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Foot Pedal or Handwheel to Learn TIG - Diversion 180

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  • Foot Pedal or Handwheel to Learn TIG - Diversion 180

    Hi,

    I'm looking for some friendly advice.

    Four years ago I bought a new Diversion 180 that was on sale. My intention was to learn TIG. I'm a late bloomer. Early 60s now. Life got in the way and I never even plugged it in. Now I have a little time, so I'm going to try my hand at it. I've watched lots of videos and probably should just start working with it.

    Over the last few years I have picked up a few different torches when they have been on sale. One of the torches came with a wheel control that attaches to the torch handle that can be used in place of a foot pedal. The guy who sold it to me was really enthusiastic about it. I have heard other people who aren't so thrilled.

    The advice I'm hoping to get is about which one would likely be easier to get the basics down with... the foot pedal that came with the Diversion or the hand control.

    Anyone go through the same process?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Jeff

  • #2
    Hey,

    Something I forgot to mention...

    The Diversion 180 came with a Weldcraft torch that also had a smaller thumb wheel on the handle. I did some searching... and those torches don't seem to be available any longer. I'm wondering if I should just go ahead and switch out to one of the other torches.

    Thanks,

    Jeff

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    • #3
      From my personal experience I like the foot pedals the best, probably because that is what I learned on. I have never practiced for hours with the hand controls though, just used them enough to know it doesn't feel comfortable. I have a hard time keeping the torch steady while trying to move the thumb wheel. I have a foot pedal plus both a north/south and an east/west unit.
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      • #4
        I'm in the foot pedal camp, but that's what I learned on. Learning to TIG is enough without not only trying to steady the torch but also use the thumb wheel. That said you may take right to it, since you have both give them a try, my money is on the foot pedal though
        Richard

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        • #5
          FOOT pedal? ****, that would have been a lot easier than using my armpit all this time!

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          • #6
            Hi Everyone,

            Thanks for all the replies. I'll follow the advice and start out with the foot pedal.

            Just a side question... I signed up for the Miller forum shortly after I bought the TIG. If I remember correctly, there were sub-forums for different processes... TIG, MIG, Plasma... Was that changed, or am I missing something?

            Thanks,

            Jeff

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            • #7
              I find the subforums to be more trouble than useful. Too many topics are either in the wrong subforum or don't fit a specific forum and I can rarely find which forum a thread was in because it makes it more difficult to search for them, especially when someone uses a "subject" that doesn't contain the key words of their actual subject. I just use "New Posts" and check them all out regularly enough. I don't know any regular member who just uses a few of the subforums and doesn't look at every new thread subject anyway.

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              • #8
                Armpit? I never thought of that....

                some guys swear by the thumb doofloppy, but for me, I just suck so bad I'd rather hold the foot pedal between my knees like a thigh master. Done that plenty of times. Why can't tig welding always be nice and flat on my welding bench? ....and clean, with a perfect fit up and a cold beer.....

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                • #9
                  Sometimes, it's funny how this learning thing works. When I first got into tig, using my Diversion 165, I found it very clumsy to use the torch controls for starting and adjusting current. So, I made a pedal, which made learning much easier. I, almost forgot all about using the torch controls, until one day a few months ago when I had a small tack job. So, instead of hooking up the pedal, I just grabbed the torch and went to work. I was, immediately, surprised at how easy the torch controls were to use, even though I had never practiced with them. Obviously, there was a transference of skills from pedal to handle, as I learned how to tig. Now, it is, almost, second nature to manipulate the arc, torch, puddle, and rod, while pulsing with my foot or finger.

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                  • #10
                    My mentor at my first job often used a motorized turntable for circular parts.
                    It was amazing to watch him tig.
                    Right hand manipulating torch, left hand feeding wire,
                    right foot controlling amperage, left foot controlling turntable speed.

                    His amusing answer when I asked him how he did all this so well was:
                    "Same way you get to Carnegie Hall - practice"

                    Might be similar to how a drummer can work all his hands and feet independently.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Burnt hands View Post
                      ...Might be similar to how a drummer can work all his hands and feet independently.
                      I assumed it was the drugs.

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                      • #12
                        Friendly advice...hmm?
                        I've got lots actually. Some of it beneficial, some that hold some value, and some...sketchy at best.

                        So...if I was going to offer advice that was beneficial I'd tell you something before we got started. I'd say...get me a pencil an paper I have some drawing to do. I'd draw a quick picture explaining torch angle, torch inclination, arc length, tungsten profiles and follow it by using my flash light and the beam of light to show the effects of what I speak.

                        Then I'd talk a bit about body position how to hold the torch, and suggestions for positioning based on visibility of the joint, weld pool, manipulation, movement and progression. I'd tell you not to sit.

                        I know I should explain this. Those that sit get comfortable, being comfortable is good but if it's at the expense of torch angle, inclination, seeing what your doing, remember this, you won't improve as quickly. That and most welding doesn't get done sitting down.

                        I'd throw in some fancy talk about hard icream soft and soft ice cream but still do my best to explain the effects of heat, temperature, and how to control them.
                        If you were a quick study I might tell you about the physics of the GTAW flame, but that does get a bit deep.

                        Most don't think enough on how to use your body position to make things easier rather then harder.
                        The torch is held like your gripping the Johnson or like a pencil, or a variation of both maybe? But relax, it doesn't bite and a light touch is good.
                        The fingers can be used as a pivot. The wrist is to twist and turn, the elbow up and down, the shoulder in and out. That's your range of motion.

                        But whether using a foot pedal or a torch control I'm going to say it doesn't matter as much as how you set them for welding.
                        Your car has a gas peddle. if the max speed on the roads is 60mph...coming to a steep hill could require more gas. So if you set the foot pedal for just the max amperage to do the job, coming to a thicker section you could have problems.
                        That and your foot will be bent over uncomfortable trying to reach it. Makes it hard to remain consistent. Having lots more amperage then required means your foot isn't as out stretched, more comfortable and any variations in pedal pressure won't be as noticeable. More important on some metals then others but it makes a difference.
                        I don't use my right foot I use my left. Being right handed my weight when I'm lazy shifts to my right foot, that again leads to inconsistent pedal pressure.

                        As for the thumb slide on the torch... about the same applies except for again, trying to change amperage on the fly. At that point an extreme amperage spread between what is required and what may be needed isn't as advisable. To much rolling. Better off to be closer so you can easily reduce heat as needed knowing you have enough set to do the job, that being the difference in my opinion.

                        I should also mention...set the pedal and slide to the side.
                        Discover scratch start, lift arc, or what ever they call it these days and remember this, some drive a little faster, some drive a little slower, but if in a forward progression if you can't maintain the same size of puddle over the distance of expected travel with out things changing drastically then you have something to correct.

                        One more thing...remember the filler rod is the torches dance partner. It's angle in relation to the torch is important as well. That said, most tilt the torch to much, that causes the rods end to blob. The idea is understanding how they work together. The rod should be small enough to melt easily, yet large enough to chill the puddle. That little gem of knowledge is easily forgotten.

                        Good luck.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MAC702 View Post

                          I assumed it was the drugs.
                          Absolutely, helps with focus and eliminates distraction your whole world is that glowing spot of melted metal.

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                          • #14
                            Well said.
                            A lot of my customers have bought their own machines. Found out it isn't as easy as we make it look. Expensive lesson IMO

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