van.

    Skipping the Makers Faire (Disneyland for people who hate Disneyland - /definitely/ consider going to this if you're in the area for the next one - OMG, so many cool, weird projects..) I arrived back home to find an unexpected chunk of work waiting, so I couldn't really test anything - no compressed air tubing of the right length, no argon, no Al welding stock..

    I finally tried it out last weekend (mostly - no argon, no Al stock, so no TIG) - after messing with the compressed air, I got the plasma cutter working. No problems with the electronics - seems to do what it's supposed to do. I'm running at ~70psi but only about 30A for some 1/16" and 1/8" steel stock. it cut well but I have to play around with the feed rate and air pressure for optimal finish (the side opposite the cut had 'unacceptable' (for my welding instructor) slag and I also didn't hold the torch steady enough, nor move it smoothly enough, so I would have failed his test miserably (sorry Mr. Galvery). But did it work? Definitely!
    I didn't try cutting Al, but I will later this week - have some bike frames to dissect.

    Ditto the stick welding. I had some 1/8" 6011 rods and set it up DCEP @35A and ran a few welds. Very nice response for lighting (here, insert a few disparaging remarks about the HF inverter TIG welder that I briefly had - ugh..). This arc response was very similar to the Lincoln and Miller machines that I used at my welding course - very easy to light and keep the arc lit - very forgiving as to arc distance. the welds I ran were so ugly that I won't offend your gentle sensibilities by showing them, but the ugliness was due to the artist, not the brush. As I spent a bit more time, they became less offensive, but they're still pretty raunchy.

    One thing that happened during this initial run is that the on/off switch got stuck in the on position. I popped the top off and was able to press it closer to the faceplate which allowed it to be (barely turned off, but it soon gave up the ghost and returned to the stuck on position. I emailed Long. Monday morning about this problem and by afternoon they had mailed me a replacement. No RMA, no return before we ship. That was reassuring.

    Well, today, I ran out to AirGas, got some Argon and Al rod and set it up for TIG.
    I have to say that I don;t like the TIG torch very much - I have a variable twist torch from my class and it's much nicer than the one suppied. The one supplied works fine but the angle isn't adjustable. I had a 1/16" tungsten electrode left over from my class and used it as a starter as I knew how it felt. I reground the tip and inserted it, tightened it up, ran the Argon at ~11 L/m at 40A. When I first started it up, using the finger switch, I have to say that I was startled at the smoothness at which the arc came on. It was like butter. A beautiful, smooth glowing arc that hit the steel and puddled it like a match melting wax. Warmed my heart.

    Again, the artist was less than the brush - horrible, ragged, autogenous weld the 1st run, and left a weld that looked like the Rockies when I tried a fill rod. Got better as went, but it will take a bit of time. However, I have to say that the electronics were spendid. It was actually a more stable, smoother arc than the $3000 Lincoln that was my best friend at the Welding course.

    I did a few more welds on steel and then the big test - Al. I set it up for AC, a little more amp (~40A) and tried it on the edge of a 1/4 chunk of Al that I had sanded down to bare metal. Much noisier arc, but I could see the oxides jumping off just like with the Lincoln and then that beautiful shiny puddle of aluminum shone and off I went. I tried an Al fill rod and that was almost a religious experience. It wasn't a professional job, but it didn't make me want to retch either. I also tried running it over some unsanded, well-oxidized Al to see what would happen and to my amazement, it went right thru it. The edges looked a bit ragged, but it welded right thru it. I had never tried this at class, so I'm not sure what would have happened there since it was worth your life to NOT prep the surface.. But nice to know that the LS can cover for me.

    Because of the thermal conductivity of Al, it's important to watch where you're welding and how much current is going into the metal. The finger switch just gives you on/off, but the LS also comes with a foot pedal that controls current, so I also tried that as well. It works great, but it seemed that it didn't keep the post-gas running - seemed like it shut off immediately. I'll have to check that. But it did allow me to start the weld with a lot of current and then ease off as the metal heated up and I came to the edge of the piece (where there's not as much metal to dissipate the heat).

    So overall, I'm pretty impressed. The insides /look/ well made and a lot of the connections are hot-glued into position. One thing I noticed as I was about to leave it for the evening was that ~ a min after I had turned it off, the vent fans in back were still spinning - those are pretty good bearings.. The welder came with almost everything but the tungsten elctrodes, air compressor and Argon tank (and did include the air and Argon regulator/flow meter. So far, the welder works at least as well as the very high-end machines I used at my welding class (Millers, Lincolns, mostly). The combination of plasma cutter, TIG (AC/DC), and stick welder for the amount I paid ($1000) is nearly unbeatable, especially with a 5yr warranty. I haven't run it for long times at very high amperages so I have no idea about it's ... Longevity but I'll keep you posted. My pedal-powered kayak is a step nearer to a reality.

    The downsides - The instructions are not of terrifically high quality. If I hadn't had the welding courses and my textbooks, I don't think I could have set it up correctly to do the TIG welding (Thanks, Mr Galvery!). As I mentioned, I don't like the TIG torch so I'll probably be replacing the cable as I don't think the torch head can be switched - that will probably be fairly expensive. I can see that the plasma cutter standoff, while well made, is going to need to be replaced fairly often. Might be nice to include a few more of them.

    Disclaimer - because I drove up and picked up there, Jesse threw in some extra plama cutter tips, but other than that, I have received no other benefits for writing this review. If something goes awry, I'll be writing about that as well. And as soon as I wont be ashamed of my welds, I'll include some pix of them and the settings used to make them.

    Once I get the rest of the system running well, I'd be happy to have anyone in the area (Irvine, CA) who wants to, come and give it a try. Send me a message offline if you're interested.


    Best wishes
    harry
    Good judgment comes from experience;
    Experience comes from bad judgment. [F. Brooks.]

  2. #2
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    Re: New LS-160 experiences [Long]

    Harry,

    Thank you for sharing your LONG experience . We are working on the manuals and hope to have them out shortly. They will be available online. It was a pleasure having you here and giving us a chance.

    You are welcome back anytime. From what I understand, Jesse even rigged together some jumper cables for your car?

    Simon
    Last edited by longevity-inc.com; 06-10-2009 at 02:14 PM.
    LONGEVITY
    Phone: 877-566-4462

  3. #3
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    Re: New LS-160 experiences [Long]

    Great writeup hjmangalam. I also have the 160P and couldn't be happier. I have had mine for about a year now and it has never failed me. It is so much fun to go out and play in the garage now.
    Gadget
    WeldPro LS160P
    Force Cut LP80D

  4. #4
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    Re: New LS-160 experiences [Long]

    Hi Simon,

    Sorry to have missed you - maybe next time. And yes, Jesse showed me that you can't have too much welding equipment - he let me use 2 ground cables to jump start my van when the battery ran down in the parking lot.

    Looking forward to the new manuals - maybe also start a wiki to let people add their own recipes, settings, tricks and tips in a more formal env? Or maybe you have that on the Longevity site already?

    Anyway, best wishes!

    Quote Originally Posted by longevity-inc.com View Post
    Harry,

    Thank you for sharing your LONG experience . We are working on the manuals and hope to have them out shortly. They will be available online. It was a pleasure having you here and giving us a chance.

    You are welcome back anytime. From what I understand, Jesse even rigged together some jumper cables for your car?

    Simon
    Good judgment comes from experience;
    Experience comes from bad judgment. [F. Brooks.]

  5. #5
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    Re: New LS-160 experiences [Long]

    I have to admit my kids thought that they had a strange new Dad when I came in burbling about how I could now weld aluminum in the garage. And it is harder to stay out of it now.

    Tried the plasma on some 1/2" mild steel bar stock last night and after playing around with the air pressure (I really need to set up a manifold for switching between air and argon), I got a very acceptable (still wouldn't call it excellent) cut. Still marveling at the precision you can get with the cutter with the 1/16" jet on thin stock.

    Saw a CNC-controlled plasma cutter at the Maker's Faire that now almost seems within my grasp.. but better start with a few ramp-up projects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    Great writeup hjmangalam. I also have the 160P and couldn't be happier. I have had mine for about a year now and it has never failed me. It is so much fun to go out and play in the garage now.
    Gadget
    Good judgment comes from experience;
    Experience comes from bad judgment. [F. Brooks.]

  6. #6
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    Re: New LS-160 experiences [Long]

    Harry,

    I am glad you are giving the unit a good work out and I am happy to see your kids notice what their dad is up to.

    I am sorry I missed you as well, but perhaps later in the future I will have the pleasure. We are improving the manuals and they are not yet ready for official launch, but our new website has also launched and it is delaying us with all the content. I am having our team work constantly on improving every aspect as we prepare for our full launch of IGBT welders and plasma cutters - even though we sold the MIG IGBT about 1 year ago. In addition to manuals, we are working on website content that will help everyone improve their skills as well as understand our equipment.

    Thanks for the support,

    Simon

    PS: Dan thanks for the support!
    Last edited by longevity-inc.com; 06-11-2009 at 08:09 PM.
    LONGEVITY
    Phone: 877-566-4462

  7. #7
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    Re: New LS-160 experiences [Long]

    What you was able to do seems to go against the policy they have on their website (being able to stop by and pickup the item). Would you care to explain Longevity???



    Shipping

    We cannot, under any circumstance, accommodate local pickups or third party shipping arrangements. We ship to physical address only. We DO NOT ship to P.O. Box, APO or FPO. We do not offer combined shipping due to restrictions. Flat rate shipping rates, if offered, only apply to the 48 contiguous States. They do not apply to Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico or other US territories or international shipments. Please contact us for rates to those locations. Shipping method shall be ground shipping by the carrier of our choice (usually UPS, FEDEX, DHL or US Postal Service). We cannot accommodate the carrier of purchaser's choice. We will provide tracking numbe(s) the date of shipment. All items will be shipped to the purchaser's confirmed billing address as on the credit card. We are not responsible for errors or inconsistencies in stated addresses. Please update your address before you purchase. For all shipments, domestic and international, title to the goods transfers once the goods are loaded onto the vehicle or vessel of transportation. We are not responsible for damages, which occur in possession of the carrier. We are not responsible for transit delays.

  8. #8
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    Re: New LS-160 experiences [Long]

    Thank you for pointing that out. It no longer applies. You are welcome to stop by as this customer has done.

    Simon
    LONGEVITY
    Phone: 877-566-4462

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