Start up mig kit for beginner

  1. njc110381 Member

    Messages:
    52
    Stroud, UK
    Morning guys,

    It's been a very long time since I posted here. I came here for advice a couple of years ago and got some really helpful comments, and even an offer of some tuition from Cobbler, one of the members local to me. All in all it was a lovely experience but then work kicked off, we started organising rebuilding our house and my feet pretty much haven't touched the ground since! The end is in sight though house wise, so I've had time to sit down and think about what I was planning at the time.

    I'd decided that I was going to probably buy a Clarke 160TM, but having come back here and done some reading there's another set that really stands out now. It's the R-Tech mig 180.

    This machine offers stick welding and scratch start tig too. It's not considerably more money and my neighbour - a welder by trade, seems to think it looks ok.

    What do you guys think about it as a start up machine for a complete novice? I'm thinking of buying it, and an arc electrode holder too so I can weld some fairly thick steel with it. I don't really have a set use, but bodywork and up to 6mm is likely to be what I need to do. As before, your thoughts would be very much appreciated.
     
  2. slim_boy_fat

    slim_boy_fat Forum Supporter

    Hi and welcome back aboard. :waving:

    Well, the machines like the R-Tech usually spark an avalanche of debate re 'Chinese' machines on here.....:whistle: Let's not repeat that lads, I'm sure njc can search for those if he wants. ;)

    But to answer your question, that's the exact machine I bought as a complete beginner and can only say how impressed I've been, not only with the package but also the quality of the service from R-Tech which I can only describe as first class. If you want to see how I've got on, check my pics in the "Show us your welding cart/trolley" which'll give you an idea of my first project ever - not perfect but in my book acceptable for someone at my stage in welding.

    Hope this helps and I'm sure others will be along with their recommendations etc. Don't forget to let us know what you decide and how you get on.
     
  3. PTvor Member

    Messages:
    1,863
    UK
    If you want a low-priced inverter MIG there are also the CWS Best MIGs to consider.

    http://www.weldingdirect.co.uk/mig-welders-510-c.asp

    I think a few people on here have bought them and found they are OK. They have a two year warranty, which doesn't look to be collect and return like R-Tech's, but the machines are cheaper. They also include a regulator and MMA lead and some wire which altogether would cost £60 or so to buy and has to figure in your calculations.

    I bought an R-Tech 180 and I've been happy with it.

    Then there are people like LCDVision and MigTig selling approximately the same machines from outside the UK at lower prices. Maybe OK if you don't mind the potential hassle of dealing with a seller outside the UK.
     
  4. slim_boy_fat

    slim_boy_fat Forum Supporter

    [QUOTE="PTvor, post: 793896, member: 11659"....]nclude a regulator....[/QUOTE]

    As does the R-Tech package. ;) And they price-matched an MMA lead I was about to order off eBay with their better [i.e. more robust] lead. :clapping:
     
  5. njc110381 Member

    Messages:
    52
    Stroud, UK
    Thanks for your replies chaps. Overall they seem positive. That's good!

    As far as Chinese kit goes, yes that does bug me a little. But then with the right quality control they can offer reasonable kit. If they have a good spares backup in the UK then that's another plus. Of course I'd love one that's made in the UK or maybe Europe, but sometimes you just have to accept it's not going to happen. Unless of course there is a make that offers similar quality that is more local, then I'd be on it like a shot..... Hang on - I just went AWOL to the provided link mid reply. CWS is Cheltenham, about fifteen miles from me. That's put a spanner in the works! I'm going to have a good read about them now. I was pretty much there with my decision too!:doh:
     
  6. oddbob

    oddbob Member

    Messages:
    433
    Location:
    East Midlands
    I've had a CWS 160 for about six months and used it a fair bit (on my second 10ltr bottle of gas). I can't fault it so far ...nicer to use than Clarke migs, and not discernibly different to the Migatronic I used to have. If you're close by to them go and have a test drive, they're pretty helpful in my experience.

    The final selling point for me was that they're (as far as I could tell) the cheapest comparable sets in the UK, but more importantly, they stock all the internal bits and pieces should you be unlucky enough for it to go bang!
     
  7. njc110381 Member

    Messages:
    52
    Stroud, UK
    I just love that they're made here. Lets face it, next to nothing is these days! That's an absolutely huge selling point to me.

    The only negative that I can find so far is the lack of interest free credit - why spend it all at once if you can keep your money in the bank for the same cost? And there's no mention of scratch start tig option, whatever that is?!:confused:
     
  8. oddbob

    oddbob Member

    Messages:
    433
    Location:
    East Midlands
    If you're talking about the CWS, I'm not so sure they're made here ...think you'll find they're Chinese, as most (if not all) of the cheaper inverters are. That's why I think it's a bonus that they stock all the internals.
     
  9. PTvor Member

    Messages:
    1,863
    UK

    I very much doubt that they are made in the UK, in any serious meaning of "made". Probably not even assembled from parts imported from China. The economics wouldn't allow it and certainly not for that price. Don't get your hopes up on that score.

    Even people like IFL who do make some products on the UK, I believe import from China and badge their inverter MIG welder.
     
  10. Tomfromuk Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    Alnwick, Northumberland, UK
    Hi oddbob, Have you tried using that machine for arc welding? Do you know what OCV it runs at and if its suitable for low hydrogen rods? Ive looked on there website and can't see anything about the voltage it runs at.

    Thanks
     
  11. oddbob

    oddbob Member

    Messages:
    433
    Location:
    East Midlands
    I tried it out when I first got it, but tend to use my R-Tech TIG for stick as it has heavier cables. I've no idea on the spec either I'm afraid. I'd email them at CWS ...I had loads of questions before I bought, they were quick to respond and very helpful.
     
  12. PTvor Member

    Messages:
    1,863
    UK
    Phone them or email and ask.

    As far as I'm aware, OCV isn't a big issue with DC welders and especially inverters with hot start etc. I'd be very surprised if it couldn't burn low hys, aluminium rods and just about everything apart from cellulosics, because just about all MMA inverters can.
     
  13. Tomfromuk Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    Alnwick, Northumberland, UK
    Alright, Thanks guys ^^
     
  14. njc110381 Member

    Messages:
    52
    Stroud, UK
    Actually, now I've looked into it more I'm not sure where that idea came from? I'll have to go back through my browser history and try to figure it out, because having checked, they're not made here. Shame really.

    Isn't it funny though that the R-Tech place is in Gloucester? That's even closer to home. I'll just go back to the original plan I think, although the free credit thing is tempting me to buy the 250 instead as it's still very affordable and doesn't feel so costly in such small chunks. Just don't tell the wife... :whistle:

    Edit... It's the Butters migs supplied by CWS that are UK built...
     
  15. njc110381 Member

    Messages:
    52
    Stroud, UK
    Well today I needed to head over to Gloucester to pick up a couple of things. It suddenly dawned on me that the R-Tech unit was only a mile or so down the road so I decided to drop by. Looking at the website I expected it to be an internet only affair, but they have a little trade counter on site.

    As my wife says, I should never be allowed in these places unattended!...

    R-Tech 250.jpg
     
    slim_boy_fat likes this.
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