Buying Chinese or an Imported TIG
I must say that I had my reservations in regards to buying a tig welder manufactured in China. I did my homework, several hours spent researching forums, websites, blogs and YouTube trying to decide; save for a long time and shelf my current project or risk the cash on an import and hope that I don't get screwed.
I went to the airshow in Oshkosh this year AUG, 2011 put on by the Experimental Aircraft Association. I happened to bring a friend of mine who had several years welding experience in the area of nuclear process piping. We stopped by both the Blue and Red tents there and tried out a few machines from each. While these machines were very nice, they also came with a very hefty price. My buddy almost had me talked into buying a Red machine but a sudden storm blew threw and the tents went flying (COULD IT BE A SIGN?).
I waited until I returned home did some more research and soul searching (after all I'm going to be using the machine to fabricate the motor mount for my airplane); so I decided to put in an offer on an Everlast 250EX. I was able to purchase for what I thought was a very good price; however I would have to wait until the new units were imported. They told me 4 weeks and it only took 6. They were very good as far as communication goes as I called a few times to get updates on when I would receive the unit.
When it arrived my buddy came over and we set it up right away. Now my buddy has absolutely no experience with an inverter and does not know what all of the knobs do, fortunately I had previously watched all of Jody's YouTube videos and I have a photographic memory. So I did the set-up and he did the welding. He seemed very impressed at the power of that tiny little machine. He welded all kinds of materials including on pop cans (cause I watched that one too) and he couldn't believe it. So he asked me to give it a try. I only have experience with MIG and Gas welding (I am a field engineer in the HVAC industry, Hands On).
I was impressed at how easy it seemed after screwing up only a few times (mostly angle issues). I was also very impressed with the versatility of the TIG process (why have I not tried this process before? Probably cost!). Since my brief training session I have been laying down some impressive welds. I have used the machine for a couple of weeks now and here is my review of the Chinese manufactured machine. Waiting sucks!! I didn't like waiting for the unit, but it was worth it so far. I had an issue with the regulator, it worked fine for a week; and then it would work for an hour; and then, no gas. The bottle had 1000# left though.
I called Everlast and they sent a new one out the same day. Other than that I have not had any issues with the performance. My buddy said he wants to buy the one with the plasma cutter (I already have a Blue one). He was very impressed with the machine which gave me a little sigh of relief after taking what I thought was a big risk. A 5yr parts and labor warranty sounds good, but I hope I never need that. I would have to agree with Jody, the torch is too big (and I've only used it for a short time); so I'm shopping for a new smaller one that I can afford. The gas pedal works great and is comfortable (I'm only saying that cause someone said they didn't like it). I will be building my own Water Cooler because I can't afford to buy a built one.
Sorry for being long winded, I hope this helps