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TIG Welders recommendations


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#1 KatoKid

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:16 AM

Hi all.

Looks like I'm going to build my exhaust from scratch in stainless so Ive been looking at TIG welders. Like everything else there is so much choice and I know nothing about TIG so I'm looking for recommendations on which one to buy. Also keen to hear comments on foot control vs hand control. Will want to do alloy as well so will need to be AC/DC. Ive already got a good MIG so don't need MIG/TIG option.

Cheers.

David.

#2 Lurch ™

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:23 AM

I have a eBay/Chinease AC/DC one - works great.
Uses all commonly available parts so no hassles there.

I prefer the foot pedal as I can regulate the amperage as the material gets hotter.

#3 handsandwhich

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 02:22 PM

The cheap Chinese ones are hard to beat on price and have gotten better over the past few years. They pretty much are the same machines, just with a different name on them.

I bought a cheap one as a backup to a better known brand name one a few years ago and sometimes I prefer using that one to the more expensive one.

Personally I prefer the fingertip control as a lot of the stuff I do, you need to be on you feet and walking around the bench so a foot pedal is not practical so keep that in mind if you plan on welding larger stuff that you can't sit down at a bench with, but you can still sit at a bench with finger control if needed.

It takes a bit of getting used to with the finger control as well because you don't really get to hold the torch in the traditional way as you need your thumb/finger to be able to work the controls.



#4 fly-s30

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:08 PM

With what handsandwhich said, the hand controls are good if you are moving, but you can forget fine control in a hurry.
Pedal is better for that one.

#5 jamo240

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:15 PM

Hey Dave

As with all things, you tend to get what you pay for. Welders are capital assets, and obviously last many years, so over time, the up-front cost is not the main thing....you need to pay enough to get a machine that will do what you need it to do...buying to a price is improvident. Not sure how good the Chinese ones are as I haven't used one, so no comment there. Miller and Lincoln both make great machines.

Cannot recommend foot control enough. Most of the American machines can do both, but you cannot beat foot control for fine control of current as you move around the job, where the temperature must vary as the mass of material and disposition of the weld (eg butt, fillet, lap) change. I weld using both, but prefer foot control immensely over hand control.

Cheers

Jamo

#6 handsandwhich

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:17 PM

I use a binzel #26 torch with fingertip control and by turning the dial I can get increments of 1 amp or go to low/max power in an instant by using my thumb.

It works pretty much like a computer mouse wheel for scrolling pages etc...

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#7 Ledge

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:26 PM

HI
I will be going one of these with a foot control

http://www.ebay.com....=item416f632c7b

Cheers
Paul

#8 neRok

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 12:00 AM

Im planning to get one from Token Tools. I have only heard good things about them.
http://tokentools.co...ategory28_1.htm

I was reading if you can weld alloy with DC TIG, and apparently you can. The whole point is to blast of the oxide layer, and you can do this with pulsed DC where the electrons travel from the piece to the gun (I think electrons techincally travel from the neg, so neg to piece and pos to handle). Not a welder so I dont actually know though.

#9 handsandwhich

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:37 AM


That's opening up a whole different can of worms. It can be done but it is not as simple as just using your torch DCEN (direct current, electrode negative) and blasting away.

I'd definitely try to master ACDC (R.I.P Bon) before moving on to DC aluminium.



#10 Xnke

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:23 AM

I have a Jasic Inverter Basic 200A AC/DC/Pulse machine, a TIG200P model. I have abused the CRAP out of this machine and the WP-26 style torch it came with for a year, running it at ridiculous duty cycles and downright abusive power levels. (Yes, the internals are easily modified to allow up to 275A output...I've upgraded mine to allow up to 250A safe output)

The only downside I've found so far (and this is fixable too, if you're an electronic tech) is that the AC is 60Hz output only. It's possible to convert this to a variable setup, but when you vary the AC frequency output you're actually varying the safe operating area of the inverter transistors, and you risk running them into a very unsafe area of the operating table...and if one goes boom, expect that whole bank to burn with it.

When welding aluminum in a tight spot, such as welding in injector bungs on a angle-port manifold for the L, I really really wish I had the fine arc control available with variable-frequency AC output. On not so chunky aluminum (3/16" and thinner) you can fake a variable AC control by enabling the pulse mode, setting the duty cycle to 90%, and then using the pulse frequency knob to adjust arc frequency. You loose a lot of heat though, and the machine will warm up pretty good.

The only other thing that bothers me is the funky gas connector on the front of the unit. I'm looking into converting mine into a water-cooled unit, by adding another output lug with the integral water line connector. As I said, I've run this machine at stupid duty cycles and power levels, welding aluminum cylinder heads, and very quickly hit the limit of an air-cooled torch. If you're not welding 3/8" and thicker aluminum on a regular basis, then this is not at all a problem.

#11 Six_Shooter

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:45 AM

I don't know if Miller is available in Australia, but I have had a Miller Econotig for about 8 years, and it works great.

I know the Econotig is no longer a current model, but the replacement for it, the Diversion series, has high frequency ability, that makes welding thinner aluminium easier than with an Econotig. It's taken me nearly 8 years of owning this machine to weld pop cans together.

I plan to one day replace my Econotig with a Diversion 180, the trade off is I gain a high frequency machine, but lose the ability to stick weld, even though I have NEVER stick welded with my Econotig, I know that I would need to shortly after selling my Econotig. lol

I will recommend getting a high frequency machine.

One other thing that I recently tried as a recommendation from a much better welder than I, and one that I trust is to use something called a "Gas lens" This link will show how the gas lens provides better gas shielding than a conventional collet body does. http://www.weldcraft...basics-for-tig/ Using a gas lens has made welding aluminium much easier, and uses less gas overall, due to the better formed shield.

When welding aluminium, it is extremely important that the aluminium be clean. The problem when welding aluminium is that an invisible layer of corrosion that acts as an insulator as you try to weld, and is a major cause of weld pools not mixing when you try to weld aluminium, especially problematic when trying to weld thin wall tubing, in my experience. What I have done in the past, especially when I was new to welding aluminium was to wipe down the aluminium with acetone, just prior to welding the parts. Don't worry the acetone evaporates quickly enough that it doesn't ignite. Just be sure that you don't spill any on your welding gloves, because those will soak up some acetone and ignite, guess how I know. lol



#12 neRok

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

Be careful with what chemicals you use on parts you will soon be welding. I remember reading an article or watching 60 minutes or something about a bloke that had used some carby cleaner (i think) and welded soon after, and a little pool of leftover chemical reacted with the heat in a such a way to make an extremely deadly gas. He passed out less than a minute later from memory and was lucky to get to hospital and survive.

#13 Xnke

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:33 PM

Brake Cleaner...Tetrachloroethylene, commonly. Not sure what the non-chloronated stuff is.

The UV and the heat brake it down into Phosphine, an ammonia-analog with deadly effects, and Phosgene; which was used in WWI as a war gas. Kill ya without a lick of mercy...and it's hell on your kidneys if it doesn't manage to blister your lungs into pulp.

I've used the Miller Diversion 211...and honestly the only thing it had over my Jasic was a smaller box, same power, and the HF AC. I Loooooove me some HF AC though...so nice. One of these days I'll convert my Jasic and just make it so I can't blow up the inverter array with the panel knob.

#14 fly-s30

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:59 PM

I can recommend the Kemppi brand, having used a variety of their machines over the years, from stick, mig and tig.
For their entry level tigs, there is the MiniArc Tig, in single phase 15A DC up to the recently available 220amp current. Is switchable from MMAW (Arc, stick) to GTAW (Tig) and has great stable current. It has individual power boards for either stick or tig, so your not left stuck with a dead and expensive circuit board blowout. Comes programable and has flexibility in pre/post gas flow and comes in H/F or scratch starts. Around $2500 new plus acc.
For the Higher level is the MasterTig range in AC/DC single phase 15A configuration, and 3 phase. Delivering 230amp current. Again this can also be used as either stick or tig setup, and has excellent stable arc, with heaps of flexibility in programming settings comes in H/F or scratch starts.  Around $5600 new plus acc.
Does this help at all?




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