View Full Version : homemade tig welder
11-18-2008, 10:01 PM
I looked for a tig welder on the internet but can't afford what I found. Has anyone successfully made a tig welder from a dc/ac welder(I have a lincoln buzzbox) and come up with a homebrew high frequency unit to go with it? Thanks Paul
I used a scratch start DC TIG torch with a Lincoln AC/DC 225 for many years before I acquired a Hobart Tigwave 250. I looked into getting a hi-freq set up for the Lincoln but was advised against it. I was told it would eventually damage the machine. The scratch start rig worked real well on steel, stainless, and bronze.
11-18-2008, 10:32 PM
I was tig welding with a buzz box long before I knowed what a pedal was for.. I'd have to stick things on the job, run with what-ever the fitters had laying about.. making instrument brackets, or putting up pipe hangers.. or??
You get the current about right, scratch start, push the rod in to cool the puddle and weld like crazy..
A hi freq box stabilizes and lights the arc without scratching and contamination of the tungsten..
TO weld thinner than the machine will turn down to?? take a 1/8" tig rod, put it in series with the ground clamp.. beware, it will turn red.. but reduced the heat in the weld significantly. get a knee or leg up against it and you are branded thou.
My shop in the 80s?
I remember taking a brand new century buzz box and pulling about half a dozen windings out of the secondary side of the transformer.. I was welding 1/8" stainless.. I was able to weld ss razor blades together afterwards.
BUT, the Miller synchrowave 200 is the BOMB.. I stick the rod in, and lift the foot to control heat now.. NOW I am getting in the middle-aged can't see crap stage thou.
A tig torch is about $150-200 at grainger.. Tweco.. it'll cost more to rent a tank than the torch.. you can get by without a real tig power supply.. but it is so much easier.. get it wet, then lift the foot.. and keep it from falling out.. it's all about the puddle..
Ever thought about a acetylene torch? check out the henrob dillon 2000.. Henrob Jim.. It is as easy as tig welding.. same deal.. get it wet, flowing together and add rod and go on.. flame about the size of a bic lighter thou..
For auto-body panels? space the parts about a 1/16th apart.. heat grows them together, fuse weld them butt style.. and no body filler needed.. ALL the pro-rod shops have went to this way.. (I am no pro)
11-18-2008, 11:45 PM
I made a HF box years ago. Had post flow, timed HF start, the works. Did pretty well. A HF unit is basically a tesla coil.
But HF is only necessary for AC welding. It sustains the arc through the dead time in the sine waveform.
Get a air cooled tig torch with a valve in the handle. Get a bottle of argon and a regulator. Get the brass power block that goes on the end of the torch. Hook your stick stinger to the power block and hook your hose from the regulator. Set argon for around 20CFH.
Use DC. Set current. Open valve on torch and scratch tungsten on base metal like a match to start.
Also you can tig weld fine with a mig welding power source as well. The contactor makes it nice compared to the stick machine.
As for the Henrob and pro auto shops. I have been in a few shop and repaired a lot of their machines and I have never seen anyone use a torch to weld up panels. Usually something along the lines of a Lincoln SP-135/170 or MM130, or whatever Snap-On pawned off on them.
The only approved welder for welding aluminum bodied cars is the MillerMatic 350P.
11-19-2008, 05:12 AM
I second the Henrob as a choice if funds are limited. it does what they claim and what they show on vid's plenty on u tube and at their site.
People either hate them or love them and they come up on craigs list etc often.
They are heavier and take some getting use to. I love mine and it does work as advertised. Of course your mileage may vary. And till you get as much time as the demonstrators have using it. Your cuts and welds may not look as good.
:D There are a number of threads on these forums about them.
11-19-2008, 09:25 AM
Henrob cut (right side of butt weld on steel and thick piece), and steel butt weld and aluminum.. As good as my $2500 miller tig.
THE cutting method of a henrob torch, it is like a oxygen lance, the lil flame heats the metal up to "straw color" then you pull the trigger and the tiny lance blows out the crack, as narrow as a plasma cutter except no consumables needed.. Gas is normally 4-6psi max.. ox and acetylene, some regulators will not regulate that low, so that is a concern when you purchase one.. some regulators pulsate at low pressure.. really aggravating.. the higher dollar ones work, but.. I know two people who have bought these torches only to find out they needed to upgrade regulators.
Plus'es include not needing to be as sanitary clean on the weld as a tig.. (arc wander) and using a piece of "scrap"metal as filler.. or??
I bought a pair of the blue lens saftey glasses the last time I saw Henrob Jim.. not got to use them yet.. on aluminum, the orange "flare" blinds you where you can't see the weld.. THESE welds/cuts were done by H-Jim at a metalmeet event. http://www.cut-like-plasma.com (http://www.cut-like-plasma.com/)
and 866-775-9499 phone.. he's a damn nice guy that will talk you through any problems with Henrob torches.
I was welding body panels right off.. and yes.. Macona: the big "body repair" shops still use mig and quick fix lap weld they can smear quick and dirty bondo over and slap paint on and get paid.. the Big name ROD shops use methods where as little body filler as possible is needed. Tig or Henrob, it all gets done..
I'm still learning as I go.. never been to college or welding school.
11-19-2008, 03:19 PM
Is this the one you found ???
11-19-2008, 05:24 PM
Dang bob.. that is a gem..
11-20-2008, 12:18 AM
THE cutting method of a henrob torch, it is like a oxygen lance, the lil flame heats the metal up to "straw color" then you pull the trigger and the tiny lance blows out the crack, as narrow as a plasma cutter except no consumables needed..
All oxy-fuel torches cut like that. You can, in fact, turn off the fuel once a cut starts and continuue cutting with the oxygen alone. Using a fine tip with a standard torch can give very fine cuts. With a straight edge and a steady hand it will look like plasma. Oxy Fuel is actually a very clean cut when done by someone who knows what they are doing. There are guys on shipyards that can cut holes vary accurately and quickly through serveral inch plate free hand and you would have though a machine did it.
One tip: When starting a cut in the middle of a sheet take a cold chisel anda hammer an create a burr where you want to start the cut. The small thermal mass of the burr gets white hot near instantly. Hit the oxygen and go!
Note: An oxygen lance is only remotely similar to a torch. No fuel gas us usually used in a lance. A lance is composed of iron wires encased in a iron tube. One end has a hump kinked in it so the wires dont fall out. That end is connected to a compression fitting and valve which heads off to a supply of oxygen.
The end of the lance is heated with either a torch or an electrical device and oxygen is turned on. The O2 reacts with the metal and starts burning. Now you can cut and make holes through pretty much anything on earth. Rocks, concrete, steel, people, etc.
Most of the oxygen is used in the burning of the rods and tube. The heat is what cuts with a oxygen lance, oxygen is what cuts with a torch.
11-20-2008, 11:44 AM
Well.. to help cutting with a henrob torch.. watch the straw color metal right in front of the tip.. get too deep in it and it quits cutting. Kinda annoying.
I noticed Henrob Jim pre-heating everything he cut.. that piece with the gear looking cuts he preheated for about three or more minutes.
It is uni-directional.. a regular cutting head you can cut in all directions.. the henrob can only follow behind the heating tip flame.. offset a tad behind. I was wanting to put it onto a flamecutter to save fuel.. it'd have to be like a swivel knife on a vinyl cutter.. Kinda screwed up.
I am working on a Micro-tig torch.. A capacitive welder.. looks like it needs a computer to work thou. I'm still scratching all the logic out, with help.. I can make the electrical work.. it's the thinking part that has me stumped. We, (metalmeet crew) have went from a relay to a $100 plc now.
11-20-2008, 03:16 PM
Maybe this is more what you had in mind?
Also a schematic,
11-20-2008, 07:19 PM
I just recently acquired a Lincoln Precision 225 tig and stick welder and it is slicker than snot on a doorknob.
11-20-2008, 07:43 PM
I don't know what your budget is but I would recommend looking at Lincoln (Here were getting into the old FORDvs CHEVY thing) Lincoln machines are tracked by the serial number back to the person that actually assembles the specific machine. Their bonus prigram is correlated to the serial tracking system.
Go to a real welding supply house to get a better deal. I have 7 Lincolns for the business and am happy with all. Lincoln was building a Precision TIG 185 I has been up graded to a 225 AMP. I own a water cooled 275 and an air cooled 175. Both machines are fantastic but the 275 is down right incredible!. The 275 and the 225 models are very similar in construction. The nice thing about these two machines is the pulse option. This greatly helps with Aluminum. The pulse also helps a novice insert the rod at a cadence while you are learning how to read the puddle. Three years ago I plunked down $3,200 for the 275. The 225 is around $1,800 I think. The other reason for going to a welding supply house is that they may have a trade in or can educate and help you find a solid, barely used welder.
11-20-2008, 11:32 PM
OMG..another Lincoln man! Welcome!
I have a shop full of red too :D
Well almost. My worst machine is a blue Trailblazer 251 :(
11-21-2008, 08:31 AM
Hey I like Lincoln too! I started with an old Lincoln diesel welder, a home-made boring bar and old Ford service truck back in 71'. As my business grew I acquired more machines and a shop where Lincoln welders served me well and helped my business prosper for over 36 years. Over the years I have owned a few "brand X" welders but it was always the Lincolns that I knew I could depend on and they never let me down-never. When I retired my shop was all Lincoln and if I were to do it again it would be the same!
11-22-2008, 09:13 AM
You may own two of "them" but I got one that will make "two of yours". ZIIPPPPP OK?
(ahh product loyalty to it's finest)
What is strange? I have a miller synchrowave 200.. I weld with it when I can see.. it's good enough for me. As a welder I am a pretty good electrician.
I welded with a friends same exact welder up there in Illinois and it welds better.. No clue other than perhaps he has better electricity than I do.. It's the big ole transformer model, not the inverter duty one.. about the size of a small truck. Not much to go wrong in them older engineered models.. well I hope not anyways. It weighs about five hundred pounds at least I am not worried about someone tucking it under their arm. It looked a lot smaller in the catalog. It was a big surprise when I picked it up in the lowrider w/cap.. had to pick it up, lay it over skid it in by hand.. the hook was about one inch too tall.
Actually, I am hung like a squirrel.. and don't give a rats ass either way..