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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Stick to TIG Conversion

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05-10-2010 08:08:19

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Is there an "easy" way to convert a stick welder to TIG? I've got an ancient Marquette stick welder, and the post that Puddles made on Lanse's thread got me there a "kit" available, or do I need to open up the case on the stick welder and cobble something together? And is it worth it, or do I risk ruining a perfectly good stick welder?

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john d

05-10-2010 20:31:24

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 Re: Stick to TIG Conversion in reply to Buzzman72, 05-10-2010 08:08:19  
Years ago, I had a "TIG-attachment" that I ran on a Miller Thunderbolt AC welder. I think it came from Sears, and may have been made by Century. It had a hose and regulator for Argon gas, and the TIG unit put out a very high frequency spark. It had a pair of short cables that plugged into the Miller unit, then the Miller cables fed out of the high-frequency box. The electrode holder that normally did my stick welding clamped onto the TIG torch. It did a reasonably good job on aluminum, if I was patient. The high frequency box made it very easy to start a weld when stick-welding on steel. That was at least 25 years ago.....

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05-10-2010 15:57:01

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 Re: Stick to TIG Conversion in reply to Buzzman72, 05-10-2010 08:08:19  
I wouldn't try if I were you. I bought a used 300 amp Hobart tig. It's tough enough to learn when it's built by a pro and instructions are spelled out.

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05-10-2010 14:49:22

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 Re: Stick to TIG Conversion in reply to Buzzman72, 05-10-2010 08:08:19  
Although you can cheaply convert any DC welder to TIG with a "scratch start" kit, you're likely to be very frustrated unless you're already an experienced TIG welder. "Scratch start" means you actually touch the tungsten to the work piece to start the arc. What's probably going to happen is the tungsten will stick to the work and break off, leaving you with a tungsten-contaminated weld and sending you to the grinder to re-sharpen the tungsten. After about three tries, you'll figure out there's a reason folks are willing to pay many thousands of dollars for an entry-level TIG machine with high-frequency or square wave start.

A fellow once told me: "You can't make ice cream out of horse-$*&#." I've found you can take that advice to the bank.

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05-10-2010 14:00:48

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 Re: Stick to TIG Conversion in reply to Scot in pa, 05-10-2010 08:08:19  
$6,000.00, a new Dynasty 350 is a little over $9,000.00!
Before I bought the Dynasty I can count on one hand how many times I welded aluminum. These are some of my first welds with it. :wink:

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135 Fan

05-10-2010 21:27:47

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 Re: Stick to TIG Conversion in reply to Puddles, 05-10-2010 14:00:48  
I doubt your old AC/DC TIG set up could do near as nice of welds, even if you practised.:wink: Dave

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05-10-2010 11:50:13

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 Re: Stick to TIG Conversion in reply to jdemaris, 05-10-2010 08:08:19  
135Fan hit the nail on the head!

Buzzman72, I should apologize, when someone says they have a welder I just assume they mean DC. I really need to get out of that habit! :oops: But if you had a DC stick welder you could get setup to Tig weld for around $100.00, less the bottle of argon. I bought this scratch start Tig torch on eBay for just under $40.00 including shipping. The power lug was $15.00 from my welding supply. I have a few flowmeters, but I see flowmeters on eBay all the time for $35.00. You can rent argon bottles, I don't I just buy my bottles.

Years ago I use to Tig weld with this little buzz box, I Tig weld all the time with my SA-200's. But when it comes to aluminum Tig welding you'll need a high frequency box, or just buy a Dynasty 350, I bought a 300. :wink:

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135 Fan

05-10-2010 13:33:04

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 Re: Stick to TIG Conversion in reply to Puddles, 05-10-2010 11:50:13  
I bet that Dynasty cost more than the high frequency box and welder combined! LoL I also bet it makes TIG welding easier than just about any other machine on the planet. It never hurts to have better welding equipment. Dave

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135 Fan

05-10-2010 09:52:53

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 Re: Stick to TIG Conversion in reply to Buzzman72, 05-10-2010 08:08:19  
Any stick welder can potentially run TIG but if all you have is an AC welder(Marquette, etc.), you will need a high frequency box added which will cost more than a new welder and even then, will only be good for non ferrous metals like aluminum. Your low duty cycle will be reduced even lower. If you have a DC welder, you can just hook up a TIG torch and argon bottle with not much trouble at all. That's how most TIG welding in the field is done on carbon steel, stainless and specialty alloys. For shops that do TIG welding, they have really high tech. TIG machines with balance control, pulsing, etc., etc. Most shop machines also have a foot pedal to control amperage. In the field a foot control is more of a hinderance. Dave

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05-10-2010 09:03:03

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 Re: Stick to TIG Conversion in reply to Buzzman72, 05-10-2010 08:08:19  
Years ago I knew of a way to do that like around 1992 or so and you need some sort of HF box to do so and then of course the argon shield gas but it has been way to long ago to be able to tell you more. As for finding the set up if you have a welding supply place in your area they would be a good place to ask question at. Oh I do remember the cost of that HF box was almost as much as a true tig unit

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