Tig Cooler Build
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  1. #1
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    Tig Cooler Build

    Im trying to build a tig cooler for my TA300.

    I was thinking of using one of these in the cooling circuit:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/221116571911...t_14579wt_1832

    I was planning on using a 5 gallon SS Cornelius keg from homebewing (I have plenty) as a tank, along with a Procon pump.

    Now the questions:

    For cooling, do I need a heat exchanger, or for a hobbyist, will I get by with the keg filled with 5 gallons of coolant alone? If it really ever gets really hot, I can dump it and fill up with fresh water. My town water is chlorinated but close to distilled with less than 15 ppm of any salts. Would you consider welding some SS stock to the keg to act as cooling fins?

    My reservation on the exchanger is the possible intoduction of aluminum into the cooling circuit. I understand that their may be some long term electrical destruction of the Aluminun with the copper in the torch.

    Do the Procon pumps have an integral pressure regulator that is adjustable, or is it only on certain models?

    Where do I find the female fittings for the torch water lines? I will be using a CK 230 torch.

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    The amount of cooling you will need will depend on how may amps you run and for how long. Nothing to do with being pro or hobbyist. That said, I think 5 gallons of water would be sufficient to weld for quite a while before it overheats. If you decide to leave out a radiator and it turns out to be insufficient, you will have some warning as the torch begins to heat up. So I doubt you will ever burn up the torch or leads, but you may need to stop to let it cool off.

    As far as just changing out the water goes, you ought to run antifreeze in the cooling system. On the power lead for a water cooled tig torch the coolant in the line acts as a conductor, so it must be a good electrolyte, like antifreeze, pure water is not ideal. Using straight tap water may also lead to corrosion or a biological problem like algae or yeast.
    Ian Tanner

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  3. #3
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    I built my own about 3 years ago. It is all from aluminum, except for the radiator portion. ( I used a Pickup heater core.) I spoke (on the phone) to an engineer from Miller who told me that the antifreeze sold by Miller came in two varieties--NO HF--or NO ALUMINUM. He said to go ahead and use the NO ALUMINUM variety since the aluminum already would have the oxide on it and pose little to no problem.
    I used a Procon pump that I located from a vendor in California. I ordered one that was set in the 50-60 PSI range. I also ordered a 230V motor and 230V muffin fan. I desired to wire it right into the line with the welder plug so as to not ever be able to forget to plug in the cooler when welding. It has worked very well for me so far. I am only a hobby welder, and just mainly tinker with small projects. I have little doubt that the cooler I built would function satisfactorily in a heavy duty operation.
    Here is a link to the CK Worldwide site which shows how to plumb the cooler/welder/torch together.

    http://www.ckworldwide.com/technical.htm

    Look for "TIG TORCH CONNECTION DIAGRAM"

    This was my first project with Aluminum. It was welded with a 17 series air-cooled torch. It was tough due to my lack of knowledge, and the end plates were 3/8 inch thick (I think??) and the tube was 1/4 inch thick. Not pretty, but no leaks.

    Jerry in Anchorage
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  4. #4
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    HI Drf
    Just cut off the fittings and buy these they are rated at 120PSI and are quick disconnect type.
    I used the male and female setup so I could disconnect the cooler for storage and putting a pressure gauge in for setting it up. With out the torch set the pressure low (20PSI) then install the torch and set the pressure for 50PSI. The procon pump has an internal pressure adjuster so you can change the pressure. I connect the cooler input and output together and the same at the torch for storage no leaks.
    I modified the motor so I could put a fan on the other end for cooling (use a fan shroud for better cooling)

    http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...3885&catid=926
    have fun
    Tom
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by acourtjester; 08-28-2012 at 11:08 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    You do not need a heat exchanger for large water volume coolers. For example the Bernard cooler that hold about 10 gallons and are a very common/popular unit has no heat exchanger. that is what I have with my 330abp. I use RV anti freeze as it has no sealers in it.. about $3-5 a gallon at wally mart. heater cores or evaperator cores from a junkyard are a good option for coolers as well as a flat trans cooler and just drop a fan behind it
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  6. #6
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Well if you did add a heat exchanger, this flow through looks pretty good to me. Mounted vertically against your SS tank, I could be a good convection precooler.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Aluminum-Sin...item51a0e01a08

    Last edited by shovelon; 08-28-2012 at 03:42 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    I just built a new one myself, with 5.5-6 gal capacity it takes a long time to even warm up running a #20 size torch...I rarely ever go above 200amps unless I'm welding aluminum... and even then it still takes a long time to warm up... I am not using a heat exchanger either... you could add one later if you felt you needed to...
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  8. #8
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    .....
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Lincoln pro mig 180
    Lincoln Square Wave Tig 300/wp 20/home built water cooler
    Victor, Purox, Harris, O/A welding/cutting setups
    Vintage Craftsman drill press
    Vintage Craftsman/Atlas 12"x 36'' lathe
    7''x 12'' w/c band saw
    Everlast 140 st

  9. #9
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Hi Drf, I built a cooler several years ago. I installed an indoor/outdoor thermometer in my coolant tank with the outdoor probe in the coolant. My tank is small by most standards, about .75 gallons. I use a radiator I purchased on internet ( PC POWER ZONE ) for computers along with a muffin fan. Grainger Procon pump plus seperate filter from Miller.
    The only time the thermometer goes above 90 degrees f is when I am welding aluminium and then for runs over approx 2 min. constant. I think with you using five gallons of coolant you do not need anything else, just leave your pump running. Best Bob

  10. #10
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Drf255 View Post
    Im trying to build a tig cooler for my TA300.


    Now the questions:

    If it really ever gets really hot, I can dump it and fill up with fresh water. My town water is chlorinated but close to distilled with less than 15 ppm of any salts. .
    Use steam distilled water from the jugs in the store, not tap water for the coolant mix.
    Blackbird

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  11. #11
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Quote Originally Posted by fortyonethirty View Post
    The amount of cooling you will need will depend on how may amps you run and for how long. Nothing to do with being pro or hobbyist. That said, I think 5 gallons of water would be sufficient to weld for quite a while before it overheats. If you decide to leave out a radiator and it turns out to be insufficient, you will have some warning as the torch begins to heat up. So I doubt you will ever burn up the torch or leads, but you may need to stop to let it cool off.

    As far as just changing out the water goes, you ought to run antifreeze in the cooling system. On the power lead for a water cooled tig torch the coolant in the line acts as a conductor, so it must be a good electrolyte, like antifreeze, pure water is not ideal. Using straight tap water may also lead to corrosion or a biological problem like algae or yeast.
    Does the coolant really work as a needed conductor? If so, would antifreeze be less of one than water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Muskt View Post
    I built my own about 3 years ago. It is all from aluminum, except for the radiator portion. ( I used a Pickup heater core.) I spoke (on the phone) to an engineer from Miller who told me that the antifreeze sold by Miller came in two varieties--NO HF--or NO ALUMINUM. He said to go ahead and use the NO ALUMINUM variety since the aluminum already would have the oxide on it and pose little to no problem.
    I used a Procon pump that I located from a vendor in California. I ordered one that was set in the 50-60 PSI range. I also ordered a 230V motor and 230V muffin fan. I desired to wire it right into the line with the welder plug so as to not ever be able to forget to plug in the cooler when welding. It has worked very well for me so far. I am only a hobby welder, and just mainly tinker with small projects. I have little doubt that the cooler I built would function satisfactorily in a heavy duty operation.
    Here is a link to the CK Worldwide site which shows how to plumb the cooler/welder/torch together.

    http://www.ckworldwide.com/technical.htm

    Look for "TIG TORCH CONNECTION DIAGRAM"

    This was my first project with Aluminum. It was welded with a 17 series air-cooled torch. It was tough due to my lack of knowledge, and the end plates were 3/8 inch thick (I think??) and the tube was 1/4 inch thick. Not pretty, but no leaks.

    Jerry in Anchorage
    Looks great to me. My bid is on a 120 volt motor and pump. I shoulda went 220 and wire a box for welder and cooler.

    Quote Originally Posted by acourtjester View Post
    HI Drf
    Just cut off the fittings and buy these they are rated at 120PSI and are quick disconnect type.
    I used the male and female setup so I could disconnect the cooler for storage and putting a pressure gauge in for setting it up. With out the torch set the pressure low (20PSI) then install the torch and set the pressure for 50PSI. The procon pump has an internal pressure adjuster so you can change the pressure. I connect the cooler input and output together and the same at the torch for storage no leaks.
    I modified the motor so I could put a fan on the other end for cooling (use a fan shroud for better cooling)

    http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...3885&catid=926
    have fun
    Tom
    So you found it beneficial to just cut off the stock fittings and not deal with the stock brass ones. I was leaning towards buying adapters and not cutting the ends off.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhunt View Post
    Hi Drf, I built a cooler several years ago. I installed an indoor/outdoor thermometer in my coolant tank with the outdoor probe in the coolant. My tank is small by most standards, about .75 gallons. I use a radiator I purchased on internet ( PC POWER ZONE ) for computers along with a muffin fan. Grainger Procon pump plus seperate filter from Miller.
    The only time the thermometer goes above 90 degrees f is when I am welding aluminium and then for runs over approx 2 min. constant. I think with you using five gallons of coolant you do not need anything else, just leave your pump running. Best Bob
    How did you plumb the temp probes into the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by dave powelson View Post
    Use steam distilled water from the jugs in the store, not tap water for the coolant mix.
    So 50/50 coolant and distilled water?

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    You do not need a heat exchanger for large water volume coolers. For example the Bernard cooler that hold about 10 gallons and are a very common/popular unit has no heat exchanger. that is what I have with my 330abp. I use RV anti freeze as it has no sealers in it.. about $3-5 a gallon at wally mart. heater cores or evaperator cores from a junkyard are a good option for coolers as well as a flat trans cooler and just drop a fan behind it
    I'm sorry, but what is "RV" coolant? I know that I used the new red coolant in my old Chevy when I put in an aluminum radiator. That's what was recommended by BeCool to prevent damage to the radiator.

    Thanks all for the responses.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Sorry for ths dumb question, but does one need a vent on the system?

    If I have a fully sealed system, will there be an issue when the coolant expands from the heat?
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drf255 View Post
    Sorry for ths dumb question, but does one need a vent on the system?

    If I have a fully sealed system, will there be an issue when the coolant expands from the heat?
    None of the coolers I have owned are totally sealed. I wuld have a vent somewhere on the tank.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Do what I did. http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=58517

    With 5 gallons you wont need a heat exchanger. That extruded finned tube thing wont do much anyway.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    I have been reading all these threads about home made tig coolers. There have been some that have the opinion that an aluminum tank will eventually rot out do to the copper ions from the copper hose fittings. Would there be a grade of stainless steel that would work good as a heat sink to make the tank out of, or is aluminum still the best.

    kidtigger24
    If it ain't broke, fix it anyway!

  16. #16
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Drf, regarding how I installed the temperature probe into my tank, my tank is made from a
    4" pvc "t" fitting with a small section of 4" pvc pipe and 2 - 4" pvc end caps. One of the openings of the "t" has a threaded cap and this is where the fill is. I drilled a clearance hole for the temperature probe in the threaded cap and inserted the probe into the coolant. "Piece of cake". Hope this answers your question. Best Bob

  17. #17
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    Most of the commercial coolers r stainless.
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  18. #18
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    Most of the commercial coolers r stainless.
    But they use separate heat exchangers, so the tank isn't being used as a heat sink. How does stainless compare to aluminum as a heat sink? I know copper would be the best, but the tank would probably cost more then a complete commercially available cooler.

    kidtigger24
    If it ain't broke, fix it anyway!

  19. #19
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    My Bernard is a stainless tank with no heat exchanger..guess its pretty tough to heat 10 gallons of water with a lil torch
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  20. #20
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Water has a huge thermal capacity. Think of how long it takes to boil a quart of water over a red hot stove. That same weight of aluminum would be brought up to 212degrees in seconds, and also cool down much much quicker.
    Aluminum conducts heat way better than stainless steel, but in the real world an aluminum tank and a stainless tank will both "dissipate heat" about the same I bet, since there isn't much temp difference and theres just a little piss stream of water running into a large reservoir; neither is going to cause a problem.

    Stainless is probably the best thing to make the tank out of. Plastic would work excellently as well but might benefit from a heat exchanger more.
    Last edited by MikeGyver; 08-30-2012 at 01:13 AM.
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  21. #21
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Automotive antifreeze is ethylene glycol and is toxic.
    RV antifreeze is propylene glycol and is used in the water system of an rv to winterize. It is non toxic. Dont drink it though.
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  22. #22
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Ok.

    So I won a Procon pump with a water cooled 110v AC motor for $82 including shipping.

    My CK230 torch came in.

    I made a Dinse Adapter by soldering a copper lug onto some 2/0 cable, then soldering that lug to a standard water cooled torch block made to bolt onto a machine with a threaded post output. I cut off the piece with the hole that bolts to the machine I connected the Dinse 50 connector to the cable and plan on insulating the whole thing with some pipe insulation. Total cost, $0-the block came with the torch and the cable was a leftover piece.

    So now I need to buy 2 barbed corney keg adapters, some barbed to NPT fittings and plumb my lines.

    What type of pressure gauge have you used in your systems?
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  23. #23
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    Pics of the lug





    The Keg and my new (to me) machine



    If this works out, I think I will have an entire tig cooler with a stainless tank for under $125.

    I was on ebay looking for stainless steel tanks and then basically tripped over the corney keg in my garage.
    TA Arcmaster 300
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  24. #24
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    That Thermal Arc is a nice machine! Think that tank will do the job, its big enough! Best Bob

  25. #25
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    Re: Tig Cooler Build

    You don't need a large tank.....you're cooling the water BEFORE it gets to the tank and pumping the cooled water back to the torch, otherwise the water in the tank will just get hotter and hotter.

    You can have a small tank, about 1 litre or so ,to ensure you don't run dry from evaporation over a period of time, but the system is self maintaining temperature wise if the flow is sufficient.

    This is the same as your car's cooling system....closed loop system,minimum water in the engine jacket and a flow constantly monitored by the thermostat that opens and closes to allow the water to be cooled by the radiator to maintain efficient block operating temperature......if the thermostat in your car sticks open you get too much cooling and the engine then runs cold and uses more petrol due to being in a start up condition.

    All you need is a pump, a small tank,a radiator and a fan....the rest is just a bit of piping to flow the coolant round the closed circuit, which means you will have a very compact cooler unit...no big tank.

    If the system is closed loop with a relief/expansion valve you won't get any evaporation, so no coolant loss.

    We built one to cool the gun of a submerged arc welder (working 6 hours continuous welding) using the core from a car's heater unit with attached fan and a small pump.....working on 12 volts and powered by a 12 volt battery charger and a container with about 1 litre of water.....it's the flow rate that cools not the volume.
    Ian.

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