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Rustybolt
04-29-2005, 09:49 PM
What would you recomend for someone on a budget of say between $800 and $1000? Being able to do alum. would be nice too.

snowman
04-29-2005, 09:55 PM
buy a savings bond.

wait til it matures, buy a welder (if you are still alive) http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

I'm yet to find anything for that price. I'll be wathcing this thread.

motorworks
04-29-2005, 10:04 PM
No Tig in that price range will do AL, but
Have a look at the Miller 210 with spool gun(MIG).
It does AL nicely.Not Sure of the price in US dollars, but I paid ~2000.00 Canadian.
Still higher then your budget, but within reach.
eddie

[This message has been edited by motorworks (edited 04-29-2005).]

3 Phase Lightbulb
04-29-2005, 10:13 PM
What kind of TIG machine are you using in your TIG class?

-Adrian

Doc Nickel
04-29-2005, 11:16 PM
Cheapest "real" TIG I ever saw was Miller's EconoTIG for $1,700 originally, then sometimes as low as $1,400 before they (I think) discontinued it.

At the moment, both Miller and Lincoln have units in the mid-$1,700 range; the Sychrowave 180SD or the Precision TIG 185. These are transformer units, but both makers also have inverter boxes. Prices are nominally the same.

I'd heard of an off-brand or lesser-known brand inverter box that supposedly could be had for under a grand, but I haven't seen it, and I'd be leery of such a thing even if I could see it.

There are hi-freq boxes and add-ons that can be put on other power supplies, but in my understanding almost all of them are a compromise and don't work as well as a "real" TIG.

My suggestion is to save up and buy one of the above units- get a transformer if you're doing a lot of in-shop work, or get an inverter if you'll be needing to do a lot of portable work.

I picked up the Miller, and I've been quite happy with it. It was straining for all it was worth to weld a bar of 3/4" x4" aluminum, but for anything under that, it's been amazing.

Doc.

x39
04-29-2005, 11:24 PM
If being able to do aluminum isn't a requirement, just hook a tig torch up to any DC stick welder and have at it. Even with this rig, if I'm not mistaken, aluminum can be tig welded using DC with helium as a shielding gas, maybe some of our more experienced weldors can confirm this?

3 Phase Lightbulb
04-29-2005, 11:38 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by x39:
If being able to do aluminum isn't a requirement, just hook a tig torch up to any DC stick welder and have at it. Even with this rig, if I'm not mistaken, aluminum can be tig welded using DC with helium as a shielding gas, maybe some of our more experienced weldors can confirm this?</font>


You could try that, but only DC Electrode Negative, otherwise you'll just burn up the electrode.

-Adrian

3 Phase Lightbulb
04-29-2005, 11:52 PM
I would try and buy a used older TIG machine on Ebay... A Complete Miller Syncrowave 300 setup just sold for $1300 on Ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7509684285

-Adrian

precisionworks
04-30-2005, 12:58 AM
For $1,307, delivered, it would be hard to beat this deal:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=57039&item=7511923971&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

For aluminum TIG on any welder 200 amps or under try 75 Helium/25 Argon. It's like having fifty additional amps in your welder.

For $200 more, the same seller has the Syncrowave 180 SD. That machine gives you double the duty cycle of the EconoTig, which may or may not be a concern for you.

Used Syncrowave 300's often sell for $600-$1200 on eBay, like the one 3PH mentioned. If you buy a used machine, insist on a written guarantee or don't buy it unless it's dirt cheap. Circuit boards can be pretty expensive on these machines.

------------------
Barry Milton

torker
04-30-2005, 01:11 AM
Rusty....Ha...that's funny, that's my nickname!
Don't even think about it! You've been learning on good equipment and if you buy a piece of crap welder you ARE going to be pissed!`
I got talked into an "Econo Tig" and hated it so much that I traded it in on a real welder and took a $600 loss. Best $600 I ever lost!
If you can...do what 3ph says...buy an old Miller Syncro outfit. They require an ugly amount of input power but you can cheat. You can hook them up to a lower power circuit but have to be prepared for limits on what you can weld.
I did that with my Rinkkin Square wave. I can't use all the power it can produce to the max duty cycle but I can do a hell of a lot of heavy work with it...just in short bursts.
The worst mistake I ever made was NOT buying a nice Miller Sync outfit from our local college for $350. I was thinking max duty cycle and didn't think I'd have the power.
The worst that has happened so far in 5 years...I blew the breaker a few times.
Russ

claw
04-30-2005, 01:35 AM
Its all in the operator dude. econotig is a fine welder. check indiana oxygen http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=57039&item=7511032642&rd=1 $1300 brand new. when you are on a budget you can do withou all the fancy bells and whistles

Swarf&Sparks
04-30-2005, 01:58 AM
No way you're gonna weld ali with DC. You'd hafta use electrode pos to remove the oxide film and you'll just fry your torch!

torker
04-30-2005, 04:05 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by claw:
Its all in the operator dude. econotig is a fine welder. check indiana oxygen http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=57039&item=7511032642&rd=1 $1300 brand new. when you are on a budget you can do withou all the fancy bells and whistles</font>
Really! And I just fell off a turnip truck.
Try welding 3/8" alu with an econojunk.

shawnspeed
04-30-2005, 06:16 AM
Rusty, Look in your local swapper/traders and see what you can find. I was just looking in the detroit area trading times and found a couple of Synro 250's , one for 800 bucks the other was just over a 1000.00 . I would test drive the machine first, if that was not an option, a reduced price and/or written gaurantee of functionality would be in order. Shawn

IOWOLF
04-30-2005, 06:34 AM
Rustybolt,
I have a econotig and as a hobby welder it works fine(20% duty cycle) however dont try making a living with it. $1300.00 +/-.

And if I may say.... get a friggin spoolgun if you want to weld 3/8 aluminum. Or run helium and preheating.

Jay

hrhoades
04-30-2005, 07:28 AM
One spot you might look is the local tech college or high school. Get to know the welding instructor. They trade out their welders every couple of years and often can be bought reasonably,

Doozer
04-30-2005, 07:53 AM
Thermalarc 185. Wonderful machine. $1700 on sale. 40lbs. Welds AL better than the Miller Sincrowave 300 at work, much better. 3/8" AL is about max for this machine, but it will do it. It is not enough heat to fix automotive cyl heads. The 300 is for that. --Doozer

x39
04-30-2005, 09:18 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by 3 Phase Lightbulb:

You could try that, but only DC Electrode Negative, otherwise you'll just burn up the electrode.

-Adrian</font>

I kind of figured that went without saying, but you're right to bring it up. I've welded tons of steel and stainless using a scratch start tig hooked up to a Lincoln AC/DC stick welder, it worked great. I replaced that with a Hobart Tig-wave 250, which is obviously a superior unit, with high frequency, etc.

Rustybolt
04-30-2005, 09:48 AM
WOW. A lot of good advice here. I use a Lincoln Precision Tig 250 in class. It has all the bells and whistles.So;
More money(sell my wifes jewelry)
Miller econotig, No.
Older Miller square wave, Yes
Thermalarc(I've been looking at those)

There's a reason this place is the best. Thanks guys.

precisionworks
04-30-2005, 10:21 AM
http://www.usaweld.com/products/tig_welders/tig201.html

That's the machine I use. I didn't mention it as the price is well above your stated amount. They do sometimes have older units, customer returns, demos, that sell for much less. Call and ask for Steve Holzer, he's great to work with. (Don't talk to Jeff, he's the owner).

I've never hit the duty cycle, even welding 1/2" aluminum. I always run He75-Ar25 on aluminum.

------------------
Barry Milton

rbregn
04-30-2005, 10:32 AM
I bought a miller square wave used from the local welding supply company. By the time I bought cords, clamps, bottles. and a tig gun. I had $1500. or $1600 into it. Best damn money I spent on a welder as far as I'm concerned. It was a trade in from the Air Force base. Get a good machine and you won't regret it.