I've been told that you can convert a stick welder into a so-so TIG. I
have an old stick welder (small one) that I would like to do this to,
does anyone have any details? I am in the process of restoring a
couple of old VWs and need to do some sheet metal welding and my MIG
just isn't cutting the mustart, I think there is somthing wrong with
cause i just can't get it to make any decent tack welds with either
solid or flux core wire.
the answer is YES and NO
if your stick welder is A\C only it will not work, I will not get too
deep into details, unless you really want to know.
your car is mild steel and it would need DC to TIG it.
Stick welders can be converted to TIG but it would be a lousy one at
low amprage, it can be used as DC TIG on some thick metal where
precise control may not be an issue.
it would have to be scrach started, unless you got one wich has high
freq. there is only a few of those made /rare,
I think lincoln made an idealarc 250 with high freq.
DC could be used for TIG but you would not have any remote control
option, whatever you set your amp that is what you got to start and
eng your weld with.
also many transformer stick welders do not go down to low amps.
I think it would be a disappointment.
i have done this. i couldn't afford a TIG and i had a heap of parts and
lots of time so building was a resonable cause of action.
assuming your welder is AC (which mine was) you will need:
a filter capactor
a HF system (which is basicly a tesla coil primary)
and obviousley a tig torch, argon, argon regulator etc
if you don't have parts for a rectifier, i would surgest you think
seriousley about buying a new TIG, big diodes are expensive (unless you
can get them from ebay :) ) you can also use power thyristors as i did.
the smoothing capactor should be large. i'm useing 4 22mF (yes milly
farad not micro farad) 70V caps.
my HF system is barly adaquate, but IMO anything is better than scratch
the TIG is useable but suffers from some majour drawbacks:
no fine current control (my stick welder is always cranked right down
as far as it will go when used to power my TIG and its still abit too
no remote control (not such a problem)
when the arc starts, the caps partuialy discharge in a burst makeing a
cratorin the metal. this would be prevented by a hefty inductor.
there is a somewhat incompleat webpage detailing my setup:
I converted my 20 year old 200 amp AC/DC box for TIG use, and it works
much better for sheet metal work than for thicker welds. Buy the kit
from the Tig Depot, they sell good conversions, and they support what
they sell. The kit allows you a very fine control of amperage for
thinner metals. With AC, you can easily weld aluminum, but you will
want to use the largest dia. tungsten you can get by with, on high
amperage, get a ball formed on the end for the cleansing action, and
the torch will get hot very shortly.
I got a separate hi-freq unit on eBay for $150, including shipping,
works just fine. Before I installed that, the system was basically
unusable on scratch start.
I'd love to upgrade to a better system, but I'm getting good
penetration as well as a good looking weld after hours of practice.
My '34 Ford project page:
I think TIG depot conversion kit converts your 220 V welder in a way
where you would plug it in to 110 V, so you can drop the amps to the
lower range .......there for the cooling fan would have to be closely
watched make sure it runs on 110 V.
I never got the kit but remember reading about it.
I would add up the $$$ of the conversion and additional stuff needed
before going for such thing.
there are many cheepo TIGs on the market that will do a better job
True, but the use of that 110 V socket is optional, I get much better
results leaving that off.
Not counting my old buzzbox, I was into it about $650, tank,
conversion, highfreq and everything. It's a stopgap measure, for sure,
but like I said, I get good results, and for really thin sheet metal,
the amperage control may not be that big an issue.
the problem then would be that the voltage would drap to 0v 100 times a
second (from the rectified AC) and the arc would extinguish. my HF
isn't up to repeted starting of an arc, as is required on AC welding,
and what you propose.