WolksTigWelder: call to arms !

After Gunner pointed out the DYI, state-of-the-art, TIG welder @
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, many of us
here got rightfully excited.
I contacted the guy behind the product and tried to excite him with
potential of community forming, PCB-selling and stuff like that
(Shumatech
is a good example of such a DYI project that probably is mildly
profitable
for the authors).
Unfortunately, the guy, while a true gentleman and a scholar, is indeed
very
bz and doesn't have much time yet to dedicate to this project.
How about we start a little Yahoo group and see where we can take it ?
I started doing some of the legwork:
- the components, assuming Digikey and Ebay, will prolly run about $200
or less,
depending on how lucky one gets on Ebay. If we get a proven reference
design,
a bunch of us can pool the resources to get better deals.
- one'd probably want to buy an HF $100 buzzbox, just for the case and
power
supply in it
- the documentation is fairly complete. PCBs don't have component
markings,
but it shoudl not take long to figure them out. Again, bunch of us can
pool up
to get a smallish batch of PCBs made at one of the many PCB production
houses
or we can get our own made. alternatively, one can reenter schematic
into a
one of 1000 routing programs and get another design done.
- I am thinking about dumping the HF start and adopting true lift-arc
(in reduced current mode, the tungsten gets red hot that ionizes the
gas and gets the arc going). HF is
rather disruptive,expensive to build and will take up a lotsa space in
the unit.Let alone
you can fry some electronics in a car or other expensive thing you
weld, unless really
careful.
The end goal is to have a complete DYI state-of-the-art TIG made for
$400 or under,
that rivals Miller Dynasty 200DX in feature set :) and one that you can
understand 100% and
be able to repair should anything break .
Reply to
rashid.karimov
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Newbie here. Just learning how to MIG and hopefully learn gas soon as well. Although I don't know squat about TIG, you got me excited! I'd be all over being able to build a decent unit for $400.....then I can learn TIG too! Cheers, cc
Reply to
James "Cubby" Culbertson
I'm interested but you might want to crosspost this to rec.crafts.metalworking where this originally appeared too and see if there are intersted parties there too
RCM seems busier with its more general focus but lots of machinists welders there too
Reply to
Brent Philion
Bull. He certainly had enough time to craft all of this up, the drawings, and all of the metal metal machining work, etc...
Well I dunno about that - your at about $100 just for hte IGBT's
With a project of this depth, I doubt he just "set it aside" because he's too busy. He's probably working on either kitting it himself, or manufacturing it, so selling the whole design package.
Geesus dude... Have you "not" used HF? lift arc means your presiously clean/ground tungsten has to "contact" your work, and in TIG land, thats a cardinal rule. I know, I know, lots of people like lift arc, but HF (In my opinion) is much much better, and no, its not gonna fry any nearby electronics. I even use HF in stick mode on my T.A. 185 for 7018 (because the VRD deal is so shitty for stick welding)
You're gonna have more in this than $400 when you count everything, and you don't know if it will rival the 200DX (or the T.A. 185 STW for that matter), or how well it will perform, or regulate its current etc.
The average welder's gonna "understand" this ? Ca-mon, lets be real here, one catastrophic shoot-thru in the power electronics, and you're gonna be shotgun replacing a lot of components as troubleshooting indivual gates is a royal pain even for the most seasoned electronics technician.
and how exactally are you going to troubleshoot this?
I see a lot of uncrimped, and unconnected connectors, and see no final product sample welds? Oversight?
Look, I'm not baging on the guys project per-se, but it does seems like another half-baker. And in reality, coming from a electonics DIY background, his 3 points about microcontrollers are bogus - he leads you to believe that somehow a coffee-can full of chips and PCB artwork is somehow better for the end user/builder than a simple micro like a PIC, or any of the other single-chip controllers out there. And his comments about how the average Joe can't program such controllers, well DUH! - thats for the designer (i.e. *him*) to do, _not_ the end builder. Further, dumping the firmware to one of these chips is a no-brainer, and allows the original designer to make changes to the functionality of the unit, and just post the new firmware on his website. He goes to great lengths to mention how busy he is, and how he will get "back" to this project "as soon as possible". Now their's someone who is deticated to the project, eh? So yer gonna sink $400+ into a coffee-can full of chips and stuff, blow the shit up, E-mail the dude, and he's gonna say, "sorry, busy with family". Commend the guy for his work, but its a sky-pie half-baker dream in my opinion. (without welds)
Reply to
Mr Wizzard
Wow Mr Wizzard, seems you've got a healthy dose of pessimism going for you.
Reply to
Eide
No, didn't mean to come off that way, just being a realist here, that all... Even the Heathkit Color TV kit with all of its manuals wasn't for everyone. But even then, you had someone to call and talk to if you got stuck.
:)
Reply to
Mr Wizzard
I'll give you that. Nothing wrong with being a realist.
Eide
Reply to
Eide
Without necessarily disagreeing with Mr. W. about the basic issue, it's worth noting (or not) that pessimists almost always describe themselves as realists.
Owen Davies
Reply to
Owen Davies
Hey wait a second here! (just kidding...)
So a "pessimist" would say: "bah humbug, that welder project is all bunksville"
A "realist" would say: "Ok, lets stop and think about this here for a moment. Lets take 10 posters to this newgroup, and give them each $500 to try this project. Give em a month, the $500 for the stuff, and with all of the information presented on that web page, and lets see who can come up with the first set of welded coupons" Answer? probably zero. Why? well, the list is too long, most of which have to do with "realist" type stuff. But hey! always the optimist right? Could be just statistics too you know - what are the odds that one of the 10 picked posters also have experiance/degree etc with electical engineering, and actually has a clue about digital logic *and* power electronics, magnetics, and switch-mode supplies? It is possible, just not likely. And if it were likely, then its still not practicle since the HeathKit days of non-micro based kits have long pased us by. But if some old washed up fuddy-duddy electronics throwback from the 70's wants to sell the masses on a coffee-can full of 74 series chips for a TIG welder to keep it simple for the "masses", all the more power to him. I'd just argue that there is no "thinking of you" here in his design, but more of "thinking of me" because I don't know any better (or how to get with the times and deal with microcontrollers). If that part makes me a "pessimist", then I guess I am both. I mean, its not like the dude is offering up plans for a "Nixie tube" clock, or somehting cool like that you know...
:)
Reply to
Mr Wizzard
I have build a lot of DIY electronics and I agree with Mr. Wizzard. His comments are not pessimism, they are advice. That's exactly what this NG is for. Successfully building power switching electronics requires at least *some* idea of what you are doing. I suspect that most who do know what they are doing will pay the money for a welder that's done and look elsewhere to save money. Those that don't know what they are doing will spend time and money, blow some stuff up, and have a pile of parts that sits in a box in the corner of the garage. Hell, there's a good chance that the guy with the website has nothing more than that, and he even *does* know a bit about what he is doing.
Also, you'd be nuts to do this project without a microcontroller. I've also built big things with logic chips (TTL) and you will spend more time trouble-shooting all the logic connections than you will learning how to program the PIC. You'd also be nuts to chase this with no proof that it even works. The Shumatech box is proven. The guy is probably a very nice honorable guy, but that doesn't mean his welder works.
Reply to
lens
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These are inverter welders . Sub $1000.
Reply to
EricG
$2,999 for the feature set I am looking for . At this price, if I were a fabricator or any kind of a pro making living off welding, I'd go for Dynasty instead.
WolksTigWelder is NOT for folx like that, but rather for an enthusiast with some spare time on his hands. Not necessarily one that is uber frugal and can not affort a $3K state-of-the-art TIG machine, but one that cherishes building one himself.
Reply to
rashid.karimov
If I can chime in, from my experiences, this kind VolksTigWelder project is the absolute most expensive way to acquire a new welding machine -- if even a minimally sane hourly salary is figured into this project.
And people who can take such a project to completion are not so stupid as to make the minimum wage. They are usually well paid.
It would be much more effective to work at a modestly paying job part time for several months, then walk into AirGas and buy a new Dynasty welder at MSRP, with "extended warranty" added to the price.
If, on the other hand, the builder is an "DIY enthusiast", then the fun value could probably change this equation.
I made a welding DC to AC inverter, which works "on the bench", but I have not yet put it into my welder (because, partly, I want to also convert it to CC/CV welder prior to putting the inverter in).
It was an unbelievably expensive project, not so much due to parts cost (which was substantial), but because of enormous amount of time that it took to date. If I spent that time programming algebra.com, or moonlighted as a computer programmer, and bought a brand new TIG welder with all bells and whistles, I would get a lot more bang for the buck.
Yea, I learned a lot from that project. But I an not so sure if this knowledge is worth having or not (it could be, I do not yet know). It was fun, but, other things can be fun too.
I estimate the value of time that I spent on it to be in the neighborhood of $5-10k.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus12493
It is not the acquisition of the new TIG welder that is the purpose here :) , but the process of building one and having fun while on it.
Otherwise, I full heartedly agree that buying a tool of trade, in most cases, is the way to go, as opposed to building one .
On somewhat related note it is not quite clear to me why we can have a fairly decent $200 DC TIG/Stick @ HF but not a $395 AC/DC inverter. They need to add 2 more IGBTs and 200-400 HZ oscillator... heck, they can even fix @ 80/20 penetration/cleaning. Can not be any more than $40 for all of that in parts and labor.
Let's get one out while labor is still cheap in China... ain't going to last long
Reply to
rashid.karimov
It will be far more than that, in parts alone.
You have to buy IGBTs (figure $80-100, used, on ebay, with heatsink).
Then you have to buy gate drivers: depending on luck and skill --
* from $50 with a lot of time spent with a soldering gun * to $100 for nice boards on ebay with little time spent soldering and boards that were designed for driving gates in an industrial setting * to hundreds of $$ if you cannot find good gate driver boards on ebay
then you have to buy a good heatsink fan
then you have to buy a lot of doodads like resistors, zener diodes, copper strips, capacitors, connectors, terminal lugs, welding cables, more connectors, all coming with their shipping charges
then you blow up the IGBTs and buy more
then you have to buy a commutator switch and more doodads, mounting things, etc
I did that, like I said I have a working inverter that I did not yet install in, and I am good at finding cheap stuff. The above is my experience.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus12493
No it won't, not in the volumes HF would buy.
Here you make Rashid's point for him, IF HF WERE to do it, the volume cost of the extra parts would be a tiny fraction of your estimates. Designing IGBT drivers really isn't hard, but you need to know what you are doing. Then what else ? Some glue components ? Damn all, not the extra 1000 USD we see in the market.
Steve
Reply to
Steve

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