So I had a couple people wondering about the Eastwood machine and how it performed. So here is a short term review.
CART AND HELMET
First off I bought the Kit with the Cart and Helmet. I didn't want my first project to be building a cart for it so I don't wanna hear that bullshit about you bought a welder build a cart. The Cart itself is probably the same thing you would get from Harbor Freight. It is stamped steel and flimsy as hell and it sits crooked even though I tried to get it straight. But I don't move my welder around much so its fine for me. Also you cannot open the door without tilting the welder to the side. Put a book under it and it should remedy the situation. The chains to hold the bottle are just the 1/8" chain. No hooks or really anyway to secure it self to the cart other than sliding it through the hole and hoping for the best.
The helmet is a decent auto shade. Its not a Speedglas or a Miller helmet. But it didn't flash me and it shades fast enough. It does have gay flames on it though.
BOTTOM LINE if you have a helmet already that doesn't suck and don't mind building a cart then save the 100 Bucks and build your own.
Alright the Meat and Potatoes. There is little to assemble with the machine. You have to install your ground clamp lead inside the machine and hook gun leads up. (You can run flux core if you switch the lead configurations) There are two wires to plug in for the wire feed. These aren't labeled which is which but there is only two ways it can go so no biggie. The gun is a Tweco style so replacement parts should be easy to find. You have to hook the hose up from the machine to the regulator and the outlet on the machine is in a crappy spot because if you use anything larger than an 80CF tank it will bind against it.
The welder can run .023 or .030 wire and all you have to do is turn the roller around. The machine comes with .023 wire. I thought this kinda silly but mainly because I wanted thicker wire for what I was doing. Feeding the wire through with out taking the rollers out is a pain in the ass. But so is taking the roller out. It has one allen head set screw holding it in and very little room to manuever it.
When feeding the wire through the gun I noticed something I hadn't see on higher end machines. I was taught when feeding the wire through the gun to place the wire speed setting as high as it will go so as to get the wire through faster. Well with the voltage on low and the wire speed on high the machine surges at the start. Its a safety feature that essentially self corrects for you. No big deal unless your not paying attention to your machine settings.
Okay on to the actual welding. I welded up some useless holes in the neck gussets of my bike no problem. The machine is supposedly rated for 3/16". I'm assuming its for a butt joint as anything else (i.e. lap, inside and outside corner) would not be feasible. Like most hobby machines I think this is over rated. It barely welded 1/8" butt, with a 1/16"-1/8" root (it was scrap metal so the edges weren't perfectly straight.). If you know how to properly prep your joints and set up your machine you should be able to weld 3/16" with no preheat. Here is a pic of some of my welds setting the machine up.
I haven't done to much extensive welding with it but overall I think its a good hobby machine. The manufacturer recommends a 25 amp dedicated breaker for the max output. They arent lying. I tripped my 20A breaker a number of times just plug welding. If you already know how to weld and need a hobby machine for home(like me, dont let the shitty welds fool you) than it should be fine for small stuff. It is a decent machine to learn on too. It welds decent and I feel that even with the shitty cart and decent helmet the money saved over a Hobart or Lincoln 140 machine is worth it. And one of the selling points to me was that the voltage control is not 4 fixed positions but infinitely adjustable.
Sorry for the wordy review but there isnt much info on the machine out there and I thought I would provide as much insight as possible. If you want pics of anything specific or have questions then let me know.
Last edited by ZUnit; 11-12-2010 at 12:33 PM. Reason: corrections