Tig- converting to water cooled torch- help

Hi all,

What changes do I have to make to a Lincoln 175 TIG machine if I want to use a water cooled tig torch like a CK 200? It comes with a WP-9 gas cooled torch. Torch gets too darn hot.

Do you control the water flow with a 2nd solenoid like the gas, or is the water always flowing, even after you've taken your foot off the pedal?

Thanks in advance for any help.

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The water is always flowing.

On a water cooled torch, besides the power lead connection and the gas connection there are two additional connections at the far end of the torch lead. Water in (to the torch) and water out( returning from the torch). If you invest in a recirculating water cooler, (about $300 to $400 for a TIG machine like yours, the cooler capacity should match the power source capacity, bigger power source should use bigger (more expensive) cooler), these water line connections are made at the cooler. Ideally, if there is a "switched" 110 outlet on the back panel of your power source, plug the water cooler in there. When you turn on the power source you also start the cooler pump to circulating coolant which continues to circulate as long as your power source is on. Otherwise you have to turn on the power source and cooler pump separately (and you don't want to turn on the first and forget to turn on the second.)

If you go with the cooler be sure to invest in dedicated water cooler antifreeze. Besides freeze protection it also provides corrosion protection and (if I'm not mistaken) lubrication to the cooler pump parts. My understanding is that automotive antifreeze is not suitable for this purpose.

An altenative approach is to hook up your water in connection to the shop sink tap and and arrange the returning water out to drain into the sink. This gets you around the expense of the water cooler but requires a shop sink proximate to your welding operation and also may run a bit of a water bill if you're not dilligent about cutting the tap off between weld sessions.

A third option is to cobble an inexpensive/salvaged pump from where ever in a five gallon or larger bucket and forget about cooling the "coolant". For smaller/short jobs the water won't get that hot. On bigger/longer jobs you'll have to swap out the water periodically. The bigger the bucket the better this will work (except for having to dump and refill the bucket).

Besides not getting hot in your hand, the other really sweet thing you're going to notice with the water cooled torch is how much easier it is to drive than a regular torch. The leads on a water cooled torch are typically lighter and more flexible so they don't impinge on hand motion/torch action nearly as much. I use a 125 amp water cooled torch with super light, super flexible leads and it's a world of difference over my 200 amp air cooled torch for controlling hand motion.

Dennis van Dam

Reply to
Dennis van Dam


Part of my reply to you was generalized to the point of being erroneous.

I wrote;

parenthesized), these water line connections are made at the cooler.

This description would indicate there are four separate leads at the far end of the torch when really there's only three.

If you haven't already, go down the list a few threads and read Ernie Leimkuhler's response to "Converting from air to water torch on 185 Lincoln TIG". Ernie's description on how and where the return water connects is what you need to know (and is what brought to my attention the error in my description).

The return water and the electrode lead are one and the same and, as Ernie describes, the conection is made at the electrode terminal on the power source front panel (at least it does on my ancient Hobart AC/DC TIGWeld) by substituting the existing power/gas block with a power/water block. The return water goes through the block and then a shorter length of hose (that you may have to have made up at the local weld shop/hose shop) routes the return water from the block back to the water cooler reservoir.

The gas coming out of the power source that used to go to the power/gas block sending the gas through the block, into the lead to the torch now goes from the power source directly to the dedicated gas lead bypassing the power block.

On my 125 amp torch the leads are colour coded - red for electrode and return (hot) water, blue for cold water out bound from the cooler to the torch and black for the gas.

Sorry if my prior description caused any confusion.

(It's been a while since I checked under the hood of my TIG box, but that's no excuse for a bum steer.) (-8

Dennis van Dam


This is just a hunch on my part, perhaps somebody who knows can confirm (Ernie?) but the reason the return water is routed down the same conduit as the torch electrode lead is so that any residual capacity to absorb heat the (now hot) water has left, goes to cooling the electrode lead?

This in turn contributes some amount to facilitating lighter electrode lead configuration than if no water cooling was applied, the lighter configuration contributing to the ease of handling of a water cooled TIG torch?

Or am I over analyzing this?

Reply to
Dennis van Dam

You are correct.

I use air cooled torches on my inverter TIG for location work. Air cooled hoses are MUCH bigger.

Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler

Thanks Ernie.


Reply to
Dennis van Dam

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