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Well I bought a HF cheapo after noumerous people saying they were junk and guess what mine turned out to be too just like they said. I would get the stickmate but first look around at welding stores cause some stock used welders and also check at tractor supply if your going to get the stickmate just takes a phone call cause I know they sell em but don't know for how much.
wireburner, Be patient and continue to look around for a good quality, brand name machine. The cheapo's at HF and the like are not going to last very long at all. I would suggest you get copies of all of the local papers and any other type of classified publications and look there. You should be able to find a good A.C. buzz box for about 100-150 bucks in used condition, AC/DC will be a little more but they are out there. Try ebay and craigs list as well. Another idea is to check with all of the welding businesses in your area, maybe they have one they are looking to get rid of. Just trying to give you a few suggestions so you don't waste your money. Dave
If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!
There are 2 people near me who have Miller Thunderbolt 225 Stickmates. One is AC, $150.00 and the other is AC/DC, $100.00. I sent them an email and I am waiting to see if they are still available. These were listed on www.craigslist.org in Tampabay, Fl; you may want to look at these. I will let you know what I find out; from the pics they look to be in good condition. Both had the cables included.
Everything I wanted to say, Dabar already said it!!!
If possible, take some pieces to the place and test the machine. If not, good luck. Just look at the pics and hopefully it's clean and they took care of it.