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The 210 or 180SD for race car chassis welding?

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  • The 210 or 180SD for race car chassis welding?

    First time poster here. Sorry for the length of this post.

    I mig welded many years ago with a 110 welder. I got to the point where I could lay a pretty good bead and was able to weld my exhaust and roll cage.

    Since I am now getting back into the drag racing scene again, I am basically starting from scratch and looking to get a welder to do similar jobs, including rear chassis subframe work (tubbing) and cage work. Since I have mig welded before and it seems the easiest to learn, I planned on going with the more powerful 210 unit.

    I have seen a couple of people recommending the 180SD tig machine to perform cage work (on chrome moly) and aluminum. I have never tigged before, but I do not want that to sway the decision as I am willing to learn.

    Since money is always an issue, I do not (or should I say I cannot) purchase both a mig and tig machine. I plan on proceeding with either machine I get very slowly until I have enough practice. As always, safety is my number 1 concern and will not even attempt something as important as chassis work until an experienced welder comments on my technique. I will also look for classes (adult evening) to take.

    Will the tig unit be too slow to perform work like this? The 180SD I believe can weld up to 3/16" steel, but I am not sure that is enough for say a prepackaged rear subframe from S&W or Chassis Engineering.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
    ________________
    Greg

    Miller 210
    Diversion 165

  • #2
    Welcome aboard!

    As stated in a number of previous posts, TIG is the best way to weld 4130 material in a tubing application. That said, I know there are people that have MIG welded this but it is not a good idea as the short arc process tends to make the area surrounding the weld brittle. If you are planning to follow a particular sanctioning body rules, you may be required to TIG this anyway. Fopr mild steel tube MIG is no problem. The Sync 180 will do anything chassis wise you need to do and yes it does take quite a bit longer. As you said, MIG will be easier for you to pick back up. Most of the chassis we build here are MIG welded unless the customer states he wants TIG. A TIG welded chassis is a bunch more money. I do TIG most of our suspension parts like control arms, shock mounts etc. I guess I would have to ask myself these questions.

    What rules do I have to follow if any?
    How fast do I need to get this job done?
    Do I need to do critical Aluminum work like tanks or manifolds?
    Do I have enough power in the garage/shop for a TIG machine?
    Does this have to be a Chrome-moly chassis?
    Is the subframe yo intend on purchasing a Chrome-moly piece?
    Can I use a friends TIG machine to get a realistic idea of the skill needed or to get some pointers?

    All these questions will help you qualify what type of machine needed. If it were me, I would choose a TIG because of it being the most versitile but the only problem with that is, I already know how to weld with it. If I were in your shoes, I might be inclined to go with the MIG if I could do the job with out using any 4130 stuff.

    Sorry this is not a definitive answer but I hope it helps you out.

    Andy

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the help. I really didn't plan on using any cm parts that needed to be welded. The rear clip is steel, so that would be able to be migged.

      I have 200 amp service in my house, panel right in the garage. I just need to add a dedicated line for the 220 volt for either the 210 or 180SD unit.

      I do not know anyone that has a tig, so I cannot borrow one. I have a feeling I will go with the MIG unless someone else has another suggestion.
      ________________
      Greg

      Miller 210
      Diversion 165

      Comment


      • #4
        andy coverd it

        tig will weld anything but is slower.
        if you can MIG all the metals you intend to use it will be faster for you..do you have to comlpy with any track roules on your car fab.?
        you seem to have power coverd.if you have the time TIG, if not MIG.

        MIG was invented for speed, not to be better than TIG just faster.TIG will give you a better weld with more aplications, just slower.
        thanks for the help
        ......or..........
        hope i helped
        sigpic
        feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
        summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
        JAMES

        Comment


        • #5
          I plan to be doing drag racing within the NHRA rules. As long as mild steel is used for the cage, mig is fine.

          The time to me is not an issue (this isn't going to be a profession for me).If a main hoop takes twice as long with tig, that is acceptable. I would think the tig weld would be stronger (or am I making an incorrect assumption?).

          I also believe that down the road the tig would allow me to do other things I hadn't even considered. As far as aluminum work, in my car would mostly be the dash and the rear floor kit along with the wheel tubs. I am not sure if most people weld this or maybe just rivet it together.

          It seems the tig is the way to go, even though I have never done it before. I am a quick learner, but I need to find the correct methods (either class or book) that will help me advance.
          ________________
          Greg

          Miller 210
          Diversion 165

          Comment


          • #6
            pdog,

            Welcome and good luck with the decision making process. Your assumption that a TIG weld (properly prepared and welded of course) is stonger than a MIG weld is correct.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks Hawk. I was told that years ago but never really heard the explanation why.
              ________________
              Greg

              Miller 210
              Diversion 165

              Comment


              • #8
                pdog,

                The easiest explantion is by nature of the process. It is a fusion weld with filler added as needed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would highly suggest that if you have never tig welded before that you not jump in the deep end with a brand new machine and try to build a car. Tig welding takes tons more patience than mig welding and is much more difficult, especially in hard to reach places. You have to remember, instead of just sticking a single gun in there and pulling the trigger, you now have to get both hands up there, a torch, a filler rod and your foot on the foot pedal and be able to operate it. You will spend more time sharpening your tungestens to start with than you will welding.

                  Dont get me wrong, tig is a great thing, I own both a miller 200 wire welder and a miller 180SD tig and I build cars all day every day. The wire welder gets used 90% of the time. For small stuff, headers, moly and aluminum, the tig gets used, but for general welding and chassis fabrication, the mig is my choice.

                  Also, a huge benefit to welding on chassis is to get a small gun for the mig welder. There are a lot of times you just cant get the big gun into tight spaces.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I will take your advice since your everyday work is what I plan on doing on a personal level. Your mention of a smaller gun for the mig, can you change guns on the Miller 210?

                    I totally see what you mean regarding having to do more things at once with tig. There will be times you will be under the car welding and tig may be near impossible to perform.
                    ________________
                    Greg

                    Miller 210
                    Diversion 165

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      student package

                      might i sugjest you order the miller student package.It has some realy good TIG and MIG books in it and you also get a set of welding calculators for TIG,MIG, amd stick. I orderd it and was impresed with what you get, it is well werth the $25.00 shipping included. and you get a mail in coopon for a miller geens jacket with the purchas of a welder ,(verry nice jacket)All in all werth a lot more than $25.00, i atached a pic of what you get.

                      here is a link to it but you can call miller and order over the phone if you want
                      http://www.millerwelds.com/education/tools/

                      good luck with your new welder and happy building
                      Attached Files
                      thanks for the help
                      ......or..........
                      hope i helped
                      sigpic
                      feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
                      summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
                      JAMES

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That looks well worth the $25.

                        It looks like they also sell training videos, I wonder how good they are?
                        ________________
                        Greg

                        Miller 210
                        Diversion 165

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pdog
                          I will take your advice since your everyday work is what I plan on doing on a personal level. Your mention of a smaller gun for the mig, can you change guns on the Miller 210?

                          I totally see what you mean regarding having to do more things at once with tig. There will be times you will be under the car welding and tig may be near impossible to perform.

                          The MM210 comes withg a M 25 gun, and I am sure you could swap out for a M 15. Stay with one brand for all your guns if possible to allow use of the same consumables on both.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'll give my impression of the why TIG is referred to as stronger than MIG. TIG, like OAW, makes it very easy to see the puddle, and therefore see that you are getting good fusion. (TIG has the advantage over OAW of a higher concentration of heat, which means a lower HAZ.) As you add filler, you can see very well that it's going into the puddle of the base metal, and not just sitting on top of it.

                            And that leads me to MIG. It is possible, if you don't yet know how to see it, to make a MIG weld with very little fusion. The wire is constantly being fed into the puddle, but that isn't a guarantee that there is any fusion with the base metal. So it's possible to get a nice looking bead that really just sits on top of the base metal. Still, it is also possible to get a nice looking bead that has excellent fusion. And I would say that someone who really knows how to see the difference in a MIG weld, and has a good MIG welder, could make MIG welds with comparable strength to a TIG weld. Andy has some fine examples that he's posted in previous posts.

                            The difference, as I see it, is that it's much easier to see the quality with TIG than with MIG. The difficulty in seeing fusion in the MIG weld certainly erodes one's confidence for critical applications.


                            Having said that, I just happen to have the two machines you are considering. They are both great machines (for their power ratings). I'd drive a race car welded with either one (using mild steel), assuming the operator was skilled at the process. I'd even trust myself to do it. Having the choice in my garage, I'd probably use the MM210 because the number of welds and the time. In my experience MIG is several times faster than TIG, but that may depend fully on the weldor.

                            I got my SD180 first, though, and if I had to choose one or the other again, I'd do it in the same order. The TIG is more flexible as far as what it can do, and other than speed and max power, it isn't a compromise at all.

                            Finally, don't be daunted by the TIG learning curve. I did start with OAW, which makes the transition easier, but I really think that a person could learn TIG pretty easily. The only thing that is tricky, IMHO, is that you have three limbs working at the same time, which is more than the other processes. Take it slow, break it down, and it will come. Run beads without filler, and then you just have to worry about the torch and the pedal. The pedal movement will be minor at first, so you're really just focusing on the torch. Once you get that down, work on the pedal for controlling heat. When you have that, work on adding filler. A comfortable position is very helpful in the beginning, and I prefer a tall table with a tallish stool to sit on. It's like learning to drive a manual transmission, in that it's a little awkward at first, but becomes second nature with experience.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And just when I thought I was set on the 210.

                              Thanks INTP, I never really thought about the whole "mig weld may look nice, but how strong is the actual weld" side of it. That makes me a little nervous. I have migged before, and the welds held nice on the cage I did. The problem around here in central NJ is that I do not know of any welding classes I could take. I checked the 2 local votech schools, and they have a welding class (started in Sept but hopefully I can get in for the next semester).

                              The program summary is as follows:

                              Welding Basic/Advanced – OFC-OFW, SMAW, 6TAW and GMAW will be covered. The student will learn metals in general use today and the process best suited to the work.

                              Not sure if this is a general welding class, or if you can specify the type of welding you would like to do. Probably general.
                              ________________
                              Greg

                              Miller 210
                              Diversion 165

                              Comment

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