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aristatruck
05-06-2012, 05:52 PM
Hi everybody I am pretty much a novice at welding (even though I do it almost everyday at work lol) I do mostly MIG welding have stick welded once or twice results were not pretty but it held and just today got bored and decided to try Oxy-Acetylene welding, however I really want to try TIG welding and even though we need stuff TIG welded at work fairly often still have not been able to convince the owner to buy a TIG welder. So I am thinking about just trying to buy one myself but know absolutely nothing about it so would like advice as to what I should look at I have some small ideas from having read this forum on and off for the last couple months but still not a real clear understanding of what it all means. I can't say for certain what I want to weld as at this point it is more that I want to do it than having a specific project in mind though I have thought it might be useful for trying to do some of the bodywork on my truck since the 220 lincoln MIG I have is really too big for that and I know I want the capability to do Aluminum as being able to work with that better is a large part of why I want to learn to TIG weld. I would like to find the cheapest welder I can and still get a decent machine as I don't have much money atm and this may all be academic for a time anyway but it would be nice to know what I should be looking at if I try searching CL. Thanks for any responses

DSW
05-06-2012, 06:46 PM
Well your desire to do alum sort of sets the parameters as to what you need to look for. You'll want an AC/DC capable machine, probably a minimum of 180 amps, 200 being preferable. 150 amps will let you do 1/8" alum, and the extra amps will allow you a reasonable duty cycle at 150.

I'd personally avoid the imports. There have been just to many issues with these and customer service is spotty at best, zero at worst. I'd also personally avoid Millers Diversion and Hobarts Eztig. They don't really have enough top end power for any real duty cycle on 1/8" alum, and you give up all the advanced options as well as the ability to stick weld. That leaves you with a nice used machine if you want to keep prices down.


Used, you can find nice Syncrowave 180's and Syncrowave 200's on CL if you look a bit. Usually I see the 180's going from $800-1200 and the 200's going from $1000-1400. If you go to millers site and pull up the manual on these machines, it will tell you how to do the start up sequence to get the run time/arc strikes, so you have an idea how "used" the machine is. Several guys here have picked up like new machines because of the current economy. If you can find a Thermal Arc 185, that's another excellent machine. They are a bit harder to locate however. Lincoln makes a nice 185 amp Ac/Dc tig as well, the name escapes me right now.

Older heavy duty tigs can also be found even cheaper. You give up some of the more advanced functions that you probably won't need, and they are big and heavy and draw a fairly decent amount of juice. A number of guys have picked up older Miller 330 A/BP's and the Airco version of the same machine for between $500-900.



Expect to start learning with steel and then later move on to alum. Your best bet is to look into a night class at a local tech school. When you add up what you get in a class, materials, rod, gas, electric and so on, plus the fact you usually have access to top end equipment to learn on, not to mention instruction, a class is stupid cheap.

CEP
05-06-2012, 07:13 PM
I'd also personally avoid Millers Dynasty. They don't really have enough top end power for any real duty cycle on 1/8" alum,

I know you are a very knowledgeable person, but did you really mean to type that?:confused:

My Dynasty will weld 3/8-inch aluminum all day.

DSW
05-06-2012, 07:50 PM
I know you are a very knowledgeable person, but did you really mean to type that?:confused:

My Dynasty will weld 3/8-inch aluminum all day.

Nope. Brain fart. Brain thinking one thing, hands typing something else for some strange reason. I have no clue why. I can't even blame beer for that one. I went back and fixed it. Thanks.

CEP
05-06-2012, 08:04 PM
Nope. Brain fart. Brain thinking one thing, hands typing something else for some strange reason. I have no clue why. I can't even blame beer for that one. I went back and fixed it. Thanks.
At my age, it happen on an hourly basis. ;)

gordfraser
05-06-2012, 09:06 PM
Themal dynamics do a 200A AC/DC for less than a dynasty.

i use the 300A version every day. can only say good things.

just so u know...

aristatruck
05-06-2012, 09:29 PM
I really want to take a welding class unfortunately I couldn't afford it the last time they had the one I know of in my area