CST 280 Stick Welder with Meter AND VRD
May 28, 2016
I researched this purchase to the best of my ability going to a number of different welding sites as well as Cyberweld's competitors. The Stick machine I wanted had a Meter for more accurate amperage control and VRD, a new (at least to me) safety feature. I found the model number on the 3rd page of the CST280 Spec Sheet. Cyberweld only listed the CST 280 with meter or VRD without the Meter. When I asked about the model with both Meter as well as VRD, I was told that it was not available in the USA, it was export only. Well that didn't sound right, so I called Miller directly and asked "What's up?" I was told that that machine could accept higher 3 phase voltage in that iteration, higher than was found in the US. I then explained to the Miller Rep that my work background was 35 years in emergency medicine and that over that time I had treated a number of workers with severe electrical burns, so I wanted all the safety features that Miller built into this machine, and while I had a little welding experience, I also wanted the extra precision that the Meter would afford me. She said she would do a little more checking for me and came back to the line saying that she had gotten it cleared for Cyberweld to order that "export only" model for me, but I had to place the order over the next 4 days. Miller sure made me feel special, and Cyberweld didn't drop the ball either. Miller had 2 units on hand, and once paperwork and money changed hands, Cyberweld placed my order and Miller promptly shipped the unit to them, and they sent it on to me. It even came in 1 day early, FedEx dropped it of at my door in perfect shape. It took me a couple of days to round up 50 amp slow blow fuses to put in the 230 volt single phase disconnect, but the wiring was easy and the unit lit right up without a hitch. I guess it's the dig feature that is keeping me from sticking so many rods (I rarely do), I remember that this was a real pain for E6010 and E6011 electrodes that I used in the past. All in all, a very smooth transaction. Just as I have always had with Cyberweld. I will be back.
ProsRarely stick a rod and that's not me. Small, light, clean lines. Everything well marked except as noted below. I haven't tried the TIG welding yet.
ConsMachine has only Direct Current, AC is not available. Whether this will be an inconvenience, I do not yet know. Most of the rods are marked DC ,- before AC.
Only one tiny point for Miller. The single-three phase voltage sensor has a switch that is hidden by a hinged plate on the back side of the machine. One loosens two screws on this plate and it then lifts up revealing a round switch that selects 230 volts or 460 volts. There is a long bar built into this round switch that is there to help you turn this switch. This bar is rather long and at first glance it COULD be pointing to the switch position selected. There is a bold white line on the opposite side of the nob. I felt reasonably sure that THAT white stripe was the true indicator on the nob. Nowhere in the instructions did I find this mentioned. So I called Cyberweld with a "Stupid Question" before I turned the unit on and "fried" the brains inside. Cyberweld thought I was probably right, but he thought I ought to call Miller to make sure. The Miller tech went to look at a CST280 to make sure. He came back and said I was right, the White Stripe was the Indicator of position of the switch. If miller put a little drawing in the Instruction Manual to alert the buyer, it might relax all concerned. Sorry, Just a Stupid Point by me.