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First tight welder recommendations

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  • First tight welder recommendations

    Any advise on buying a tig? Want AC/DC just so I can tinker with aluminum but home shop use. And having a hard time walking and chewing gum...assume working 2 hands and one foot at once will be a challenge. But just won't show off the first few welds.

    I see digital and analog air and water cooled and other terms I have no idea about. Basically for someone with zero tig knowledge, what's a good starting point. I "think" digital is easier for a newbie and water cooled only if one is going to go after big butt tig welds. Average home use air is OK. But not sure.

    Price range is dependent on feedback but ideal would be the 1000 to 2000 range. But if its really higher to get something that fits the bill let me know.

    Miller equipment is a focal point. Open to other options.

  • #2
    You might try going through Miller's selection guide. It will show what is available for the material you want to weld keeping in mind the power you have available for the welder.


    • #3
      It suggests the Diversion 180. Didn't see what amperage is needed on 230 volts. I'm guessing 30 would do. Currently have a dedicated 30 amps for the 211 or Hypertherm. That will eventually change as building a bigger shop with more power will be available.



      • #4
        For home use air is not okay. TIG, or GTAW, welding uses an inert gas, typically Argon or Helium, as a shielding gas.

        A 30 amp 230v circuit will work for the Diversion 180, per the online owner's manual. Miller offers quite a lot of useful information if you will take the time to look in the Resources section at the top of the page.
        Miller 251...sold the spoolgun to DiverBill.
        Miller DialArc 250
        Lincoln PrecisionTig 275
        Hypertherm 900 plasma cutter
        Bridgeport "J" head mill...tooled up
        Jet 14 X 40 lathe...ditto
        South Bend 9" lathe...yeah, got the change gears too
        Logan 7" shaper
        Ellis 3000 band saw
        Hossfeld bender w/shopbuilt hyd.
        Victor Journeyman torch and gauges
        3 Gerstner boxes of mostly Starrett tools
        Lots of dust bunnies
        Too small of a shop at 40 X 59.


        • #5
          Roy he is talking about the torch being air cooled. This will be just fine for a first tig machine. As said too, diversion series sounds like what your after.


          • #6
            Used Syncrowave

            If you want a good basic TIG, without spending a lot of money, it is hard to beat a used Miller Syncrowave 180 or 200. I have owned both, both are good. Both have High Frequency, AC and DC, so you can weld any metal, including aluminum. Both include stick and TIG. The original version of the Syncrowave 180 is arguably better for beginners, as it has minimal controls, three switches and one knob, simple to use. The later version of the 180 (180SD) added an AC balance knob and digital displays. The 200 has lots of bells and whistles, including pulse, which I like for thin copper. The 180 is a little smaller, but both are relatively big and heavy, around 200 pounds. Figure on at least a 50 amp 220V circuit for either welder, which is what I use. Some recommend a 60 amp 220V breaker.

            I bought the 200 for $1300, too good a deal to pass up, and then sold my Synchrowave 180 for $1150. The 180 price that I got was probably higher than average, and the 200 price that I paid was lower than average, so I did very well, paid only $150 to upgrade.

            Anyway, for somewhere between $1000 and $1500, you can buy a used Syncrowave 180 or 200, and have a welder that will probably serve all your needs for decades. If you buy used, and you decide you need a bigger or fancier welder down the road, you can get almost all your money back when you sell it. You will take a big depreciation hit if you buy a new welder and sell it later. With these Syncrowaves you can TIG weld any thin metal up to about 3/16 inch, and you can stick weld any steel 1/8 inch or thicker. I used the 180 as a stick welder for months before I got around to buying an argon bottle. Some report that the 180 had a higher than average repair rate, but my original version 180 gave me no trouble.

            I am not a big fan of the Miller Diversion because it lacks stick. Stick is what you need to weld thick steel. The Dynasty is a great welder, but way too much money unless you have to have easy portability, or need 110V. (Note that a 20 amp 120Volt outlet will only run a welder at very reduced power, so 110V operation is not that great an advantage). The Miller EconoTIG looks good on paper, but a Miller factory guy said that it was not that great, that the Syncrowave 180 was a much better machine. Lincoln makes the Square Wave 175, and Precision TIG 225, similar to the Syncrowaves, look for a used Lincoln as a possible alternative. Many if not most inverter welders are DC only, so you can’t TIG aluminum. (Examples: Multimatic 200, XMT series, Maxstar series, the new Thermal Arc multi-process welders, Lincoln V350 and C300, etc.)

            Note that many inverter welders, such as the Dynasty or Invertec series, do not come standard with a TIG torch, regulator, and foot pedal, so they are even more expensive than they look at first glance. The Syncrowaves come with everything you need except a gas bottle. The welder manufacturers are pushing their inverter machines, but it is hard to justify the much higher cost, especially when you can find a used Syncrowave for not much more than $1000. They have sold a lot of Syncrowaves, so you should be able to find a used one if you look.

            Just for comparison, a new Syncrowave 200 retails for $2900, a new Dynasty 200DX with torch, regulator, foot pedal, etc., retails for $4680. On the used market, the Dynasty 200 welders are hard to find, and priced around $3000. The Syncrowaves are easier to find used, and priced right.

            The Syncrowave 250 is an industry classic, a great machine, but big and heavy, and more expensive. It should probably have a 100 amp 220V circuit. The 250 is just more welder than most folks need, unless you need to TIG 1/4 inch thick aluminum.

            Can you find a used Syncrowave? You don't know unless you look around on Craigslist or other places.
            Syncrowave 200, Millermatic 211, Victor torch, Propane forge....


            • #7
              Anyone check out the thermal arc 186 or have any feed back on it ? The only place I've really been able to find it is on I've herd it replaces the 185?


              • #8
                The thermal arc 186 is a square wave, pulse, and tig stick. 200amp. I've been up in the air about which to buy either the diversion 180 or the thermal arc 186.


                • #9
                  We have about $1,500. in our old Syncrowave 250 setup, including new SSC pedal and a very clean but used Coolmate 3 cooler... minus gas cylinder. Could have dome it with a decent cylinder and no water cooler for the same price.
                  Miller stuff:
                  Dialarc 250 (1974)
                  Syncrowave 250 (1992)
                  Spot welder (Dayton badged)


                  • #10
                    My buddy has a thermal tig and he loves it. Think it's in the 200 series, can't remember off hand though.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WyoRoy View Post
                      For home use air is not okay. TIG, or GTAW, welding uses an inert gas, typically Argon or Helium, as a shielding gas.

                      A 30 amp 230v circuit will work for the Diversion 180, per the online owner's manual. Miller offers quite a lot of useful information if you will take the time to look in the Resources section at the top of the page.
                      Air Cooled Torch- Knucklehead
                      Ed Conley
                      Passport Plus w/Spool Gun
                      Miller 125c Plasma 120v
                      O/A set
                      SO 2020 Bender
                      You can call me Bacchus


                      • #12
                        Well, it depends what you have for a power supply. If you have 220 then I recommend an older Miller dialarc HF (Airco had the same one rebranded). Can be had for under $1000 used. I have a Diversion 165 which is a good hobby welded but now that I am doing more side work I would prefer something with ATLEAST a balance control and gas flow controls. Syncrowaves are good but draw a bit of power.


                        • #13
                          Thanks all...and darn auto correct (tight = tig). I see quite a bit on the Everlast equipment. Offshore which always bothers me and when I do spend more I'm never disappointed. But wondered for a entry level tig with some growth use...Everlast on the list at all?

                          Regardless I'm thinking Miller as the 211 I bought is oh so nice a welder. And as the wife says...color matches my eyes???