I hear what you're saying about buying American and have very strong feelings about creating strong, local economies that can produce the things they need to survive. It makes me sick to think about any money of mine making it into the hands of the PLA or something similar. I looked at welders from everyone when I was shopping. To put it very bluntly, none of the "American" manufacturers even make what I needed. Then I found out that they are just getting the machines made overseas anyway and are about as American as Toyota. Anyway, I found a company called Longevity. The people that are importing these machines care and stand behind their products. Sure, I'm shipping some of my hard earned dollars off to China but at least a company that's hired some good Americans who are knowledgeable and care about their jobs is getting a profit first....not to mention I spent 1/4 of what comparable equipment would have ran from one of the big names.
I had to fine tune my machine when it arrived but I think this was because the UPS guys around here really don't treat things well. The gas valve was plugged up with cardboard and had a leaky connection. Once I tuned it up a little, I TIG welded aluminum for the first time. I immediately built a welding table out of 1/4" aluminum plate and 1/4" wall tubing. I can't say the welds are pretty but the penetration is fine and they came out uncontaminated. I have since built a steel mounting bracket to mount a 10kw generator on the engine of my shop truck, using the plasma cutter, dcep stick, and dc tig operations. Today I finished the last aluminum rack for the solar panels that will provide main power for the shop truck. I just tried messing with the pulse settings today for the first time and it's pretty neat.
I can't say enough about the Longevity WeldAll 160PI. It's handled everything I've thrown at it. Now it's running off the 10kw generator and operates perfectly. I'd pay 4 times what I paid for it if I knew it was produced in a factory that was environmentally responsible and operated sustainably, with happy, well paid employees, located in a free country..........but for now, the way things are in this world, that's not possible. The only we'll make it possible is rebuilding from the ground up. We're going to need tools. At this point, does it really matter where they come from?