Is the Thermal Arc 185 currently the best small TIG package for welding up to 1/4" (6.5mm) steel, stainless, aluminum and maybe some more exotic materials once in a while? Any other products out there that I should consider?
I don't know what your feelings are towards Lincoln, but their Precision TIG 225 looks pretty nice. Here are some quick highlights:
===== Precision Arc Performance: ? 5-230 amps is the widest welding range in its class. ? Patented Micro-Start? II Technology delivers extremely stable low amperage starting, welding and cratering for AC and DC welding. ? Excellent Stick Welder ? Even with Fleetweld® 5P (E6010).
Simple Controls ? Easy to Use: ? AC Auto-Balance? automatically sets the optimal cleaning vs. penetration levels for great looking aluminum welds. ? FREE! Built-in TIG pulser helps control heat input in the weld. ? Digital Meter, and simple, well-spaced controls. ? FREE! GTAW (TIG) Handbook and TIG Procedure Guide.
Professional Features: ? Standard NEMA 6-50 plug on 9 ft. (2.7 m) input power cord with receptacle. (208/230 volt models only). ? 115 volt auxiliary power receptacles with 20 amp service reliably powers water coolers or other tools. ? Standard torch parts storage compartment and cable hanger keeps you organized. ? Ready-Pak® models include a Pro-Torch PTA-17 air-cooled
150 amp torch with new 12.5 ft. (3.8 m) Ultra-Flex? cable. ? Add an optional understorage cart for extra storage and portability.
Superb Quality: ? Fan-As-Needed? (F.A.N.) prevents overheating. F.A.N. reduces power consumption noise, motor wear and dust in the machine. ? CSA C/US certified. ? Three-Year Lincoln Warranty on parts and labor. Physical specifications
Weight:212 lbs. (96 kgs. ) Dimensions (in) H x W x D : 20.7 x 14.5 x 25.6 Dimensions (mm) H x W x D : 526 x 368 x 650 =====
For more info see the Lincoln website:
Maybe Ernie has some experience with this and can comment for us.
Don't know that I'd get the accessories kit. The ground clamp stinks, there is stuff that you don't need, I don't know who's torch ships with that. Get a WeldPro or a WeldCraft torch with a 25' lead. Buy a good quality ground clamp again with a long lead. Get a selection of collet bodies and collets, at least 1/32 and 3/32 also some different size gas cups. I like to have 7 to 10 Tungstens handy with points ground on them so I don't have to make too many trips to the grinder. I prefer a high end Argon regulator like a Victor with the flowmeter. You can get them on eBay and have them rebuilt for less than a new import. Of course you're also going to need a helmet and gloves. Buy some good quality rod to start with, ER70S-2 and ER4043 in 1/16 inch size. I like Harris rod better than Radnor. You are going to need a stainless steel brush for aluminum. The cheap ones in the kitchen store are fine. Get some MIG pliers for handling work pieces and for cutting up filler rod. If the end of your filler rod balls up you should cut it off so as not to contaminate the weld. Above all don't forget the NO-Burn, sunscreen to protect the neck. I don't know how they TIG weld up there in Canada but here in California it's shorts and a cotton shirt, maybe leather uppers if it's not too hot. Either way you need to protect those exposed areas.
I don't know if they changed this, but with the older Prowave185TSW you had to have the torch pendant controller to access the sequencer features. The footpedal and the pendant controller has slightly different pin-outs in the connector so the sequencer did not work with the footpedal.
Unfortunately you had to read the fine print in the manual to find this out. I had several students by the 185TSW and they were quite happy with it. One even made an adapter so the foot pedal would work with the sequencer.
If it comes with a "3" series torch (larger consumables) then order a set of #4 series gas lenses from CK Worldwide. Any welding supplier can order them.
The #4 series is a CK invention that gives you #2 series parts on a #3 series torch. Makes the whole torch much more compact.
For my Maxstar 200DX rig I have 5 torches. Most are just different torch heads that use the same cable and handle.
You will see them on this page
I have a CK80, CK100, CK110, and CK130Flex.
The CK130Flex is amazing.
For higher amperages I have a CK210.
The CK80 is for close quarters work. The CK100 is a basic air cooled #2 series torch. The CK110 is for doing lots of fillet welds on tubes. The CK130Flex is my main torch now and has replaced the CK100.
The CK80, CK100, and CK130Flex all use the same handle and cable. ( I got an adapter from CK for the 130Flex)