on April 13, 2015
I was looking for a welding machine that can do it all (in terms of materials) and last forever. I spent months pouring over details and came to the conclusion that a transformer machine was indeed more reliable. I am not a brand person, I am all about quality, I don't care who it comes from. With that said, I ultimately ended up with the pt225 due to cost/quality/warranty. I did not want to spend more than 1000 dollars on a welding machine, alas; it seems there is nothing that would meet my expectations with that number.
What can it do? Everything I have tried. I have welded magnesium, iron, stainless, monel, and aluminum. Aluminum is tricky to get right, it takes a lot of practice, and no matter how many online videos you see, or tips you read, only thing that makes you good is practice, and it is fun! I have welded down to 1/16 aluminum with great results. I also have no problem fuse welding razor blades together at 15 amps (5 took too long). The stick welding feature is part of what sold me on this unit, however after tig, I don't ever want to touch a slag covered weld again. Do yourself a favor a buy a 160 cu in argon tank as a minimum, you are not going to want to think about gas once you start having fun with this.
Power: I ran this machine off of a 60 amp breaker (because I like overkill), you should be just fine with a 50 amp service breaker. I have not needed to break 160-170 amps yet, but I ran a one minute bead at 225 just to test my breaker, and it never even warmed.
Accessories: The tig torch is not rated for a full 225 amps, but you can still do short bursts as long as you don't cook your torch ( you will know from the heat coming off the torch, IF you are wearing proper tig gloves ((thin leather)). The gas regulator works great, sealed up without leaks, and seems to be just fine. Foot pedal is awesome and sturdy. Documentation is SUPERB, I know cars that come with less.
Delivery: This is going to be shipped through a trucking company which will contact you, it is a DROP SHIP. This means, be ready to meet them upon delivery day. Bring a friend to help you if you are going to put this in a pickup from the 18 wheeler, it is simply to awkward/heavy for one guy. If the trucker suggest you meet him at some specific place DO IT! You will probably be rewarded with a fork-lift transfer of the pallet/welder. Pull all the stickers off the box or they will blow off (if in back of truck). Also, be prepared to wait beyond the ship date you expected from the seller (unless they specifically mention drop ship dates). Lincoln is on the ball with this stuff so it wont be too long. When the shippers contact you they will work with your schedule, very nice. BRING HELP just in case, this mother is heavy.
Materials: DO NOT BUY METAL FROM LOWES, or the INTERNET. Somewhere, you will find SOMEONE, who buys bulk metal who will give you a price close to what the local steel mills charge (SIGNIFICANTLY LESS THAN LOWES/HomeDepot).
GAS: Get ready to buy a cylinder from your local supplier, I did not rent, and I paid 200 for 170 cu in cylinder, way better price than the best online sites charge. You will go through a 60 cu in bottle quicker than what you would think. You are going to want to practice, and you don't want gas stopping that in the middle of a project.
FILLER/Rods/Hermetically sealed containers: Buy them online, local dealers are steep, and will make you cry at checkout. Support your local guys with the gas and steel, don't put them on welfare with rods and filler.
I am a complete freak about quality. When I painted my car, I bought a 17 cfm cast iron American made compressor, and a SATA 3000 HVLP paint gun(yea german baby). I will say that I am super happy about this purchase. I have worked in shipbuilding, machinist by nature, navy veteran, and engineering student as of now. This welder is AMERICAN MADE, you get the 175 and its made in Mexico, I did not know that when I got this. I am not an all-American guy because some American stuff is crap, but I think they did a good job on this, the internals look great, the design is pleasing and rugged. There is my review, hope it helps you guys, god knows it was a ten ton pain in my a$ doing the research on all this. I know Miller seems to have a corner on the welding market, but there equivalent machine (syncrowave) is way over this price, and is lower in quality from my research. Though the Dynasty is supposed to be that cats ar$e I havent found the need for somthing more complicated yet. Had to go with Lincoln on this one. Good luck.