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Review: TigButton from TigControl.com (Lots of pictures!)

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  • Review: TigButton from TigControl.com (Lots of pictures!)

    I was trying to learn tig using an old RFC-14 foot pedal, and it really wasn't working for me. My choices were to buy a better foot pedal (I was leaning strongly towards a SSC model), or, since I don't have a shop (or even a garage) and will thus be welding mobile or in the driveway, a hand control. Of all the hand controls I looked at, I liked the tigbutton the most, as you don't have to try to move anything, just press harder, with any finger from any side at any angle. Since you're not changing your grip at all, it doesn't bump the torch and make you need to re-grind yet again.

    So, what is it? It's a pressure-sensitive button amperage control. You press lightly, it closes the contactor circuit. The harder you press, the more current you get. The button is firm, and doesn't move - it just senses pressure.

    I emailed Dave since https://tigcontrol.com/ doesn't have online ordering (you can also order them from http://www.6061.com/tigbutton.htm if you don't want to talk to a person, but Dave is fun to talk to), who assured me it was exactly the thing I needed and I should most definitely buy it , and soon enough, I had a box!

    Click image for larger version

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    I ordered an extra sensor, since there are two styles, a minimalist one and one with a metal bracket, as I wasn't sure which one I'd like. The control box has the unit's brains, and is where you connect the welder-specific control cable, the cable to the sensor, and the included power supply. It also came with some velcro to mount the control box to the welder, some velcro loops to attach the sensor bracket to the torch handle, and some zip ties for securing the wire. A single page of instructions was included too.

    Installing the sensor on my torch was easy. I opted for the one with the metal bracket, since I have large paws, and it was easier to press.
    Click image for larger version

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    Next step was running the control wire along the torch lead. If you're already using a jacket on your torch lead, this will be trivial. Since I have a gas-cooled torch, and I didn't want a bulky jacket just to add the little control wire, I instead used a little piece of self-fusing silicone tape every foot or so. Rescue Tape is the most widely known brand of similar tape, but I buy the industrial stuff much cheaper on ebay.
    Click image for larger version

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    Then, just had to plug it into the welder, and the power supply into an extension cord, and it was ready to go. I haven't stuck the velcro on yet.
    Click image for larger version

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    And my first welds with it!
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    Yeah, the welds aren't great, but the button wasn't the problem there... I'm still new at this!


    I found the TigButton very, very easy to use. It doesn't have a learning curve. You just start welding. It's better than a foot pedal to an amazing degree. Press a little, you get a little arc. Press a lot, you get a lot of arc. Let go, arc stops. It's faster than a foot pedal, since you don't need to actually move anything, with it responding instantly to your muscle tension.

    Pros:
    Absolutely amazing.
    Very intuitive.
    Easy to install. I spent way more time taking photos for everyone than actually installing anything.
    Available in multiple button styles.
    Available for just about every machine that doesn't require a rheostat control. I went for 14 pin miller, obviously. Syncros get a special extra-shielded version to keep the HF from biting you.
    Actual amperage control, not just a trigger switch.
    Well built.
    Excellent customer support.
    If you opt for the low-profile sensor, slimmer than every other hand control.
    Made in USA.
    Cheaper than many foot pedals and other hand controls.
    Lifetime warranty on the control box.

    Cons:
    Needs a separate power adapter. Dave said they don't use the welder's power because most brands don't have power available on the foot pedal connector. The included adapter will run off 240V as well, so you can put a plug on your 120/240 welder and it'll work on whichever voltage you connect it to. Not a problem for stationary installs.
    Needs a wire ran to the torch, making a simple gas cooled torch lead setup more complicated.
    While well built, it could be a bit more industrial. Sensors and connectors might get damaged at busy job sites.
    No sensitivity adjustment.
    Included wire is not heat-resistant, and I'm not following the directions by using it without a sleeve.
    Might make you complain next time you have to use a machine with a foot pedal.

    Verdict:
    All welders should have one of these.


    I'm planning on buying a CK superflex lead, as the big rubber hose I'm using keeps twisting the torch and driving me nuts. I'll probably go for the expandable nylon cable sleeving (the open-weave kind without a zipper, that gets wider when you squish it) for a cleaner install of the control cable to go with the flexible lead. I'll probably post an update when I do this, as well as solving the second-power-cord annoyance.

    I took some more photos, but there's a 5 attachment limit, so I'll add them to a follow-up post. Hope this helps someone!

  • #2
    More photos, batch 1:
    Click image for larger version

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    Comment


    • #3
      More photos, batch 2:
      Click image for larger version

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ID:	608553

      Comment


      • #4
        Nice writeup and pics. Thanks! Several people here have bought these, and I don't think I remember a single complaint. I have been welding so little the last couple of years due to family health issues that I haven't sprung for one yet, but certainly thinking about it.

        Comment


        • #5
          This has been reviewed here since they came out. Seems like I recall the report was they don’t hold up in an industrial/commercial environment. Can’t say for myself.

          I talked to Dave a while back. He was supposed to set a tig button up for me that worked on two different machines and then I never heard back. Not sure why. Doesn’t matter at this point.

          Glad it’s working out for you though, bushytails. And I agree with Wayne, very thorough write up and review.

          Comment

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