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  • Plasma? Hobart or Mller?

    New to welding and cutting. Interested in buying a plasma, looking at Airforce 400 and the Miller Spectrum 375. As far as I've heard they are pretty identical machines. I work with 1/8" mild steel mostly, maybe going up to 1/4" on few pieces. Or for the few extra bucks should I go with the AF625?

    I recently picked up the HH210 and think it works great. Still on Flux, gas is coming.
    HOBART HANDLER 210
    HYPERTHERM PM 30
    14" DEWALT CHOP
    HORIZONTAL BAND SAW
    INGERSOLL RAND 5HP 2 STAGE

  • #2
    Plasma? Hobart or Miller?

    Hi.

    I've been watching to see if anyone would answer.

    Figured since nobody did, I would share my experience.

    First of all, to answer your question, the Miller 375 and Hobart AF 400 are exactly the same machine, with a different wrapper, and a HUGE difference in customer service. Difference: from what I can tell, Miller will stand behind their machines, Hobart will not.

    I bought a Hobart AF 400 from a guy on Craigslist. Out of warranty, but not abused looking (this is the key).

    Turns out, the mother board has a problem none of the electronics shops can diagnose. Okay. This one is my fault.

    Called Hobart, who, very unhelpfully indicated they don't do component level or circuit level repairs. But they would be happy to sell me a new mother board. Oh yeah. For $630.

    The Key: the Hobart has a manual switch for power that apparently some user did not switch to 230V when they applied that power, which caused some sort of damage inside. I even had the secondary board replaced with a brand new one to no avail.

    I was at the beginning stages of needing the cutter to build a complete new bed and battery box for the Unimog, so six weeks of sending it to a very kind guy in Florida just didn't make sense.

    I did try asking around on the board, and got several replies from concerned members, and two from a know it all richard cranium, but unfortunately, nothing that would help in the short term.

    Being that Hobart was so unable to help at all, nearly helpless with the questions they asked (I learned more from searching this site than the Hobart customer service rep even bothered to ask), I decided that eventually, I'll replace the main board, and once it's working well, will sell it for whatever I can get.

    I decided that I would NEVER buy another Hobart product.

    I did more research here and on the web and found that Thermal Dynamics makes some fantastic plasma cutters. I went down to town, found a place that would let me demo one, and then purchased a new Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 39 with a four year warranty.

    The TD Cutmaster 39 is also capable of using dual voltage, but automatically detects the input voltage. This negates the potential to ever blow your plasma cutter up due to incorrect power input.

    I've cut 1/4" steel like a knife through hot butter with incredibly smooth cut faces, zero blowback and the kerf comes off with the tap of a hammer.

    To be fair, I've read some good things and heard from people that repair plasma cutters (I've spoken with many) that Hobart cutters are actually pretty good units.

    When I decided to go with another cutter, I also seriously considered Thermadyne, if that helps. Great units I hear.

    FWIW,

    Mike
    Last edited by breauxtus; 02-11-2009, 10:45 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey Mike, Thanx.

      Thanx for the info. Funny you mentioned the Dynamics...I just test drove one today, nice rig. 4 year warranty, cheaper consumables, and more jamb. Really considering one. I can get a smoking deal on a Hobart though...still think I should back away? Let me know what you think.

      Thanx again,

      Up in Canada.
      HOBART HANDLER 210
      HYPERTHERM PM 30
      14" DEWALT CHOP
      HORIZONTAL BAND SAW
      INGERSOLL RAND 5HP 2 STAGE

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TimGa View Post
        I can get a smoking deal on a Hobart though...still think I should back away? Let me know what you think.
        As you can probably tell, those with an axe to grind are the ones that howl the loudest. The guy that's giving you advice bought a broken machine, out of warranty, without testing it, and somehow it's Hobart's fault.

        On the other hand, there are those of us, myself included, who have had exemplary, personal service from Hobart that in my opinion went above and beyond expectations. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Hobart machine, and I know several other people on this forum that feel the same way.

        Be careful from whence you take your advice. That said, you would not go wrong with a Thermal Dynamics or with a Hypertherm either. I've run both and been impressed on both counts.
        Trailblazer 302 * Millermatic 212 * Syncrowave 180SD * X-Treme 12VS Feeder * Spoolmate 3035
        Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52 Plasma * Lincoln 175 MIG

        Victor Superrange II * Victor Journeyman

        Hobart HH 125EZ


        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Zrexxer View Post
          As you can probably tell, those with an axe to grind are the ones that howl the loudest. The guy that's giving you advice bought a broken machine, out of warranty, without testing it, and somehow it's Hobart's fault.

          On the other hand, there are those of us, myself included, who have had exemplary, personal service from Hobart that in my opinion went above and beyond expectations. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Hobart machine, and I know several other people on this forum that feel the same way.

          Be careful from whence you take your advice. That said, you would not go wrong with a Thermal Dynamics or with a Hypertherm either. I've run both and been impressed on both counts.
          Ah, I see my stalker is back. But at least he agrees on the TD and Hypertherm.

          I did caveat the post with the fact that many here regard Hobart as a good machine.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TimGa View Post
            Thanx for the info. Funny you mentioned the Dynamics...I just test drove one today, nice rig. 4 year warranty, cheaper consumables, and more jamb. Really considering one. I can get a smoking deal on a Hobart though...still think I should back away? Let me know what you think.

            Thanx again,

            Up in Canada.
            Hey Canada!

            Yeah, you'll love the feel of it. I really like the 4y warranty. Last year, the warranty was 3y. The fact they upped it may say something about the quality of the unit.

            A smoking deal on a Hobart may be your best bet. Particularly considering you'll have at least some warranty. My friend has a Hobart welder he really likes.

            Tough call sir. Do some more research on the entire Airforce line, even outside of this forum. I myself recognize a pattern, but like my stalker says, his works great and he hasn't had any problems with it.

            Cheers,

            Mike

            Comment


            • #7
              I was in Princess Auto last weekend and I noticed they now sell a Plasma cutter. I think it is their house brand. It might be worth looking at.

              Comment


              • #8
                More homework too be done.

                Mike,
                Holding out for the Hobart 400...think I'll let the TD go to my buddy as it's Praxairs last one at the cheap price. Works pretty good though, have to agree with you there.
                We tested the TD at 115volts...would there be much difference in cutting quality when juiced up to 230volts?


                Up in Canada
                HOBART HANDLER 210
                HYPERTHERM PM 30
                14" DEWALT CHOP
                HORIZONTAL BAND SAW
                INGERSOLL RAND 5HP 2 STAGE

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TimGa View Post
                  Mike,
                  Holding out for the Hobart 400...think I'll let the TD go to my buddy as it's Praxairs last one at the cheap price. Works pretty good though, have to agree with you there.
                  We tested the TD at 115volts...would there be much difference in cutting quality when juiced up to 230volts?


                  Up in Canada
                  I think there would be a tremendous difference. I ran the TD at 115 first, then at 230. Night and day.

                  You'll likely be happy either way. Just wanted to share my experience with Hobart TS.

                  Cheers sir. Let us know how it works out!

                  Mike

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just a couple comments.

                    On 1/22/09 Breauxtus asked that he be removed from membership on the board. Also made the comment to the Mods "don't worry, I won't be back".

                    I have to agree with Zrexxer here, those who have an ax to grind, squeal the loudest.

                    He bought a used, inoperative, out of warranty unit off Craigslist and got upset that Hobart wouldn't jump through the seat of their pants to solve his problem. He even admitted the unit had been damaged by the previous owner by using the wrong power. Miller AND Hobart both go out of their way to make good on their products if you, as the consumer are just a little reasonable. This guy's not.

                    He also mentions that he's heard Thermadyne also makes a plasma cutter. If he'd done ANY homework he'd realize that Thermal Dynamics is the plasma division of Thermadyne and Thermal Arc is the welder division of Thermadyne.

                    Thermal Dynamics, Miller, Hobart, Hypertherm all make excellent plasma cutters. Personally, I would prefer dealing with Miller, Hobart, or Hypertherm moreso than with Thermal Dynamics.

                    Stay away from the Chicom units.
                    SundownIII

                    Syncrowave 250DX, Tigrunner
                    Dynasty 200 DX w/CM 3
                    MM 251 w/30 A SG
                    HH 187 Mig
                    XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Pulser
                    Dialarc 250 w/HF 15-1
                    Hypertherm PM 1250 Plasma
                    Victor, Harris, and Smith O/A
                    PC Dry Cut Saw and (just added) Wilton (7x12) BS
                    Mil Mod 6370-21 Metal Cut Saw
                    More grinders than hands (Makita & Dewalt)
                    Grizzly 6"x48" Belt Sander
                    Access to full fab shop w/CNC Plasma & Waterjet
                    Gas mixers (Smith(2) and Thermco)
                    Miller BWE and BWE Dig

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SundownIII View Post
                      Just a couple comments.

                      On 1/22/09 Breauxtus asked that he be removed from membership on the board. Also made the comment to the Mods "don't worry, I won't be back".

                      I decided I didn't want one bad apple to ruin what could be a great learning tool. Several others in the thread agreed that they'd had similar experiences. I didn't appreciate being jumped when I was merely asking a question at that point. If you read that thread, you'll see I was courteous and professional until I was jumped by that guy.

                      I have to agree with Zrexxer here, those who have an ax to grind, squeal the loudest.

                      You are right sir!

                      He bought a used, inoperative, out of warranty unit off Craigslist and got upset that Hobart wouldn't jump through the seat of their pants to solve his problem. He even admitted the unit had been damaged by the previous owner by using the wrong power. Miller AND Hobart both go out of their way to make good on their products if you, as the consumer are just a little reasonable. This guy's not.

                      This was not in my original thread. I re-read my original post from this thread and admit that it certainly does say that. What I meant to say, is that Hobart and two independent repair shops thought this may have been what happened. I was being reasonable. I pointed out the MANY similar occurrences to Hobart with units new and old. This unit hadn't actually been used very much at all.

                      He also mentions that he's heard Thermadyne also makes a plasma cutter. If he'd done ANY homework he'd realize that Thermal Dynamics is the plasma division of Thermadyne and Thermal Arc is the welder division of Thermadyne.

                      Thermal Dynamics, Miller, Hobart, Hypertherm all make excellent plasma cutters. Personally, I would prefer dealing with Miller, Hobart, or Hypertherm moreso than with Thermal Dynamics.

                      I mentioned a Thermadyne plasma cutter because I'd seen it mentioned here on the board in several positive notes. Google it and you'll find Thermadyne plasma cutters all day long. Then look at the picture of it and it turns out it is indeed the same cutter I bought.

                      Stay away from the Chicom units.
                      I agree.

                      Now, I suggest we let the OP have his thread back.


                      Cheers,

                      Mike
                      Last edited by breauxtus; 02-12-2009, 09:19 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Breauxtus,
                        Thumbs up for being the first person to reply to my question. I agree this site is an awesome tool and is loaded with hundreds of years of experience. Hope one day I can return the favor to someone looking for assistance.
                        Thumbs up to all the Senior members aswell. Not only do I find the knowledge base fascinating, but comical too...nice relief after a long day.


                        Think I might go buy a Plasma today
                        HOBART HANDLER 210
                        HYPERTHERM PM 30
                        14" DEWALT CHOP
                        HORIZONTAL BAND SAW
                        INGERSOLL RAND 5HP 2 STAGE

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TimGa View Post
                          Breauxtus,
                          Thumbs up for being the first person to reply to my question. I agree this site is an awesome tool and is loaded with hundreds of years of experience. Hope one day I can return the favor to someone looking for assistance.
                          Thumbs up to all the Senior members aswell. Not only do I find the knowledge base fascinating, but comical too...nice relief after a long day.


                          Think I might go buy a Plasma today

                          Right on!

                          Post up and let us know what you got, and how it works.

                          I'm getting better and better with the TD39. Steady hands are a must.

                          Cheers,

                          Mike

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bought the Hypertherm Power Max 30!
                            After hours of research I believe I've picked the right plasma do serve my needs. Only think, I find it strange you can not buy a drag cap for the PM30. The nozzle is beveled and Hypertherm tells me you can drag the tip...I guess cut speed would be very crucial so you don't keep burning up tips.

                            Any thoughts, ideas or opinions out there?

                            Oops, I should mention that I did buy a shielding cap.
                            HOBART HANDLER 210
                            HYPERTHERM PM 30
                            14" DEWALT CHOP
                            HORIZONTAL BAND SAW
                            INGERSOLL RAND 5HP 2 STAGE

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Congrats TimGa on the new addition to the family! Post us a few pics man, I dont think there is anyone here that complains about pics of a fellow posters new toys.

                              I went with the Miller 375 X simply due to the price and the fact that the LWS nearest to me is where I found the best deal. Its an awesome machine when used for what it was intended. I have a O/A setup for the real heavy stuff, but the plasma does 3/8 with no prob and 1/2 nice but slow as long as it has a new tip in it.

                              Good Luck and Enjoy your new toy man

                              P.S. : Dont cut up everything you have in site while trying it out.
                              Stickmate LX 235 AC / 160 DC.
                              MM211 AS and Spool-Mate 100.
                              Spectrum 375 X-Treme.
                              O/A Medium Radnor Torch, Large Victor Torch.
                              Milwaukee 14" Chop Saw.
                              4 x 6 Horizontal Band Saw.
                              Rockworth 80 Gallon 2 Stage 16 SCFM @ 175 PSI , 15 SCFM @ 90 PSI.
                              Jackson Passive Shade #5 for the plasma.
                              I almost forgot the Hobart XVP AD Hood.
                              Speedglas 9100x


                              Projects and Misc Albums
                              http://picasaweb.google.com/keesfriend Feel Free to Have a Look ( Just keep in mind I am an amateur )

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