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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Tig welder

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07-24-2020 12:27:08

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Has anyone used a air cooled tig welder that hook up to stick welder, thinking about buying one for sheetmetal repair on tractors and other thin metal . Any pro and con.Thanks

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CenTex Farmall

07-25-2020 10:30:01

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 Re: Tig welder in reply to gidtex, 07-24-2020 12:27:08  
We have a variety of machines at work, from digital with every bell and whistle to plain Lincoln Idealarc. Probably 75% of all the welding that gets done is TIG.

Our guys that do the welding can make excellent welds with either setup. We have several small portable 110 Tig setups with dry heads that get a great deal of use out on factory floors and in areas with limited space. I've seen welds our guys have made with scratch arc that you would swear were made by a machine.

I'm not a welder by trade but I have a dry setup that I use at home on my Lincoln DC tombstone. It works quite well but scratch arc takes a little practice. My welds don't look as good as our welder guys at work but are perfectly serviceable. Weld area cleanliness is very important and so is proper grinding of the tungsten.

Get some clean scrap and practice. Check youtube; I'm sure there's plenty of how-to videos to help get started.

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07-25-2020 07:51:45

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 Re: Tig welder in reply to gidtex, 07-24-2020 12:27:08  
Those cheap TIG kits are scratch start. Yes, you can TIG weld with them, but it's nothing like a dedicated TIG machine or even a high-frequency starter you connect to a stick welder.

For sheet metal repair, you'll probably be much happier gas welding with an oxyacetylene rig or using a cheap MIG welder.

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dr sportster

07-25-2020 09:20:09

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 Re: Tig welder in reply to MarkB_MI, 07-25-2020 07:51:45  
Yes my machine has a high frequency switch . I don't know how you could TIG without it.

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dr sportster

07-25-2020 07:37:42

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 Re: Tig welder in reply to gidtex, 07-24-2020 12:27:08  
If you do that you may have to "scratch start" . You may not have a place to plug in a foot pedal .You may have to set the heat and run with it without amperage change. Tig lead will plug right into the welder.

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welding man

07-25-2020 04:43:14

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 Re: Tig welder in reply to gidtex, 07-24-2020 12:27:08  
People come into my shop all the time and see me TIG welding aluminum and say. Boy I wish I could weld like that, Will you teach me? The first thing I ask them is do you know how to gas weld with a torch and a filler rod. No is the answer I get most of the time. I say learn to gas weld and then come back and I will show you the basics,but the rest is up to you. To be a good TIG welder you have to have a foot pedal control and good foot, both hands and eye coordination. I use TIG very little on steel. I use MIG or gas weld it. I TIG aluminum and Stainless. You really dont need anything but a TIG torch and a bottle of Argon and a regulator to hook to your DC straight polarity welder to Tig weld steel but you will have limited results due to the fact cheaper welders do not have infinite amperage controls. You need AC and HI frequency to have much success with aluminum. Any machine under 250 amps for aluminum is a Joke. Aluminum takes twice as much amperage to weld as steel, due to the rapid heat transfer. I have 2 Tig machines and can't say I'm happy with either one of them, but I can't justify 12 grand on a new one at my age.

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Oliver 500 Wa

07-24-2020 15:04:19

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 Re: Tig welder in reply to gidtex, 07-24-2020 12:27:08  
My experience is the opposite of TimV's. I had a Miller set up for both the stick welder and TIG box.
For steel it was just OK. The biggest issue I found for thin sheetmetal was trying to get the current on the welder set just right. A little high and you started off OK but as the parts got hot you soon were melting holes and having to stop and let things cool off. A little low and it was really slow and difficult to get a puddle going. A proper TIG machine has remote current adjustment so you can go high to get the puddle going then back down as the parts get hot.

For aluminum, that problem got worse. Aluminum sucks up lots of heat, but then the transition to a molten mess is super quick. Again the lack of remote current control was the biggest issue. The best method I found for doing aluminum was to pre-heat the parts with a propane torch then start welding.

After several years of frustrating use, I bought a used Synchrowave 250, then gave the old stuff away to a friend. The Synchrowave is an awesome stick welder as well as a TIG machine. I wish I had gone with it or similar right from the start.

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07-24-2020 13:46:30

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 Re: Tig welder in reply to gidtex, 07-24-2020 12:27:08  
I have one hooked to my Lincoln IdealArc. Got it as a package deal--it came with the welder, which is what I was after--but really like it. Had never TIG welded before, though I have been stick welding for 30+ years and MIG for most of that. Took some time to pick up, but once I got the basics down (and I do NOT claim to have more than the basics down!) it's a very satisfying and useful process. It is by no stretch of the imagination a full-blown TIG rig, and lacks many of the features of one, but is a great addition to a stick welder and really adds to your capabilities. For steel, you'll want a DC welder--I have the high-frequency box for aluminum but have never done more than dabble with it--nearly all my projects have been on steel. I recently picked up some Silicon Bronze filler rod and am looking forward to trying it--it's more of a brazing process than welding, as you aren't melting and fusing it into the base metal, but it's great for joining metals of dissimilar thicknesses, and even types--steel to stainless steel, for instance.

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