Does anyone have any comments on the Lincoln Electric Square Wave 300 primarily for aluminum TIG work? I probably will still have stick and some exotic stuff like Stainless tubing to do, too. I'm looking at getting a used one of these machines.
for years. And I'll take what you tell me as gospel.
Lincoln listed the weight as 550 Lbs, I think. That sounded good, as some of the older AC TIG of the transformer variety weighed 1800 Lbs or something like that. Do you have any comparisons to the Miller Syncrowave
300 DX? That's sort of what I've had my eye on for some time, but I just don't see them on eBay under $1500 (used).
Well, I think I can swing that. I have a 70 A feed to my buzz-box welder now, and I think I ran #4 to the outlet, just in case I upgraded. I see the PF correcting caps draw 60 A at idle! Yikes! I might have to make part of that switchable, depending on the power level I will be running the welder at.
Well, I bid on another Syncrowave 300, but didn't win it. It was just the power source. Then, I did win the Lincoln Square Wave 300! It has a stick holder, water cooled TIG torch with cooler, regulator with flowmeter, cart, hand control, just about everything I could ask for. I'm waiting to hear the total cost with shipping. The seller has crated the whole works up for me.
I can't wait for it to get here.
Do you (or anyone else) have any suggestions on setting up an indoor welding area for TIG work? I have been doing stick welding just outside the garage door, which is pretty much necessary with the huge amount of smoke from the flux. That smoke really gets to me, too.
I have a homemade fume hood that I made mostly for spray painting, and have not had it hooked up since moving. Is it reasonable to try TIG welding in a fume hood? I can rig several hundred CFM of exhaust airflow if this is necessary (about 100 - 150 CMF worked well for the spray painting.)
I'm trying to decide whether to just put the TIG machine where my buzzbox welder has been (garage), or try to set it up in the basement shop. I'm a little worried about putting such an expensive, wheeled machine in a garage that stays open a lot of the day. Also, it means a lot of trouble with getting all the water out of the cooler and torch in the winter. (Can you put antifreeze in the TIG cooler?)
TIG produces no harmful vapors, unless you try welding through the zinc on galvanized steel.
I would vote for the basement, if possible.
You can use anti-freeze in some water coolers, others don't like the stuff and it ends up clogging the pump. There is also dedicated water cooler anti-freeze which likely won't clog any pumps. You can get it at welding supply stores.
As to a working area. You will need a sturdy table. It doesn't have to be big, but as big as is convenient will do. I like using a steel table and just running a permanent ground cable to the table. On my table I have a Tweco socket mounted under the edge of the table just in case I need to ground something larger on the floor. It is more convenient to run a temporary cable from the table, than the welder.
A table top can be aluminum or steel, at least 1/4" thick. A 3' x 4' table is a very good size for small jobs. If you have a project bigger than your table just use adjustable support stands of sawhorses to extend the table.
It is good to have at least 4 inches around the edge of the table clear of obstructions below so you can clamp anywhere around the edge of the table without trouble.
I mounted a small wood workers vise on my main TIG table. It is very convenient for holding vertical shafts and jigs, and when not being used it is below the surface of the table so it doesn't get in the way.
Start collecting a small bucket odd steel scraps for shims and jigs. Small pieces of 1/16". 1/8", 3/16", 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2", steel or aluminum bar are very handy for jigging on the table. Also short pieces of 1" x 2" steel tubing and larger are great for taller blocks. Short pieces of angle iron are great for clamping corners for tacking.
The ultimate TIG jig is a large wok full of steel shot. You nest parts in the shot and tack them, then lift them out of the shot for final welding. A wok about 18" diameter works well and if you have a local sandblasting supplier they should carry shot-peening shot for about $50 for 30 lbs. which is exactly how much steel shot fits nicely in a 18" wok. Not only is a wok good for tacking, but it also acts as a very simple turntable for pipe flange welds.
I like having a few small square drill press vises around for jigging. The good ones have many square sides and work flat, sideways and on-end.
Here is my TIG basics post again. It lists a good assortment of TIG rods.
A basic selection of TIG Rod should include Steel, Stainless steel, aluminum, and bronze.
Steel ER70S-2 The basic TIG filler for steel. It comes copper plated to prevent rust, but keep it in a tube or bag anyway. Sizes:
0.045", 1/16", 3/32", 1/8"
308L is the standard filler for 304 SS which is the most common type.
309L is a better filler for joining any kind of stainless to steel.
316L is the best for marine work. Sizes:
0.045", 1/16", 3/32"
4043 is the most common aluminum filler rod. It works well for most situations, but...
5356 is stronger, better corrosion resistance and better color match for polishing or anodizing.
4047 is my favorite for welding castings, but it is kind of hard to find. Sizes:
1/16", 3/32", 1/8"
Bronze Silicon Bronze is excellent for joining other copper alloys such as copper, brass and most bronzes. It can also be used to TIG Braze Weld steel and stainless steel. TIG Braze Welding is very useful for stainless steel since it doesn't actually melt the base metal so there is no chromium oxides formed on the back face of the metal. Sizes Sizes:
0.045", 1/16", 3/32"
An advanced selection would include: Some aerospace alloys like Inconel, Hastelloy, or Haynes alloys. They are my favorite alloys for joining odd things and are extremely strong. Pure Nickel is excellent for joining cast iron.. Pure Copper is good for TIG welding copper where it will be seen. ER80S-B2 is the current top choice for TIG welding Chrome-Moly tube for planes, cars, motorcycles and bikes.
As to a vendor. The only guys I know that even list TIG rod on the Web are:
Great outfit, they carry all things TIG.
You can also mail order from Central Welding at :
Just call them and they will ship it to you.
Here is an exercise to practice when not welding.
Take a 3/8" steel washer. Place it on a piece of white paper. Take a nice sharp pencil. Place the tip of the pencil against the paper inside the washer. Now start swirling the pencil tip around the inside of the washer to draw a circle on the paper. Keep circling the inside of the washer, while nudging the washer across the paper. Try to end up with the washer traveling in a straight line across the paper. You should end up with a long swirl pattern across the page. Keep practicing until the swirl pattern is even and in a straight line.
Same setup, with one change. Once again slide the washer across the page while swirling the pencil tip around the inside of the washer, but now DON"T touch the paper with the pencil tip. This means being able to hold the tip of the pencil within a 1/16" of the paper without touching it and without lifting out of the washer.
Do Level 2 while standing next to the table without any part of your arm resting on the table.
Move to a 1/4" washer.
This exercise comes from a welding textbook from 1929, and it still works quite nicely to train your muscles for floating the torch.
Normally I do not swirl the torch while TIG welding, but this still works as an exercise to build up muscle control.