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Thermal arc 185tsw

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  • Thermal arc 185tsw

    I purchased a Millermatic 251 last year and I am thrilled with its performance. This year I am looking at purchasing a small tig machine. I want to be able to weld thin stuff and aluminum. I have tried welding AL with a spoolgun and was disappointed with the results. I have been looking at both Lincoln and Miller. Between the two I like the Dynasty the best. The welding supplier here in Houston recommended a Thermal Arc 185tsw. Looks like a thousand dollars cheaper. Are these things any good?

  • #2

    The TA 185 will do the job as advertised ( an aquaintance tested this machine in his shop, but returned it because he felt uneasy after using it for a week long demo). It is 185 amps compared to the Dynasty at 200 amps. The entire package includes amptrol, torch, regulator, etc. However, it is a chintzy machine compared to the Dynasty 200. The accessories are very light duty. The actual machine is mostly plastic. I think you need to see the TA up close. It will probably make you queezy just thinking about spending $2000 on a plastic box! I'd be sick!

    If you'll do your shopping homework, you will find the TA 185 is only $500 less than the Dynasty. Compare these machines face to face and there is NO COMPARISON. I have owned 3 different TA machines ( should have learned the first time) and was never satisfied with any one of them. In their defense the larger 400 amp inverter tig machines are decent, but still nothing to write home about. Several times I had problems during the first 90 days and warranty was refused. Personally I will not own another TA machine. Miller has hit a home run with the Dynasty series. No competitive machine even comes close!

    Wire welding aluminum is an art and takes practice. It is nothing like migging mild steel. Your disappointment may stem from lack of experience in spooling aluminum. It is tough, but practice and patience are the key once you have the basic "how to and what if" in place. You don't know disaappointment until you purchase a TA product and have the first problems with it.

    This really is not a slam session on Thermal Arc. However, I have owned 3 machines and had bad luck form all. The mig I owned would not perform as advertised. The engine drive has a lousy arc and the customer service is not at all what Miller has. I do not consider TA to be competition. They are just not a quality machine based on my experiences.


    • #3

      By the way: If you are looking to weld 19 guage and thinner, the spoolgun route will be a little tough without a pulser. This being the case go for a tig machine. The Dynasty 200DX is an awesome engineering feat and Miller should be very proud to market their product! I have one and have yet to find fault with it. It has many features I am still exploring. The art of learning has always intrigued me. Therefore, I am sure the D200DX will keep me quite satisfied fo years to come. I have nothing but praise for this machine based on personal experience. There are other proud owners on this forum who surely will jump in based on their experience.


      • #4
        Thermal Arc

        Hawk I think you might be right. You always get what you pay for. I am just learning to Tig and I think I need to wait until I have a little more knowledge before I plunk down my hard earned bucks. The Thermal Arc thing was just a suggestion from a local Welding supply place that handles Miller, Lincoln, and Thermal Arc. I think the salesman was just trying to save me some money since this is only a hobby for me. As for the Spoolgun, I messed up alot of AL plate at the local junior college trying to get it right. Welding Al is not easy regardless of the process. The MM-251 I bought is perfect for building deer feaders and deer stands, I love it. However I would like to be able to make a portable AL deer stand and occasionally like to weld a turned down bolt on an old Mauser. I think Tig is the way to go for that.

        Thanks for the guidance, it is greatly appreciated.

        W. Hatter