Tig Welder Purchase? - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Tig Welder Purchase?

I am thinking of purchasing a TIG welder. Personally I love doing everything myself and I would love to be able to do this sort of work on my own. I eventually want to do some kind of fabrication out of my garage but that is down the road. Grainger sells the welders and since my wife is in finance there we get a 30% discount on anything that they sell so I can get a good deal on one. Also I would be willing to offer services to CLSB members in need.

Anyway, anybody have any experience in this area and any words of advice on what to look for when purchasing a welder and what not. I obviously know that I will have to practice alot but from what I have read the TIG welder is the best out of the three common ones (MIG and ARC).

Here is a link to what Grainger.com sells. Thanks ahead of time.

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg...&L1=Welders%2C

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 01:13 PM
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If you intend to weld aluminium the TIG welder needs to be AC/DC and I prefer it to also have a HF start. Aluminum also transfers heat very well so you need to put lots of heat into it, fast. Which leads to the TIG torch getting hot, so a water cooled torch is much friendlier to use. To really do it right is not cheap. Probably the best, affordable rig that grainger lists that meets your requirements is this one. http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg...mId=1611587483


Check your prices. I have gotten good service from these guys.

Miller econotig AC/DC http://store.cyberweld.com/milec230vol.html

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 01:18 PM
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I'd suggest taking some classes at a local community college. I learned at COD and it was great. You get all the metal, rod, and gas that you can burn through for 4 hours a night, two nights a week.

When it came to purchasing my machine I knew that I didn't need anything spectacular. If you plan on doing mostly automotive fabrication, you'll probalby never use anything higher than 180 amps. That's enough to do 1/4" thick steel. Also make sure any machine you choose will do both DC and AC so that you can weld aluminum. Also stick with a name brand welder.

My suggestions for an entry level tig machine would be to find something used. Miller 180SD (which I have) or a Lincoln Precision 185.

If you cannot find a machine locally, you can still find some great deals at local welding supply shops. This is nice as well because they will cut you a deal on the tank and the rest of the supplies you will need. If you are going to buy new...here are my recommendations as Miller switch their lineup slightly.

Miller Sycrowave 200 - List $2150 (can be had for ~$1700)
http://www.millerwelds.com/products/tig/syncrowave_200/

Lincoln Precision Tig 185 - List $2119 (can be had for ~$1800)
http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Cat...et.asp?p=12813

Thermal Arc Arcmaster 185 (I don't have any experience with this, but some people swear by it)
http://www.thermadyne.com/evolution/...=99&pdtnbr=567


Anyways, the best thing to do is to learn prior to purcashing a machine, just because it ends up being cheaper in the end. Steel is NOT cheap.

If you have any other questions let me know. I've been welding for 3 years now and it's really a great skill to have. Good luck!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 01:20 PM
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A watercooled torch is nice, but not necessary. Don't exceed the recommended amps for you torch and you will be fine. You won't be an assembly line so you can afford to stop and wait a couple minutes for the torch to cool down.

Also don't think of the pulser as a much have option. I've been on plenty of machines with them and I never use it. With enough practice you'll be able to make perfect welds without it.

The Econotig is a nice choice as well, but for welding aluminum the squarewave technology on the Syncrowave machines really makes a difference. You can get a used 180Sd for as cheap or cheaper than an Econotig and you will be getting alot more welder for your money.

Last edited by Keyhole; 09-17-2006 at 01:26 PM.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 01:26 PM
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Check out these welding boards and you will get more information than you need.

www.millermotorsports.com
www.wedltalk.com
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyhole
Also don't think of the pulser as a much have option. I've been on plenty of machines with them and I never use it. With enough practice you'll be able to make perfect welds without it.
Great advice on school too.
I never needed a pulser either, but I have never done sheet work. I really do like HF start and stability. It makes it easier for me to make aluminium blobs
Actually if I really need something done right, I have my weldor at work handle it for me. Guys who are good at this stuff are artists!

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input guys!!!!!

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5AXIS
If you intend to weld aluminium the TIG welder needs to be AC/DC and I prefer it to also have a HF start. Aluminum also transfers heat very well so you need to put lots of heat into it, fast. Which leads to the TIG torch getting hot, so a water cooled torch is much friendlier to use. To really do it right is not cheap. Probably the best, affordable rig that grainger lists that meets your requirements is this one. http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg...mId=1611587483


Check your prices. I have gotten good service from these guys.

Miller econotig AC/DC http://store.cyberweld.com/milec230vol.html
I can get that welder for 1220 brand new. 30% off baby.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyhole
I'd suggest taking some classes at a local community college. I learned at COD and it was great. You get all the metal, rod, and gas that you can burn through for 4 hours a night, two nights a week.
Man thats a great idea I have been wanting to get into fabrication nothing fancy just basic welding but don't know where to start. I was thinking of learning by trial and error but classes would save me lots of time and money.

Don't know why i never thought of it myself.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 06:24 PM
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Yeah, I did what keyhole did except I took my tig class at Elgin Community College. I ended up purchasing a Miller Sync. 200 but unfortunately I don't have my garage wired up yet. The brand new machine has been sitting at my house for almost half a year Just can't afford it right now. I definitely have to find somebody to let me plug my welder into their garage just to see if this thing works. I would definitely purchase something like the sync 180 or the 200. From what I hear, many people(car fabricators) also like the thermal arc 185. It's cheap, small and will get any car or motorcycle fabrication done. Defitely get something with A/C to weld aluminum. Good luck.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I know ARC and MIG welders are cheaper but from what I have read the TIG welder is the most versitile and precise.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyhole
I'd suggest taking some classes at a local community college. I learned at COD and it was great. You get all the metal, rod, and gas that you can burn through for 4 hours a night, two nights a week.
I plan on looking into if Harper College here in Palatine has any classes like this. Thanks!!!!!!!

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HEESH
Yeah I know ARC and MIG welders are cheaper but from what I have read the TIG welder is the most versitile and precise.
It is and it's definitely the cleanest. That's the one you want to purchase if you want to make money fabricating car or motorcycle parts. You can obviously make other cool stuff around the house too. Most motorcycle frames and parts you see on discovery channel are all tig welded. Race cars parts, just about all are tig welded. If you want to make money out of your garage, tig is where it's at. By the way, the sync.180, 200 and all mentioned above are all arc welders. You will be able to stick weld with any of those.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeguy
Yeah, I did what keyhole did except I took my tig class at Elgin Community College. I ended up purchasing a Miller Sync. 200 but unfortunately I don't have my garage wired up yet. The brand new machine has been sitting at my house for almost half a year Just can't afford it right now. I definitely have to find somebody to let me plug my welder into their garage just to see if this thing works. I would definitely purchase something like the sync 180 or the 200. From what I hear, many people(car fabricators) also like the thermal arc 185. It's cheap, small and will get any car or motorcycle fabrication done. Defitely get something with A/C to weld aluminum. Good luck.
I learned some basics TIG at ECC also. I very rarely weld anymore so my skill are way rusty.
Jamie. Bring that puppy along to track days, we have enough power to run it and you could do on-the-spot crash repair.(and maybe a few un-official $ ) I had my guy at work make a set shorty levers for me. I just cut the ball off the end and then cut 1 1/2" off the lever and had him reweld the ball. Crash proofing is a good use for tig!

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Last edited by 5AXIS; 09-17-2006 at 07:38 PM.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5AXIS
Bring that puppy along to track days, we have enough power to run it and you could do on-the-spot crash repair.(and maybe a few un-official $ )
You have 220v at the track? That's a hefty generator...
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I was thinking with all the track guys on the board. Welding could be a service CLSB could definetly use.

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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyhole
You have 220v at the track? That's a hefty generator...
Yup. We power our trailer AC and warmers and other accessories on one leg of the circut. I also have a miller bluestar gas powered stick welder for other field structural steel projects. That would provide more than enough juice for a small TIG unit.

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