Looking for a TIG welder

I've been wanting to learn TIG welding for quite a while, but the entry
fee seems pretty high! I do alright with OA, but TIG just seems
potentially so much better I want to learn it.
Anyway, I'm looking for an entry-level machine that has both DC and AC
output. Well, that and a Learner's Permit for steel and aluminum. I
won't mind ruining pounds of scrap, or producing it then ruining it
again, learning.
At the moment I'm waffling between buying something like an EconoTig or
one of those Super-Dooper-do-everything-but-wipe-your-butt-for-you
things from somewhere or other. (They seem to be examples of Too Good to
be True -- and probably are, i suppose.)
Operating on the Cry-Once Principle, I'm leaning toward the Econo-Tig or
a Lincoln something I can find used but of good quality and condition.
Anybody have ideas, suggestions, used equipment for sale, etc? I've been
the eBay route, but nothing so far.
Money is an object. Darnit!
I'm near Akron, OH, BTW.
PS - Gunner probably has a dozen of 'em, but shipping from Taft, CA to
Akron, OH just has to be costly.
Reply to
John Husvar
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How about this:
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is a great price for a machine as big as it is! And if you ever get tired of it, you would certainly be able to get your money back - quick and easy!
"John Husvar" wrote...
Reply to
jp2express
Actually...Ive only got a quarter dozen, though Im supposed to pick up a Lincoln 300/300 (digital readout) in the next month or two, when I find the time go drive 140 miles in a direction I normally never go, and swap for a bar feeder and vibratory polisher.
That will make it 1/3d dozen, right?
Ill keep my eyes open for something for you. A nice old Miller DialArc 250HF or similar would be a great starter machine for you.
I arrainged for a guy to get two of them, one working, one not, and he started going through a divorce..and when downsizing..threw them away in a moment of insanity.
I could have killed him.
Keep checking Ebay.
Gunner
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Reply to
Gunner
Make sure its not 3ph
Gunner
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Reply to
Gunner
John: I have a Thermal Arc 185TSW that I really like. All the bells and whistles for a reasonable price. $1300. AC/DC, stick and Tig. Do a search on this NG for other peoples experiences on similar machines. -M
Reply to
mlcorson
"mlcorson" wrote
I have heard too much good about this machine for it not to be on the top selections on any list. Whatever you buy, be sure that it is of such a brand name that you can get service and consumables. When the cheap Chinese ones crap out, there's no fixing them.
Steve
Reply to
SteveB
I'm not sure where you found that price, but I've looked all over and the best prices I found were closer to $2000. Was there a price increase when they realized that it was a good deal?
Reply to
mikemo
I bought it on ebay, a couple of years ago. Indiana Oxygen (IOC) was the seller. I don't remember the exact price, might of been closer to $1500. Free shiping. The "new" model is the Arcmaster". Must have some features I don't have. I've never used the AC as I haven't had a need (or desire) to do aluminum. The AC feature is nice to have, but you might be able to find a fully featured DC only device for a lot less money. Good luck.
Reply to
mlcorson
On the other end of the spectrum, I bought a Daytona Mig PowerPulse 100 tig welder on eBay for under $500 shipped. This is a small, DC only, lift-start (no high frequency), rebadged Cebora unit that was the unit I've wanted since back in the '70s when I first started welding in art school.
Unless you know you want aluminum, you don't need AC, and I have no problems with lift start (aka scratch start), so I'm happy using it for the sculpture, furniture, and wall art I do.
If I was starting out now, I would spend $200 and get the Harbor Freight unit, which will certainly get you started. Of course, I hesitate to recommend this low end, hobbyist unit on this very high level and professional group, but for me, as a casual hobbyist, with no intention of structural fabrication, it was far more important to me to get started, and the difference between the $500 I spent and the $1500 that a high frequency unit would have cost would have prevented me from buying one at all.
For my purposes, having one of those small tank, portable Oxy/Acetyline rigs @$300 from Lowes, a Hobart 175 220v mig @ $400 from Craig's List, a Thermal Dynamics plasma cutter @$400 from eBay, and my Daytona @$500 has been more useful than spending the same $1600 on a better tig unit. But that's just me...
Good luck, and let us know what you end up with!
Reply to
Emmo
Phew! That's a lotta machine alright -- and the price is apparently very good! But I need something I can put in my shop, not the other way around. :)
Reply to
John Husvar
Thanks a lot, gents. Lots of good advice which will help me decide which way to go.
The Thermal Arc 185 seems to be a lot of welder for the money, but it's closer to $2000 now -- $1997.something from IOC.
Fortunately this doesn't have to be done immediately, so I'll have some time to look around. (And so will Gunner maybe.:)
Reply to
John Husvar
And while you are looking, get an Oxy/Fuel setup and start practicing -- everything you learn with Oxy/Fuel will be very helpful when you go to tig. And you can use it as a cutting torch later.
Or if you already have that, then spend the $200 on the HF tig unit and start practicing.
I guess my point is that it is better to buy cheap and get to it than wait for a better machine later. I know this is counter to some other advice, but when I was in school, I had a guy tell me "You have about a thousand bad welds in you, you better get going..." (Actually, at the time, it was bad paintings, but you get my point...) More welding sooner is my advice. And then when you get one of those SynchroWave or Thermal Arc boxes, you will see why they cost 10 times as much, (maybe...)
Just another point of view from a guy with not much money or patience...
Reply to
Emmo
The price did go up with the "Arcmaster" model. I paid about $1650 for my 185TSW new from IOC a couple of years ago.
The welder is a pleasure to use.
Peter
Reply to
pgrey
lift start and scratch start are not the same thing. At least not how I use the terms.
Scratch start is what you do on cheap machines (or stick machines used for Tig) when the machine is just on all the time and you scratch the base metal just like with stick to get the arc started. Like with stick, you have to watch out for the electrode sticking.
Lift start is a more advanced feature found on some better machines. With lift start, the current is normally off. Only a low voltage, low current, sense current is applied to the electrode. It's there to allow the system to sense when you have touched the electrode to the work piece. The procedure is to touch (not scratch) the electrode to the base metal, hold it there for a second, and then lift it off. Once you lift it off, the machine senses you have done this, and then turns on the full welding current. The arc starts right up at that point because the gap is small enough to support the arc when it turns on.
Lift start has many advantages. The electrode isn't electrically hot except when you are welding, so it's harder to shock yourself by accident. There's no HF radio interference to mess with electronic equipment around. You don't end up sticking the electrode trying to start it (in general). And you minimize contamination problems since you don't have to scratch the tungsten to the base metal.
Reply to
Curt Welch
Thanks Curt, I never knew there was a difference. From your description, my Daytona Mig tig machine is a lift start, I think. In any case, I have no problems with it, and when I was taking Arc Welding at the Austin Community College I had a lot of problems with scratch-starting the electrode, until I got the motion down. I learn something everyday on this group...
Reply to
Emmo
This is exactly like my tig welder, on eBay with a $425 Buy-It-Now price. I really like it, myself. Check it out:
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Reply to
Emmo
And Daytona Mig has a refurbed one @ $429
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Reply to
Emmo
Yeah, the description implies it's got a lift-start system. Looks like a nice unit.
I was at Harbor Freight looking at their $300 unit which I could have grabbed for around $250 with a discount. It was tempting just to give me something to play with but I decided to wait until I could justify something a bit more real. :)
Reply to
Curt Welch
I've done a lot of things in my life, so it's hard for me to pull out one example that typifies the whole point.
But one does come to mind.
Fishing equipment.
If you want to get a kid or someone started on fishing, DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT take them fishing with crappy equipment. A fully functional cane pole and bobber is far ahead of equipment they will have to fight with, or that won't do what it's supposed. They'll tire quickly and want to go play in the mud.
I find it the same with things mechanical. If you have any talent, it will come out whether using good or poor equipment. It's just that you will have more time learning with good equipment and less time fighting with it or blaming yourself for the poor performance, and then doing the ultimate no no.
Quitting.
HTH
Steve
Reply to
SteveB

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