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Seeking wisdom for first Tig welder

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  • Seeking wisdom for first Tig welder

    HI everyone, looking for first tig welder. Have some experience went to welding school years ago really enjoyed tig. (learned on dynasty 350) . Mig weld some at work.

    I have spent the last couple weeks really reading forums and trying to figure out what to get. Im always up for good used items. Just for hobby projects so would really like to keep it around 2k or under. would like to have the ability to weld 1/4 inch alum if I needed to but I don't have a reason to right now so maybe I shouldn't be afraid of the diversions. I have limited space in the garage and only have a 60 or a 30 amp breaker I could tie into for welder. Machines Im interested in.

    I really like the looks of the syncrowave 210 but have yet to fine a used one for sell

    the older transformer syncs 180, 200, maybe 250. just dont know if I have big enough area or breaker for one. also inverters may be nicer on the electric bill. The amount of machine you get for used price is enticing.

    the diversion 180.

    Maybe ta 186 but kinda shy with the name change, but maybe im just more unfamiliar with them

    Any other machine a guy in my situation should look for? Thanks for any help in leading me in the right direction.
    Last edited by i sniff nitro; 01-20-2015, 08:32 AM.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum.
    Lincoln A/C 225
    Everlast PA200

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    • #3
      This is a miller forum so you will get lots of pro miller responses here...

      That being said Jody over at welding tips and tricks had good things to say about the htp invertig 221. Lots of features for at low price.

      I'm using my maxstar 150sth today for some thin stainless. I love this machine. I'd like a dynasty so I am saving for one but this gets me by right now. And it is remarkably portable.
      MillerMatic 251
      Maxstar 150 STH
      Cutmaster 42
      Victor Journeyman OA

      A rockcrawler, er money pit, in progress...

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      • #4
        thanks! I checked out that video about the HTP Invertig 221. Then spent the last 2 hours reading reviews and browsing forums. Sounds like a very solid machine. Tho not sure if i want to spend that much and I really do like the blue machines

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        • #5
          FWIW I have a Diversion 180, which works well and I love it. I would highly recommend a gas lens though. Since I put a lens on mine I have much better quality welds! Overall its a good beginners TIG machine that will perform well right out of the box.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by B&M Welding Inc. View Post
            FWIW I have a Diversion 180, which works well and I love it. I would highly recommend a gas lens though. Since I put a lens on mine I have much better quality welds! Overall its a good beginners TIG machine that will perform well right out of the box.

            I did the same thing, stubby gas lense on the 17 torch and Diversion. Worked fantastic. The bug may eventually bite you though to upgrade to a dynasty. If you can hold out and save $$ you won't regret getting lets say a Dynsty 200dx. Oh, and if you want to do some 1/4 aluminum with a Diversion 180, do what I did and buy a large cylinder of 50/50 Argon/Helium. Works great and will last you forever if you just use it for thick projects.
            Last edited by ja baudin; 01-20-2015, 07:32 PM.
            sigpic

            Dynasty 200 DX
            Millermatic 350P
            30A Spoolgun
            Lincoln Pro Mig 140
            Hypertherm Powermax 30
            14" Rage Evolution dry saw
            40 ton press brake
            Evenheat Heat treat oven

            1x42 / 4x48 belt grinder

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            • #7
              i have the funds for a 200dx but just cant justify it yet for at home/ personal use. Maybe if I end up with some projects that pay I can justify it in the future. I learned on a dynasty so certainly would enjoy owning one someday question did you just change the gas lens or did you change the whole torch aswel? An knowing that I could do 1/4 inch alum with a mix does make the diversion more enticing Thank You
              Last edited by i sniff nitro; 01-20-2015, 07:36 PM.

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              • #8
                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 $900 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.

                Alternatives to a Syncrowave: The Miller Diversion 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). If you need portability, you could consider a Thermal Arc 186 AC/DC, maybe half the price of a Dynasty. 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.) The Chinese machines from Longevity and Everlast have an attractive price, but resale value, reliability, and support are concerns.

                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 high end 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 Syncrowave 210 retails for $3200, a new Dynasty 200DX with torch, regulator, foot pedal, etc., retails for $5100. The Lincoln Square Wave 175 retails for $1900, the Precision TIG 225 retails for $2900. 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, especially if you want to get full power out of it. The 250 is just more welder than most folks need, unless you need to TIG 1/4 inch thick aluminum.

                Richard
                Syncrowave 200, Millermatic 211, Victor torch, Propane forge....

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by i sniff nitro View Post
                  i have the funds for a 200dx but just cant justify it yet for at home/ personal use. Maybe if I end up with some projects that pay I can justify it in the future. I learned on a dynasty so certainly would enjoy owning one someday question did you just change the gas lens or did you change the whole torch aswel? An knowing that I could do 1/4 inch alum with a mix does make the diversion more enticing Thank You

                  Didnt have to change the torch, just buy a gas lense. And I shouldn't have used the word "great" to describe welding 1/4 in alum with the diversion and 50/50..more like, you can make it work. Anyway, good luck!

                  Ja
                  sigpic

                  Dynasty 200 DX
                  Millermatic 350P
                  30A Spoolgun
                  Lincoln Pro Mig 140
                  Hypertherm Powermax 30
                  14" Rage Evolution dry saw
                  40 ton press brake
                  Evenheat Heat treat oven

                  1x42 / 4x48 belt grinder

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                  • #10
                    would anyone say there is a difference in thin metal welding between the sync 200 an div 180?

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                    • #11
                      In two years I've bought three, sold two. The Diversion 180 was disappointing. It has a low duty cycle. Of course, I wanted to weld mostly aluminum. Aluminum's ability to conduct heat away from the weld means you need a metric $hit ton of heat. I missed the adjustments other machines offer.

                      I considered a used Syncrowave, too much cost, no warranty.

                      I bought an old Dialarc 250 HF with water cooler cream puff fully optioned. A great machine in its day. I was still drooling about the newer technology.

                      I now have a Dynasty 280 DX.

                      It wasn't cheap! It would have been much cheaper had I started with it instead of buying and selling two other machines at a loss.
                      Dynasty 280DX
                      Bobcat 250
                      MM252
                      Spool gun
                      Twentieth Century 295
                      Twentieth Century 295 AC
                      Marquette spot welder
                      Smith torches

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                      • #12
                        Just my opinion but the best bang for the buck is either a syncro 180 or Lincolns square wave tig 175/185. It will do what you want & even weld 1/4" aluminum occasionally. If you find you need a bigger machine in the future you can sell it for what you paid most likely. You should be able to pick one up for about $1000 complete. Runs on a 50 amp breaker.

                        For hobby use you won't notice any difference in your electric bill with transformer machines.

                        Of course you can spend a lot more for a newer machine like a dynasty but how much will it actually get used vs. sitting there?
                        Last edited by MMW; 01-21-2015, 06:37 AM.
                        MM250
                        Trailblazer 250g
                        22a feeder
                        Lincoln ac/dc 225
                        Victor O/A
                        MM200 black face
                        Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
                        Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
                        Arco roto-phase model M
                        Vectrax 7x12 band saw
                        Miller spectrum 875
                        30a spoolgun w/wc-24
                        Syncrowave 250
                        RCCS-14

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MMW View Post
                          For hobby use you won't notice any difference in your electric bill with transformer machines.Of course you can spend a lot more for a newer machine like a dynasty but how much will it actually get used vs. sitting there?
                          thank you for that answer, although I Figured that was the case but always trying to keep that electric bill lowAlso thats a very good point and I personally dont have a problem buying and selling when the time comes that i feel like I need a 200dx. As long as I can find a decent deal.

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                          • #14
                            The electric bill is pretty well moot. It really takes a lot of welding to make much difference and its one of the lower expenses on the list.
                            I have been up and down this very issue and as I get a little older have become more conscious about rate of return etc and it can be a hard figure to justify. Would it have been worth it to buy a Bendpack vs a Mohawk etc. and what if the latter isn't huge leaps as its made out to be. When its 2x the price on large ticket items one always wonders.
                            In recent times tools have got a lot better, almost all tools or they have got a lot cheaper and the cheaper ones have got a lot better. Not much more than 10 yrs ago import welders were just dismissed but its no joke today and while welding equipment has always been a bargain really and extremely reliable competitive pricing has stripped some brand loyalty aided by some issues from circuit boards we never used to have.
                            There was a time I bought the best of most everything and today I am more prone to look for the white box bargains, its hard for me to spend 40$ on a snap wrench for every occasion when a guy can get a set of Stanley full polish at Wally for 26 and the operator cant tell the difference. Welding equipment has never been insanely overpriced and this has kept a lot of competitors at bay until recently and the diy/home/hobby market has really let the newbies get a foot in the door. The internet has really fueled this.
                            Having said all that gibberish if I was going to hang out my shingle in the biz the price difference on the machine would likely be only a small margin in the overall cost and in most cases the warranty on anything tool related (lifetime stuff) is sales rubbish but in welders its worth something. Not that you are likely to need it but it speaks for the build quality and in todays electronic world it can take some pain out of things and allow for budgeting. Back in min

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                            • #15
                              I am delirious from the flue. I missed a couple 4 days so far from work .
                              I used a Dynasty not all that far from when they came out and a time or 2 since here and there. It makes you feel like a super hero.
                              Since that time the competitors have copied and cheapened to the point that there are some alternative and for utility,,, with some risk to the user that could be worth it. If you are a Pro like Portable Weldor is on here then the difference in cost on a small machine is rather minor and over a month wouldn't be a speed bump.
                              A machine I do own is a Maxstar 150S. I don't believe I read that it hurts to extend the lead, a 25 ft addition is nice for small construction like handrail. The short lead is wonderful for specific repair but a career welder probably likes it long enough he can hop around on 25 ft5 section without having to move ground, input and machine to tack up.
                              I could care less about tig but the ability to do legitimate work from a 20A circuit is dam near priceless and if I was less than a full timer (and there are those too) but for a 400$ genset plug and play that sips fuel. Run on 240V with 100+ ft of 10 or 12 wire cord.
                              A decade earlier we would have never considered building from 120V, would have pizzed a barrel of fuel away in a simple fab as you go. Granted I would have hooked up another electric.

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