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Thread: What welder to buy (<$2k)

  1. #26
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    Re: What welder to buy (<$2k)

    First of all, time is not on my side. I first wanted to buy a welder a year or two ago, and I was waiting for better tech since there was no rush. My expectation is that the next generation of welders will be like the Multimatic, but with AC+DC TiG and HF. That'd be an ideal unit. However, a situation came up where I can write off part of the cost of the welder if I buy right now (probably next week or two). Something today is better than something ideal in a month or in a year. I also don't see myself having more space anytime soon -- a month's rent on a modest 2 or 3 bedroom is more than any of the welders I'm looking at. I'll probably buy a place at some point, probably in 2-3 years (so I'll be able to run 240VAC) but it's very unlikely I'll have more space unless I come across a few million dollars somehow to buy a townhouse downtown.

    From the descriptions I'm seeing, I'm not finding anyone unhappy with any welders, which is nice. It sounds like basically any of the units would work well for me. Until recently, I wasn't aware lift start and scratch start weren't the same. Seeing what lift start is, I think I could get used to either. I'm wondering whether lift start would be okay for things like building up material (putting drops on top of each other, for sculpting).

    I don't see myself welding 1/4" stock or similar at any point, basically ever. Staying to or under 1/8" is perfectly fine. I also don't think duty cycle will matter much. For what I do, almost all of the time I've spent is machining, aligning, etc. I may be doing a bit of fine, precision work. I don't see a lot of bulk welding -- the most I'd do in a single project is something like a bicycle frame, joining a few tubes with TiG welds. This isn't construction work. TiG is the best process for most of what I do, but it sounds like off of 120VAC, MiG/stick may be necessary some of the time, especially with aluminium or slightly thicker materials.

    The best choices now look to be the Fabricator 211i, the Everlast PowerPro 164 (which adds plasma), the 210DV, the 210/250EXT, the Multimatic, and the AHP200x.
    • Multimatic -- Small and light. I think it'd do everything I need. Miller name/reliability. Has MiG, which seems useful for thicker materials. TiG might be limiting for artwork, but people seem to indicate it works fine. Maybe a little too automatic -- I'd be concerned about cable detect sensors and similar breaking, or it telling me I can't do something I want.
    • Fabricator 211i -- Less expensive Multimatic. Double the weight. Slightly more power. 25% lower cost (including spoolgun and TiG kit). I think I'm better off with the Multimatic, just to save 30lbs.
    • Everlast 210DV/210EXT/250Ext -- Seems like they'd do basically everything TiG. I'd need to drop a bit more on accessories. A little heavy.
    • Everlast PowerPro 164 -- Adds plasma cutting. This seems useful. Right now, I cut metal with a jigsaw, which takes a while. I'd be a little concerned about safety for plasma in my place (lots of hot flying metal). A little heavy.
    • Alpha AHP200x -- Cheap ($700), seems to work well, and would let me figure out what I need and what I tend to use. Nice knobs and manual controls. Reasonably light. Seems to work okay.


    The Everlast and Alpha units would let me figure out if I actually need all the assorted controls (I really have no idea here -- thoughts?). The PowerPro 164 would give plasma, which I've never done. The Multimatic would be an automatic all-in-one package. At 120VAC, it sounds like I'm not TiG welding aluminum regardless, so the key question is whether I would miss HF start and all the controls on the Everlast and Alpha units.

    I think I'm leaning towards the Alpha, the Multimatic, and possibly the newly-found PowerPro 164.
    Last edited by tiggertoo; 09-30-2015 at 10:02 AM.

  2. #27
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    Re: What welder to buy (&lt;$2k)

    Do not buy a multi function welder with built-in plasma!! Ever! The 185 powertig in is good and should remain on your list, contact Everlast via their sub forum here. Make Oleg an offer.

    Typed on tablet using Swype. Pls excuse Swypo's(Typo's)
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  3. #28
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    Re: What welder to buy (<$2k)

    wow...Talk about inversion!

    Lol, my house payment on a sprawling 2400 ft that echoes when this single guy farts, was 1/6th what I paid for my tig setup...Well, that was before I paid it off.

    I simply can't image paying a single months rent on a 2 bedroom that eclipses the cost of a decent tig machine...and doing it month after month....after month.

    Wow, and I bytch cause I pay a guy 400/mth to keep my 2 acres cut n raked and trimmed using my mower and equipment.

    I don't know what it is about you big city guys and what those big cities offer that make you remain there while us down here kinda sprawl out and relax and scratch our belleys and ease along like we do taking it all for granted most of the time.

    Before I retired it took me 9 minutes to drive 7 miles to work, and my old navy buddy living in the big city takes 2 hours to drive 20 miles to work and pays 500 mth in the city to park his rusted out 10 year old car, and the rest goes for rent and heat and taxes.

    I was born and raised and graduated school overseas and since traveled this planet twice, even to the North Pole, where it now seems the greatest social extremes exist right here in the USA....no passport required to venture into totally foreign territory.

    Today, again like every day, i visited my mom at the nursing home....after she went to sleep I walked out into the court yard and sat with an grizzly looking old man with full beard in T shirt and faded jeans that looked about my age...a patient i figured.....turns out he was much older....he described how he graduated college in Ohio as a young man and ended up in Louisiana in the military during the Korean War....and never left here....never missed the North....never looked back.....He wasn't a patient there, but a resident...He explained he owned the place and several others in the area...a multi millionaire that looked like he just crawled out from under a bridge but was so relaxed and content and even tho very old, he was healthy and alert and sharp minded and very sharp witted....LOL, yankees are sure odd, yaknow?
    Last edited by wornoutoldwelder; 10-01-2015 at 02:45 AM.

  4. #29
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    Re: What welder to buy (<$2k)

    Quote Originally Posted by wornoutoldwelder View Post
    wow...Talk about inversion!

    Lol, my house payment on a sprawling 2400 ft that echoes when this single guy farts, was 1/6th what I paid for my tig setup...Well, that was before I paid it off.

    I simply can't image paying a single months rent on a 2 bedroom that eclipses the cost of a decent tig machine...and doing it month after month....after month.

    Wow, and I bytch cause I pay a guy 400/mth to keep my 2 acres cut n raked and trimmed using my mower and equipment.

    I don't know what it is about you big city guys and what those big cities offer that make you remain there while us down here kinda sprawl out and relax and scratch our belleys and ease along like we do taking it all for granted most of the time.

    Before I retired it took me 9 minutes to drive 7 miles to work, and my old navy buddy living in the big city takes 2 hours to drive 20 miles to work and pays 500 mth in the city to park his rusted out 10 year old car, and the rest goes for rent and heat and taxes.

    I was born and raised and graduated school overseas and since traveled this planet twice, even to the North Pole, where it now seems the greatest social extremes exist right here in the USA....no passport required to venture into totally foreign territory.

    Today, again like every day, i visited my mom at the nursing home....after she went to sleep I walked out into the court yard and sat with an grizzly looking old man with full beard in T shirt and faded jeans that looked about my age...a patient i figured.....turns out he was much older....he described how he graduated college in Ohio as a young man and ended up in Louisiana in the military during the Korean War....and never left here....never missed the North....never looked back.....He wasn't a patient there, but a resident...He explained he owned the place and several others in the area...a multi millionaire that looked like he just crawled out from under a bridge but was so relaxed and content and even tho very old, he was healthy and alert and sharp minded and very sharp witted....LOL, yankees are sure odd, yaknow?
    More Drivel

    Can we change your name to
    "Worn out DRUNK welder" ?


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  5. #30
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    Re: What welder to buy (<$2k)

    I have an AHP200x and it has been working well for me. I bought it to learn TIG, and I understood the possible downsides of buying a Chinese welder. From all the information I could find it seems well built and has the best value for a hobby welder. I have been running the AHP200x on 220v, and it runs great - never tried running it on 110v though.

    It looks like your problem is power. You need to figure this out first no matter what welder you are going to get. Where is your nearest 240v outlet? Is there any way you can make a extension cord to a workspace? At 200A the AHP200x only needs a 30A on 220V, so a dryer outlet should work good.

    If you need something ultra portable, I would also look at the Miller Maxstar 150STL or STH welders. 150A DC only(so no aluminum), lift arc or HF, foot pedal capable, runs on 110v or 220v, and only weights something like 15lbs. You can also find them used in the $700-1000 range on craigslist every so often, and half the time they come with a bunch of TIG accessories.
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  6. #31
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    Re: What welder to buy (<$2k)

    I just ordered a Multimatic 200.

    I called both Everlast and Miller. I was impressed with both -- in both cases, I quickly spoke to a real human being who seemed technically competent. They both seem like good companies to deal with. Indeed, from the description of warranty service, I prefer Everlast a bit -- I could deal with them directly, while Miller makes me go through local service centers, and Everlast seemed more hungry and more focused on pleasing the customer. You also see this with how the Everlast guys seem active in any forums where anyone has issues with them. Plus the Everlast had a longer warranty. Given all of that, I wasn't really concerned about service or quality issues.

    However, the Multimatic seemed like a better device for my needs. Both the guy from Miller and a random welder I knew convinced me I didn't need all the options with TiG, at least how I would be welding. The Miller had much smaller size and weight, and a more convenient form factor. The Miller unit is just 29lbs, and as trivial as it seems, since the handle folds down, I can use it as a surface to stack things on top of. For me, the storage and portability just seemed more important overall. The price difference also wasn't huge, once you factored in quality accessories.

    If I ever do move out of the city, I might get a 240VAC unit for AC TiG from Everlast as well.

  7. #32
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    What welder to buy (&lt;$2k)

    Awesome! As an unfortunate city slicker myself, I can share a couple of things I discovered from welding in my tiny paved yard.

    - welding arc flash and sound from even short circuit MIG travel farther than I thought. My neighbor thought a power line broke free Haha! I don't know if it's illegal to weld in the city without a permit but as long as I don't weld at night I'm probably ok.

    I am concerned about HF start disrupting neighbors routers etc. you won't have that problem of course.

    -look into getting an Evolution Rage4 7 1/4 chop saw if you ever get tired of cutting with jigsaw/angle grinder. I found it to be extremely portable and can handle 3 inch square tube.




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    Last edited by Seawalker; 10-05-2015 at 01:16 PM.

  8. #33
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    Re: What welder to buy (<$2k)

    The 211i is much more powerful on mig then a Multimatic 200. not specs, real world.. It's a 30 volt machine, and really does spray-arc .035 well.
    The inductance control is a must have with all the crappy wire being sold.. The Multimatic does have different slopes for different gases, and wire types.. (really a good thing too) The Miller comes with much better accessories,so that can narrow the price difference.. It's a nice machine, and something worth owning. If I had to own one machine it would be the Tweco 211i, because of the top-end power.. With another big machine, then the Multimatic is a very good pick.
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  9. #34
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    Re: What welder to buy (<$2k)

    Quote Originally Posted by Brand X View Post
    The 211i is much more powerful on mig then a Multimatic 200. not specs, real world.. It's a 30 volt machine, and really does spray-arc .035 well.
    The inductance control is a must have with all the crappy wire being sold.. The Multimatic does have different slopes for different gases, and wire types.. (really a good thing too) The Miller comes with much better accessories,so that can narrow the price difference.. It's a nice machine, and something worth owning. If I had to own one machine it would be the Tweco 211i, because of the top-end power.. With another big machine, then the Multimatic is a very good pick.
    I just had myself convinced that it was time to give an inverter based Millermatic 211 at try. Then you have to bring up the inductance control. No plans to part with the Migmaster 250, so top end power beyond short arc on 1/4" isn't important. I just want something that has an extremely consistent buzz to the arc (very forgiving arc) on 1/8" and thinner. The compact light weight design of the MM 211 is appealing, because it be easy to transport to my Dad's if needed. If I remember correctly you weren't overly impressed with the 181i.
    ESAB Migmaster 250
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  10. #35
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    Re: What welder to buy (<$2k)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    I just had myself convinced that it was time to give an inverter based Millermatic 211 at try. Then you have to bring up the inductance control. No plans to part with the Migmaster 250, so top end power beyond short arc on 1/4" isn't important. I just want something that has an extremely consistent buzz to the arc (very forgiving arc) on 1/8" and thinner. The compact light weight design of the MM 211 is appealing, because it be easy to transport to my Dad's if needed. If I remember correctly you weren't overly impressed with the 181i.
    Having owned a Migmaster 250 (ltec) you are going to have a hard time finding a machine that rivals the buttery smooth arc of the Migmaster! Miller machines tend to be harsher arc than Lincoln. Till you get into the higher end stuff
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
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  11. #36
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    Re: What welder to buy (<$2k)

    Dan,
    I think I would have to test drive a 181i a bit more.. Maybe a gun change, or wire would of helped it.. I was comparing it to the Esab caddy 200 I had at the time,and really preferred it overall. My 211i is excellent with the upgraded accessorizes. Ground cable,Lincoln 200 mig gun, flow meter, and quality wire.. Great arc starts, Driving arc with softness to it..Really hard for anybody to get that one right.. Some inverters, and a two chopper units can do it.. not the Lincoln chopper though..
    Esab/Lorch ET-220i
    Esab 160i caddy
    Thermal LM-200 Lincoln feeders
    Thermal Pee-Wee 85s
    Thermal 60i- 3phase /RPC powered (Beast)
    Thermal Drag-gun 35C
    INE 1500
    Klutch 140i

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