which TIG?

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by jgnunn, Feb 20, 2007.

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  1. Feb 20, 2007 #1

    jgnunn

    jgnunn

    jgnunn

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  2. Feb 22, 2007 #2

    Peter V

    Peter V

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    The one you've flagged as possibly too cheap - being a Miller, will sell for no less than $1100. It's pretty high-end.

    Rated Output 3 ph: 280A @ 31.2V, 35% duty cyle
    3 ph: 200A @28V, 100% duty cyle
    It claims 280 amps but if you don't have 3 phase, you're limited to 200 (that's heaps anyway!)

    1 ph: 200A @28V, 50% duty cyle
    1 ph: 150A @26V, 100% duty cyle
    Most bits on an aircraft will not require you to go over 150 amps, so the machine would not be taxed running all day

    A bottom-of-the-line Miller is... featureless. All you're getting is a lot of power, that you don't need. But if you're after a small portable inverter of this type, you should go for something a lot cheaper.
    A 150 amp at 20% duty welder is more than enough for welding 4130 tubes. Such a welder with a less well known brand would be half the price.

    If you plan on doing aluminium, it needs to be AC/DC TIG with at least 200 amps - $1500 for a cheap Chinese one. $2000 - $5000 for Brand name (Miller, ESAB, Lincoln, WIA). I'd be more cautious about getting a cheap welder in this category. With more features, there's more to go wrong.

    I often weld for a charity organisation. They get ex-demo welders that range from WIA and Lincoln, to unknown Chinese, and I've never had problems with any of them and they are all abused by learners in a heavy industry environment. I assume much of the price difference is in labour costs, not part quality.
    Perhaps others could post any bad experiences with particular brands?
     
  3. Feb 22, 2007 #3

    jgnunn

    jgnunn

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    Yes, I didnt realize the Miller link was still early on the ebay auction, hence the low price, but the auction did close eventually, with a price of $800+, which turned out to be a bargain i think...
     
  4. Feb 22, 2007 #4

    dave.flying

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    Beej,
    I have just been going through the same process of looking at tig welders As I understand it we need HF start, Slope down current, Slope up and post gas flow. From learning at the welding course one uses on average 28-35 amps on the standard 4130 tubing in an airframe. So one does not need anything more than 160 amp machine.
    The machine I ended up buying is a wsm130 cost £350 seems to work well enough.
    Hope that helps you
    Dave
     
  5. Feb 22, 2007 #5

    jgnunn

    jgnunn

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    whats the source for this welder?
     
  6. Feb 26, 2007 #6

    dave.flying

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  7. Feb 26, 2007 #7

    jgnunn

    jgnunn

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    interesting, thanks Dave
     
  8. Mar 7, 2007 #8

    Spinnetti

    Spinnetti

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    One thing to note - a limit of the LOW power tigs is that they have poor LOW power performance. I know that sounds kooky, but thats how it is..

    I ended up getting a Miller 180SD, and its a nice piece of work. Next up is a water cooled torch with finger tip control (I don't have enough limbs to use the foot pedal when I'm on my back welding above me!)
     
  9. Apr 1, 2007 #9

    base363

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  10. Apr 7, 2007 #10

    mtcw

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    I've been researching this for quite a long time. I'm not yet into aircraft but wanted a tig for motorcycle, bicycle, and artwork. A (reasonable?) way to compare tigs is to use something we're all more familiar with - such as automobiles. I'll get a lot of corrections, I hope, from members here, but this is my take on it. At the risk of offending any national pride, I'll suggest that what we've come to expect from any country's/region's automotive offerings loosely instructs as to what to expect in terms of price/quality/performance in other industrial products.

    To compare
    Kemmpi/Finland
    ESAB/Sweden
    Fronius/Austria
    Telwin(HTP)/Italy
    Miller-Lincoln-Hobart/USA (with a little of all of the above used here and there in the lineup - indeed just like Ford, Chrysler, and GM)
    Riland-Mitec-Chiry-Longevity-Smiley/China (still too chancy ATT, but getting better all the time)
    ...this is a partial list, but 99% of what is available to me in the US.

    Like I said, I've really looked into this closely for a couple of months and it's very interesting how spot on the comparison is to what tig welder you would expect from each of these geo/political offerings if you simply think of what price/quality/performance you would expect of an automobile coming out of the same place. Most of these companies offer a range adequate to address the needs of someone shopping for, let's say, a Ford Focus all the way up to a Cadillac Escalade.

    With that, and considering that I have owned Honda Civics exclusively since 1979 I went looking for something that matched my demands for value, dependability, and solid (not necessarily exciting) peformance.

    I found it! The ArcMaster185 from Thermadyne Corp is a Japanese made (Sanrex Corp) AC/DC Inverter Tig machine that compares very favorably on spec AND user reputation in welding forums with the Miller Dynasty 200dx.

    The ArcMaster 185 can be had (if you shop around) for 2000.00 and comes (in the cases I found) complete with the pedal, hoses, gauges, ground cable/clamp, etc that Miller charges 500+ in addition to the price of the 200dx. You will find that the ArcMaster185 has replaced the ProWave185 and gone up to 2400.00 at most online dealers. I've heard lately that a few of the dealers who are still selling the ProWave185 are taking orders at the old price, and because Thermadyne has run clear of stock on the ProWaves, and drop-ships straight from their warehouses, the ArcMaster is what arrives at your door. I'm about to order one myself and hope for the best.

    Even if the ProWave shows up, I'll be happy. It's a hell of a deal. The ArcMaster has only minor improvements, and no real improvements in the arc characteristics (according to phone Tech help at Thermadyne) and even at 2400 it's a great machine. The lowest price on the Dynasty I could find was 2850 and the pedal hoses etc add ons put it well near 3500!. The Lincoln equivalent was more yet. Fronius more yet (but probably the BMW of welders, if that's what you need). ESAB does not yet have a real competitor in this range of tig (available in the US). HTPamerica compares with the Arcmaster, but is a little more expensive ... and think 'Italian automobile or Japanese automobile..' you decide. Chinese equivalents are out there, and cost as much as ONE THIRD of these prices, but at this point in the technology curve, they are pretty much YUGOs. They will certainly get you there, they'll even do 90mph down the freeway, but....

    Hope this helps. I'll post some pics when mine arrives and maybe update a bit as I go.

    The reason why I joined this forum was to ask of any opinions on welding helmets. I'd like to find an autoshader that works with TIG (wide enough dimming range to work with a 10amp arc) for under 100 dollars. I just know it's out there. There are 39 dollar auto dimmers out there, and yes, I absolutely would not trust my eyesight to these. But I don't think It's necessary for a hobby tig welder to spend 350+ dollars for a quality product minus all the graphics and bells/whistles.

    Any suggestions? Thanks for the great forum. Sorry for the longish first post.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  11. Apr 10, 2007 #11

    Peter V

    Peter V

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    WIA in Australia. ;)

    Variable sensitivity is important - low amp TIG isn't too bright and if the arc is masked by the nozzle, MIG helmets often cut-out.
    But in my experience, the most important thing is where the sensors are on the front of the helmet. If they're on the far left and right, avoid it. The number of times I've been flashed doing fine work... :angry:

    Just picture yourself welding up that head tube on your motorcycle. It's less than a foot from your face, and you'll invariably find your hands covering the helmet sensors!
     
  12. Apr 10, 2007 #12

    mtcw

    mtcw

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    Peter, thanks for that. I'm going to buy the TA ArcMaster185 this week. I'm so new to this that I'm realy wearing out my welcome on some boards. There is such a frustrating amound of bone-headed jingoism on most welding boards that I started looking for more specific boards like this one. I'm so tired of idiot brand loyalty. It's a double edged thing. Brand loyalty certainly motivates manufacturers to new heights in improvement, but it often bliinds otherwise intelligent folks from seeing past the hype.

    Someone suggested to me that since I'm only a part time welder, I should get a decent auto dimmer, and just get a fixed shade #7 or #8 for use when I'm absolutely certain that I'll be using low amps. Sound reasonable?
     
  13. Apr 11, 2007 #13

    wally

    wally

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    Hi, my two cents worth:
    I would buy a cheap flip-it-up-by-hand mask with a #10 lens in it. With a little adjusting, they actually work very nice; you can adjust the tension on the sides to where a little nod of your head brings it down.

    Then try it for a while. You can buy and try lighter lenses after you see how much you can see. Just the dark glass is only a couple of dollars. I would suggest using the darkest shade you are comfortable welding with in order to provide as much protection for your eyes as you can. I speak from experience about cooking your eyes with welding flashes and too much bright! Not fun.

    Later, when you want to get fancy, go buy one of the auto darkening masks and you will then know what to look for.

    Good luck,

    Wally, who long ago taught (tried to teach) welding for about 3 years.
     
  14. Apr 11, 2007 #14

    Peter V

    Peter V

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    Heh, that's exactly what I do. The glass shades are interchagable, so get an 8, 10 and 12 maybe. But, if you don't have high frequency start on your machine, a fixed shade helmet will not be fun. Also, if you're doing a lot of pipe work, like on an airframe... lots of stop/starts would be frustrating.

    When I can find the time, I'm going to re-wire my auto darkening helmet to be activated by the switch on my TIG torch - much more reliable than the existing photo sensors. :grin: Or an even better idea would be a basic clamp-meter arrangement. Clip it to your return lead - any time current is detected, yor helmet goes dark. Why something like this isn't on the market... grrrr :tired:
     
  15. Apr 12, 2007 #15

    mtcw

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    Peter, that is a very cool idea. And it fits right squarely with my compulsion to diy. I've never used an auto helmet before, so I wonder if the current sensing option would work as well as the flash sensing. Does the arc/flash sensing technology compensate for level by inducing a corresponding level of shade? If not, then the current sensing work-around would be ideal.

    Another thing I wonder about is the number of sensors. The better helmets have four or more and the chance of blocking the sensor with a tube or glove or whatever is greatly diminished. Again, if these helmets are not actually dynamically compensating for different levels of intensity by shading correspondingly, then the current sensing option would as well obviate the need for multiple sensors. If so, then you are quite right! Why isn't this on the market? I could imagine something like a circular clip/sender affixed to the torch lead near the operator and an RF sensor in the helmet - making the whole device wireless.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2007
  16. Apr 12, 2007 #16

    Peter V

    Peter V

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    No, auto darkening helmets don't change shade according to light intensity. It's a simple on/off arrangement (that I know of. Interesting idea though...). Shade adjustment is something you do before you start.

    My helmet has only two sensors, but then it's a few years old. But I'll be damned if I'm going to spend $hundreds on a new one. $5 in parts and a bit of soldering will give me additional sensors, and a trim pot to vary trigger sensitivity. I guess this is the route I'll have to take, as I use more than one welder in more than one location, so altering the handpiece switch wont be a satisfactory solution.

    Also, I just looked up current sensors... ouch! $100 minimum. Daft when a whole digital clamp meter can be bought for $30.:ermm: Reminds me of when CDs on a spindle were twice as much as CDs in jewel cases. :ponder:
     
  17. Apr 13, 2007 #17

    RonL

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    Not up on this, but might there be circuits in some of the newer and cheap cameras, they seem to do a lot of focus, and light adjustments in a very small package.
    Just a thought.
     
  18. Apr 13, 2007 #18

    Peter V

    Peter V

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    A potential problem with cheap light depedent resistors is the 'rise time' being around 40ms. Way too slow when even a cheap auto helmet response is more like 5ms or less.

    My helmet improvement project my be reduced to a sensitivity trimpot and a switch between my teeth :roll: :speechles
     
  19. Feb 11, 2008 #19

    Rod Hytonen

    Rod Hytonen

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    I'm shopping for a cheap TIG to use in restoring vintage race karts.
    I ran across this and decided to join to turn you guys on to it.
    Brian Martin, in http://www.autobody101.com/articles/article.php?title=Mig Welding
    seems to like these... http://www.accustrike.com/
    My weldor friends, locked into a decades-long habit of nodding to flip the hood, say they wouldn't touch it (n.p.i.;) but we new hobby weldors just might like hands-off 'flipping.'

    HTH,
    Rod
     
  20. Sep 12, 2008 #20
    I have bought a couple of Harbor Freight auto darkening cheapos for mig welding and was very happy with them. When the first one went bad after several years, I started looking into some of the better ones. In the mean time I bought another cheapo for the mig and beating it up with larger projects. After talking to a welder friend, I settled on the Miller Elite.

    One important thing you should consider when buying a quality helmet is whether the battery is easily replaceable ...or not replacable. That will eventually be something you have to deal with and you don't want to throw an expensive helmet away.

    Another consideration was the lens shade. My friend pointed out that a #8 was very handy for low amp applications such as welding chrome moly tubing. Most helmets don't go that low.

    He also mentioned that the larger the lens the better viewing area you have in some situations. The Miller did NOT have one of the larger lens, but I felt this was the least important to me as a choice. I bought one to use with my Tig and save it for that....and use the cheapo for mig welding.
     

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