'Minimum' TIG?

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Mike Armstrong

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As costly as TIG machines are if I did buy one I certainly wont need any thing fancy. I'd imagine there are specific 'extra' features that make the job much easier but in order to keep cost down and look for a 'basic' machine that will still get the job done right, what are the 'minimum' specs needed if it's only to be used for welding 4130? Thanks


Mike
 

jumpinjan

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You will be welding thin wall steel tubing. You don't need high amperage. Look for units that have the lowest amperage settings. Some of the cheapest models can't go down low, and maybe the next, better model will. That's what you want, the cheapest model that gets down the lowest in amperage.
Jan
 

Mike Armstrong

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Thanks Jan. I didn't realize the ability to achieve 'low' amps would cost more, I thought it would be just the opposite:)

How low of an amperage is necessary or should I say 'ideal' for welding 4130? The lower the better? (at additional cost I'm sure) or is there such a thing as too low of an amperage for 4130?
 

jumpinjan

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The amperage depends on what thickness of sheetmetal you are welding. You decide. Ask the dealer you are buying it from. They are very glad to help. The manufacturer provides information like that too. You tell them about what you are building, they will set you up right. What size gas bottle (as example)? They will recommend to you what size.
Jan
 
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lake_harley

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I do a lot of welding but I'm not a certified welder so maybe take my comments for what they're worth. A guideline in welding is 1 amp/.001" material thickness. How tight a joint fits to be welded makes a lot of difference, as well as technique like if you get the heat too far ahead of the puddle and don't get filler in quick enough, etc.. A fellow I work with can weld much thinner material than I can, and fill bigger gaps in joints just because he's a much better welder than I am. I guess it would be safe to say he can "read" the puddle and the material better as he welds.

The advice to talk over the type of welding you want to do with a knowledgeable salesman is very good. I have a Lincoln Square Wave 175 and have welded some pretty thin stuff (stainless and mild steel) and it seems it has done OK in the lower heat ranges (low initial setting and modulated by the pedal). As far a TIGs go, it is a sensibly priced machine. There are machines specifically built to really get down in the low amperage (just a few amps) and I'd guess they'd be more expensive and maybe not necessary for .028" and .035" 4130.

Free comments, and worth the price paid:ermm:

Lynn
 

ahs437

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I think you get what you pay for as in most things in life. The new "electronic" inverter welders have the advantage of low weight and portability, while the conventional xfmr units weigh a LOT more. I have a Lincoln TIG 185 and am very pleased. It has almost all the features I need and allows the control that makes for high quality welds. Lincoln is a great company when it comes to customer service. I'd suggest you buy a good used unit if you can find one and bite the bullet. It's hard to do quality work on the cheap and like most tools, once you have it you wished it could do more. I'd definitly recommentd low amperage control and square wave. Air cooled keeps stuff cheaper. Take a welding course at the local CC... that's a very good start. Bring some tubing.

Andy
 

JMillar

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Stay far away from the Chinese import ones in Harbour Freight, Princess Auto, on eBay, etc. Their MIG welders are crap, I assume the TIG, stick, and plasma cutter units are similar. Ok for fizzling around in the back yard putting the deck back on that mower, but not anything that becomes airborne.
 

dgeronimos

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I took the EAA class on TIG. The class had Lincoln Electric TIG 185s. I ended up buying the current model Precision 225. It's been excellent so far. Haven't turned the amperage over 35 yet. ;)
 

Mike Armstrong

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Thanks for the replies.

As you can see from my previous posts I've been going back and forth trying to decide on Gas or TIG for quite some time. I thought I 'finaly' decided apon Gas after this years trip to Osh, however the evil question has once again come up after I read a post on one of the many Forums I watch where a guy once set on Gas tried TIG and was so thankful that he didn't 'settle' on the Gas rig, crap! I hate reading stuff like that.

Anyhoo, I've already bought a gas setup from TinmanTech but I also know Gas has many uses around the shop so if I dont use it for welding the 4130 that's ok. Thats when I figured if I could find out if I could save money on the usually expensive TIG setup (one of my reasons for going with Gas) by buying a TIG machine that is just good enough for welding 4130 that maybe it wouldn't be so expensive. But by doing so I may be doing the one thing I am so against and thats investing money on half ass tools and machinery. I like quality, one time expense, long lasting stuff that can do the job 'right', not just 'good enough'.

I dont know enough about TIG welding machines to decide on what a 'minimal' 4130 TIG setup would be without buying a sub par rig incapable of good welds. I really hate to drop alot of doe on a top o the line machine if it is only going to be used to weld up my homebuilts steel tube frame and then set aside after that. But I'm also not willing to sell myself short and get a crappy machine that will make constructing the fuse a pain. My shop (garage) is almost built so I'm making a list of the exact tools and machinery I'm going to buy to outfit it. Rather than stress anymore about whether to buy a TIG machine or not I'm ready to just get the dang thing and probably be happy I did, at least I think so:nervous:
 

lake_harley

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One other thought...

Since many TIG welders also do stick welding with a flip of the switch, the flexibility of the machine increases. You have some pretty good welding potential with 150-175 Amps of power on a stick welder. Granted, you can't heat-and-bend a bracket with a TIG/Stick but not many people want to weld a 3/16" bracket for the neighbor's riding mower with gas either. Personally, if I HAD to chose just ONE type of welding equipment to have around my shop, TIG, MIG or Gas, I'd choose the TIG/Stick. Just one opinion for sure.

Lynn
 

JMillar

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I think you'll be happy if you go with it, I've spent a lot of money on tools as a mechanic and the only things I regret buying were poor quality. A good tool tends to create jobs for itself, things you just wouldn't bother with otherwise, and the most frustrating thing in the world (other than politics) is needing to do something and not having equipment *quite* good enough to do it right. MIG is my personal welding favorite, but I'm not making tube frames, I'd definitely by buying/learning the TIG if I did.
 

jumpinjan

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I ended up buying the current model Precision 225.
Thats the TIG model I'm going to buy shortly. This is the Ready-Pak combo for $2345. It will handle up to 1/4" aluminum, and includes stick welding capability (probably never use it, I have a MIG as well).
Jan
 

dgeronimos

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Thats the TIG model I'm going to buy shortly. This is the Ready-Pak combo for $2345. It will handle up to 1/4" aluminum, and includes stick welding capability (probably never use it, I have a MIG as well).
Jan
I paid $1,959.68 for the ready-pak with cart. I'm glad I got the cart. The welding unit weighs 5 billion pounds. This is the ready-pak without the mig welder. I got it from tigdepot.net

I tried gas welding, but it made me too nervous.
 

dgeronimos

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Thanks for the replies.

As you can see from my previous posts I've been going back and forth trying to decide on Gas or TIG for quite some time. I thought I 'finaly' decided apon Gas after this years trip to Osh, however the evil question has once again come up after I read a post on one of the many Forums I watch where a guy once set on Gas tried TIG and was so thankful that he didn't 'settle' on the Gas rig, crap! I hate reading stuff like that.
People's opinions are bleh. Try them both. Pick the one that you like the best.

Anyhoo, I've already bought a gas setup from TinmanTech but I also know Gas has many uses around the shop so if I dont use it for welding the 4130 that's ok. Thats when I figured if I could find out if I could save money on the usually expensive TIG setup (one of my reasons for going with Gas) by buying a TIG machine that is just good enough for welding 4130 that maybe it wouldn't be so expensive. But by doing so I may be doing the one thing I am so against and thats investing money on half ass tools and machinery. I like quality, one time expense, long lasting stuff that can do the job 'right', not just 'good enough'.
If you've got a gas setup, get started. It takes a few days of practice to get decent welds.

-Danny
 

PTAirco

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I tried gas welding, but it made me too nervous.

Nervous??!? Gas welding for me is a a Zen-like experience! Watching that serene little green pool of metal move along is mesmerizing and relaxing.

But then , I never tried TIG.
 

Mike Armstrong

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But then , I never tried TIG.
To be honest, me neither, but from what I've read from a few others it 'may' sour your taste for Gas, a little bit perhaps but enough to have changed others minds about using Gas. Danny's right, I really need to try TIG and see for myself. Is it really that good/easier?
 

dgeronimos

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Messages
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Nervous??!? Gas welding for me is a a Zen-like experience! Watching that serene little green pool of metal move along is mesmerizing and relaxing.

But then , I never tried TIG.
Ditto, but with tig, there is no gas flame or noise. I am more comfortable TIG welding than gas welding.
 
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