There is quite a buzz going on about Everlast welders...especially Everlast Tig welders and Their 3 in 1 multiprocess welders that do Tig, Stick, and Plasma cutting.
Why is that?
Could the reason be they are offering great value at a reasonable price?
...or are they just cheap imported tig welders that blow holes in thin metal and die after 10 minutes of welding?
Isn't what everyone wants to know before they take the plunge and plunk down hard earned money?
I get lots of emails asking about Everlast Tig Welders and Everlast 3 in 1 combo welders.
If you have read much of my stuff, you might have read that I am not that big a fan of multiprocess welders. At least not if that is your only machine.
That's because most people who ask me are going to be depending on one machine to do everything... and if you are in business, that is usually not the best idea.
Why? because when you have to send it out for repair, you are totally out of commission.
But if your thinking is to buy a tig welder and basically get a plasma cutter thrown in almost for free, your thinking may be on the mark.
Since I had already done some videos with the PowerTig 250EX, I decided to ask the Folks at Everlast about checking out a PowerPro 256 which is a Tig, Stick, Plasma Cutter combo unit.
They didn't ask me to do the first series of videos on the PowerTig 250EX but the videos turned out to be pretty popular so getting the folks at Everlast to agree to send me a 3 in 1 combo welder for evaluation was not hard.
I didn't make any promises to Everlast so I am going to be as objective as I can.
So far, I have only welded steel with the PowerPro 256 but I will be testing it on for plasma cutting, stick welding, and tig welding aluminum very soon.
(I am going to cut a bunch of holes in some 3/4" stainless with the plasma cutter)
I welded some steel to steel and also some carbon steel to stainless with the PowerPro 256 multiprocess welder and also swapped on and off with a Miller Dynasty 200 DX just to feel and see the difference.
You know what I learned?
*I still dont like big torches...
*and I still prefer foot pedals to torch controls.
* The arc seems just as smooth as the PowerTig 250Ex
* there is often a surge of gas when you press the foot pedal or torch switch. This happens on all machines and is a good reason to pre purge by tapping the pedal, or just set the pre flow to about half a second.
Other than me not liking a big torch, the PowerPro 256 did just fine. I welded with pulse, (30 pps, 30% pulse time on and 30% pulse amps) and it had a good effect welding near an edge....I welded without pulse too and just left the rod in the puddle to cool keep the puddle from creeping to the ege...and no problem there.
The arc was smooth as silk.
Remember to pre purge. I actually had the arc jump where I didnt want it before I set the preflow to about half a second to let the flow settle down. ( i wonder if there have been complaints on arc starts due to this)
Another observation is that the air cooled torch is simpler and easier to hook up than the water cooled version but it will get hot if you push it like I did.
Letting it cool off every few minutes and using the foot pedal instead of the torch switch made things go much better for me.
I like the new design foot pedal much better than the one that came with my PowerTig 250EX. Its a simple design and seems pretty robust. It worked just fine and the design seems more functional.
The air cooled torch hooked up in minutes and from the time I got the welder out of the box to the time I was welding was less than an hour...even with wiring up the plug. ( I used a range plug rated for 40 amps) Range plugs are easy to find at your local Home Depot, or Lowes.
If you are wondering why anyone would opt for the PowerTig 250EX when you can get a plasma cutter too with the 256 model, here is one reason...
Duty Cycle....thats the ticket. If you are going to be hogging on some really thick aluminum for a really long time, you might want the 250 EX.
The 250EX has a higher duty cycle. 60% at 250amps
The Everlast PowerPro 256 combo unit has a duty cycle of 355 at 250 amps.
But when you consider the duty cycle of some other popular tig inverters, even 35% at 250 amps is pretty beefy.