Pulse-MIG welder advice needed

  1. Hello all,

    Although I'm from the Netherlands, there seems to be a lot of knowledge about all the machines that are on the market.

    About 15 years ago, when I was still a student, I bought my first welder. It's a Conti single phase machine, but its very heavy, bulky, and in amperage setting 5/6 and 6/6 the fuse (16A, 230V) is frequently being tripped. Last year I became self-employed, and amongst other projects, one of them consists of a frame made from 50x50x2mm aluminium square tubing. I am currently welding these with a GYS207 AC/DC TIG-welder, but I think I have a good excuse to replace my old MIG-machine.

    I have never had projects with thick steel on my workbench. Due to the size/weight of the machine, and the relative small workspace, I think a single phase machine would be the best way to go. The majority of the jobs are automotive (Landrover S3, S1 and the daily drivers), and sometimes the typical household projects in steel/stainless steel (<5mm).

    Because aluminium will be part of the future, I was looking in to pulse mig machines, synergic. The budget will be around €2000,- max, excluding taxes. It should be a future-proof machine, but if you all agree that a "simple" mig like a GYS 200-4XL should be enough...please let me know. I have 16A three-phase present in my garage, but since the size of the machine ánd the option to weld somewhere else on a single phase socket are some factors for me to consider...I would think that single phase machines should fit my search best.

    This is my shortlist:
    - Cebora Pocket pulse 1820M
    Can be found for around €1397,- machine only, and €1514,- with accessoires.
    Pro's is the relative small size(34L), lightweight (13,5kg), and price. Con's are a 2-roll feeder. Maximum Ø200mm/5kg spool. Adjustable range from 20-185A.
    - EWM Picomig 180 Pulse TKG D2
    Can be found in the Netherlands for around €1656 machine only, no torch, earth clamp etc.
    Adjustable range from 5-180A. Size 52L, weight 16kg. Ø200mm spool size maximum. 4-roll feeder.
    - Miller MPI 220P.
    Can be found for around € 1900,-.
    Adjustable range 20-200A, Size 47L, weight 16kg, Ø200mm spool size maximum. 4-roll feeder.

    Other brands that regularly pop up on this site are Parwelds, Paton's etc.

    5Kg spools are more expensive, but I don't do many hours a month...so I doubt that i'll melt down two spools a day, one day. The 2-roll wire feeder is not ideal, but I've read some comments on this forum that welding 1,0mm aluminium with the Cebora is possible without much problems.
    The Cebora and EWM are quite common brands in the Netherlands. The Miller's however don't seem to be very popular. Buying abroad however is not a problem; the world is not thát big ;-).

    I'm looking forward to read your comments, advice, alternatives and thoughts.

    Best regards,
     
  2. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    3,398
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    I have got a picomig pulse.
    I did a bit of research and went for the ewm over the miller because that's what I was able to get locally.
    If there was a used machine available or a really good deal on one or the other I may have gone with either. The miller had a bit more power but the ewm had a better duty cycle .
    The cebora was not released when I bought mine so did not look into it. A friend has one and it does work fine on a 3m torch with a good duty cycle.
    I am not sure if it has the tig and arc functions of the ewm but they are not a lot of use (to me) any way.

    There is a review of the pico mig in the ewm section on this site.
     
    tom2207 likes this.
  3. Country Joe

    Country Joe Argoshield Dark

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    My choice would be the EWM - by a long way - I sort of had my heart set on one - but ended up with a Kempi, but I'm very happy with it, though!

    I've got to admit to never having tried either of the other two - but the EWM was sublime - and I can't really imagine anything being much better, although I daresay there would be something out there!

    Sorry, that's not very detailed, but my experience is limited to just that one.

    All the Best,
    CJ
     
  4. Thank you for your replies! The TIG and Arc functions are already available on my GYS 207 AC/DC machine, so that should be covered.
    Another competitor might be the EWM Picomig 185, but as mentioned in the thorough review, that machine is about €1915; €259,- more expensive. If I'm correct, the biggest difference is the option to fit a larger spool, and the fact that it comes with more wire feeder rollers. But, its also heavier and bulkier, as mentioned in the review.

    The maximum amperage on the Miller is indeed a bit higher, and the Cebora is cheaper, but I would agree that the EWM is great value for money.
    I'm hower still open to alternative brands, because to be really honest, spending this amount of money for my current projects doesn't make much sense...but sometimes I just like to buy decent quality, and say that I'm prepared for the future ;-)
     
  5. tom2207 Member

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    Fronius transteel must be in the line up too .. At the moment ive got my mind on an ewm though , but the power of a fronius is hard to pass by on.
    Just thinking out loud really.
     
  6. Thats a great suggestion Tom, thanks! However, if I'm correct the pulse function is only available on the 3000 and up series, making the unit twice the price of the other competitors. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but in my mind Fronius is álways twice the price ;-)
     
    tom2207 likes this.
  7. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

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    I have used the Cebora Pocket Pulse and it was nice but the torch needs to be short for it to feed well, 2-3m, any longer and you will have issues.

    I was thinking about the Miller but heard good and bad about it but more bad than good I am afraid, main concern was poor backup service. Whether that is true or not I don't know.

    I have two EWM pulse migs but they are a Phoenix 330 and a 355 so a lot bigger than you are looking at but they are excellent welders and if I was to be looking for another EWM would be top of the list with possibly Lorch there as well. I don't think Lorch do any small single phase pulse migs so no use for you.
     
  8. Thank you Hood. If you, or any other contributor, would suggest to buy a three-phase machine, I'm open for all opinions on that.
    Another possibility would be to use a three phase machine at home, and use my TIG machine (with MMA) on locations with single phase. I prefer MIG however...
     
  9. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

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    The EWM Phoenix and the equivalent Lorch welders will be double your budget and more.
     
    tom2207 likes this.
  10. Kalts Member

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    Location:
    Estonia
    Are there any differences between 2 and 4-roll drive considering normal 0,6-0,8 mm wire and 4m torch?
    I am torn between Picomig and all the others which have 2 drive rolls.
     
  11. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

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    4 roll will feed much better especially on thinner wires.
     
  12. gordon stephenson

    gordon stephenson Forum Supporter

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    I have an EWM Pico 180 pulse, Excellent machine. The pulse Pico is quite a bit more expensive than the non-pulse pico,
     
    tom2207 likes this.
  13. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    4 roll works better on a longer torch or on thinner wires. You don't really need to use thinner wire on a pulse mig though. I have done 0.9mm alloy sheet using 1.0mm wire with no problems.
     
    gordon stephenson likes this.
  14. Kalts Member

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    Location:
    Estonia
    Hmm... that's what I guessed.
    Then what would you get for thin sheet metal, body panels etc., I had eyes on Genesis/Uranos 2000 SMC but if the 4-roll drive is much better...
    It's a fact that wire drive is big part of what separates ordinary MIG from excellent one. Are there any other 1-f portable MIG/MMA/lift-TIF welders with 4-roll drive besides the Picomig? High OCV as in Picomig (~80V) would be good as well, for better reignition of basic electrodes.
     
    Munkul likes this.
  15. After some days of consideration, I think that the EWM Picomig 180 Pulse is the best choice. In the huge review on this machine ( https://www.mig-welding.co.uk/forum/threads/ewm-picomig-180-puls-single-phase.87645/ ) is mentioned that the machine is suppied with a roller setup with V-grooves, for 0.8 and 1.0 steel wire. Two of the 4 rollers are dirven. For aluminium a conversion set has to be bought. In this setup, you'll use "U-shaped" grooved rollers, and the additional two gears will make all the rollers driven ones. But, which conversion kit shoud I need? They are listed on page 56 en 57 in the manual: https://www.ewm-sales.com/upload/099-005545-EW501.pdf Is it kit number 092-002268-00000? Will this make the machine suitable for 0.8-1.0mm steel and aluminium wire?

    Another question I have; which length of torch/earth clamp would best suit my situation, where the machine will be primarily used in my garage (7x4m).
    Are the EWM torches that much better than a Binzel MB15 (or another Binzel one..)? The EWM one is about €250,-, the Binzel about € 70,-

    When the list is completed, I'll try to get some prices, and hopefully...

    Best regards,
     
  16. Hood

    Hood If it walks like a duck....

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    Location:
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    By looking at the EWM website the roll kit you mention is listed as the kit for the Picomig 180, so I would say that is indeed what you are wanting for 0.8 to 1.0 wire. I think personally I would go for the 1.0 to 1.2 kit as I can't see a need for 0.8mm wire with a pulse mig.

    Regarding the torch, afraid I have never used an EWM one although I will shortly have a push-pull torch from them. I have opted to get the adapter set for the push-pull so that I can use standard binzel type contact tips, it makes more sense for me as I have loads of them already and can easily get them locally.

    The Binzel torch should do you fine I would think, one other thing to consider is you will need a teflon or polyamide liner for Aluminium so it may make more sense to get two binzel torches if you will be swapping between steel and aluminium on a regular basis. Keep one torch set up with a teflon liner and the other with a steel liner.
     
  17. Jim Davey

    Jim Davey R H Davey Welding Supplies Ltd

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    I’m happy to quote for a full kit with alu rollers and both EWM mig torch and the Binzel option for comparison.
    Just PM me if you are interested.
     
    Cheesie likes this.
  18. Munkul

    Munkul Jack of some trades, Master of none

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Cumbria
    without a pull motor in the torch, your realistic max length of torch for aluminium is 4 metres, preferably 3m. As hood says, you'll need the proper liner too.

    I wouldn't dream of using a MB15 on aluminium, btw! It will heat up far too fast. Honestly, you really need a MB36, even with a 200 amp machine, for pulse mig aluminium.
    The reason for this is, as torch heat builds up, the tip will overheat and snatch at the wire, causing burnbacks. Even an MB36 with the right setup will start snatching around 260 amps, in my experience.
     
  19. Jim Davey

    Jim Davey R H Davey Welding Supplies Ltd

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    Location:
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    An MB25 with M8 tips (with appropriate adapter) will cope with anything a 180 amp pulse mig can put out. Especially with the resin insulated HD shroud, white a useable combination really.
     
  20. Brad93

    Brad93 M J B Engineering

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    Location:
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    I’d have the EWM out of them
     
    Jim Davey likes this.
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