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Old 01-17-2005, 12:31 AM
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Question Esab heliarc 161

I was researching the new inverter tig machines as far as price, size weight and availability I had narrowed it down to two machines the Esab Heliarc 161 wich It seems sells for around $1700-$2200 on the internet and the Thermal arc 185 inverter machine wich was between $1650-$1799 (internet). Yes I did look at the miller dynasty and the lincoln 205 inverter tig machines wich are very nice. I wanted AC/DC and I had a budget of around $1700. So the miller and lincolns were a little out of my reach. I was leaning toward the thermal arc wich I hear is a good machine, but I was worried about the stability of the company. So I went the safe way and got the Esab heliarc 161 With the pedal, regulator etc...

I met with the rep one morning and he set the machine up and I welded some aluminum and it seemed to weld quite nicely. The only other machine I had used was a miller econotig and the Esab seemed to be eisier to weld with. The most determining factor for me was price he made me a heck of a deal. I got the machine new with accessories for $1100. cause it was his demo model he had used twice once at the trade show and once with me at the welding shop. It still has the 3 year warranty. with the extra money I bought a Optrel sattelite hood and a dewalt grinder they also threw in a pound of aluminum and 2 pounds of mild steel filler rod and free gloves and a bunch of extra collets, collet bodies and electrodes. all for $1525.

Anyway my question is

Does anyone else have an Esab heliarc 161 AC/DC machine and how long have you had it?

Has it been reliable so far and is it lay down nice welds?

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Old 01-17-2005, 05:13 AM
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Old 04-23-2005, 07:12 PM
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You could have saved yourself a ton of money if you already own a mig welder. check out www.wirepropellant.com. I haven't tried it yet but i did call for references before I bought. All gave it great reviews.
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Old 04-24-2005, 11:11 AM
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Hey 61...how does it work? The site provide vauge info. It said it heated the wire to 70 deg F to relax it. Is this a general unit that has to be fitted to the individual model? There must be some pre-heat time involved as well? Does it warm the entire spool or only the passing wire?
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Old 04-24-2005, 12:04 PM
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Snake-I am not familiar with that model ESAB but I have used ESAB gear for many years and I find it to be first class and of very high quality. I have no doubt that you will find it to be a very reliable and long lasting machine.
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Old 04-24-2005, 07:52 PM
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[QUOTE=Gearhead forever]Hey 61...how does it work?
I thought their page was very informative compared to most of them.
I don't have it yet but yes it will require a preheat time as it warms the whole spool. Users tell me it is ready in about 15 minutes. Uses pure argon gas and a special liner. There is a pad that goes on the wire before the drive rolls that cleans ,lubricates and enhances the conductivity of the wire at the nozzle. The users I talked to said it worked very well and was as easy to use as a heliarc. You aluminum still has to be clean and of a weldable alloy. I don't know about thin sheet, never thought to ask but will find out. Like everything else, I'm sure it will require practice, practice,practice.
The seller has kits for a lot of welders including 110v utilities of various makes.At 95 bucks for the conversion I'm willing to give it a try
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Old 04-25-2005, 12:48 PM
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The only thing I'd be concerned with is the extra heat source being generated inside the welding machine cabinetry. I don't know if it would cause problems down the road with other components.... (I have fine controls hidden inside the spool cabinet on my machine)
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