at long last a new MIG welder at work. It is this machine : http://www.gys.fr/prod-033382-833/MIG_Welder/PEARL_XL/en After some debate we went for a machine that would upgrade our quite basic MIG welder for steel and also work with aluminium. We went for GYS as we get a decent discount, having done some work for them. Overview Seems like a well built machine, advertise as 'made in France' what exactly this means I'm not sure but they do manufacture their tp end stuff in Europe so the all important brand reliability is there. I would certainly be confident that they have good grip on quality control. The build quality definitely seems to be good. This machine is inverter based and has two modes, 'manual' which works like a conventional MIG welder with power and wire feed controls and a synergitic (automatic)mode where you set the material (steel, stainless and aluminium options), gas (pure argon, CO2, and mixed argon/CO2 and metal thickness. There is also a control for arc length, more of which later. Weld quality Steel Straight out of the box the quality of the weld bead is very good indeed, it produces a perfect MIG weld bead with very little effort. It's not as pretty as a good TIG weld but it is perfectly uniform, and achieved good penetration on the standard settings for material thickness, even on quite dirty steel. This is definitely a significant step up from budget machines and for production type welding it has a lot of significant advantages. aluminium As you would expect aluminium is more tricky. It won't magically produce beautiful welds on alu, and the automatic settings need more tweaking than they do with steel but with a bit of set-up it can produce perfectly acceptable welds. I would say, though that if you want really neat alu welds you do need an AC TIG machine, especially on thinner material. aluminium welds were done with alloy rollers and torch which are an optional extra also pure argon gas is required. Stailnless it has stainless modes but not tries with this material yet. Pros -automatic mode maks it very easy to set up -arc length control allows for fine-tuning of weld properties with a simple dial control -very easy to set up -superb weld quality and appearance (for MIG) Cons -Expensive, quite a bit more than similarly featured models from other brands, albeit without the automatic mode. -no standard spool gun available (for aluminium/brazing) - gas regulator not supplied as standard - quick release gas fixing, i'm dubious about how leaky this might be. Comments -Manuals are pretty brief to say the least, set-up is fairly obvious if you have some experience of MIG welding but some more detailed info would be have been nice -Despite being inverter based this a quite a chunky machine, taking 15kg wire rolls so you may want to consider either buying(?) or fabricating a trolley for it -The supplied earth lead is pitifully short for such a large welder, easy to fix (dinse connector- small) but annoyingly stingy Summary A very good welding machine. This would suit a serious hobby welder or a professional fabricator. More expensive than similar featured offerings from other brands although the automatic mode is a genuine advantage. IF you want a very good MIG welder this is well worth looking at, especially for light to medium industrial users. Probably the main alternative is a mid range AC/DC TIG welder plus a cheaper MIG welder (eg R-Tech or weldeqip) which, together would be abit more expensive but a lot more versatile.