Cheap tig water cooler
RSS | Subscribe | Contact Us | Advertise | About Us
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Carrollton GA
    Posts
    2,329

    Cheap tig water cooler

    I promised these pictures way back to somebody, but I forget who. I just ran across them and figured I'd post before I forgot it. Better late than never...

    Here is a watercooler for a tig machine. I made it from a birdseed box, a heater core from a 77 chevy pu (I think), a 120v fan and a willie wanka candy box. Stuff is held in place by zip ties. The pump came from a discarded lemonade fountian from chick fil-a but is pretty much the same as a pond fountian pump. I initially built it to cool an overclocked computer, but then got a great laptop (better than my desktop at home) for my job, so...I only used it on the computer for a few months. A friend who wanted to step up to a 300 amp watercooled tig torch asked to use it just to check his setup out...and then he would buy a watercooler and give mine back. Well, it must have worked pretty well, he never bought the watercooler and has not mentioned giving my cooler back...but, I still have his hilti...AS A HOSTAGE!

    The tubes are not the ones used in the final setup. These are there just to test the flow and pressure. My friend bought the correct connectors and hoses and installed them...but I have no pictures of it in place.

    Just thought y'all might have an interest.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by smithboy; 02-22-2006 at 09:13 PM.
    Smithboy...
    if it ain't broke, you ain't tryin'.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Carrollton GA
    Posts
    2,329
    Here is anther view. Simple, huh? Why spend the big bucks, when you can make one from junk.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Smithboy...
    if it ain't broke, you ain't tryin'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,982
    There is a cheaper and simpler way to do it. Hook it up to your faucet and forget about the whole heat exchanger thing. The flow rate required to keep it cool is minimal, so it isn't that wasteful to just dump the water once you're done. Use a valve on the discharge to regulate flow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Carrollton GA
    Posts
    2,329
    Yeah, I guess you are right...but if you are looking at a multi-hundred dollar unit...junk parts+labor doesnt sound too bad.

    However, I should have suggested the water faucet option to my friend, BEFORE, he took my cooler home for keeps. Dohhh!!!
    Smithboy...
    if it ain't broke, you ain't tryin'.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    3,191
    Cool Idea, Smithboy.

    I used to work in a laboratory, where I operated an instrument that had an external cooler attached to it. The instrument would raise to 2000 degrees F then cool within 20 seconds to room temp.

    Anyway I was amazed at how much bacteria would collect inside of it. I got the instrument new didn't check it til it stopped cooling 2 years later. Never really remedied the problem other than routine cleaning. Tried glycerin and bleach, still grew bacteria.

    Just something to watch out for. If anybody has cooling problems. That was a closed system, rarely needing additional water.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    630
    Hmm. I found an instrument cooler at an industrial surplus place the other day. It included fans, a heat exchanger, a Pro-Con pump larger than most I've seen, a 1/3HP high-efficiency motor, instrumentation, and the baddest looking stainless quick-connects I've ever seen. I believe they're rated for 1200PSI. I got the whole lot for $125, which I figured was worthwhile versus doing it all piecemeal. Money isn't a scarce resource lately, but time is. Even still, I couldn't bring myself to pay >$400 for a cooler. I'll have to get a camera working so I can take photos of this thing.
    -Heath

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Carrollton GA
    Posts
    2,329
    Yep, I had thought about the bacteria problem. I didn't have a real permanent solution worked out, but I had considered the problem. There are some anti-bacterial coolants, but few are non-toxic...and, I was worried about using them in an open system. This unit worked for about 4 months on a computer with plain water with a bit of lysol added without any noticable buildup of crud. The bacteria problem is one of the reasons I have stuck with an aircooled torch so long. My guess is that I will get the cooler back when it is full of crud that's on the virge of becomming a land-going mammal.

    Heath, sounds like you got yourself a good find. Sometimes high performance is art all by itself. I'd like to see that thing myself.
    Last edited by smithboy; 02-23-2006 at 07:20 AM.
    Smithboy...
    if it ain't broke, you ain't tryin'.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    630
    There'll definitely be photos before I start tearing it apart and converting it into a TIG cooler.
    -Heath

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    So. IN.
    Posts
    353
    love DIY

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Lock Haven
    Posts
    3
    I'm currently looking at a pro-con pump setup and the only question I had is regarding the pressures the pump is rated for (max 175psi). Does the pressure stay low if used in the kind of system like smithboy showed or am I running a risk of damaging the torch??

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    1,706
    txjimbob911,
    the Procon pumps that I have seen used on weld torch chillers and beverage carbonator systems have an pressure adjustment screw. There are two large brass cap nuts on the pump, one encloses the pressure adjustment screw, and the other encloses a wire debris filter (which you should check and clean).
    Here is the Procon website.
    http://www.proconpumps.com/index.html
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Carrollton GA
    Posts
    2,329
    I think the pressure rating on my pump was less than 100 psi (maybe 75-85psi), but the flow was pretty high. I dont recall if there is any adjustments for pressure or flow on it. The outlet was big enough to stick my fat finger in (see hoses in photo..they were connected directly to the outlet with a hose clamp). It would circlulate that whole 5 gallon bucket through the hoses and heater core in less than a minute. I saw the exact same pump used for a fountian at a local hardware store for about $100. I probably wouldnt recommend it to be used on a high $ torch, but I was pretty comfortable testing it/running it with the one we had (since it was both old and not bought by me)...We welded a bunch of test beads and never got the water above bath water temp. It is currently being used on a 300 amp torch (I think) with no problems. I guess more importantly it's connected to a syncrowave 250. I don't know what all modifications are currently being used...I do know that he had to find a perminant way to connect directly to his torch and that his torch hose was much smaller than the (insufficiently constructed) hose on the cooler.

    ...Maybe I should use this lack of info on my own cooler as a reason to visit my cooler at my friends shop...Hmmm. Maybe I NEED my homemade water cooler for the new torch I NEED to buy...double Hmmm.
    Last edited by smithboy; 03-08-2006 at 01:02 PM.
    Smithboy...
    if it ain't broke, you ain't tryin'.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Carrollton GA
    Posts
    2,329
    Info update:

    Folks, I was way off on the PSI rating above, WAAAAY OFFF. The pump in the pictures above is rated at 10 psi and 140 gph. I called my friend last night to ask about the performance and negotiate the return of the cooler and he said that he had to end up building another using a rebuilt procon pump (maybe similar to what is above) and an airconditioner condenser (he wanted to go all aluminum, I guess). He said that the torch overheated with continual moderate to heavy use, but was fine short-term and for light duty...which I guess kinda defeats the purpose of a water-cooled torch. I am going to his house next weekend and carrying my camera, so updates will follow.
    Last edited by smithboy; 03-09-2006 at 12:17 PM.
    Smithboy...
    if it ain't broke, you ain't tryin'.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    1,706
    This article in The Fabricator magazine just came out.
    http://www.thefabricator.com/ArcWeld...le.cfm?ID=1275

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    So. IN.
    Posts
    353
    Quote Originally Posted by pulser
    This article in The Fabricator magazine just came out.
    http://www.thefabricator.com/ArcWeld...le.cfm?ID=1275
    thanks for the link

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Carrollton GA
    Posts
    2,329
    Pulser, thanks for posting the info. Good stuff...since starting this thread I have been thinking about a more robust cooler and the parts requirements...also, thanks for reminding me that I owed more info to the thread...

    I didn't get a chance to go by and pick up my water cooler over last weekend...went to pick up some old propane tanks (future bbq pits) instead. But, in calling to cancel my visit, I got a bit more info out of my friend...

    He said that the reason he decided to upgrade from my cooler was that he was "affraid it would overheat" NOT that it HAD already overheated. And, he didn't want me to take mine just yet because he needed it to finish his cooler project. He has most of the parts but has not had a chance to put everything together.

    I have a few questions that I thought folks might comment on. Is 10 psi enough pressure for continuous duty at say 200 amps, or is pressure less important than flow? I noticed that most of the pumps similar to mine are pressure rated at a different heights, so could 10 psi be enough pressure if there are no obstructions and you arent welding at a height substantially above the cooler pump? I know when we tested it out, we welded for a probably 30 minutes on and off out of an hour (roughly 50% duty cycle) without really heating the water very much and mostly ran at or above 150 amps...sometimes over 200 amps. can you judge the cooling effectiveness from the temp of the water (I am guessing, maybe not)? Is this just asking for torch failure? Or, is the 50-150 psi pumps just overbuilding for worst case scenarios? I am curious what folks think here or experiences folks have had.
    Last edited by smithboy; 03-23-2006 at 04:41 PM.
    Smithboy...
    if it ain't broke, you ain't tryin'.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    994
    Wow! Neat article in the Fabricator. Just have to find time to read it through.

    I believe the pressure relief valve in a Procon pump is intended to protect the pump and circuit from overpressure due to blockage, not to maintain a set pressure in the circuit by continuous bypass. Such continuous overpressure relief could result in premature wear of the valve due to erosion. I'd ask Procon for an opinion before designing on that basis.

    I think a common method of regulating pressure in the circuit is to have a bypass loop with a finely adjustable valve that dumps excess flow back to the input of the heat exchanger. Start the system up with the valve fully open and gradually close it until the desired pressure is attained. This is wasteful of pump power, but allows use of an overrated pump that is on hand.

    awright

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    99
    I know this is an old thread but if you guys are still concerned about bacteria build up in a closed loop sys then try adding some antifreeze, about 10-20%, to much restricts flow and hinders cooling . also if you can keep all the metals the same (copper w copper)then that helps with build up also. As stated before use distilled water to! I have a water cooled computer on a closed loop and its been going for some time with no build up! Just a thought~
    Last edited by stumpster; 05-07-2006 at 04:26 AM.
    "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine"
    However
    "lack of planning on my part may constitute an emergency on yours"

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    28
    my two cents
    bought an old tig machine several years back from an engineer that was retiring and closing shop it is pretty old but it looked like it rolled off the show room floor it is a chemtron from what i understand is that it was bought out by esab but it had a cooler on it when i bought it its a 30 gallon tank underneath the machine that just circulates coolant (40% antifreeze) it had a brass gear to gear pump which was extremely loud and noisy after years of listening to it "squeak" finally decided to do something about it started watching ebay
    and finally bought a procon carbonator pump and motor paid 30 somthing bucks it was rated at 175 psi it also came with a quage and regulator so i plumbed all of it in bacause i didn't know if the bypass on the pump would reg it down to what i needed so i turned the reg all the way out and turned on the pump adjusted reg to the pressure that i wanted then i pulled off the brass nut on the pump for the bypass and started turning it down untill the pres dropped below what the reg was set at and haven't had one problem with the setup
    william haywood
    bearracecars

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
RSS | Home | Penton Media | Contact Us | Subscribe | For Advertisers | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement