Tig Welders

Started by MiniDave, April 03, 2023, 03:10:25 PM

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MiniDave

I know Paul has one....anyone else?

I'm thinking of buying one to do this upcoming project (what I'd really like to buy is a laser welder but......way too much money!) right now I only anticipate welding steel - stainless, DOM Chrome moly and mild - and maybe aluminum, depending on what the local guy wants to charge me to do whatever I need done - fuel tank, maybe some intercooler pipes, SS exhaust (because I don't have a way to back purge)

As far as welding itself, I have done Tig in the past, but it's been a while, and I've never done aluminum (or aluminium either!)

One thing I have learned in my reading is that aluminum requires certain capabilities that the cheap ones don't have, but I think that's mostly a quality issue not performance.

So, any suggestions of a decent TiG welder that doesn't require either the blue or red tax?
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

cstudep

#1
It really needs to be AC capable to do aluminum, most of the "cheap" ones are DC only.

As far as back purging goes to do piping, tanks, etc.. you can buy fittings, plugs, and what not to do it. They are not nearly as cheap as a guy thinks they should be so you would probably need to do quite a bit of it to justify buying it. There are other ways you can DIY it though and just tee off your argon tank.

This is the one I got, it is probably the best bang for your buck. At least that is what I determined at the time I got it. If you watch this guys videos on you tube you will see he knows what he is doing. He teaches Tig welding and runs a lot of machines in his shop for classes, testing, reviews etc... this is the only "cheap" tig he recommends, enough so that he also sells it.

https://weldmetalsonline.com/collections/new-products/products/primeweld-tig325x-ac-dc-tig-welder-with-foot-pedal

edit: just like everything else these days I see the price has gone up quite a bit. I paid quite a bit less for it then what it appears to be now. You have to factor in getting an Argon tank as well if you don't already have one. I wish I had more time to mess with it again, I was starting to get somewhat decent with it and have not had time to mess with it since.

MiniDave

Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

cstudep

I am not super familiar with the Titanium version of the HF welders, I know when I was looking I was considering their Vulcan version of the multi process machine that does AC which looks to be about $1200 now. It was, and still is, near the same price as the one I got but the one I got is supposedly miles better, it has a CK torch, etc..

I know when I was looking the HF was really the only "cheap" version worth looking at. Once you got out of the $600-$700 (now appears to be $800 to $900) range you were better off jumping up to the one I got, which at the time was right around $1000 (now appears to be $1400).

When I was looking at the HF welders I would have also had to purchase the extended warranty to match the warranty I got with the Primeweld, so in the end they ended up being real close in price. I have been looking at Mig welders because mine is crapping out and I keep looking at the HF version so I am not anti HF by any means. That machine would probably work for what you need it for, might not be a bad idea to get the extended warranty. One thing I will say about HF, they have never given me issues when it comes to bringing stuff back under warranty. They had a sale on welders not too long ago, might hold out to see if another comes along, seems like it was 25% off for members. (if you are not a member you can use my phone number if you want when you check out  :grin: )

cstudep

Dave, not sure if you are still looking or not, but I think HF has that welder you were looking at on sale right now.

jeff10049

#5
Hey, Dave I just saw this thread check out Jody at welding tips and tricks on youtube for some Tig welder reviews even some affordable machines he's had great luck with. I have a miller synchro wave 180 transformer machine robust as they come but also big and heavy. Aluminum takes A/C and amps lots of amps a 180 will just do 3/16" inch thick aluminum and not for very long before you run out of duty cycle or the gas-cooled torch gets too hot to hold.
I also have a miller division 180 inverter much smaller and lighter multi-voltage it also seems to offer better cleaning action on aluminum than a transformer machine you'll want a balance control on a transformer machine not as necessary on an inverter machine. The inverters' downsides are not quite as robust and more expensive when they break.
My go to is a Miller 210 dynasty inverter water cooled but that's a 10k machine.
For light aluminum work and any steel work you'll do a gas-cooled torch is fine.
(edit)
wanted to add I don't necessarily recommend the Miller diversion it's okay but you can get more for your money feel free to call me if you like and again check out Jodys' channel and store.
 
Im not against Harbor freight for some stuff but I'm not sure HF and welders are a good idea I'd step up a little even if it's the same machine with better quality control and support it'll be worth it. Kind of like their metal lathes a jet or grizzly may be the identical castings but they are NOT the same lathe at all worlds of difference.

MiniDave

#6
Well, I may be taking a completely different road on this now.....hold on to your hats!

I'm looking at a Laser welder now!

I'm sure you've all seen the You Tube videos on these - they look pretty amazing......since what I'm doing is all very light duty I don't need a really heavy duty one with industrial capability and duty cycles, but even so they've all seemed to be in the $10K range and I can't do that BUT, I found this one.....

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805425113870.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.main.69.54fe4004mWV9r7&algo_pvid=aeac1291-c733-4dcf-9700-13102507c36d&aem_p4p_detail=202307200252316893139352106850000266893&algo_exp_id=aeac1291-c733-4dcf-9700-13102507c36d-34&pdp_npi=3%40dis%21USD%211200.00%211200.0%21%21%211200.00%21%21%40211bf2da16898467518448909d0790%2112000033744870546%21sea%21US%21847495468&curPageLogUid=V1wl8WkTYd7J&search_p4p_id=202307200252316893139352106850000266893_7


I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but I'm really tempted. I figure if it works as advertised, I can sell it and get some of my money back when I'm done with my projects.....or just keep it and use it. Who knows? At $4300 shipped it's a bunch of money for a welder for a hobby shop, but the results might make it worth the price to get these kinds of welds on my big project. it also comes with the cleaning and cutting heads......
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

jdbuild1

Dave: :grin:  :grin:


Are the welding consumables readily available in the USA? The quality of weld looks outstanding! If it does everything the ad says it does, then it would be of value for your major project. After your project is completed there should be a resale market for the item if you do not decide to keep it. I know that $ 4,300 is a large expense up front but if it works then it could be well worth the investment.


 

94touring

I feel like you should mass produce some manifolds or something with it! 

MiniDave

Yes, the wire
Quote from: jdbuild1 on September 13, 2023, 08:36:34 AMDave: :grin:  :grin:


Are the welding consumables readily available in the USA? The quality of weld looks outstanding! If it does everything the ad says it does, then it would be of value for your major project. After your project is completed there should be a resale market for the item if you do not decide to keep it. I know that $ 4,300 is a large expense up front but if it works then it could be well worth the investment.

Yes, the wire is just normal welding wire spools, and it uses nitrogen for shielding gas, except for aluminium which uses argon. you do have to back purge when welding stainless tubing like for exhaust.

I think the cleaning function could be really good for cleaning Sprite transmission cases, it wouldn't take a whole bunch of rebuilds on those to pay for it, and cleaning the case takes at least half of the time spent rebuilding one.!

BTW, Welcome to the forum jdbuild1! 
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

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