Convince Me!

one more thingto keep in mind, and this is important. TIG= you have 3 things going at ones, nd it has to be in harmony. one hand - torch , other hand filler material, one leg remote foot pedal, for power output, ( yes it can be hand controlled as well) it takes some time to master the 3 things going at once. on a flat table , pieces laying flat makes it easier. anything out of position or you are not sitting on a chair operating a pedal makes it much harder.
MIG= none of the above one hand operation in any position. reaching into the corner , upside down , down side up does not matter.
to comment for the fella' that mentioned STICK welding. slag , slag inclusion, and spatter, and a LONG stick electrode makes it undesireable for me. and for an average home / hobbiest its usage would be rare, most places that have a good quality high output MIG placed the stick machines in the corner. in an average shop setting MIG over taken the STICK machines nowdays Stick dominates field operation only, and may be some special interest.
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Firstly you need to consider what sort of jobs you will be using your welder for. Secondly if the extra versatility of the TIG is worth paying the extra money for. Thirdly whether or not you would ever be likely to do any repetitive type work (railings, fencing, that type of thing).
Without first carefully considering all of the above, its quite impossible to make a decision, which you may well regret later if you make the wrong choice.
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Agree, but not sure I would classify TIG as having a "much steeper" skill level (learning curve). I am self-taught with TIG and picked it up with about 4 hours of off/on effort. The best piece of TIG learning advice I received was "go colder and slower". Like you say, the road from there is clear. What to do and how to approach new welding situations is intuitive after that first effort. I would suggest replacing the foot pedal with a simple on/off switch on the handle and a remote amperage control though. At least for general fabrication where you are moving around and standing up.
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Having got both TIG, stick and mig... If I had a choice of only 1, it would be a GOOD tig set, with a stick handpiece as well. MIG is great for awkward jobs and tacking. Exhausts and fences being 2 obvious examples - hold in place and give it a squirt. Decide what you are going to do first. Get an autodark helmet as well - I have a Harbor Freight one and am happy with it. Not as nice as the Speedglass we have in the lab, but 1/6 the price. Geoff
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Geoff M
As several replies have indicated, it is quite EASY to decide on the machine once you know what use you will put it to. The point is that the question comes up again and again from folk who don't (YET) know what they will be working on. Hobbyists wan't/need maximum flexibility AND minimum learning curve. OK, so "Gotta pay Yer dues", but the question is, "Where to start ?". I suggest MIG as a start that will give some encouragement (instant gratification) with success. After that, if you want to go for the more esoteric stuff you're going to be spending more money (again).
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Others here are making better comments than I can offer. We are just talking about apples and oranges. MIG and TIG are very different, and each has its area to shine in. I do not believe it is an either/or choice. But, if I had to buy one first, I would get the MIG since the learning curve is shorter, and it has more uses.
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Before these low-dollar mig and tig units came on the market stick and/or OA was about the only choice for the average home and hobbiest welder. I'm willing to bet that there's still more pounds of rod burned by the average non-professional welder than mig wire. If you've not learned to utilize a stick welder then you're just limiting your abilities.
In the production welding shop, for the most part, yes. But that changes nothing in the non-professional welding world.
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