Confused about TIG welders

Hello: I am a serious hobby welder and have been working with a MillerMatic 135 for 3 years now. I'm working on a smoker and after
building the doors today, I had to spring them to "unbow" them from the heat of the welder...and that got me to thinking. I see an occasional thread about TIG welders, but all I know they do is aluminum, so I thought I'd pose a question to the group. What all can I do with a TIG? I see some advertisements for TIG and stick machines, and I know I need a TIG machine to do aluminum, other than that I'm not sure. I'm assuming I can do very thin steel, aluminum, stainless steel, etc. with a TIG? Any help is greatly appreciated. Ronnie Lyons Meridian, Idaho
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TIG is just another method of heating metal with an electric arc while covering the weld puddle with shielding gas... Neither better nor worse than MIG but generally takes more skill because the material feed in manual... Its use depends more upon the welder than what he is welding... You will still get heat distortion since the metal being expanded and shrunk during the heat-expand-melt-cool-solidify-shrink sequence doesn't know the difference... TIG can weld anything that any other source of heat can weld, just as well or just as poorly depending on who is holding the torch...
Actually, the some of the best welding of aluminum ever, was done with oxy-acetylene during WWII by women taken right off the street and trained to weld aluminum... Their welds can be seen on surviving WWII aircraft and are textbook perfect... Just shows what can happen when the student just does exactly what he/she is taught, instead of knowing it all because he wears boxers instead of panties...
denny
Ronnie wrote:

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In one of books on welding TIG is called "RollsRoyce" of welding machines. It welds pretty much anything, produces extremely clean welds, keeps splatter to min (a minimum advantage for most, but important for folx like self who weld stuff in a garage).
Courtesy of PROC, we now have simple TIG welders for less than $200. Courtesy of state of art in power electronics (IGBTS and inverters), newer units are exceptionally compact and effective.
If you want to weld whole lotta Al, you need to get an AC , or better yet, "square wave" machine. That instantly moves you into $1500 range. Dunno why PROC folx have not yet saturated the market with same functionality in a $400 box. Really beats me. There must be conspiracy of some sort there. I betcha if one were to look it up, they don't let it happen via a 1000% import tax on this equipment :)
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What I like about TIG, is that it lets me weld small things to small things, small things to big things, and big things to big things. It is a very accurate method, and also, if I get a bad weld, I just get back to it and remelt it to get nicer appearance or penetration.
So far, I welded mild steel only, but I will soon weld stainless (304), since I want to make a pickup truck bed extender.
i
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You won't get better penetration by remelting the surface. Bad penetration? Angle grinder with cut off disk and re-weld.
Nick
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I think that TIGs are generally preferred for thinner metal, and for harder to weld metal. I think of MIGs as a fast way to lay down welding beads on steel, much higher pounds per hour. (I don't own a MIG, although I have used them).
As someone else said, they produce the cleanest welds with the minimum spatter, minimum cleanup.
I mostly use my TIG welder to weld copper, use DC like steel, but copper is a lot harder to weld than steel.
One advantage of TIG is that one can use the same shielding gas for all metals, argon. With Mig you use one gas mix for steel, another for stainless, another for aluminum.....
Richard
Ronnie wrote:

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TIG is considerably slower than MIG but affords much better control and is more versatile. MIG is easier to do out of position. A mentor of mine once said with TIG I should be able to weld dogshit to windowglass.
If I want to stick some angle iron together to build something, I use MIG. When I have stainless, aluminum or small things to weld I use TIG.
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Don sez:
"> If I want to stick some angle iron together to build something, I

Don, think all the poor people in India that have no welder at all.
Bob Swinney
wrote:

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On Mon, 23 Oct 2006 13:21:32 -0500, "Robert Swinney"

How about all the rich people in the US that have no welders either!
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On Mon, 23 Oct 2006 15:54:55 -0500, Don Foreman
How can you be rich and not have a welder? Unka' George (George McDuffee) .............................. Only in Britain could it be thought a defect to be "too clever by half." The probability is that too many people are too stupid by three-quarters.
John Major (b. 1943), British Conservative politician, prime minister. Quoted in: Observer (London, 7 July 1991).
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On Mon, 23 Oct 2006 16:56:44 -0500, F. George McDuffee

Some folks think "rich" is about how much money they have.
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"rich" is how many days could you afford to go fishin', my definition. Others should insert their favorite pastime.
Karl
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Rich is how many tools you can afford to buy AND learn to use them right.
Nick
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On Tue, 24 Oct 2006 10:50:21 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, "Karl

The days you _could_ go fishin' doesn't cut it. It's the days you _do_ take off which truly matter.
Wealth is being able to appreciate the smaller things in life, like the sweet smell of the air under the trees in the morning, or the look of the leaves falling through dappled sunlight, or watching the chaotic flight of the dragonfly or butterfly across your back yard.
I took Friday off work and went for a country drive and a picnic alongside the Applegate River with my girlfriend. The scenery was gorgeous, the scents divine, the sun pleasantly warm, and the company pleasingly hot. Who needs fish? ;)
On other days, wealth means having an old machine to work on, or maybe a project to build or complete.
Money can help that (Taking your private Lear jet to go picnicking next to a stream in Provence, France would be OK, too.) but it isn't necessary.
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On Mon, 23 Oct 2006 12:10:16 -0500, Don Foreman

This weekend, I built a stand for the new TIG machine. I used a combination of MIG and TIG. Mig for the big stuff, where a large fillet didnt bother anything..TIG for small detail work.
Ill post pictures later tonight
Gunner
"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." - Proverbs 22:3
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