I'm in the process of shopping for an AC/DC TIG welder and have narrowed my search to the Miller Syncrowave 180 SD TIG Runner and the Lincoln Precision TIG 185. The Lincoln is a bit higher in price but both seem to be comparable.
I want one for light hobby welding on car/hot rod projects like rollcages, etc. Also want the ability to weld Aluminum.
Any and all advice here would be greatly appreciated!
Ernie, I'm looking at the specs on the miller Syncrowave 180 SD and the Thermal Arc Pro-Wave 185TSW and was amazed at the weight difference. The miller model weighs 224 lb., The Lincoln Precision TIG 185 weighs 192 lb., the ThermalArc weighs 41.8 lb.
Where did they cut in the design and manufacture of the 185TSW to lose 180 some pounds? I am shocked, can you or someone else explain this? Is the Thermalarc made in the USA? Phil
I would think the transformer based welders would be more stable, reliable, and durable. I would think the inverter welders would be cheaper to build, but the Thermalarc is more expensive the transformer welders in question.
I would prefer to buy an American made product when possible.
Phil, I am a newbie as well, and don't claim to know much, but what I can tell you is this. In school we have Miller Syncowave 250s (BIG-O Transformers) and Miller Inverters (don't remember the model number). I have a hell of a time with the Syncorwave running 6010 DC, but on the Inverter, I can weld far better, the starts are smooth with no sticking, and the heat seems more controlled, real nice welds. With the inverter, it seems like the spark is hotter when you start, the size of the box is 4-8 times smaller, and the power drain on the mains is way less then a transformer. Of course no AC, but, you can also carry it 6 blocks if you needed to, unlike a transformer. I would venture you could do almost any of the things you have in mind with 115v using one of these inverters. There was a thread a few days ago that explained the difference between the
2 types of systems but I don't remember the subject line. If I could afford it, I would have me a Maxstar 150, nice little kickass inverter 14 lbs. Have never seen one in person, but from what I have read, I REALY WANT ONE! Here is a comparison of several models, however none are AC, and this is Miller doing the comparison so....
Transformer based machines use LOTS of iron and copper, it is basically what transformers are made of. Inverters (transformerless ?) machines don't, they use more "circuitry". As to which is more reliable/dependable/cheap to fix/etc. I have no hard data, but I think that probably goes to the transformer based machines, at least on the cheap to fix count.
Well Gee, since I don't know Ernie from Adam, or you for that matter, I have to continue to ask questions. Yes, I'm new to welders, never bought one before. So I need to go slow and try to understand the technology behind them. Where I work we have no inverter welders, so the inverters give me caution, sorry. So Mike, being the old salt you are, tell me why the inverters are so much better than the transformer welders.
Sorry for the attitude, PM....................Ernie would get $500 an hour for consulting fees if he charged around here. Your question is like this:
Why would a solid state TV be better than one with tubes? After all, the tube one is heavier, costs more to make, and has been around a long time. Why should I buy a one of the new ones........If it's not obvious, then I can't do any better than this...
I've been looking at the inverters now since the Thermalarc recommendation. Miller and Lincoln make them also but the price is way higher than the Thermalarc. The equivalent Miller and Lincoln are about $1000 higher. I'll pay more for American made goods but $1000 is a bit much. I'm talking about the Dynasty 200DX and the Invertec 200. Same features a bit more range, but a lot more $$.
I understand about the analogy of solid state and tube type TVs. But if you are old enough you will also remember the first solid state TVs were not as robust as the old tube types. The last welding I did was 30 years ago in a packing plant. We stick welded and Tig welded a lot of stainless. There were no inverters there. And where I work now, power plant, there are no inverters. Both places put welders through extreme conditions. Now I realize my home shop is nothing like either place, thank god, but I just want to spend my money on something that my son will continue to use when I'm gone.
Do you guys think the Miller and the Lincoln are worth that much more? I really do appreciate the advice.
Not to me. But if I needed the weight difference, then yes. You know Miller is known for their inverter technology, right? Supposed to be way better than Lincoln, with some patents that can't be duplicated.......But, Ernie would know better than me. I use an AC/DC buzz box from Hobart........I'd like a tig unit, but could only justify a used monster and not the real new ones. I used to own a lot of Lincolns............but now I think Miller is better........in technology, service, parts, value.....Just IMHO, naturally. Let us know what you get and how you like it, ok?
Attitude, no problem, we all have one or two. You know that's kinda like my situation. I really can't justify a new TIG machine for just one project and who knows when I'll use it again. I started out just going to get a TIG to do mild steel. Then I thought, while I'm buying one, might as well have the capability to do Aluminum, which drives the cost up a lot seems like. I was wanting to get by for under $1000 but more expensive ones have so many more features that sound very usable, now I'm going to be lucky to get by for under $2000.
The Thermal Arc has the same features as the more expensive Miller and Lincoln, and $1000 less. Hard to not pay attention to them. I called all around my area today and no one has any Thermal Arc TIGs in stock. I'm wanting to look at one before I buy. Wouldn't mind buying locally too.
Thanks again for the time and patience. I hope I haven't made Ernie mad by chewing around the center like this.
Tube TV's have as much as 10 pounds of lead in the glass. The contrast ratio and resolution is far better on the Plasma and then LCD type. The LCD ones are still a little HASMAT, but not near the level of Lead-glass.
regarding inverters - What is the long term status of them - can they handle nasty reflections on the power lines ? I assume they handle those on the work end :-).
Inverter is naturally lighter and portable. Have to get a small bottle of gas for that to be portable. [ Gosh, does it have a crane hook eye ? ]
We had this discussion a while back and I asked my friends who fix welders for a living, as to which type is more durable.
They said that Inverters tend to get repaired more often, but that is more because they travel more and get knocked around in trucks, while transformers machines rarely ever move.
If an inverter is treated kindly and lives in a shop, then it's life span should almost match a transformer.
Inverters do cost more to fix because the insides are mostly a few circuit boards that are sealed in plastic so you have to replace whole boards for $400 to $500 each, while transformers can be fixed in smaller pieces for $50 - $75.
It is a debate. My Maxstar 200DX ran out it's 3 year warranty last spring, and I am very gentle with it, since now I would have to pay full price for repairs.
I am still debating selling it and buying a Dynasty 200DX to have the AC TIG, but the Maxstar has a higher duty cycle than the Dynasty, and I haven't had to do any aluminum on location yet.
I have my Syncrowave 250DX for my in shop work.
The Thermal Arc 185 is the best deal in small TIG machines right now if you need AC.
With the Miller and Lincoln machines at $1000 more, they have a real edge on the market.
The Miller Dynasty 200DX is still a better machine, with a few more features, and Autoline to use any power availabl;e, but $1000 makes it a tough job to justify.
BTW one thing they don't tell you about the Thermal Arc, is that to use the Sequencer you havce to buy a different remote that clips to the torch. One of my students last year bought one and we figured that out when he brought it in for me to play with.
The Miller and Lincoln allow you to access the sequencer with the foot pedal.
this is off topic (original post ) , but realated.
I don't want to kiss up to Ernei...... but i've been reading this group 2-3 years now and this man (Ernie) has helped countles people here, answered the same questions over and over , which repeatedly and frequently come up here.
his answers are educative and to the point. I wish I would have the knoledge and patience and will power to do what he does.
for the new guys reading this post or group.... you can't go wrong with Ernies reply or post .... he is a good man.