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Thread: Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital Elite

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    Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital Elite

    I am planning to learn how to TIG weld, mild steel and aluminum. I have some experience MIG welding automotive stuff, but totally new to TIG. I am wondering if the Crystal 2.0 will be usable for TIG welding aluminum? I am concerned that Crystal 2.0 only goes up to shade 12, and with TIG being pretty bright I was wondering if it will not be dark enough. I am also considering Optrel e684, Lincoln Viking 3550 and Miller Digital Elite. Cost is not a consideration. I want the best helmet and I am ok if it's the most expensive option on this list.

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    Re: Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital El

    Quote Originally Posted by juha_teuvonnen View Post
    Cost is not a consideration. I want the best helmet and I am ok if it's the most expensive option on this list.
    Then do some research and you'll find out that there are many people using the Crystal 2.0 for tig welding.

    Sounds like you have too much money to burn.

    Tell me, where are the rich folks located at? You don't have a location on your post.

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    Re: Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital El

    Read this thread and post 20. He went to 350 amps welding aluminum using the Crystal 2.0.

    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthrea...-Hood-Question

    Then look at the videos in post #24.
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    Re: Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital El

    Fix shade for tig. Cheap and call it a day. I only use my auto stuff for MIG.
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    Re: Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital El

    Quote Originally Posted by TraditionalToolworks View Post
    Then do some research and you'll find out that there are many people using the Crystal 2.0 for tig welding.
    I saw that in the other thread folks found this helmet adequate to DC TIG amperages beyond what my machine is capable of. Based on my research AC TIG (which is what I would use for Aluminum) is brighter than DC, but I don't know by how much. I only have MIG welding experience and some Oxy-Acetylene, from decades ago. I have no TIG experience, only theoretical knowledge.


    Quote Originally Posted by TraditionalToolworks View Post
    Sounds like you have too much money to burn.

    Tell me, where are the rich folks located at? You don't have a location on your post.
    Well, once I moved from SF Bay Area to the greater Boston, MA area I discovered that the dollar goes a lot further in the good ol' USA than it ever did in People's Republic of California

    On a serious note, I need all the help I can get from equipment, because unlike a lot of folks in this forum I have no TIG experience. I can buy equipment, but I can't buy a new pair of eyes.

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    Re: Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital El

    Quote Originally Posted by juha_teuvonnen View Post
    I saw that in the other thread folks found this helmet adequate to DC TIG amperages beyond what my machine is capable of. Based on my research AC TIG (which is what I would use for Aluminum) is brighter than DC, but I don't know by how much. I only have MIG welding experience and some Oxy-Acetylene, from decades ago. I have no TIG experience, only theoretical knowledge.
    Just my opinion, and I think you'll get various ones here, the Optrel Crystal 2.0 is probably one of the best helmets you can buy. But that is true for most all of the helmets you asked about. I'd love to have a Crystal 2.0, but at $429 it's probably not gonna happen as I have a Miller Digital Elite that is working pretty good for me.

    What you read in the other thread is a person tig welding at high amps, saying that up to 350 amps the Crystal 2.0 was fine, but it was starting to loose it at the amperage. Keep in mind that 99.9% of people doing tig will most likely have a machine that is 200-225 amps, there will be no issues with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by juha_teuvonnen View Post
    Well, once I moved from SF Bay Area to the greater Boston, MA area I discovered that the dollar goes a lot further in the good ol' USA than it ever did in People's Republic of California
    I can relate because I am in Silicon Valley, but you must keep something in mind...these days most of us buy online, this is especially true for welding supplies. The cost is the same in Boston as it is in the SF Bay Area, so depending on how you look at it, we're both gonna be paying the same price. Housing is another story, but last I hear they're not giving housing away in Boston. I have been to Boston a couple times and will say I have never seen such maniac drivers in my life...I digress...

    Quote Originally Posted by juha_teuvonnen View Post
    On a serious note, I need all the help I can get from equipment, because unlike a lot of folks in this forum I have no TIG experience. I can buy equipment, but I can't buy a new pair of eyes.
    I agree with you 100%, but any of the helmets you listed would protect your eyes and many people are using each of them. What I'm skeptical on the Crystal 2.0 is that it is rumored to be the clearest, and that may be true, but clarity with no arc is one things and clarity with arc is another. From the videos posted it looks like it has both, but there are a ton of people using all of the helmets you listed with great success. I don't think the Crystal 2.0 will make or break a good tig welder, there are far too many other factors.

    Most importantly I want to point something out to you, and I'm not trying to be smart with you, but just want to say...no matter how much $$$s you throw at tig, you still need to put in the hood time. There is no amount of money in the world that will entirely solve the problem of tig not being an easy process to learn. Like all welding there are many tools needed to perform fabrication properly, it's more than welding, it's cutting metal, being able to bevel it, creating designs, etc...there's a big difference between running beads on a coupon than there is in creating actual projects. Tig has a lot of consumables needed, being able to sharpen tungsten, having different size tungsten and consumables, different fillers, argon tank and being able to refill it, hoses, torches, etc...there have been a lot of people go out and buy every tool imaginable to find out tig was not for them and then expect to get $0.80 on the dollar for the barely used equipment. Don't be one of those people, cause it's hard to sell barely used equipment for $0.80 on the dollar. My $0.02.

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    Re: Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital El

    Quote Originally Posted by TraditionalToolworks View Post

    Most importantly I want to point something out to you, and I'm not trying to be smart with you, but just want to say...no matter how much $$$s you throw at tig, you still need to put in the hood time. There is no amount of money in the world that will entirely solve the problem of tig not being an easy process to learn. Like all welding there are many tools needed to perform fabrication properly, it's more than welding, it's cutting metal, being able to bevel it, creating designs, etc...there's a big difference between running beads on a coupon than there is in creating actual projects. Tig has a lot of consumables needed, being able to sharpen tungsten, having different size tungsten and consumables, different fillers, argon tank and being able to refill it, hoses, torches, etc...there have been a lot of people go out and buy every tool imaginable to find out tig was not for them and then expect to get $0.80 on the dollar for the barely used equipment. Don't be one of those people, cause it's hard to sell barely used equipment for $0.80 on the dollar. My $0.02.
    This is an excellent point, that I wholeheartedly agree with. TIG is not the easiest welding process to learn, that's for sure. If I find it challenging to learn on my own, I'll take some classes once the COVID situation allows. I am also looking into self-paced training that Hobart used to have, training videos and exercises. Any pointers with respect to training, especially self-paced would be greatly appreciated.

    There's more metalworking skills needed for successful welding projects than just being able to run a bead, that's for sure. In my MIG experience it was not as extreme as painting cars, where prep is 90% of the work. Nevertheless preparing and figuring out the right way of doing it is critical. I have reasonable metalworking skills, between the MIG welding (Car sheetmetal mostly), lathe and milling machine that I own.

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    Re: Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital El

    Quote Originally Posted by juha_teuvonnen View Post
    This is an excellent point, that I wholeheartedly agree with. TIG is not the easiest welding process to learn, that's for sure. If I find it challenging to learn on my own, I'll take some classes once the COVID situation allows.
    This would be a good way to spend your $$$s, and if you can afford it to have an experienced TIG welder help you with one-on-one instructions, even better.

    Quote Originally Posted by juha_teuvonnen View Post
    In my MIG experience it was not as extreme as painting cars, where prep is 90% of the work. Nevertheless preparing and figuring out the right way of doing it is critical.
    Actually you hit upon a very import point, it is actually very important with TIG to prepare and clean the work properly. Might be one of the most overlooked areas in regard to getting good clean welds. You need to meticulously remove all mill scale, clean the metal with acetone, clean the filler with acetone and make sure your tungsten is not contaminated in any way, as well as making sure you have argon coverage on the work. In this regard preparation is VERY important.

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    Re: Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital El

    Quote Originally Posted by psacustomcreations View Post
    Read this thread and post 20. He went to 350 amps welding aluminum using the Crystal 2.0.
    .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    I haven't tried aluminum yet.
    It was DC @ 350A.
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    Re: Hood for TIG welding aluminum? Crystal 2.0, e684, Lincoln 3550, Miller Digital El

    Quote Originally Posted by juha_teuvonnen View Post
    There's more metalworking skills needed for successful welding projects than just being able to run a bead, that's for sure. In my MIG experience it was not as extreme as painting cars, where prep is 90% of the work. Nevertheless preparing and figuring out the right way of doing it is critical. I have reasonable metalworking skills, between the MIG welding (Car sheetmetal mostly), lathe and milling machine that I own.
    IME it's exactly like painting cars... fabrication is 95% cutting, prepping, setting and tacking. Only 5% welding. Maybe less.

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