The YesWelder YWA-160 stands out as a highly suitable option for new users. Its ease of use, combined with effective performance, makes it a worthy investment for those looking to explore stick welding. While it may not replace a high-end professional welder, it certainly exceeds expectations for its class, providing a reliable, enjoyable, and educational welding experience.
Whether you’re fixing something in the garage, working on a DIY project, or even taking on more challenging tasks, the YWA-160 is up to the task. It’s a welder that grows with you, offering enough depth to satisfy as your skills develop. For anyone stepping into the world of welding, the YesWelder YWA-160 is a smart, practical, and rewarding choice.
Additional Accessories for TIG: Requires extra purchases for full TIG welding capabilities.
Not Suited for Heavy Industrial Use: Ideal for home or small shop projects, but may not meet heavy-duty industrial needs.
Limited to Basic Tasks: While versatile, it might not cater to advanced or specialized welding requirements.
Memory Card and Camera Limitations: The review session was interrupted due to technical limitations, not directly related to the welder’s performance.
We’re focusing on the YesWelder YWA-160, a machine that’s been garnering quite a bit of attention lately. Now, what makes the YWA-160 stand out is that it’s an inverted stick welder. If you’re not familiar with the term, ‘inverted’ refers to the use of modern inverter technology in welding machines, allowing for a more compact, efficient, and versatile tool compared to traditional welders.
One might typically associate stick welders with body shops and heavy-duty industrial applications. However, the YWA-160 breaks the mold. It’s not just for the professionals working on cars. Imagine the range of projects you can tackle around your home or in a general shop setting. From welding thick steel plates to crafting small metal art pieces, this machine promises to be a versatile companion. Whether it’s an eighth-inch plate or a quarter-inch one, the YWA-160 seems ready to handle it with ease.
So, in today’s review, we’ll unpack, set up, and rigorously test this welder. We’ll explore its features, and capabilities, and see how well it performs in different scenarios. Whether you’re a seasoned welder or someone considering your first welding machine, there’s something in this review for everyone. Let’s get started and see what the YesWelder YWA-160 has in store for us.
Unboxing and First Thoughts
As we open the box, the first thing that strikes me is how surprisingly light this welder is. It’s a pleasant change from the bulkier models we’ve often seen. This lightweight design is not just a convenience; it speaks volumes about the advancements in welding technology.
The portability of the YWA-160 makes it an ideal tool for those who need to move their gear around, be it within a workshop or for various at-home projects.
Delving deeper, we find that the YWA-160 boasts dual functionality. Not only is it a stick welder, but it also has lift TIG capabilities. This dual-mode is a significant feature, especially for those who appreciate the finesse of TIG welding along with the robustness of stick welding. It’s like getting two tools in one, offering more options for different types of welding tasks.
Inside the box, we’re greeted with several key components. There’s the operator’s manual, which seems pretty comprehensive and user-friendly. This will be handy for both beginners and seasoned welders to understand the machine’s full capabilities.
Alongside the manual, there’s the ground cable and the stick electrode holder – fundamental elements for any welding machine. The inclusion of a 220 to 110 adapter is a thoughtful addition, ensuring that the welder is adaptable to different power supplies. This means you can use it just as easily in a standard home garage as in a workshop with a higher voltage setup.
Taking the welder out of the box, its size and design are immediately noticeable. It’s about the size of a shoebox, compact and unassuming, yet it feels sturdy and well-built. The welder is clad in a sleek casing, indicative of YesWelder’s attention to aesthetics as well as functionality. At first glance, the machine’s design seems user-friendly, with a layout that promises ease of use.
It’s evident that YesWelder has designed this with both the hobbyist and the professional in mind, striking a balance between simplicity and professional features.
All set up on the table
Setting up the YesWelder YWA-160 is a straightforward process. Let’s walk through it step-by-step to ensure you get it right from the get-go.
Place the Welder: Start by placing the welder on a stable, flat surface. Ensure it’s in a well-ventilated area to avoid overheating and to keep fumes at bay during welding.
Inspect the Machine: Before you connect anything, give the machine a quick visual inspection. This is a good safety practice to catch any potential issues like loose parts or damage from shipping.
Connecting the Electrode Holder and Ground
Attach the Electrode Holder: The electrode holder, often referred to as the ‘stinger’, is where your welding rod will go. Connect the electrode holder to the positive terminal (usually marked with a red or ‘+’ sign) on the welder.
Connect the Ground Cable: The ground cable, which has a clamp at the end, is your next connection. Attach this to the negative terminal (marked with a black or ‘-‘ sign). This cable grounds your workpiece to prevent shock or electrical hazards.
Adapting to Home Outlets
Using the 220 to 110 Adapter: If you’re planning to use the welder with a standard home outlet, you’ll need to use the provided adapter. Plug the adapter into the welder’s power cord, and then plug it into your home outlet. This step ensures compatibility with common household power supplies.
Discovering TIG Welding Capability
Refer to the Manual for TIG Welding: As you go through the manual, you’ll notice the section about the TIG welding option. It’s an exciting feature, but it requires an additional adapter and a TIG torch with a one-piece gas valve unit. This is because the YWA-160 isn’t set up to use a separate gas tank, which is typically needed for TIG welding.
Acquire Necessary TIG Accessories (If Needed): If you plan to use the TIG welding feature, you’ll need to obtain these additional components. They are not included in the standard package but are available for purchase separately.
Final Checks Before Use
Double-Check All Connections: Before you power on the machine, double-check all connections for safety. Ensure the electrode holder and ground clamp are securely attached, and the power cord is firmly plugged in.
Power On and Initial Setup: Turn on the machine and perform any initial setup as outlined in the manual. This might include setting the correct amperage for your welding rod or selecting the welding mode.
Remember, safety first! Always wear appropriate protective gear and ensure your workspace is safe for welding. With these steps, your YesWelder YWA-160 is ready for action. Let’s move on to the testing phase to see this machine in action.
Let’s delve into the testing phase, starting with a tour of the YWA-160’s interface and features. The machine’s front panel is intuitively designed, making it accessible for beginners while still offering the adjustability experienced welders appreciate.
Display and Controls: The digital display is clear and easy to read, showing essential welding parameters. Around it are controls for selecting welding modes, adjusting current, and other settings.
Modes: The welder offers stick and lift TIG modes. Switching between them is a breeze, allowing for versatility in your welding projects.
Safety Features: Notable safety features include overheat protection and a VRD (Voltage Reduction Device), which reduces the voltage when not welding for added safety.
One of the standout features is the auto-adjustment of current based on the rod diameter. This function simplifies the process, especially for those who might not be sure about the right settings.
Rod Diameter Selection: By selecting the rod diameter on the machine, it automatically adjusts the current to an optimal range for that rod size. This feature is particularly helpful for beginners.
Our tests involve welding on two different materials: 1/8 inch flat stock and 20 gauge sheet metal. We’re using two types of welding rods – 6011 and 6013 – to see how the machine handles them.
Welding 1/8 Inch Flat Stock: Starting with the 6011 rods, known for their versatility, we tackle the thicker flat stock. The machine handles it well, producing consistent beads with good penetration.
Transitioning to 20 Gauge Sheet Metal: Switching to 6013 rods, ideal for thinner, more delicate work, we test on the 20 gauge sheet metal. The machine’s ability to adjust to these rods and thinner material is impressive, yielding clean, controlled welds.
As a beginner in stick welding, this phase is both educational and challenging. The YWA-160 is forgiving, yet it requires a learning curve to understand the nuances of stick welding, like arc starting and maintaining the right arc length.
Starting the Arc: One of the initial challenges is striking and maintaining the arc. It takes practice but the machine’s features help in making this learning process smoother.
Adapting Techniques: Transitioning from thicker to thinner materials and changing rods requires adjustments in technique, which is a valuable learning experience.
Throughout these tests, a few things stand out. Firstly, the weld quality is quite good for a machine in this class, especially considering my beginner status. The automatic settings provide a helpful starting point, though there’s room for manual adjustments as you gain experience.
Quality of Welds: The welds, while not perfect, are strong and functional. There’s visible improvement as I get more comfortable with the machine.
Versatility and Adaptability: The YWA-160 proves to be versatile, handling different materials and rod types effectively.
We were impressed with the quality of the welds we saw from this little machine!
Final Assessment and Conclusion
For those new to welding, the YWA-160 served as an excellent teacher, facilitating a smooth introduction into the world of stick welding.
Ease of Learning: The straightforward design and user-friendly features of the YWA-160 significantly eased the learning process. Its intuitive controls and automatic settings allowed me to focus more on technique and less on equipment setup.
Progress and Challenges: There were challenges, especially in mastering arc starts and managing weld quality on varying thicknesses. However, the progress made over time was noticeable and gratifying.
Moving on to the machine’s performance, the YWA-160 has demonstrated remarkable capability and reliability.
Consistency in Welds: The welds produced were consistently strong and durable, especially considering the beginner skill level. The machine’s ability to adapt to different rod sizes and materials contributed significantly to this consistency.
Performance Features: Features like the auto-adjustment of current and the dual stick and lift TIG modes added to the overall positive experience, showcasing the machine’s versatility.
For beginners contemplating their first welder, the YWA-160 is an excellent choice. Its balance of simplicity, feature-rich interface, and forgiving nature makes it ideal for those starting their welding journey.
User-Friendly Aspects: The aspects that stand out for beginners are the machine’s easy setup, automatic features, and safety components, which collectively lower the entry barrier to welding.
YesWelder as a brand has impressed with its commitment to making welding accessible and affordable without compromising on quality. The YWA-160 is a testament to this, offering a versatile welding experience at a price point that’s hard to beat.
The affordability coupled with the range of features the YWA-160 offers makes it an attractive option for both hobbyists and professionals on a budget.