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Confused about tig purchase!

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  • Confused about tig purchase!


    I am new here and can really use some thoughts from you guys on which tig machine to purchase. I can really use some help sifting through the good advice and BS I have recieved from my suppliers and others.

    I am planning on purchasing a tig machine for my resto shop in the next couple of months. I have been researching out alot of machines and I am still trying to decide between the Miller dynasty 200dx, the thermal arc 185, and possibly the syncrowave 250dx. I could use some help figuring out which machine would fit the bill best. It will be used for everything from sheetmetal work to 1/8" steel chassis repair, etc. I want to be able to do aluminum well when I need to do it, but it is not something that will be done daily.

    It is great that there is a large selection out there but I have never been more confused about a machine purchase.

    I originally wanted to spend under $2000 as the machine will only get occasional usage, but when it gets used, I need a professional machine, not a toy.

    In the under $2000 range the syncrowave 180 seems to be a nice basic machine but the thermal arc is mighty tempting at roughly the same price especially since my local dealer is a service station for thermal arc.

    If I can afford it, the dynasty 200 is a really nice package as well. But my supplier keeps pointing out that the syncrowave 250 without the cooler is right around the same price and has an addl 110 amps. I would have to upgrade my service though as I have only 50amps now and I think it needs 90-100.

    My local supplier keeps stating that the 200dx is overpriced and that the TA185 and the sync 250 are realy the only two machines to consider.

    He said the sync 180 is a nice machine but he has had alot of guys trade up to bigger machines shortly after buying them, I dont want to end up in that situation.

    To complicate things further, my supplier and several others keep telling me that inverters are disposable items given the cost to fix them and that unless you need portability not to bother with them. And if you do need an inverter, get a TA as they are cheaper and just as disposable as the dynasty when they die.

    The general concensus also is that the syncrowaves have a better resale value as they can be repaired, while purchasing a used dynasty is a shot in the dark.

    All I do know, is that when comparing a syncrowave and a dynasty side by side there is no question in my mind which one is cheaper to produce.

    Man, I ended up with a long post here, sorry, but as you can see, I have been researching these things in my spare time on and off for a couple months now, and still am no closer to being able to make a decision.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  • #2
    Welcome, Nick.

    You'll get a bunch of feedabck on this. I do not own a TIG rig, but as a frequent participant on this board, I can tell you for CERTAIN that no Dynasty owner feels he/she has a "disposable" inverter. It gets a high price because it's WORTH it! And the warranty is **** good, too, so the Miller guys must have faith in it!

    As for the transfomer based machines, if space, weight and current draw are not an issue for you, you can't get hurt with a Sync 250.

    ...from the Gadget Garage
    Millermatic 210 w/3035, BWE
    Handler 210 w/DP3035
    Victor O/A "J" series, SuperRange


    • #3
      All three machines are reliable and everyone holds it value really well.
      I think I would go with the Thermal 185 and think about selling it in a three years
      to buy another upgraded unit by then. The Thermal has had a really good run in it's reliablity with that model.


      • #4
        Honestly I don't think you could go wrong with any machine of those. The 180SD is a nice basic machine and is value priced. I personally own a Dynasty 200dx and I love it. I purchased it because of the pulser, size and high adjustability. The 250DX is also a great machine, has alot of power, but was a bit large for my shop. I also liked the inverter idea because they don't use alot of power
        J & J Speed Shop
        (716) 830-0506
        [email protected]


        • #5
          I have a Sync 250 at work and have no complaints with it, should last forever.


          • #6
            I think that when the dust settles here you may not be any closer than you are now. I have a Maxstar 150 STL which performs extremely well for what it was designed for. My opinion would be that if you want to keep the purchase cost under $2000, don't want to upgrade your input power, and have a TA repair center close, then the TA 185 will certinly do whatever you need. If you have the extra money I don't think that the Dynasty 200DX is overpriced (just expensive) for what you get (there have been no complaints from owners here), and there are none on the used market that I can find (there don't seem to be any used TA 185's either). As far as inverters being throwaways, I don't believe that (I will probably be in trouble saying that), at least for the quality built ones. Anyway Miller (I don't know about TA) have outstanding warrenties and you have three years to break it. As Scott said, sell it and get a new one after 2 1/2 years as you will most likely get near what you paid for it and if its for a business then you can write it off anyway as an expence. Thats enough for me, and welcome.....
            Regards, George

            Hobart Handler 210 w/DP3035 - Great 240V small Mig
            Hobart Handler 140 - Great 120V Mig
            Hobart Handler EZ125 - IMO the best 120V Flux Core only machine

            Miller Dynasty 200DX with cooler of my design, works for me
            Miller Spectrum 375 - Nice Cutter


            • #7
              I have welded with a transformer machine and inverters and in professional hands It makes no difference all three are good choices. In the learning curve and teaching mode the added features of the Dynasty200 DX will help. The pulse is a great training aid and helped me immensely on Aluminum.

              My vote is for the Dynasty 200 DX, if you can swing it. I love mine!



              • #8
                I agree with pj, the Dynasty 200DX is a solid machine and was very easy for me to learn on.

                I'm a hobby user and power usage was an issue for me. The Dynasty is a miser when idling. The Syncowaves are great machines but heavy (not portable) and suck up power.

                Best of luck with your decision, they are all great machines.
                Bob Sigmon
                Dynasty 200DX w/ Coolmate 3
                Miller Passport
                LMSW-52T Spot Welder
                A/O Setup with Meco Midget
                Miller Big Window Elite
                Quincy QT-5HD


                • #9
                  I still get the feeling from your post that you still need to reconcile just how much you want to spend. Just judging from the frequency of use and the things you want to do the 180 accomplishes the price and performance issues you started out with. Now if you are saying that your budgeting really isn't $2,000 but some amount higher then the other machines come into play. The 180 "might" get pushed out given the increase in budget and the fact that you can buy more options.....

                  In your case it might not be "bigger is better" but what will get the job done. I haven't heard of any one who is capable NOT making nice welds with the 180.
                  MM210 w/3035
                  Next up - Sync 200


                  • #10
                    Here's a nice spread sheet that ConradTurbo did awhile back. He did quite a bit of research on the subject.



                    • #11
                      Don't believe you could go wrong with any of the machines your looking at. As far as inverters being throw aways I don't believe it. I have both a syncrowave 180 and a dynasty dx and like them both. Either would serve you well for your stated tasks but .. if you can swing it my vote goes to the dynasty dx. It is easy and economical on input power and extreemly versital, runs single or three phase power from 110 ac up, just plug it in ( You did say you wanted a professional machine)
                      By the way both these machines hold their value and are in demand as used equipment.
                      Good luck on your search and decision
                      Craftsman Colormatic AC
                      Victor Journyman Setup
                      Syncrowave 180 SD
                      MM210 With Spoolgun
                      Dynasty 200 DX
                      Spectrum 625 Plasma Cutter
                      Miller HD Tape Measure


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the replies so far, all are very helpfull.

                        Yes, I am still undecided about how much money I want to spend on the machine. I initially was thinking between 1500-2000 dollars. But the last thing I want to do is underbuy. I have done it in the past with other stuff trying to save money only to either live with it or lose money trading up.

                        It seems like the dynasty 200 is the machine to get if I was going to/can afford to spend the extra cash.

                        But the TA is looking more and more like a budget dynasty to me. I wanted to get a Miller but a $1200.00 difference is a bit hard to swallow when looking at the specs. There are differences, but $1200 worth?

                        And when comparing the TA to the sync 180, I am not sure it is worth trying to compare them.

                        About the dynasty, the machine alone is about 2300 or so, then the contractor kit is about 500-550, is the cont kit a good value or can the torch, pedal, reg, etc, be purchased cheaper?

                        I was toying around with the thought of possibly going water cooled and running filtered tap water through the torch for now until I build/buy a cooler, anyone doing this?

                        Has anyone used both the TA and the dynasty? It is looking like those two machines are the top picks with the sync 180 being a budget way to stay with a miller machine if I cant swing the dynasty.

                        Thanks for all the help so far,


                        • #13
                          If you are going to run tap water you have to make sure that it not COLD water, if you cool the torch below the dew point you are apt to contaminate your welds with condensation. especially in the hot humid summer.


                          • #14
                            Thanks pumpkinhead, I think I read that in the miller tig book as well. I guess I would have to hook it up to a faucet then to warm the water up a bit. That might be a PITA and make it worth while to stay with the gas cooled.

                            I figure though that if water cooled is truly better, how hard can it be to jury rig up some type of cooling system?


                            • #15
                              As long as it can do 45 psi @ 1 gpm, go for it.