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Thread: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

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    Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    After years - decades, actually - of stick and fluxcore farm welding, including a year of welding school (stick and oxyfuel), I think in the next couple of months I want to start TIG welding. I have a Tweco 211i (now called a Thermal Arc 211i), but it has NO TIG accessories. Would this stuff in the link below be EVERYTHING I needed, except for a flowmeter and a tank of argon? I don't HAVE to have a pedal, do I? The 211i is lift TIG, FWIW.

    https://www.zoro.com/esab-tig-torch-...specifications

    Harbor Freight has a flowmeter for $89.95 that looks OK to me. Harris has a slew of them going from $70 to $300.

    Anything else I need? I think I'd also need some kind of tungsten sharpener, too. Jeez, this is getting expensive....
    Last edited by Ruark; 08-04-2021 at 12:20 AM.
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    I would get CK-brand 26-series torck/kit with superflex cable from HTP. Wrestling with a non-superflex cable sucks. They should be able to build it in a 25-foot'er. They also have flowmeters for a lot less than that harbor freight $90 one, like 50 bucks.

    Tungsten sharpener? If you have a standard bench grinder with a 6" or 8" aluminum oxide wheel, that is all you need. You're not welding on the space shuttle
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    The cheap flow meters from pretty much any source are the same units with different packaging. HTP sells them for around $50 with the hose, but you can get the same thing from Amazon for just under $35. Many of the bigger name shops sell them in Victor packaging, at higher prices, but they're absolutely the same (I was in a rush once and bought one from Baker's Gas that was in the Victor packaging...same as from Amazon).

    https://www.amazon.com/RX-WELD-Argon...8053528&sr=8-4
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    That's all you'll need for a lift tig setup, but you will get frustrated with ending the arc by flaring away. It works, but having a switch or a pedal will work even better. The function is there for starting and stopping the arc on the button, so I'd rig up a button at least.
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    I agree with Oscar -- I'd scratch the sharpener (even an angle grinder works fine -- I hold the angle grinder down with my foot and grind such that the swarf blows away from my foot, rolling the tungsten between my fingers) and spend that money on a good "superflex" torch with rubber hoses. The non-superflex can be like wrestling an eel. You'll also want a supply of tungstens (I like 2% lanthanated and 3/32" is by far my most-used size) and collets and collet bodies (Welding City on ebay was always good to me)...enjoy your new setup.

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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    +1 on ditching the sharpener. I would pass on the zoro kit. You don't/won't need the 1/16th or 1/8th tungstens and collets/collet bodies, and a 26 torch is too big IMHO. The only thing you really need is 3/32 tungstens and collets/collet bodies. For learning, and given you are DC TIG welding only, that size tungsten will do everything you need it to do. Here's what I would recommend you buy and personally I would get it all from HTP America: The SSC foot pedal for your machine (they carry it), an air cooled 17 style torch with the proper DINSE adapter (they have those too), a couple of stubby gas lens collets/collet bodies in 3/32, a couple of #7 cups, a flow meter and a package of blue 3/32 tungstens. This is enough to get you started. Snap all those tungstens in half and sharpen them all up. That way when you dip your tungsten (and you will) you will have a pile of 19 clean ones ready to go, and you won't have to stop to grind your tungsten every time you dip it. I would advise against sharpening your tungsten on both ends.
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruark View Post
    After years - decades, actually - of stick and fluxcore farm welding, including a year of welding school (stick and oxyfuel), I think in the next couple of months I want to start TIG welding. I have a Tweco 211i (now called a Thermal Arc 211i), but it has NO TIG accessories. Would this stuff in the link below be EVERYTHING I needed, except for a flowmeter and a tank of argon? I don't HAVE to have a pedal, do I? The 211i is lift TIG, FWIW.

    https://www.zoro.com/esab-tig-torch-...specifications

    Harbor Freight has a flowmeter for $89.95 that looks OK to me. Harris has a slew of them going from $70 to $300.

    Anything else I need? I think I'd also need some kind of tungsten sharpener, too. Jeez, this is getting expensive....
    One I found shows the same ESAB part # (W4014603) but says it includes an 8-pin hand control:
    https://bakersgas.com/products/therm...rykit-w4014603

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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Just get the torch and 3/32 tungsten. Rods and drop metal supplier. I have a couple foot pedals I rarely use. Pedal work well at a bench seated, hand controls wirk for seated work and moving around the weldment.

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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    I spent many years scratch starting with no current control, and still do when I have to. Having a machine capable of current control would make buying a foot pedal priority over a tungsten grinder. I think lift-arc works better with a foot pedal , or so it seems to me. I believe HTP also sells foot pedals for a reasonable price. I would choose HTP stuff over a lot of the amazon stuff, especially if you don't know the vendor. Just my thoughts on it.
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by albrightree View Post
    I would choose HTP stuff over a lot of the amazon stuff, especially if you don't know the vendor. Just my thoughts on it.
    For most things I definitely agree. The flow meters are an exception, which is why I mentioned them....they're identical to the HTP product, cost less and returns are very easy. I've lost track of how many of them I've bought so far, but probably 15. I had one with a leak that had to be returned and I had a replacement in a day or two. I've bought them from at least three or four vendors, to include my favorite LWS (that was in Victor packaging) and I think they must all come from the same factory in China. Even the inspection stickers are identical...not that I'm sure they actually inspect them
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    The machine will allow a lot more than a scratch start setup. With the pushbutton you can terminate the arc without snapping out. Also the machine has up and downslope settings that are controlled with the push button. I would go with that esab torch with included button or see if htp offers one with the button.

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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    I have a 211i and found that torch to be extremely bulky and inflexible. I sold it before ever using it and went with a foot pedal. I also went with a 17V torch as don't see needing the full amperage for my tig usage.

    For me, the foot pedal was worth the added cost.

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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    I have the thermal arc 181i which as far as I know uses the same 8 pin connector. My torch is a 17 with the gas valve and a push button. The 17 is a fair amount smaller than a 26.

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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Most of the ready to go kits for that machine seem to be sporting the 26 torch. With a set of stubby consumables you can shrink it's size down considerably.

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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by danielplace View Post
    Most of the ready to go kits for that machine seem to be sporting the 26 torch. With a set of stubby consumables you can shrink it's size down considerably.
    CK also has a 26 that is slightly smaller. Almost like a 17.
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    If you do buy a pedal, I have to say, the SSC pedals are the nicest pedals out there, apart from some of the OEMs. Extremely well built, extremely smooth, and also well priced considering. They're so good, that they're the default aftermarket choice over here, even though there's only one or two people import them from America. They're so worth it.
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    As far as I know SSC makes the foot controls for Lincoln so in that case they are the OEM.
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Lots of nice replies, thanks. But if I get a different torch (e.g. a "superflex"), will it still fit the machine?

    Also, what is this about a "26" and a "17"? I didn't know torches came in "voltages." Sorry to be so naive, I just never went near TIG before.

    How does the argon get to the torch? The 211i doesn't have any kind of gas connection on the front of the machine.
    Last edited by Ruark; 08-05-2021 at 09:43 AM.
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruark View Post
    Lots of nice replies, thanks. But if I get a different torch (e.g. a "superflex"), will it still fit the machine?

    Also, what is this about a "26" and a "17"? I didn't know torches came in "voltages." Sorry to be so naive, I just never went near TIG before.

    What about the pedal? Doesn't it have to fit into the remote control plug on the front of the machine? I'm assuming they're not all compatible
    They aren't in voltage but the physical size/amp rating.

    The 26 is a little large but put some stubby consumables on it and it will shrink the size down some.

    Most ready made torch kits for that unit seem to be that 26 size torch.

    You are going to at least want the switch to control power.

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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruark View Post
    Lots of nice replies, thanks. But if I get a different torch (e.g. a "superflex"), will it still fit the machine?

    Also, what is this about a "26" and a "17"? I didn't know torches came in "voltages." Sorry to be so naive, I just never went near TIG before.

    How does the argon get to the torch? The 211i doesn't have any kind of gas connection on the front of the machine.
    TIG torches use numbers that show their amperage rating which generally correlates to their physical size. Air cooled torches are normally 9, 17 or 26 sizes going from small to large.

    A torch with a gas valve will have a longer gas line that attaches to the output of the flow meter/regulator.
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    I just realized why OP thought voltage now. The V at the end. 26V

    That denotes it has a valve on the torch body for gas control since the machine does not have a built in solenoid.

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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by danielplace View Post
    I just realized why OP thought voltage now. The V at the end. 26V

    That denotes it has a valve on the torch body for gas control since the machine does not have a built in solenoid.
    Good point....and companies all use slightly different naming conventions so it's not always clear. Some add "F" for a flex head, "R" for a rotating head, etc. I messed up one time and ordered the wrong torch because of that confusion...luckily it only cost me return shipping.
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruark View Post
    Lots of nice replies, thanks. But if I get a different torch (e.g. a "superflex"), will it still fit the machine?

    Also, what is this about a "26" and a "17"? I didn't know torches came in "voltages." Sorry to be so naive, I just never went near TIG before.

    How does the argon get to the torch? The 211i doesn't have any kind of gas connection on the front of the machine.

    I forgot to add that "Superflex" just means the hoses have a flexible, braided outer layer and far more flexible than those with a plastic coating. The connector at the machine end and having a valve on the torch are the two critical factors for your application. If it's got the right connector and a valve, you'll be able to use it. Flexible lines and a flex head torch are really nice to have, but not show stoppers.
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  27. #24
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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruark View Post
    Lots of nice replies, thanks. But if I get a different torch (e.g. a "superflex"), will it still fit the machine?

    Also, what is this about a "26" and a "17"? I didn't know torches came in "voltages." Sorry to be so naive, I just never went near TIG before.

    How does the argon get to the torch? The 211i doesn't have any kind of gas connection on the front of the machine.
    Yes, it will fit. My 17V torch has a 150 amp rating for what that is worth. A 26 torch will have a higher amperage rating. As others have stated, the "V" means a gas valve, which you need, is integrated into the torch handle.

    There are many ways to connect argon to the torch, I'm using the following connector on my 211i. https://weldfabulous.com/lenco-05610-ldt-917-f/
    Last edited by denverguy; 08-05-2021 at 05:49 PM.

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    Re: Starting with TIG - is this everything?

    Arggghhhh, it's getting worse. Been calling around on the cost of an argon bottle. Prices ranging from $330 to $450 for a 122 cubic ft. So we're looking at $700+ just to get started. Pretty steep for just a "garage hobby." I might just stay with my trusty old NR-211.......
    Last edited by Ruark; 08-07-2021 at 12:47 PM.
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