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  • TIG Machine

    I am in the market for a TIG set-up... Looking to keep it under $1000. Pretty much just for home/personal use. I weld with wire feed all day at work, but I am a rookie tig welder. Any recommendations are appreciated.

  • #2
    Good and under $1000 don't fit together if you are trying to buy a new TIG machine of any quality, but a good older TIG, like a Dial Arc HF or a 330A BP can be had for way less than $1000 complete with torch, foot pedal, and sometimes even a cooler. They are power hogs, but for home use it won't be that bad, and they are very reliable.

    My Dial Arc HF was in rough shape when I bought it for $200, and it was complete with a 330 cf tank, 60 foot of leads, and a 25' Tig torch and pedal. It hadn't been used in about 10 years and was filthy. It took a complete cleaning, some body and fender work, and a paint job to make it look acceptable, but it stick welded fine when I first hooked it up. The argon flow meter needed new gaskets, and the 25' leads to the TIG torch needed replacing. I also replaced the argon hose, and had to repair the foot pedal brush assembly.

    It had been used with tap water for cooling, so I later built a DIY cooler for it out of a Carbonator that I bought used from a local restaurant, a transmission cooler coil that was bought new, 2 muffin fans that I had, a pressure gauge, and some tubing and fittings. I bought this welder a little over 4 years ago and it has been doing small production TIG and stick welding with almost no maintenance needed since I put it back into service. From memory I spent about $700 and about 20 hours total to buy it and fix it up. It has proven to be a very reliable welder.



    Charley
    ______________________________
    Miller MM252
    Miller Bobcat 225NT
    Miller DialArc HF & DIY Cooler
    2 Miller Digital Elite and 3 Fixed Shade Helmets
    2 O/A torch sets
    DeWalt 18 volt 1/2" Driver/Drill
    DeWalt 18 volt 6 1/2" Metal Saw
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    Too many hand tools

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    • #3
      A Syncrowave 180 might be available for under $1000, although I have not seen one at that price recently. The Syncrowave 200 is less likely to be available at that price.

      If you buy any TIG welder, be sure it has working High Frequency and AC.

      I would note that the 330A welders are large and extremely heavy, perhaps over 800 pounds. The Syncrowave 180 and 200 are more like 200 pounds. The 180 is smaller than the 200, if that matters to you. Not sure what the dialarc welders weigh.

      I have owned both the Syncrowave 180 and 200, both great welders.
      Syncrowave 200, Millermatic 211, Victor torch, Propane forge....

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by pavlica View Post
        I am in the market for a TIG set-up... Looking to keep it under $1000. Pretty much just for home/personal use. I weld with wire feed all day at work, but I am a rookie tig welder. Any recommendations are appreciated.
        I am a big Miller fan... but their high resale value usually put them above your $1-K upper limit.. so I will suggest a few more modern candidates of other brands..

        A decent entry level no frills AC/DC TIG welder on the used market is the Lincoln Sq Wave TIG 175 ... they show up regularly on the used market in the $600-900 range..

        Also Hobart/Thermal Arc Tigwave 250... and a few if the Linde Square wave machines from the late 1970's-up....would be candidates..

        There are a lot of good possibles out there ... these are but a few... I have limited this to square wave transformer machines.. they are a little lighter weight, less power hungry and more versatile than the much older magnetic amplifier machines such as the old standby Miller 330 series..
        Many square wave chopper machines have the ability to adjust the AC balance (or are preset to about 70% EN) for best cleaning-penetration ... which can be a real plus for aluminum TIG
        Last edited by H80N; 11-03-2014, 02:46 PM.
        .

        *******************************************
        The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

        “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

        Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

        My Blue Stuff:
        Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
        Dynasty 200DX
        Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
        Millermatic 200

        TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by H80N View Post
          I am a big Miller fan... but their high resale value usually put them above your $1-K upper limit.. so I will suggest a few more modern candidates of other brands..

          A decent entry level no frills AC/DC TIG welder on the used market is the Lincoln Sq Wave TIG 175 ... they show up regularly on the used market in the $600-900 range..

          Also Hobart/Thermal Arc Tigwave 250... and a few if the Linde Square wave machines from the late 1970's up....would be candidates..

          There are a lot of good possibles out there ... these are but a few... I have limited this to square wave transformer machines.. they are a little lighter weight, less power hungry and more versatile than the much older magnetic amplifier machines such as the old standby Miller 330 series..
          many square wave chopper machines have the ability to adjust the AC balance (or are preset to about 70% EP) for best cleaning-penetration ... which can be a real plus for aluminum TIG


          Too bad your in California, my Diversion 180 is up for sale for around 1000.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Just bought a Thermal Arc 201ST welder for about $1150 from an on-line store. It's DC only but the number of times I need to weld aluminum is small. It's a very, very nice package and it's ready to go except for a tank of argon and some TIG welding rod. TIG performance is excellent and the stick welding ability is quite amazing. Even I can lay down a decent stick bead and I have not done stick welding for more than 50 years.

            I know it's a wee bit out of your price range, but Thermal Arc has a pretty good reputation and I cannot find any fault with this machine. In fact, the quality of the stuff included surprised me. If you can stretch your price range that far, you'll be pretty happy.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dobermann View Post
              Just bought a Thermal Arc 201ST welder for about $1150 from an on-line store. It's DC only but the number of times I need to weld aluminum is small. It's a very, very nice package and it's ready to go except for a tank of argon and some TIG welding rod. TIG performance is excellent and the stick welding ability is quite amazing. Even I can lay down a decent stick bead and I have not done stick welding for more than 50 years.

              I know it's a wee bit out of your price range, but Thermal Arc has a pretty good reputation and I cannot find any fault with this machine. In fact, the quality of the stuff included surprised me. If you can stretch your price range that far, you'll be pretty happy.
              Think that one is Made in CHINA...(unlike their earlier machines... which were U.S and Japanese made) ... and being DC only with no NO AC/HF for aluminum TIG would be a deal breaker for me...
              Last edited by H80N; 11-03-2014, 02:22 PM.
              .

              *******************************************
              The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

              “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

              Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

              My Blue Stuff:
              Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
              Dynasty 200DX
              Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
              Millermatic 200

              TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000

              Comment


              • #8
                Pavlica -

                Don't let the fact that a welder is made in china put you off from considering purchasing the welder. Not everything that is made in china is junk. Just as not everything that is made in the USA is "the best of the best of the bestest". Most things today have parts in them that were made in china. Even things that get labeled made in the USA.

                Just do your homework, decide what you want to do with your welder and how hard you want to push it, ask questions and listen to what people have to say about what they have, how they like it, how they use it, how it's performed for them, and whether they have had in problems with their machine and if so how those problems were resolved. Ask if they'd buy it again. No manufacture of welders is immune from have problems with their products. Some have more problems than others but they ALL have them. You just have to decide for yourself and be comfortable with what you decide to do in the end. Older transformer machines will for the most part be more durable that the new inverter types (if that matters to you) and they will be cheaper since they are used.

                Beware of the talk that states you have to have this color welder or that color welder or that it has to be made here or there (USA or wherever) or it's no good. That talk is not fact, it's emotional talk for whatever reason.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Pavlica -

                  I have a Thermal Arc 161S with a tig package on it (note that I am not recommending this machine to you). It's a small inverter, runs off 110V and 220V. It's a 160 Amp DC only machine. It requires a 30 Amp circuit to run off 220V power. It will run off a 15A or 20A 120v circuit. It requires 220V 30A circuit to get the most out of it. Anything less degrades the output and duty cycle. It has no gas valve, no foot pedal, no high frequency start (just lift arc). Came with an off brand 17V air cooled torch (V stands for valve on torch to shut gas on and off). No foot pedal means you can't adjust the amperage while welding. Once you set amps at the machine that's what you get at the torch. When the machine is on the torch is hot. It's a DC only machine (so no aluminum without expensive specialty gas). 160 amp max won't get you welding stuff that is very thick without having to do multiple passes. You aren't going to do 1/4" thick steel in a single pass even less thickness with aluminum. I wouldn't recommend a DC machine for aluminum but it can be done. The machine also stick welds. Machine has a low duty cycle so you can't push very long at higher amps. Came with a very limited supply of consumables (Tungstens, cups, collets, collet bodies), not that this matters. It will get you started and if you not into too much and you don't need AC then it will suffice. They go for around $700 new. Never had a problem with my machine does what I wanted it to do then and now. Would I buy it again, yes and no. Yes if I was only doing what I was doing when I bought it. No because I grew out of it. I still use it as a stick welder all the time but hardly ever for TIG any more.

                  As others have said, a $1000 budget for a TIG welder is much of a budget for a TIG welder. If you can live with a very limited machine you can do it on that budget with a new machine. If you want more of a machine for that price you are going to have to go used and that has both advantages and disadvantages. You are the only one that can make the decision for you.

                  There is a guy over at weldingtipsandtricks.com (Jody) who has a several videos on tig welders and tig welding. I would suggest you go over there and watch those videos. If you are not sure what all the "knobs" on tig welders do and what they are for I would suggest you go over there and watch the series he has on the 250EX. I am not preaching this machine (I am not preaching any machine). I am only suggesting you watch that series to get a feel for what all the knobs do and then you can decide for yourself what "knobs" you need to have and from there you can do some research on machines that are available that meet your needs. As you have stated you are going to use this machine at home and you therefore also need to carefully consider the power you have available to power the machine, in the end, this may limit what you ultimately end up getting.

                  Good Luck.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pavlica View Post
                    I am in the market for a TIG set-up... Looking to keep it under $1000. Pretty much just for home/personal use. I weld with wire feed all day at work, but I am a rookie tig welder. Any recommendations are appreciated.
                    Remember, pay once or pay twice. Your decision.

                    Griff

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by griff01 View Post
                      Remember, pay once or pay twice. Your decision.

                      Griff
                      Well said... so many of those offshore designed and built "Hobby Grade Machines" end up being a poor investment in the long run ....
                      No bargain if you need parts and service....

                      Have seen many many of them at flea markets, yard and garage sales at "Bargain" prices... in need of some repair... the greatest common denominator is "Made in China".....parts and service range from challenging to nonexistant...
                      Second are the Italian made Lincoln Invertecs... have seen those too..



                      Buy the best you can afford and research not only the long term reputation of the maker and their service and support.. but also the particular model you are interested in... even the most reputable makes have some lemons...

                      also decide what features and capabilities you need in a TIG machine.. Pedal?.. AC/DC?? HF?? Balance?? Amperage??... Materials to be welded?? thickness..??

                      Shop value for the dollar not price.... to get started a good used machine is probably your best value..
                      Last edited by H80N; 11-04-2014, 06:04 AM.
                      .

                      *******************************************
                      The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

                      “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

                      Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

                      My Blue Stuff:
                      Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
                      Dynasty 200DX
                      Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
                      Millermatic 200

                      TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Cheapest new welder I would consider is the ESAB Miniarc 161LTS. That's if you can do with a DC only, lift-arc, no built-in gas valve and no foot pedal capability. Kind of like a scratch-start rig, but at least has lift-arc.

                        Stick package is $400. , then add torch & etc.

                        http://www.threemulesweld.com/esab161lts
                        Miller stuff:
                        Dialarc 250 (1974)
                        Syncrowave 250 (1992)
                        Spot welder (Dayton badged)

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