TIG welder

I am cnsidering a tig welder. My main interests are welding aluminum, steel and stainless, in thicknesses up to 3/4 in, mostely repair and small shop fabrication projects. I have a big-a**ed stick welder for the heavy work on steel.


  1. The choices seem to be between the transformer welders and inverter welders. I know that generally inverter types have lower duty cycle. Other than that, are the as reliable? Has there been a problem with blown power semiconductors?? Is the ability to weld (within the capacity of thre machine) similar for transformer and inverter supplies?

2 I presume that if one tries to exceed the duty cycle for long, the machine will trip out on overload/thermal protector... How does this effect the weld in process?? Will an abrupt termination of the weld mid way result in damage/ruination of the parts, or does one merely commence welding again when the machine cools down? Can one extend the duty cycle by adding a fan to cool the inverter supply?

3 Some TIG welders claim that HF is not needed because they output square wave power or other means to start the arc, Are the non-HF types as easy to use/start as the traditional HF equipped ones?

  1. Almost all of my welding jobs would be of short duration - a couple of minutes. Would a water cooled torch be needed or is air cooled sufficient

  2. I have noticed some off brand TIG machines on Ebay, mostly inverter types, i.e. an outfit called Smiley Tools which makes a combo tig/Plasma/ARC unit typically providing 120 or 150 Amps to the Tig torch. The unit looks like an inverter. There is a similar unit by MITECH. These units sell for under 00. Is this a strictly you get what you pay for situation?? Has anyone out there seen or used these units? I presume that they all are made in China or thereabouts.

Thank you in advance for your comments.

Reply to
Bradford Chaucer
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Price range?

3/4" aluminum is not practical to TIG weld. For aluminum heavier than 1/4" consider a MIG welder. Much more efficient than TIG for heavy aluminum.

The newest Inverters exceed any transformers in duty cycle and efficiency.

It is unlikely you will trip the breaker on a large inverter.

Inverters don't really need continuous high freq for AC TIG. They generate something that works just as well using capacitor discharge high freq.

A 200 amp air cooled torch like a CK210 from CK Worldwide would work just fine.

For the size of work you want to do a transformer will likely be more affordable.

Look at the Syncrowave 350LX

Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler

Thank you for your input. The situation is resolved. I picked up am L-Tec Heliarc 306 off Ebay. Seller is local to me so I can avoid shipping which is a good thing as this is one heavy beast!!

Now all I need is to become familiar with us>>

Reply to
Bradford Chaucer

I didn't know that -- never having welded any aluminum much over 1/4"! So what thickness of aluminum could be welded with something like a Millermatic 210, Ernie?

Reply to
Don Foreman

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