Just been up to BOC and they're clearing out their old units at the moment because they have new models coming in. They have a their 190c model going for $880 at the moment and i was wondering if this is a bit of overkill? You can wind the amps back down to 35, but is this still too high for panel work? I've read here that 20 - 30amps is what would be preferrable(?).
There was a BOC Mig 190c Industrial nearly brand new on Ebay for about $500 the other day, and I was seriously considering it - the thing that put me off was the low duty cycle. However, I can forsee myself ending up welding something big (like 10mm plate or similar) at some stage for whatever reason. For using on panels and smaller guage stuff, the 190c should be fine. If you wanted lower minimum amperage, are they clearing out the 170p as well?
BOC are APPARENTLY just rebadged Kemppi welders - which if its true, makes them a bloody good investment. However, never been able to confirm this one, so take with a grain of salt.
What do you guys think about those inverter mig welders? Just had a mate tell me to look into them, are they any better / easier to use?
Personally I'd steer clear for home use.... The whole inverter thing is still fairly new, and ultimately they just aren't as reliable YET. The name brands are pretty good, but you'll pay for it. Inverters are also bloody expensive to repair, control boards start at over a grand, and the chinese machines tend to drop them after a year or two.
Not much to go wrong in a transformer machine - its mostly just a bunch of copper wire, and its amazing how many 30-40 year old transformer welders you find still in daily use in industry. Newer transformer machines do tend to have electronic control panels, which are expensive if they spit it, but they have less than an inverter.
As far as actual welding performance, the power output is comparable, although I think they have a wider range (ie. go to lower amps). Some guys reckon the inverter TIGs just don't run as smoothly as transformer units (start much more aggresively, and a bit less stable in the arc), and I imagine the same would apply to mig, but I've never played with an inverter machine myself, only transformer machines.
The weight of an inverter is a definite advantage though - actually being able to pick up and carry around over 200amps of welding power is pretty awesome... I have two 250amp transformer machines in the garage at the moment (my Kemppi TIG and a mates UniMIG), and they are both most certainly a 2 person lift! Being able to pick one up with one hand and stroll up the back yard to fix the damn sagging gate would be awesome, but just ain't going to happen with my machines!
At the end of the day, for the average home user who wants to do a bit of panel work and the occasional bench or something, a good brand transformer MIG up to near 200 amps is something they'll probably have for 30 years, and will do everything they ever need. If you need to upgrade to a bigger machine at a later date, and you bought a good brand one now, you'll still sell the little machine for good money - just have a look on Ebay to see what I mean, the good brands hold value.
You'll also get a lot more grunt for dollar out of a transformer at the moment over an inverter (to my mind anyway, everytime I get tempted by a nice little Kemppi Miniarc, I just look at the size transformer machine I could buy for half the price).