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I Forge Iron

Esab welder review

fleur de lis

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So after many years of fighting with my little Lincoln mig welder, I finally gave in & bought a new machine. 

I set out searching with a few parameters in mind. I wanted a do all machine. I weld mig, tig, & stick on occasion. Something good for stainless, & carbon steels (I tig copper occasionally as well). I won't weld aluminum, so that wasn't a consideration to me. I wanted light weight & multi voltage 110/220v. 

Esab Rebel emp 215ic is what I ended up with. Was under $1800 USD (with an extended warranty) from Amazon. Comes with every thing a new welder would need to get started. Tweco mig, tig, & stick leads. Fairly nice Victor regulator (I prefer a floating ball type, but this will suffice). Tweco ground clamp. 2 pound spool of wire. Gas lines. You can get a foot controller, but I didn't. 

The machine itself comes in about 40 pounds & seems to be well thought out & designed. Has built in roll cage type housing with several built in handles. Handy if you plan on moving it a lot. There is a large color display. 4.5" or so I think. It'll quite literally tell you everything about the machine. What process you're set up for, polarity connections, ramp up & down for tig welding, to spare parts numbers. 

There is a smig mode. This is great for a noob welder. Punch in your wire size, material, & the machine will automatically impute the best wire speed & amp for what you're welding. Its supposed to learn the habits of the user & self adjust to those as well. I'll say this, it'll lay a real purdy bead. This is with 75/25 gas. It'll run flat, horizontal, vertical up & down nicely. There is also a standard mig mode for those of us who prefer to roll your own settings. 

I haven't tried tig much as yet. It will handle 10ga 316 stainless just fine. I'm used to Miller tig machines & this esab seem to run hotter at the same amps as the Miller. The supplied torch is on the bulky side in my opinion but usable. I connect the gas line straight to the bottle (straight argon, ive got some tri mix as well), as I like control. I'm not having any problems with craters at all, which surprised me. I'm hoping to have the time to weld up some 1095 / stainless San mai billets this weekend with some 2205 wire. I'm curious as to how well it'll handle that.

I havent run the stick stinger at all, so I can't comment there. 


I've only run this on 220v on a 40a circuit. Still gotta a 110v line for it. 

I've been a welder for a living off & on for the last 20 some years. I would be happy this machine at work. If want better / more comfortable leads though. But for home / hobby / light fab work, they're just fine. 


I'll get some pics up directly. 

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  • 5 years later...

I bought the rebel 215i about 2 years ago and was very happy with the features. Smart mig is great.....when it works. This is my home project and side job machine not being used harshly or a lot even. Probably put 25 lbs of wire through it. First 3 months the main board fried. It was under warranty so I wasn't too upset. Now the display board went out over night and it will be 600 to repair. I feel like the rumors they worked out the bugs was started by esab. I talked to them and no mercy. I won't repair it again. I bought a titanium from harbor frieght to use while the esab was down and for 450 it does a great job for 1/3 the cost. My sentinel hood does weird stuff all the time too. Speedglas never failed. Buyer beware.

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I,m not a fan of high tech machines that do it all i like the old dials and change the lead machines that let the welder figure out his heat . I got a lincoln square wave with inverter tec for quick alum jobs and high freq a few years ago it blew a circuit board with not a ton of hours on it anyway never again  even though it works great now.I was hopin to eventually hear some reviews on the rebels and how they were holden up and guys likes and dislikes.The reason is i was talkin to a esab rep a while ago about the high tech in all the new machines and we had a good laugh and was one of the reasons i keep the old miller acdc thunderbolt on hot idle in my shops corner.The gear on the new ones don't hold up good over time and it ain't cheap to fix the circuit boards and displays once the warranty is up.

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