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  • foot controll vs thumb wheel

    just used a thumb wheel on a GTAW machine for the first time about a month ago, hated it right off the get go. but i wanted to give it a fair shot so i gave it a month, well i still hate it! it would be OK if you were laying down under something and couldn't get the foot controll to you but for all arround welding i like the foot controll much better!
    #1 reason for dislike-it is very hard to change the amps while trying to maintain a steady uniform weld
    #2 reason for dislike-it is very hard to hold the torch in any position other than gripping the handle fully (can't turn it arround, invert it or any other position without alot of hassle)
    #3 reason for dislike-when welding sometimes i like to give a quick spike to flaten a bead or wet a bead out further, not even remotely possible with the thumbwheel

    in conclusion the thumbwheel gets 2 thumbs down from me! mabey this is because i learned with a foot controll and used one for 5 yrs. i find it very hard to lay the quality beads with the thumbwheel that i can easily obtain with a foot controll.

    feel free to post your opinion on the matter
    The one that dies with the most tools wins

    If it's worth having, it's worth working for

  • #2
    dittos Tigman

    I got to use the thumbwheel control on the 150STH and promptly ordered a foot pedal for shop use.

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    • #3
      I used to have a job welding stainless railings, we had to tack them on the floor. Using a foot pedal in that situation was a gigantic pain. I got good with a slider hand control. I like sliders better than the thumbwheels. I use a foot pedal anytime I can. Makes you feel pretty silly dragging around a foot pedal to weld a 45' long railing, trying to figure out how to push it with your knee, elbow etc. First thumbwheel I used was the miller north south handcontrol I bought for my machine. It was a lot easier to use after I filed off the round parts right above the wheel. I know what you mean about spiking the amperage. A slider makes quick ramp up quite a bit easier, still not as controllable as the foot pedal though

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      • #4
        Most people end up liking what they started with, I have used a East west thumbwheel for about eight years and like it very much. The more you use it the better you get at it. I have a foot pedal I use at the bench but everything else gets the thumbwheel.

        Scott

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        • #5
          Overall, the foot control is more versatile, as long as your foot can reach the pedal.

          CK Worldwide http://www.ckworldwide.com/amperage_controls.htm has a rotary hand control that looks good. I'd love to try one.

          Some hand controls are really lacking. Whenever a customer says "I have a TIG machine set up & ready to use, just come on over" that means ancient machine, heavy torch, defective hand control, no tungsten grinder, etc
          Barry Milton
          ____________________

          HTP Invertig 201
          HTP MIG2400

          Miller Trailblazer 302, Spoolmatic 30A, Suitcase 12RC
          Clarke Hotshot

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by precisionworks
            Overall, the foot control is more versatile, as long as your foot can reach the pedal.

            CK Worldwide http://www.ckworldwide.com/amperage_controls.htm has a rotary hand control that looks good. I'd love to try one.

            Some hand controls are really lacking. Whenever a customer says "I have a TIG machine set up & ready to use, just come on over" that means ancient machine, heavy torch, defective hand control, no tungsten grinder, etc
            that one looks better but i don't think i will ever be able to move my fingers at all without it affecting the bead
            The one that dies with the most tools wins

            If it's worth having, it's worth working for

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by precisionworks
              Overall, the foot control is more versatile, as long as your foot can reach the pedal.

              CK Worldwide http://www.ckworldwide.com/amperage_controls.htm has a rotary hand control that looks good. I'd love to try one.

              Some hand controls are really lacking. Whenever a customer says "I have a TIG machine set up & ready to use, just come on over" that means ancient machine, heavy torch, defective hand control, no tungsten grinder, etc

              I saw those and I think I like the linear one better because you can get up and down the complete amperage range without moving and resetting your thumb or finger. I know I don't even use the rotary one that came with my Maxstar 150 STH, it's still in the sealed package in fact.
              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

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tigman250
                that one looks better but i don't think i will ever be able to move my fingers at all without it affecting the bead
                With crater fill, pulse and slope, you shouldn't need to be using the thumb much at all. Just fine tuning.

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                • #9
                  I to have not gotten use to this East/West I have, my fingers are toooo short and my hand is toooo fat, just can't keep a nice bead and roll the thing, I know it's a practice thing and would come in handy at times instead of dragin the foot control around. Oh well we'll see.
                  Good day all
                  L*S

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                  • #10
                    Go Go Gadget Foot Control

                    My Maxstar STH came with the fngertip control as well.

                    Remember all my whining about 120 vs. 240, arc quality, etc? I know this sounds wierd, but for me it all came down to the foot control.

                    Once my torch hand was freed to hold the torch in a much more secure and comfortable way, and my thumb was freed up to help the oscillations and torch movement, all of the sudden the arc on my machine at home started behaving like the machines at school. It went where I wanted, my beads were clean, tiny, and beautiful.

                    Yea, I'd go so far as to say the pedal for the MaxStar makes the arc and performance of the machine much better. I know it's in my head, but getting the torch control into the foot has improved my welding technique one-thousand-fold over the finger tip control.

                    I'll never go back to using the finger control, even though that's what I started with. The MaxStar shouldn't be sold without the pedal, in my opinion.
                    BigDTig, Dallas, Texas
                    Miller Dynasty 200DX
                    Coolmate III Cooler
                    Miller Spectrum 125C
                    Ellis 1600 Band Saw
                    Ellis 9400 Drill Press

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                    • #11
                      My Dynasty 200DX came with the finger amptrol. I gave it a try - never having done TIG before and disliked it. I ordered up a Miller HD foot pedal and have never looked back. I've kept it just in case I'll need it some day - but I think there are better hand actuated amptrols out there than the Miller thumbwheel unit.
                      David W.
                      Machines: Millermatic Passport; Millermatic 350P, Dynasty 300DX TIGRunner, TD Cutmaster 51 Plasma, Hypertherm 190C Plasma,
                      Machinery and Project Pictures: Click Here

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wb5jhy
                        dittos Tigman

                        I got to use the thumbwheel control on the 150STH and promptly ordered a foot pedal for shop use.
                        With any luck my foot control should arrive today
                        MM210
                        HH140
                        Maxstar 150STH
                        Dream it list:
                        Blue Plasma cutter
                        Spool gun

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                        • #13
                          Only one problem with the foot pedal ........ When you're laying on your back, overhead welding, it is nearly impossible to use the pedal. Same for lots of race car fab, like the underside of a roll cage or other welds that require standing on your head. In those situations (which happen every now & then) you have to have the control in your hand.
                          Barry Milton
                          ____________________

                          HTP Invertig 201
                          HTP MIG2400

                          Miller Trailblazer 302, Spoolmatic 30A, Suitcase 12RC
                          Clarke Hotshot

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by precisionworks
                            Only one problem with the foot pedal ........ When you're laying on your back, overhead welding, it is nearly impossible to use the pedal.
                            Depends on your ingenuity. I have mounted a foot pedal to to a weighted, wooden L-frame so I could do some overhead work while lying down. It was designed so you could depress the pedal either while welding on your back or your side. It certainly might not work in every instance, but I have come up with some pretty creative foot pedal solutions in my avoidance of a hand amperage control.
                            Dynasty 350DX
                            Dynasty 200DX TigRunner
                            MM 350P
                            MM Passport Plus
                            Spectrum 375 Extreme
                            08' Trailblazer 302

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                            • #15
                              i had to debate which to buy too, having never even tig welded i was nervous. I got the foot pedal. I recently ran into a situation where i really could have used the fingertip control and am putting it on my list.

                              my questions:

                              1 has anybody tried to work it with your left hand?? does anybody make a trigger style control?
                              Dynasty 200 DX
                              Millermatic 175
                              Spectrum 375
                              All kinds of Smith OA gear

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