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Old 03-11-2018, 11:43 PM   #1
91 RS RA
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Default TIG welder questions

Hi Guys

So in a few months Im looking to buy a TIG welder for learning on and doing some fab work such as exhausts etc.
I admit I don't know much about TIG and what you need.
Im on a budget and don't want to spend too much and need something compact as I don't have much space for it.
I have seen this one:
https://www.tradetested.co.nz/tools-...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

Can some one tell me if its ok, Im not sure but I thought TIG needed a gas bottle, which this one doesnt mention, or can you get welding rods that mean you don't need a gas bottle.

I used to Gas weld many decades ago and was not too bad at it, so was thinking going straight to TIG instead of MIG

Any help would be well received
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:06 AM   #2
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Eastwood 200 is a decent machine for the money. Personally a decent welder is a good investment. Also if you don't have a lot of practice a high frequency start makes life easier. Most budget means you have to scratch start

You need A 100% argon gas. You normally can rent a bottle from a local supplier like air gas or praxair
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:12 AM   #3
91 RS RA
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Should of said Im based in New Zealand so some of the brands you guys get we don't.
Again Im showing my noobness here, but when you say scratch start you mean you need to contact the surface first where HF you just need to get it close to start?
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 91 RS RA View Post
Should of said Im based in New Zealand so some of the brands you guys get we don't.
Again Im showing my noobness here, but when you say scratch start you mean you need to contact the surface first where HF you just need to get it close to start?
If you get a very clean area you probably will not need to do that but that is only necessary in structural welding but a good habit to have it's a hard one to break if you would like to pursue welding as a job one day.
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gjkrisa View Post
If you get a very clean area you probably will not need to do that but that is only necessary in structural welding but a good habit to have it's a hard one to break if you would like to pursue welding as a job one day.
Too old to change jobs now
Just wanting it for DIY projects
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Old 03-12-2018, 11:15 AM   #6
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i would try to find a better quality used setup that would come with more of what you need to get started.

a MIG welder would have a lower learning curve, and works great on thin material like exhausts.
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:43 PM   #7
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If you think you will ever want to weld aluminum (hint: you do) make sure it has a high frequency mode. If there is a welding supply shop in your area ask them if they have any used machines for sale. You don't need the newest tech, but a quality machine.
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Old 03-12-2018, 07:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Suhrbier View Post
If you think you will ever want to weld aluminum (hint: you do) make sure it has a high frequency mode. If there is a welding supply shop in your area ask them if they have any used machines for sale. You don't need the newest tech, but a quality machine.
Thanks for the info

Never thought of asking the local shops if they have any old ones for sale.
I might try some of the hire firms as well, they may have something that works but getting past it for hiring purposes.

I want to be able to weld both steel and aluminium, with the aluminium at a later stage once I have my technique sorted.

I was pretty good at gas welding back in the day and could get some nice beads, so hoping that it will all come back to me once I get going again
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:58 AM   #9
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You will have no problem if you have already gas welded. The foot pedal makes it a lot easier to control.
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Old 03-13-2018, 12:56 PM   #10
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if you want to weld aluminum, you should consider an AC/DC machine. the welder you first linked is DC only. I've heard of people doing aluminum with DC, but it is not optimal. then, depending on the thickness and amount of aluminum welding you want to do, you may want to consider a watercooled torch.
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Old 03-13-2018, 01:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isotopesope View Post
if you want to weld aluminum, you should consider an AC/DC machine. the welder you first linked is DC only. I've heard of people doing aluminum with DC, but it is not optimal. then, depending on the thickness and amount of aluminum welding you want to do, you may want to consider a watercooled torch.
^this
only thing I'd add is if you want to weld aluminum don't just consider a machine that has AC, it is a MUST. You will never weld it right with DC.

And any torch for aluminum that isn't water cooled with be ultra ultra light duty. Like 20% duty cycle at most. AC puts tons of heat into the torch. You'll really need to consider how thick aluminum you will ever want to weld because it takes a ton of heat. Welding 1/4" plate, especially in the middle of a plate or something like that, needs a solid 220-240 amps if you don't want to stand on the peddle for 10 minutes before starting.
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Old 03-13-2018, 08:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isotopesope View Post
if you want to weld aluminum, you should consider an AC/DC machine. the welder you first linked is DC only. I've heard of people doing aluminum with DC, but it is not optimal. then, depending on the thickness and amount of aluminum welding you want to do, you may want to consider a watercooled torch.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
^this
only thing I'd add is if you want to weld aluminum don't just consider a machine that has AC, it is a MUST. You will never weld it right with DC.

And any torch for aluminum that isn't water cooled with be ultra ultra light duty. Like 20% duty cycle at most. AC puts tons of heat into the torch. You'll really need to consider how thick aluminum you will ever want to weld because it takes a ton of heat. Welding 1/4" plate, especially in the middle of a plate or something like that, needs a solid 220-240 amps if you don't want to stand on the peddle for 10 minutes before starting.
Thanks for the reply guys.
Good to know about the AC/DC thing for aluminium.
Looks like Im going to have to spend a bit more than I thought. Luckily I have found a auction house that auctions of lots of workshop stuff so will keep an eye out for a suitable TIG machine that will be more suited to what I need.
Im not sure exactly how thick the thickest aluminium will be, just wanting to fab up header tanks, and intercooling type pipes and maybe a sheet aluminium manifold.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:35 AM   #13
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yeah piping like that is pretty thin so you won't need much power there
I've never used a non water cooled torch so I have no idea what power levels and for how long one could run a gun like that.
I just know on ours, if the water unit gets unplugged by accident and doesn't pump the torch overheats within minutes even on DC at sub 200 amp levels, and AC puts way more heat into the torch than DC.
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Old 03-14-2018, 01:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
yeah piping like that is pretty thin so you won't need much power there
I've never used a non water cooled torch so I have no idea what power levels and for how long one could run a gun like that.
I just know on ours, if the water unit gets unplugged by accident and doesn't pump the torch overheats within minutes even on DC at sub 200 amp levels, and AC puts way more heat into the torch than DC.
wow, never used a water cooled torch. I have a syncrowave 250, doing DC deposition welding on steel, usually around 150 amps. torch definitely gets hot, but TIG gloves are usually still fine with it.

just today bought a used Miller PC-300 pulser... man, those things are rare these days. can't wait for it to get here so I can start messing with it.

Last edited by isotopesope; 03-14-2018 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:08 PM   #15
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You can run an air cooled torch pretty darn hard without damage. I had a job welding aluminum railings and had an air torch. Tried for months to burn that thing up. Needed to use a stick welding glove to hold it, but it never died.
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Old 03-14-2018, 05:25 PM   #16
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I'll admit if I were to get a tig unit for home use I seriously doubt I'd spring for a water cooled one, just wouldn't see enough use for that.
But the water cooled ones are sweet because even if you weld blazing non stop and get the torch wicked hot, just stopping for one minute and allowing the water to circulate drops it right back down again like you just turned it on.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:44 PM   #17
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I don't think I would be welding long enough at one time to warrant a water cooled one.
Never even know you could get them.
I don't mind taking my time and letting the torch cool down between using, so will stick with air cooled.
Thanks for all the replies, has greatly helped in what to look for.
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Old 03-21-2018, 07:48 PM   #18
91 RS RA
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Another quick question, and I realise this may vary depending on differing situations, but can anyone give me a rough idea of how long a small bottle may last.
The smallest I can get is a 1m3 (35ft3) bottle, I really don't want to go bigger due to cost and storage issues.
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:39 PM   #19
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even the small ones that stand probably 2 feet tall last forever in a 'home use' situation.
they're perfect as they are easy to carry, put in your car when you need a new one, etc
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Old 03-26-2018, 06:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
even the small ones that stand probably 2 feet tall last forever in a 'home use' situation.
they're perfect as they are easy to carry, put in your car when you need a new one, etc
Awesome, thanks for the replies guys.
Have found a few decent ones around the $400 - $500 NZD mark without gas bottle.
I am supposed to be getting a Xbox1 for fathers day later in the year, but have decided to see if I can swap it for a TIG welder.
Have a few projects I have already lined up.
Im looking at making my own custom exhaust manifold and exhaust pipes, and custom lift kits.
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:29 PM   #21
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Check with your local gas suppliers to see how tanks are managed where you are. I know in the states it varies by state if the suppliers will fill bottles you own or only ones that are leased from them. Also it is recommended to not transport tanks inside a vehicle, though this is mainly for fuels.
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:35 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Wayne Suhrbier View Post
Check with your local gas suppliers to see how tanks are managed where you are. I know in the states it varies by state if the suppliers will fill bottles you own or only ones that are leased from them. Also it is recommended to not transport tanks inside a vehicle, though this is mainly for fuels.
Thanks for the advice.
Here I can either buy a bottle or hire/lease (Swap a bottle type arrangement). Haven't looked into whats easiest/cheapest. If I do buy a bottle I will need to get it checked every 6 months from memory. Also will have to look into transporting it, other wise they can deliver if needed.
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Old 03-29-2018, 12:56 PM   #23
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^meh
just transport it in your car.
You aught to just buy it. You can have it for years and you don't want to be paying rent on it.
Maybe technically it is supposed to be 'inspected', but I've had mine now for over a decade and nobody has every said anything about inspection. I even switched gas companies and they hemmed and hawed for a second about taking someone else's bottle but still did it anyway.
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Old 04-10-2018, 04:12 PM   #24
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I would highly recommend the Alphatig 200dx. I bought mine for 750 shipped plus about 300 for a 250 size bottle of pure Argon (40 for a refill).

I've welded various sizes of steel roll bar tubing, 0.040-0.25" Aluminum, and some stainless exhaust work without a hiccup. It has all the settings you'd need for anything on a vehicle. I came from using a high quality water cooled miller unit during school and this one performed just as well for home shop projects.
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:31 PM   #25
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Hi guys I am also Considering a welder. Would a MIG not be adequate for aluminum?
I've been trying to understand what is the difference between a TIG and MIG, and their applications. can somebody please break that out for me?
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