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want to learn tig-need machine advice pls

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  • want to learn tig-need machine advice pls

    Hello all! I am very interested in learning tig welding, and have some questions. I have a MM210 and have some mig experience. My use will be strictly mild steel, in automotive use, doing body work and suspension work as well. I would like to use it on sheetmetal as thin as 16-18 gauge, up to maybe a max of 3/16 plate, though 1/8" wall dom tubing will likely be the thickest I would normally weld. I am trying to learn tig, and if I understang correctly, steel uses DC only. I honestly have no plans in ever welding aluminum at all. If steel is 100% of my use, is a Maxstar 200 a good choice? And how would this compare to the Syncrowave 180? I don't have an unlimited bank account, but I don't want to buy a machine only to outgrow it. What would you recommend thanks very much!

  • #2

    hi, you are correct about mild steel using DC. Are you sure that you will never want to weld aluminum? I own a syncrowave 250 and I am very happy with it. The man you want to talk to is HAWK he seems to have a great knowledge of tig machines.



    • #3
      The real question is portability. I was making this same decision a few months ago. If you need something portable, nothing beats an inverter machine (maxstar). The maxstar is basically a DC only version of their top end machine (dynasty). If you are 1000% confident that you have no intention of tig welding aluminum or no intention of it in the future, you will not be sacrificing any features with the maxstar. If you think there is a chance you may start doing aluminum, the price difference between the maxstar and the dynasty will make you very sorry that you didn't choose the better machine. As far as the Syncrowave machine goes, I would probably leave that one to HAWK as he has a lot of experience with them, but it weighs in at over 200lbs (for a synch 180) and is by no means portable, only runs on 220V single phase. The maxstar will run on anything from standard 120V House current up to 440V 3 phase and auto detect and configure itself appropriately. If you plan on working with thin material, I would strongly suggest a DX model for it's pulsing ability. As I said before I was shopping a few months ago, and I was looking strongly at the maxstar 200, but someone had talked me into the dynasty, and I'm glad they did. These units are expensive, and will probably be with you for a long time, its not something that you want to outgrow, or underbuy. If you spend the extra few $ now, you won't be sorry later.


      • #4
        Almost any dc stick mach. will do. Set it dc straight polarity air cooled tig tortch set up for 3/32 tungsten (2% tungston 3/32 collett,diffuser for tortch head couple of diff. size cups no.4-no.6 section of gas hose,flow meter,bottle of argon,something to sharpen tungston with. This is scratch start tig (no foot peddle), some 70s 3/32 tig wire. You're ready to rock. Practice practice easy ounce you get the hang of it. Revpol P.S. make sure your practice pieces are ground clean tig requires clean metal No paint no rust no impurites(oil dirt,ect.)beware of drafts, set flowmeter somewhere between 10&20


        • #5
          Well thanks for the quick responses guys, I appreciate!! In all of the car building I have ever done, I honestly have never had the need for aluminum fabrication, it has been all steel for myself. I do definitely know what you mean about underbuying, as I myself have been guilty of that, and I certainly don't want that to happen with this purchase! If my only loss with the Maxstar vs. Dynasty would be use on Aluminum, I can honestly say I am 1000% sure that the aluminum is not an issue for me. Portability is honestly not an issue either way, as its use would be really limited to my shop, which is wired for 220 as well. I could be wrong, but one thing I think I have understood the Syncrowave 180 offers is better AC capability, which again for my personal use is not an advantage for mild steel use Well again, I thank you three for the great info, and welcome any advice! I have also heard that HAWK knows a thing or two about Tigs as well!


          • #6

            Welcome to the forum.

            I must agree with revpol that a good DC stick machine can be used for scratch start tig. They are much less expensive than a Maxstar 200 and will certainly let you experience first hand the frustration associated with learning the art of tig welding. If you want to stay with it, then by all means the Maxstar 200DX is a great machine as is the Dynasty 200DX if you think you may venture out to working with aluminum and/or magnesium.

            Since you have made it clear that you do not want to underbuy and aluminum is not and issue, then it sounds like the Maxstar 200DX would be a fine choice. Since it is an inverter machine rated at 200 amps you have the ability to tig weld 1/4" mild steel in a 40 lb package that will operate from 100-500 volts single or 3 phase power by simply "plugging up". It will not produce the 200 amp output on 120 volts, but will give 100 amps or so depending on your branch circuit's current carrying capacity. On 220 VAC the machine is up and running at full capacity. This is a true TIG/STICK machine lending first quality full featured capability to the professional and hobby tig welder alike. It is also a fantastic 200 amp DC stick machine with adjustable dig to keep those hard to burn 6010's smoking.

            In addition to the Maxstar200DX (do get the DX model with the pulse features) you will need the accessories. The Miller contractor's kit is the easiest way to go. For about $480 you can have all the goodies: Tig torch with assorted collets and tungsten samples form .040" to 3/32", argon regulator, hoses, couplers, torch adapter for the Maxstar, either foot or hand amptrol depending on personal preference and part number. The foot control is easier to learn to use, but the hand controller is nice in tight spots. I prefer the foot control for in shop use. I use a hand controller in the field.

            Once again: DECISIONS, DECISIONS.


            • #7

              Do you still have your Maxstar200 for sale or did ya already move it?

              Also dhdh71,

              I think it best to stay away from the stick machine route. As Hawk says, you will find a level of frustration that you really could avoid. Especially on the thinner stuff that you specified. The stick machine will most likely have no remote functions and will make it difficult to di fine work on the thinner material.

              The Sync 180 is also a good machine for starters and offers nice DC welding. It is however quite a bit bigger and alot heavier (210lb) but comes complete withall the goodies. It's bottom end amps is around 10 so for doing the material you want to do, it would be just fine. The Sync 180 also pulls more power from the wall so if power consumption is an issue,go with the Maxstar.

              Hope this helps.



              • #8
                look for a used syncrowave, you can get sweet machine that willnever let you down for under 2000.00 and never regret it...............


                • #9
                  At the hobbyist level, a Maxstar 150 sth, should be a good unit for 1/8" and thinner steel.


                  • #10
                    Good point Dan!

                    I forgot about the new 150STH. It too is a great little inverter with HF starts.



                    • #11

                      I have still have my Maxstar 200DX for sale. Perhaps dhdh71 is interested.


                      • #12
                        Well I must thank everybody for being so helpful-It's so nice to learn from all of your experience! I have a question about what a pulse machine offers as an advantage over a machine that does not pulse, and also the difference between an "inverter" and "transformer" power supply. I have learned(I think) that inverter machines are lighter, and offer a variety of wiring configurations, but what would each offer in terms of ease of use/quality of weld for my steel use? I hope I didn't butcher those terms to embarrass myself any more that I have to ! Again-thanks to all for the great info!


                        • #13

                          The pulse feature is a "must" for welding thinner material. I use it for .065" and thinner to lessen the heat input and help stabilize the arc. The main pulse features are setting the pulse rate in PPS (pulses per second), the background amperage which is calculated as a percentage of your main amperage and the peak time (the amount of time the arc stays at the maximum amperage). Here is an example: 1.5 PPS ; 50% Peak ; 30% Background amperage. Your main amperage is adjusted by you depending on material thickness. You can also use pulsing to add filler rod. It is really easy to get the stacked nickles effect using the pulser this way once the technique is learned.

                          Tranformers versus Inverters have been covered several times in past posts and a book can be written on the subject. Do a search, if you like, to locate previous posts. Here are the basics concerning use not function. Inverters are smaller, ligter, portable, have excellent arc quality and make it much easier to add the extra frills such as the pulse functions. The Maxstar 200 has the Auto-Line feature allowing for great flexibility in input voltage: 120-460VAC 1 or 3 phase. These values are plus/minus 10%.

                          Transformer machines are heavier, larger, not too portable, and typcially have a fixed input supply voltage or must be internally rewired to accept a different input line voltage. It is also more difficult to incorporate pulse functions.

                          Both are good machines and the transformer welders have been the industry mainstay for years. Inverters have been around long enough to get all the bugs worked out and are a true engineering marvel.

                          The inverters are typically easier to use with their digital menus and highly stable arc. I have owned both types through the years. One day I went on a cleaning spree and all that is left is my Trailblazer engine drive and 2 inverters (Maxstar 200 and Dynasty 200). My Maxstar would not be for sale except I really needed the Dynasty for my aluminum work.


                          • #14
                            Thanks for that info hawk-that helps alot! I will contact you soon about your Maxstar, I just wrecked my car thanks to a 16 year old that had his license for a week and a half. He is at fault, he was cited. I do not have full collision on my car(its a 96' Honda). His insurance co. is fighting me(suprise) so I have to get my transportation issues straightened out! Its always something!