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DG Piranha II Review (Lengthy)

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  • DG Piranha II Review (Lengthy)

    Many here know that I recently took delivery of a Diamond Ground Piranha II tungsten grinder. Since receiving the unit I have ground fair number of electrodes and I thought that I would share my thoughts about the unit.

    The grinder was shipped both quickly and securely. My grinder arrived via second day air from Diamond Ground. This was unexpected but very welcomed. It was double boxed with the inner box well protected with packing peanuts inside the outer box. Hats off to diamond for this attention to what is often an overlooked detail. The unit was in a large heavy duty zip top bag. Inside another large zip top bag were the manual and the accessories. The accessories included an allen wrench for the socket head cap screw that are used in the final assembly of the unit and a pin vise (a Starrett no less) for holding electrodes.

    My first impression upon removing the unit for the box was “Wow, this is one sturdy piece”. Subsequent time spent using it has confirmed this. The build quality is excellent, as is the fit and finish.

    Using the PII is easy and straight forward. I won’t go over it here but for those that want an overview there is a video on the Diamond Ground website. This is really the machine to consider if you are looking for an excellent value in the tungsten grinder arena. Having received the unit while enrolled in a tig class has been very valuable for a couple of reasons. One, at class we use a Diamond Ground DGP for grinding our tungsten. The DGP can grind a very accurate angle and it is easy to achieve an almost mirror like finish on the grind. Two, because I am able to practice at home I have been able to compare the arc characteristics of tungsten ground on both machines.

    The PII is not perfect (more on this later) but it is probably as “perfect” as most any hobbyist and even most professionals will ever need. One drawback, and it has nothing to do with the unit, is that the better one gets at tig welding the less frequently one has to sharpen their tungsten. The less frequently one has to sharpen their tungsten the more the PII will sit. But, that being said, I know that my tig skills have improved greatly as a result having the PII. And they have probably improved more rapidly than if I had not had it.

    In use it very easy to get a grind very similar to that of the DGP. The grind from the PII is not quite as mirror like as that which the DGP can achieve, however, a little practice and a light touch get me very close. Because of the improved tungsten tip life the time between grinds, as mentioned earlier, has steadily increased resulting in more time spent welding and less time spent grinding electrodes.

    As I mentioned earlier the PII is not perfect. The issues that I will discuss below are by no means an indictment of the quality but rather issues that I as an engineer might have done differently. Something that must be kept in mind is that most of these would add cost to an already substantial sum.

    Angle Setting:
    The angle indicator is very easy to use, but I am not certain how accurate it is. It does certainly get you close though. Contributing to the angle is what I consider excess slop in the tungsten guide. I noticed the same thing with collets on the Sharpie. This sloppiness is exacerbated by the short supporting distance of the guide. I will be making a new tungsten support arm in the future. On the new arm I will increase the support length (effectively doubling it) and reduce the size of the guide holes slightly. In addition, I will also add a guide hole for 1/8” tungsten. I will be doing the same to the flatting guide block.

    Drive Motor:
    The drive motor, when placed under the load of sharpening, slows considerably. That is not to say that it is near stalling or anything but I was rather surprised by it. Even with a gentle touch it slows slightly but this is no need for concern. I am certain that a drive motor with greater torque would add quite a bit to the size and the price.

    Flat Presetting Depth Gauge:
    This one baffles me. The premise is that one is able to set the distance into which the tungsten can be inserted into this block, opposing the tungsten in a screw with a jam nut. The screw is threaded into the block until the desired length is obtained (this length translates into the desired flat in the electrode) and the jam nut used to lock the screw in place. The pin vise is now used to grip the tungsten (with the jaws up against the block opposite the screw and jam nut) and provide a bearing surface that will limit the depth that the electrode can be plunged into the wheel at the flatting station. The problem is the minimum preset length is about one inch. The distance from the flatting block (surface that the pin vise would contact) to the wheel is about ¾”. The result is that the point would be completely ground away using this feature. In all fairness I haven’t called DG regarding this because I tend to flat my tungsten then grind the angle.

    The minor issues above are just that, minor. If I seem to be overly critical it is because I am an engineer and being detail oriented to a fault often comes with the territory. Having said that, I have to give the folks at Diamond Ground a hand for a job well done, for I have been using the PII for about a month now and only considering making enhancement/changes because I can. I could use this product as it is for a long time and never feel as though I was missing something. I would strongly recommend this product to just about anybody that can afford it. If you already have a tig machine and enjoy spending time welding, put it on your short list of tig accessories. If you can’t afford it ask all those who would give you a gift for your Birthday, Christmas or any other occasion to combine the gifts and get it for you. I know what coming next and, yeah you could live without it. However, when something makes your life easier (kind of like fire or the wheel) why would you fight it?
    SolidWorks Premium
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  • #2
    Curse you Katiebo
    Now I want one!!

    Thanks for the review.
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    Professional Auto Mechanic since 1974
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    Cya Frank

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    • #3
      How much is that thing? The website says call for pricing. I have a hard time buying something that I have to work to get a price on. Usually when they hide the price is means it costs too much.

      JD

      Comment


      • #4
        Nice review there Katiebo.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JD in Socal View Post
          How much is that thing? The website says call for pricing. I have a hard time buying something that I have to work to get a price on. Usually when they hide the price is means it costs too much.

          JD

          Dang - Just as I was about to give up searching for a price, I found it.

          A-PTG-MD (DGP-PG2) Piranha 2 Medium-Duty Precision Tungsten Grinder: Semi-portable Design - .040 (1mm) to 1/8” (3.2mm) Electrodes. $695.00

          http://arc-zone.com/catalog/web_stor...d=2423558_6304

          Comment


          • #6
            The current models are for .040 to 3/32 electrodes. The guides included do not support 1/8 electrodes. Interestingly though they must have in the past. The label on the unit mentions approximate times for grinding all the sizes that one can grind with that unit and 1/8 is listed.
            SolidWorks Premium
            SolidWorks Simulation Pro
            MM210 w/3035
            TA185TSW
            DG Piranha II
            Sharpie Deluxe
            Stars & Stripes BWE
            Blue Optrel Satellite

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JD in Socal View Post
              How much is that thing? The website says call for pricing. I have a hard time buying something that I have to work to get a price on. Usually when they hide the price is means it costs too much.

              JD
              The Piranha 2 sells for $695. It's a good machine. We sell them set up for
              sharpening 1/8" but with one caveat....

              Katiebo already mentioned the motor, "when placed under the load of sharpening, slows considerably......."

              This is especially true with the 1/8" and it works fine for the occassional grinding of 1/8" but for a big operation where 1/8" tungsten is getting ground all day long, the Piranha 3 is a better choice, at $1249.

              Great review!
              Carmen Electrode (Arc-Zone.com)
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              • #8
                sheesh. Y'all are quick on the draw!
                Carmen Electrode (Arc-Zone.com)
                CarmenElectrode.com

                powered by... Arc-Zone.com (R) Inc.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by katiebo View Post
                  Angle Setting:
                  The angle indicator is very easy to use, but I am not certain how accurate it is. It does certainly get you close though. Contributing to the angle is what I consider excess slop in the tungsten guide. I noticed the same thing with collets on the Sharpie. This sloppiness is exacerbated by the short supporting distance of the guide. I will be making a new tungsten support arm in the future. On the new arm I will increase the support length (effectively doubling it) and reduce the size of the guide holes slightly. In addition, I will also add a guide hole for 1/8” tungsten. I will be doing the same to the flatting guide block.

                  Drive Motor:
                  The drive motor, when placed under the load of sharpening, slows considerably. That is not to say that it is near stalling or anything but I was rather surprised by it. Even with a gentle touch it slows slightly but this is no need for concern. I am certain that a drive motor with greater torque would add quite a bit to the size and the price.

                  Flat Presetting Depth Gauge:
                  This one baffles me. The premise is that one is able to set the distance into which the tungsten can be inserted into this block, opposing the tungsten in a screw with a jam nut. The screw is threaded into the block until the desired length is obtained (this length translates into the desired flat in the electrode) and the jam nut used to lock the screw in place. The pin vise is now used to grip the tungsten (with the jaws up against the block opposite the screw and jam nut) and provide a bearing surface that will limit the depth that the electrode can be plunged into the wheel at the flatting station. The problem is the minimum preset length is about one inch. The distance from the flatting block (surface that the pin vise would contact) to the wheel is about ¾”. The result is that the point would be completely ground away using this feature. In all fairness I haven’t called DG regarding this because I tend to flat my tungsten then grind the angle.
                  katiebo,
                  That is a nice, and well thought out review. I have the PIII and would like to speak to some of the issues you brought up with the PII.

                  As far as the angle setting goes, I have never measured mine to see just how accurate it is in relation to the degree markings. I can say that I have yet to have any problems, like you, getting the taper just right for a given task. I have noticed a slight bit of sloppiness in my guide as well but nothing that concerns me. I just put a little side pressure on the tungsten while I am spinning and it works extremely well. You will find that if your tungsten picks up any material from welding, it will not go in so IMO a teenie bit of slop is a good thing. If you feel it is too sloppy, I think DG would want to know that and I am sure they would swap it out for you. If you do decide to increase the tungsten support on your block, you may find that you are unable to sharpen a short piece. I think I can sharpen a piece as little as 1.75" with my block as it sits now. Just a thought.

                  I can see that your motor might bog down on that small unit. Looking at the two units side by side, the PIII is quite a bit bigger than the PII. I have sharpened up to 5/32" tungstens with mine with hardly a whimper from the motor. I think it is just the nature of the beast with that small unit. I bet it does very well within it's range though.

                  I used the flatting gauge maybe twice on my PIII. While it does work, it is easier to just grind a flat on the tip by hand and them fine tune it by putting it back in the angle guide for a few more spins. I think if you try this you will find you can put a perfect flat on in no time just by eye and feel.

                  Once again, nice review. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.
                  Dynasty 350DX
                  Dynasty 200DX TigRunner
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                  MM Passport Plus
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                  08' Trailblazer 302

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Great review, it's the kind of thing we need more of by actual users of the product. I could almost be talked into getting one (I almost snagged a used one some time back but the seller backed out), but just this morning I ordered a CK-9P with a superflex hose, and a CK-TL26, also with a superflex hose from CK's online website ... nice site and I had a UPS tracking number within 4 hours of the making the order. WWW.tigstore.com
                    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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                    • #11
                      Kevin,
                      I use the same technique of loading the tungsten to one side while spinning and that works very well. I know what you mean regarding the tungsten picking up material and not fitting in the guide. If I reduce the clearance in the guide it will not be by much. I haven't yet measured the openings of the .040 and 1/16 tungsten but I did measure the opening for the 3/32 and it is .006 oversize. Also, the support area is at most 1/2" and lengthening it would be a better way to control the slop. I agree that this would be at the expense of the ability to grind short electrodes though. As I said, I could live very happily with it as is and will be doing so for some time.

                      Also thanks for your input when I was considering the unit.


                      George,
                      Thanks for the kind words. I read as much as I could before taking the plunge. While a tool such as the PII won't make me a better welder, it will allow me to spend more time under the hood, and that will make me a better welder.

                      Let us know how the new torches work out. I would like to pick up a series 9 for use on thin materials at some point in the future but for now I'm content with the water cooler and the Diamondback 20.
                      SolidWorks Premium
                      SolidWorks Simulation Pro
                      MM210 w/3035
                      TA185TSW
                      DG Piranha II
                      Sharpie Deluxe
                      Stars & Stripes BWE
                      Blue Optrel Satellite

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by katiebo View Post
                        Also, the support area is at most 1/2" and lengthening it would be a better way to control the slop. I agree that this would be at the expense of the ability to grind short electrodes though.
                        Well your 1/2" got me to wondering so I went out to the shop and measured my block. I have a little over 1" of support so you could lengthen yours by another 1/2" and still be left with a sharp tungsten that is around 1.75" in length. That is, btw, just about the length that will effectively fit into your torch. That might just be a good call if you can do it in such a way as to not compromise anything else in the process. Keep us updated if you do any modifications.
                        Dynasty 350DX
                        Dynasty 200DX TigRunner
                        MM 350P
                        MM Passport Plus
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                        08' Trailblazer 302

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by katiebo View Post
                          <snip>
                          Let us know how the new torches work out. I would like to pick up a series 9 for use on thin materials at some point in the future but for now I'm content with the water cooler and the Diamondback 20.
                          I normally have my CK20 hooked up but I drained and cleaned out the cooler and havn't decided if I want to spend the $20 for new Miller coolant yet as it gets cold in the shop at night. I always wanted a pencil torch, and because I won't be using it much and it will be for low-amp stuff only, I decided to get the #9 instead of the #20 that way I can still use it if the cooler is not in use. I also wanted a #17 sized torch (the one I had went with the T/A) but I wanted a 100% duty cycle @ 200A so I went with the TL26 as all the series 3 stuff I still have will fit it. They should be here next Tuesday and I will post some thoughts on them by next weekend I hope, oops forgot, maybe later than that as we are buying/making/serving dinner at the Ronald McDonald house this coming Friday and Sat with the Mini Cooper Club.
                          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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