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View Full Version : Recommendations for A Small TIG Welder for Aluminium



BigBoy1
01-02-2012, 07:57 AM
I have reached the point where I can no longer avoid the purchase of a TIG welder. I work in aluminium making wind chimes and so far have been able to get by without welding but I have a new design which will require welding to make it work. The aluminium I will be welding is thin aluminium sheet, about 1/8" thick and round rod, 1/2" diameter maximum. There are no long beads required, just small tack welds to keep parts from moving.

I don't need a multi-function welding machine as I don't see myself doing any welding on heavy steel items and I'm over 70 years old so I don't know how much longer I will physicaly I will be able to get out to my shop to work.

I would appreciate any suggestions/recommendations for a welder which will fit my needs. Even a small welder which someone has "out-grown" would be considered. Thanks.

macona
01-02-2012, 03:49 PM
Check out the miller Diversion.

Boostinjdm
01-02-2012, 04:00 PM
Check out the miller Diversion.

I'd skip over that and look for a used syncrowave 180 or 200.

rbertalotto
01-02-2012, 07:35 PM
I had a SyncroWave 180.........didn't have a 60amp circuit in the garage for it. Couldn't weld aluminum if my life depended on it. Big, heavy old technology.

http://images16.fotki.com/v272/photos/3/36012/5990996/P1010443-vi.jpg

Sold it and bought a Diversion............I now weld aluminum like a pro.

http://images43.fotki.com/v1369/photos/3/36012/6984454/P1010508-vi.jpg

The Diversion is a perfect TIG machine for home or small shop.

Boostinjdm
01-02-2012, 07:45 PM
I had a SyncroWave 180.........didn't have a 60amp circuit in the garage for it. Couldn't weld aluminum if my life depended on it. Big, heavy solid, dependable old technology.
Sold it and bought a Diversion............I now weld aluminum like a pro.
The Diversion is a perfect TIG machine for home or small shop.

I'd suggest you get your wiring checked out. I'm running my entire garage off a 50amp breaker. That includes my Syncrowave 200.

To be straight to the point....I think the Diversion is way over priced for what you get. All my welders are Millers, and my future ones will be too. So this isn't a brand issue I have against them.

J Tiers
01-02-2012, 08:50 PM
Any opinions on the Thermadyne /Thermalarc stuff?

Their offices are local here, and they have some VERY portable inverter welders. Likely chinese inside, same as all the others, but.......

vpt
01-03-2012, 08:53 AM
I'd suggest you get your wiring checked out. I'm running my entire garage off a 50amp breaker. That includes my Syncrowave 200.

To be straight to the point....I think the Diversion is way over priced for what you get. All my welders are Millers, and my future ones will be too. So this isn't a brand issue I have against them.


I agree, the old machines may be big and heavy but they still do a perfect job day in and day out, reliable as an anvil. I am not brand specific, I have both lincoln and miller products and like both.

That said, I love my 175 box!

http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/4933/shopstuff013.jpg


yeah it does aluminum.

http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/5494/porsche001.jpg


If I were the OP I would get whatever blue or red machine was close to me, cheap enough, and still worked.

Fireman11
01-03-2012, 11:14 AM
I bought a used Miller Dynasty 200. Wonderful machine, and I assume I can sell it for what I bought it for.
Nice welds Andy, very pretty.

macona
01-03-2012, 03:01 PM
Any opinions on the Thermadyne /Thermalarc stuff?

Their offices are local here, and they have some VERY portable inverter welders. Likely chinese inside, same as all the others, but.......

I have a ThermalArc 300GTSW. They are made by SanRex in Japan. It is a good machine, for the most part. I can't remember how many IGBTs I have replaced in them. The second problem is SanRex does not seal their circuit boards and the boards tend to be the typical Japanese cheap phenolic instead of FR4. It makes repair more difficult and metal dust can get into the machine and cause the machine to act funny.

The newer ones seemed to have remedied their IGBT eating attributes but the boards are still not sealed. Also the machines are packed so tight they can be difficult to work on and I had to replace a HF coupling coil on one because it was so close to the frame of the machine just a bump shorted it out.

I think they did make a filter kit for the machines. The problems with filters is someone has to change them.

i think the diversion is a great price for what you get. An inverter is so much easier to tig aluminum with than a transformer machine.

vpt
01-03-2012, 05:36 PM
The OP did say he wanted a "small" machine. An inverter would be a small easy to move around machine and is fully capable. Just a little more money.

Anything between a 150 and 200 would work just great for what you want to do.

Machine
01-03-2012, 08:05 PM
Vpt - How much control does the Lincoln 175 provide if you wanted to weld very thin wall aluminum? I'm thinking about getting one (or one of the Millers mentioned) to use for fabbing up lightweight bicycle frames, which can have beer can-like wall thicknesses.

vpt
01-03-2012, 08:21 PM
With the foot control it can be turned way down and can weld very thin stuff. I haven't tried the pop can weld but I did attempt a razor weld once. If I would have tried a few I could have got it nicer, this was my one attempt.

http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/3934/razor004.jpg

J Tiers
01-03-2012, 10:23 PM
I have a ThermalArc 300GTSW. They are made by SanRex in Japan. It is a good machine, for the most part. I can't remember how many IGBTs I have replaced in them.

Well, THAT is certainly not a 'ringing endorsement"...... unless it is the vendor's head ringing.........

About what I figured......... TANFL

derekm
01-04-2012, 04:15 AM
these work very well on aluminium, but you need local support which luckily I have.
http://www.stevenson-engineers.co.uk/files/tigwelder.jpg
and like other invertors you have to stop them eating conductive dust a filterless solution is best

BigBoy1
01-04-2012, 06:25 AM
I appreciate the inputs received so far. I went to my local welding supplier and asked about small TIG welders. Since he is a Miller dealer, he was pushing Miller products. His recommendation for my needs was the Miller Dynasty 200 DX. He said it would do all I wanted it to do. Then he quoted a price of $4,450 which included all of the cables, valves, holders, etc. and a tank or argon gas. I was totally blown away as I didn't realize welders were that expensive!

I realize that a quality machine is not going to be given away but that is way out of my buget range. I was thinking more of something in the $500 to $1000 range. Am I out in left field? Would something that inexpensive work or would it be money thrown away because after a while I have to get the more expensive machine to do what I want to do? I envision the welding I'll be doing is tack welding, putting two parts together so they won't move relative to each other. Somenting like tacking a 1/8" sheet to a 1/2" dia rod to make a wind chime sail. No long weld beads.

kennyd4110
01-04-2012, 07:07 AM
You may want to check out the Everlast Welders, probably a little closer to your price range:

http://www.usawelders.com/m1-Everlast.html

BigMike782
01-04-2012, 08:03 AM
You kind of have two choices.
1)name brands like Miller or Lincoln.Known quality and support but higher price.
2)lesser known imports like Everlast,Harbor Freight or Longevity.Closer to your price point but quality and support can be sketchy.

You want small and the ability to do aluminum and those together require an inverter which is still fairly new technology and therefore can be pricey.

vpt
01-04-2012, 08:12 AM
With the budget I would watch craigslist for a used rectifier machine. It may be big and heavy but if you don't have to move it around you won't know it.

The inverter machines will be expensive.

DHACK666
01-04-2012, 09:55 AM
Hi new to the forum. Have been lurking for a few months. Looks like a good place to hang out. I'm from Ontario and metal working is only my hobby.

I know a lot of people swear by the two main names in welding and don't care for the china made units but I purchased an Everlast unit about 8 months ago and have not regretted it. I'm not a welder but have used a couple of Lincolns.
I have a 5 year old Lincoln Mig welder and it has paid for itself. But when looking into a tig welder for hobby purposes I could not justify the price. I was looking for a reasonable priced unit but with a good warranty as well as support.

Everlast has a 5 year warranty in the US and a 3 year in Canada. The 3 year is do to the price. They kept the price the same as the US but lowered the length of the warranty. They have a great forum and support. They have issues with shipping and damage to the units but have replaced them ASAP. There is a guy on YouTube search "welding tips and tricks" his main units are millers but he also runs an Everlast unit.
Here is a coke can weld video...http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/tig-welding-machine.html

no matter which machine you go with, the tips and tricks site is very informational.

I know this is a bit long winded but I just thought it is worth looking at.

http://www.everlastgenerators.com/

Cheers

Machine
01-04-2012, 11:40 AM
Quality welders are very expensive. But no way no how should you need to pony up that kinda cash for a new welder. You're not doing aircraft welding or architectural structural members were you need exacting weld penetrations down to the gnat's ass. You're only doing artistic, ornamental welding as a hobby so you don't need the latest-greatest stuff a pro would need. As soon as these welders are purchased, they depreciate by 1/3 as soon as you load it into your truck. You should be able to pick up a lightly used, quality Lincoln/Hobart/Miller welder in very good condition in your local classifieds or especially craigslist for around a $1000. I look for them all the time and am just waiting for the right one to come along for my needs. I suggest you do the same.


I appreciate the inputs received so far. I went to my local welding supplier and asked about small TIG welders. Since he is a Miller dealer, he was pushing Miller products. His recommendation for my needs was the Miller Dynasty 200 DX. He said it would do all I wanted it to do. Then he quoted a price of $4,450 which included all of the cables, valves, holders, etc. and a tank or argon gas. I was totally blown away as I didn't realize welders were that expensive!

I realize that a quality machine is not going to be given away but that is way out of my buget range. I was thinking more of something in the $500 to $1000 range. Am I out in left field? Would something that inexpensive work or would it be money thrown away because after a while I have to get the more expensive machine to do what I want to do? I envision the welding I'll be doing is tack welding, putting two parts together so they won't move relative to each other. Somenting like tacking a 1/8" sheet to a 1/2" dia rod to make a wind chime sail. No long weld beads.

dave5605
01-04-2012, 02:27 PM
Have you looked into aluminum welding with oxygen/acetylene? Might be a cheaper way to go for your minimal needs. It also gives you the flexibility of welding/cutting steel too.

I bit the bullet and bought a Thermalarc 185 about 4 years ago for about $2K. Does both tig and stick.Nice machine. No way to justify the cost though. I just wanted it.

lbhsbz
01-04-2012, 07:21 PM
Any opinions on the Thermadyne /Thermalarc stuff?

Their offices are local here, and they have some VERY portable inverter welders. Likely chinese inside, same as all the others, but.......


Thermadyne makes great products. I've got an older ThermalArc 185. Prices on these used to be quite a bit less than red and blue, but they've gone way up. Depending on how many wind chimes you're making....and they're specific construction, I'd almost look into those crappy aluminum brazing rods or even epoxies...$2000-3000 is lot to spend on a machine for a single purpose. Wind chimes most likely don't need the kind of weld quality most likely associated with TIG.

DHACK666
01-04-2012, 07:50 PM
Have you looked into aluminum welding with oxygen/acetylene? Might be a cheaper way to go for your minimal needs.


My brother uses a mini kit with an adapter for regular oxygen/acetylene tanks
for his RC airplanes. It comes with a small torch and all the cleaner and rods. After much practice he can weld quite well.

This is similar to the one he uses. There is a video as well... Not sure how well it will work on the 1/2" rod though.
http://www.tinmantech.com/html/meco_midget_torch.php

jep24601
01-04-2012, 09:58 PM
Who knew there were so many makers of Tig Welders:

http://www.made-in-china.com/products-search/hot-china-products/TIG_Welder.html

hardtail
01-04-2012, 11:48 PM
Well here we go......anything from $4500 brand name to oxy or epoxy........

I would recommend you try a small inverter Asian offering......Everlast seems to have some form of warranty support or keep an eye peeled on your local Craigslist for something more name brand without the exhorbitant price.......

I doubt the OP has any fantastic aspirations of making wheelbarrows full of money from windchimes.......maybe more of a personal challenge satisfaction issue?

medwards
01-05-2012, 09:20 AM
I wouldn't trade my diversion 165 for a transformer machine. There is a difference in the quality and ease of welding with an inverter machine on aluminum. I run it on a 30 amp 240 volt circuit, but I think it would run on a 20amp if needed.

Parts I've made with it. Mostly .090 sheet and 3/8" to 1/2" plate.
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n177/edwardsmt/CIMG0913.jpg
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n177/edwardsmt/CIMG0903.jpg
I've also done some welding on heavy aluminum castings with it. This was about as much as It can handle, but the welds are plenty strong.
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n177/edwardsmt/CIMG0937.jpg

BigBoy1
01-05-2012, 09:38 AM
I doubt the OP has any fantastic aspirations of making wheelbarrows full of money from windchimes.......maybe more of a personal challenge satisfaction issue?


You are exactly right. I build them because I want to and each one is an improvement upon the previous design so no two are the same. I try to sell them so my material costs are covered and I get a few bucks for my time. I need to go the welding as I try to build a wind chime which will last for many, many years. I use only material (Aluminium, Copper, Brass, Stainless Steel) which will not rust, decay or rot over the years. I'd like to think my chimes will last for 20 years. In my estimation, expoxies and adhesives will not withstand the outdoor conditions (rain, hot, cold, UV, etc.) for the time period I desire. With locking devices such as nuts, there is an excellent chance that the chime's twisting motion in the wind will un-do them and parts will fall off which is not good for longevity. This is why I want to tack weld the Aluminum parts together. When I used copper or brass, I would solder the parts but the price of copper has made use of it or its alloys prohibitive.

Fireman11
01-05-2012, 11:47 AM
Sorry to sound like a broken record: I stalked ebay and c-list and found a dynasty 200 with the hand control and air cooled torch for $2400. It rocks. Figure out what you want and look around if you are not in a hurry. In Chicago you can rent machines for a day or week, and I'm sure you could take a class at a community collage and try out a few different machines.

jep24601
01-05-2012, 12:19 PM
A 200 amp Chinese AC/DC machine with a foot pedal could probably be had new for about $800 but good luck if it needs repair. Since China makes the machines now for some US suppliers (heck - some of them are joint Sino-US companies anyway) you might be able to match up the equipment from the various pics.

Edit: Eastwood sells theirs here in the US for $900. Maybe George should call them to sell advertising space in the magazine.

Machine
01-05-2012, 01:49 PM
Big boy is there any reason you have decided upon Tig alone for your welding needs? Lincoln and probably the others sell small mig welders that are capable of welding aluminum and they're well under $1000 new. I see them in great condition on craigslist all the time for $300-$500. Plus, from what I've heard mig welding is the easiest form of welding there is. And these smaller units are highly portable and don't necessarily require a cumbersome and heavy gas bottle because they can use flux cored wire instead. Something to think about anyway.

http://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-us/Equipment/Pages/product.aspx?product=K2471-1

Forestgnome
01-05-2012, 02:29 PM
Big boy is there any reason you have decided upon Tig alone for your welding needs? Lincoln and probably the others sell small mig welders that are capable of welding aluminum and they're well under $1000 new. I see them in great condition on craigslist all the time for $300-$500. Plus, from what I've heard mig welding is the easiest form of welding there is. And these smaller units are highly portable and don't necessarily require a cumbersome and heavy gas bottle because they can use flux cored wire instead. Something to think about anyway.

http://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-us/Equipment/Pages/product.aspx?product=K2471-1
Problem with mig is you usually need a spool gun for aluminum. You can do it without one, but from what I've heard it's nothing but headaches from wire feed jam-ups. A spool gun can run anywhere from $250 on up on top of the price of the mig.

Boostinjdm
01-05-2012, 04:26 PM
I see lots of opinions in this thread without the experience to back it up....

Machine
01-05-2012, 04:30 PM
Thanks for the info, didn't know that you needed a spool gun and you couldnt use the standard machine spool device. Lincoln's site says their cheaper mig welder welds aluminum. :confused: I guess maybe there's more to the story.


Problem with mig is you usually need a spool gun for aluminum. You can do it without one, but from what I've heard it's nothing but headaches from wire feed jam-ups. A spool gun can run anywhere from $250 on up on top of the price of the mig.

Machine
01-05-2012, 04:32 PM
I see lots of opinions in this thread without the experience to back it up....

I don't know if you're talking about me, but I readily admit I'm not experienced at all in welding other than a little stick and gas welding. Just trying to learn like everyone else. Fee free to share your wisdom, oh enlightened one.

Boostinjdm
01-05-2012, 05:55 PM
I don't know if you're talking about me, but I readily admit I'm not experienced at all in welding other than a little stick and gas welding. Just trying to learn like everyone else. Fee free to share your wisdom, oh enlightened one.

That wasn't aimed at you specifically since you alluded to the fact that you didn't have direct experience. I weld for a living. All processes, all materials. I've already given my 2 cents, but I'll add to it. Avoid all imports, I don't care how cheap they are. Only exception I would make would be Thermal Arc. They have a decent reputation and seem to stand behind their products. Plus a DOA Thermal Arc machine is a rarity, not common practice like the other imports.

macona
01-05-2012, 08:30 PM
I have owned a multitude of tig machines, Miller Thunderbolt with HF, LTec Heliarc 250HF, Miller Maxstar 140, Miller Maxstar 150, Dynasty 200, Dynasty 300, and my TA 300GTSW.

And I used to service machines and for a few more months, at least, am a Miller Authorized Tech.

I would never, ever, ever, go back to a transformer machines. Inverter machines weld so much easier and have so many more capacities when you get to the higher models. Lighter and use less power too. Parts can be just expensive on a Transformer machine, main board on a Synchrowave can be anywhere from $700 to $1000.

BigBoy, a Dynasty 200 is a good machine but overkill for what you want. Thats why I brought up the Diversion. That is unless you can find a dynasty for a deal.

ForestGnome, Machine, you do not need a spool gun to do aluminum. Just keep your whip as straight as possible and use U groove feed rollers and you will be fine. We used to have one company that we shortened the whips down to 6' and they used small lincoln boxes to mig weld tire rims.

The problem with aluminum mig is it is very finicky to get set up right. You need to use oversized or aluminum sized tips. Feed too low and the wire burns back and welds itself to the tip. The tip must be tossed at that point. It alloys with the copper. And you are running in spray so everything is very hot.

I use a spool gun on my XMT-304. It is pretty difficulty to weld thin aluminum with it unless I put it into pulse mode (I have the Optima pulser).

vpt
01-06-2012, 08:42 AM
I don't understand all the hate for transformer machines? The ONLY adjustment I wish I had on my machine is AC balance to cut down on the white lines. Other than that I don't see anything justifiable for double the cost. In fact I hear of problems, can't use pure tung, can't get dust in them, parts are expensive and they do go out from what I hear, but at least its small and light so its easy to carry back and forth from the welding shop getting fixed.

What is the duty cycle on inverter machines?

derekm
01-06-2012, 11:00 AM
That wasn't aimed at you specifically since you alluded to the fact that you didn't have direct experience. I weld for a living. All processes, all materials. I've already given my 2 cents, but I'll add to it. Avoid all imports, I don't care how cheap they are. Only exception I would make would be Thermal Arc. They have a decent reputation and seem to stand behind their products. Plus a DOA Thermal Arc machine is a rarity, not common practice like the other imports.

My cheap import was used by a professional welder (20 years) for about 6hours and his verdict it was a good welder. he was looking to get one fas a site welding machine... I've given mine a beyond hobby level year of use. I'll admit it didnt work when it arrived. However it ws fixed by the supplier its worked since apart from one day. Inverter welders are relatively simple cheap electronics. The issue here is mechanical finish and details that improve reliabilty, but does the difference in mechanical design warrant the extra two to three thousand dollars?
Remember even if its made in U.S. the boards inside were probably assembled in the far east. (I was product manager at U.S. industrial electronics company).

These boxes are so simple that a UK company is offering to fix them any fault 150 including UK shipping... that tells you there isnt much inside any of them
from any country.

I would pay an extra $800 (600) but not $2K to $3K for a good support network.

macona
01-06-2012, 01:34 PM
I don't understand all the hate for transformer machines? The ONLY adjustment I wish I had on my machine is AC balance to cut down on the white lines. Other than that I don't see anything justifiable for double the cost. In fact I hear of problems, can't use pure tung, can't get dust in them, parts are expensive and they do go out from what I hear, but at least its small and light so its easy to carry back and forth from the welding shop getting fixed.

What is the duty cycle on inverter machines?

There is no hate. It's just technology that is becoming obsolete.

Early machines did have issues as all new machines did in their time. That has been resolved and the machines are now rock solid. You will always run into problems when you cut costs like with the Thermal arc dust issue. But dust ingestion is not a problem for inverters alone. I have had to repair burned up connectors in transformer machines for the exact same reasons. And parts for inverters are often no more expensive than transformer machines.

In the time period of me repairing machine I rarely saw inverters in for service. Most of the time it was for user error.

Not being able to use pure. Not true. You can. But you don't need to. It's quite the opposite. Transformer machines MUST use pure. Using thorriated on a transformer causes the tungsten to create little nodules on the edges of the ball that will effect arc stability. Inverters dont have this issue since the tungsten does not ball. This means you only need to keep one kind of tungsten on hand that works for everything. Second, since the tungsten does not ball you have much more precise arc control with the pointed tip.

Duty cycle is about comparable for a like machine.

There are no disadvantages to an inverter other than their higher initial cost. If you use the machine a lot it will save you money in the long run.

Machine
01-06-2012, 03:22 PM
This is a fantastic thread. Learning tons with every new post. Thanks to macona, boostinjdm, derekm and the rest of the experts. Appreciate the insight and advice, I will definitely make good use of it when I buy my machine. Question though: is the Lincoln 175 an inverter or transformer machine? That was one of the possibles on my shopping list. Seems most like the ones they have.

macona
01-06-2012, 03:24 PM
The 175 is a transformer based machine. Don't really like the internal design. Lincoln uses way too much hot glue and the spark gap on this machine is only accessible by taking off the cover. So if it shorts out is needs to be taken apart to be cleaned.

vpt
01-06-2012, 09:06 PM
There is no hate. It's just technology that is becoming obsolete.

Early machines did have issues as all new machines did in their time. That has been resolved and the machines are now rock solid. You will always run into problems when you cut costs like with the Thermal arc dust issue. But dust ingestion is not a problem for inverters alone. I have had to repair burned up connectors in transformer machines for the exact same reasons. And parts for inverters are often no more expensive than transformer machines.

In the time period of me repairing machine I rarely saw inverters in for service. Most of the time it was for user error.

Not being able to use pure. Not true. You can. But you don't need to. It's quite the opposite. Transformer machines MUST use pure. Using thorriated on a transformer causes the tungsten to create little nodules on the edges of the ball that will effect arc stability. Inverters dont have this issue since the tungsten does not ball. This means you only need to keep one kind of tungsten on hand that works for everything. Second, since the tungsten does not ball you have much more precise arc control with the pointed tip.

Duty cycle is about comparable for a like machine.

There are no disadvantages to an inverter other than their higher initial cost. If you use the machine a lot it will save you money in the long run.


Those are all good points. But most especially the OP won't use the welder enough to see gain from the savings over the initial cost. I don't use my tig daily but I would say I use it at least every other day and I doubt I would ever save $1000+ in electricity using an inverter over a transformer. The highest electricity bill I ever gotten (shop is separate from house) was $75 for the month. I bet the welder part of the bill is only like $10 for the month.

J Tiers
01-06-2012, 09:31 PM
The 175 is a transformer based machine. Don't really like the internal design. Lincoln uses way too much hot glue and the spark gap on this machine is only accessible by taking off the cover. So if it shorts out is needs to be taken apart to be cleaned.

Hey, you are making me LIKE that machine....!

Transformer based?..... mebbe so, but it seems to work OK, we have one at work, and I have done quite a bit of welding with it on a large prototype. Seemed nice to use.

Too much hot glue? They should likely be using it to hold components against vibration etc..... that would be GOOD in my book, we did that at the old job, only we used electronics safe silicone.

Sounds well built and rugged.

lazlo
01-06-2012, 10:00 PM
Any opinions on the Thermadyne /Thermalarc stuff?

That's what I have -- the Thermal Arc Pro Wave. Inverter-based unit -- absolutely fantastic!

I spent a semester TIG class spending the mornings on a $4,000 Miller Dynasty 300, and evenings and weekends on my Thermal Arc, and I literally couldn't tell the difference. They were both superb.

lazlo
01-06-2012, 10:05 PM
yeah it does aluminum.

http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/5494/porsche001.jpg

Nice work!

J Tiers
01-06-2012, 10:07 PM
That's what I have -- the Thermal Arc Pro Wave. Inverter-based unit -- absolutely fantastic!

I spent a semester TIG class spending the mornings on a $4,000 Miller Dynasty 300, and evenings and weekends on my Thermal Arc, and I literally couldn't tell the difference. They were both superb.

Which one do you have?

lazlo
01-06-2012, 10:13 PM
ArcMaster 185 -- same as lbhsbz.

http://www.thermadyne.com/IM_Uploads/Literature/lit_95_84-2641.pdf

macona
01-07-2012, 06:34 AM
Hey, you are making me LIKE that machine....!

Transformer based?..... mebbe so, but it seems to work OK, we have one at work, and I have done quite a bit of welding with it on a large prototype. Seemed nice to use.

Too much hot glue? They should likely be using it to hold components against vibration etc..... that would be GOOD in my book, we did that at the old job, only we used electronics safe silicone.

Sounds well built and rugged.

There is hot glue for securing components, and then there is how Lincoln uses it. Slathered everywhere on the backs of the boards that prevent you from doing simple circuit checks. Lincoln has a lot of design issues, cramped insides with sharp edges, wires going everywhere. Its a real pain to work on one of their smaller machines. On equivalent machines, Miller XMT-304 and Lincoln Invertec, Miller has 3 circuit boards, I counted something like 14 in the lincoln.

macona
01-07-2012, 06:38 AM
Those are all good points. But most especially the OP won't use the welder enough to see gain from the savings over the initial cost. I don't use my tig daily but I would say I use it at least every other day and I doubt I would ever save $1000+ in electricity using an inverter over a transformer. The highest electricity bill I ever gotten (shop is separate from house) was $75 for the month. I bet the welder part of the bill is only like $10 for the month.


The light weight of the machine has come in handy. We had to weld up some thicker aluminum parts at work for a shot. We have a synchrowave 250 but it was tripping the breaker (50 amp). So I brought my 300GTSW in to do the job, never tripped it.

One nice thing about inverters is that many allow you to change the frequency. Raising it makes a narrower arc with more penetration, lowering it does the opposite. So there are times where you can weld thicker metal per amp because you can focus in tighter on the weld zone.

BigBoy1
01-07-2012, 09:41 AM
Since posting the initial question, I really appreciate the dfiscussion which has followed. However, not being a welder, I do not understand the reasons for the discussions between the inverter and transformer based units. I'm sure each has advantages and disadvantages. Since a welder I'm not, but I know the inverter and transaformer discusions are about how the electricity gets "made into" an arc which does the melting. Could someone please explain more about the two methods and why they are important to TIG welding?

My welding experiences consisted of a class at the community college where the instructor, who was a very old curmudgeon, gave us steel plates and we stick welded on them for weeks. No theory or machine opertions, just weld the plates. We got to look at a TIG and MIG machine but couldn't use. I think the instructor didn't know how to use them!

jep24601
01-07-2012, 09:55 AM
Well here is Wikipedia:

TransformerA transformer style welding power supply converts the high voltage and low current electricity from the utility mains into a high current and low voltage, typically between 17 to 45 volts and 55 to 590 amps. A rectifier converts the AC into DC on more expensive machines.

This design typically allows the welder to select the output current by either moving a magnetic shunt in and out of the core of the transformer or allows the welder to select the output voltage from a set of taps on the transformer. These machines are typically the least expensive.

Transformer designs are often bulky because they operate at the utiltiy mains frequency of 50 or 60 Hz. Such low frequency transformers must have a high magnetizing inductance to avoid wasteful shunt currents. The transformer may also have significant leakage inductance for short circuit protection. The leakage inductance may be variable so the operator can set the output current.

Inverter
Since the advent of high-power semiconductors such as the insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), it is now possible to build a switched-mode power supply capable of coping with the high loads of arc welding. These designs are known as inverter welding units. They generally first rectify the utility AC power to DC; then they switch (invert) the DC power into a stepdown transformer to produce the desired welding voltage or current. The switching frequency is typically 10 kHz or higher. Although the high switching frequency requires sophisticated components and circuits, it can drastically reduce the bulk of the step down transformer. The circuitry can also provide features such as power control and overload protection. The high frequency inverter-based welding machines can be more efficient and have better control than non-inverter welding machines.

The IGBTs in an inverter based machine are controlled by a microcontroller, so the electrical characteristics of the welding power can be changed by software in real time updates. Typically the controller software will implement features such as pulsing the welding current, variable ratios and current densities through a welding cycle, variable frequencies, and automatic spot-welding; all of which would be prohibitively expensive in a transformer-based machine but require only program space in software-controlled inverter machine.

vpt
01-07-2012, 11:24 AM
The light weight of the machine has come in handy. We had to weld up some thicker aluminum parts at work for a shot. We have a synchrowave 250 but it was tripping the breaker (50 amp). So I brought my 300GTSW in to do the job, never tripped it.

One nice thing about inverters is that many allow you to change the frequency. Raising it makes a narrower arc with more penetration, lowering it does the opposite. So there are times where you can weld thicker metal per amp because you can focus in tighter on the weld zone.


With transformer machines you just grind the tip for the control you need. This is turning out to be a chevy vs ford kind of discussion lol.

http://www.profabricationtechniques.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Tungstine_Grind_Angles.jpg

J Tiers
01-07-2012, 11:33 AM
Both an inverter and "transformer" type use transformers......

The difference on that score comes down to the "transformer type" using regular "heavy iron" 60 Hz transformers, and the "inverter type" using a slew of electronic components to make high frequency AC which then goes through a smaller, lighter transformer.

Along with the "slew of components" comes the capability to have much smaller size and weight, the chance of better or more flexible control of the currents, and, inevitably, a lower "MTBF" or "mean time between failures". Also the chance that the parts used will go obsolete and be unavailable by the time you need one. With modern semiconductors like IGBTs etc, the lifetime is 2 to 5 years before "new" ones replace the old, not always in a compatible type..

The last two points affect how long you can expect to use it before something goes wrong or how long it will be "supported" by the maker. Might not be low enough to bother you, stuff is made pretty well these days.

An old Lincoln "tombstone" AC stick welder is going to last much longer than ANY newer or inverter type on average..... that's just a fact, and no use arguing about it. A "tombstone" welder will survive a flood, and lots of other abuse.... And it needs virtually no "support" from the maker....but it will never be as versatile as the more complicated Mig, or Tig welders.

You pays yer money and you takes yer choice.

BTW.... "support" from places like harbor Freight that sell "off-brand" is likely to be essentially non-existent. Lincoln and Miller are known everywhere.

danlb
01-07-2012, 12:15 PM
The OP was asking specifically about tack welds in small aluminum. In that light, would one of the more experienced people address the the minimum needed to do that?



Dan

vpt
01-07-2012, 12:40 PM
Just spot welds even for something like wind chimes won't hold up with aluminum. A little more weld will be needed even if its only about 1/2" of weld. The tig will make the nicest looking weld (I'd imagine somewhat important in this situation). Possibly a 100amp mig would do the job but at what cost? Personally I hate having to work ON my tools. Maybe the OP wouldn't mind a couple wire jam ups a day and "should hold fine bird crap" welds?

I guess really we can just give our opinions and knowledge of the machines and the OP will have to make the ultimate decision of how much he wants to spend for what kind of quality welds and portability.


Another option that my have been overlooked by the OP is aluminum pop rivets?

jep24601
01-07-2012, 02:44 PM
What about those aluminum soldering/brazing rod things?

macona
01-07-2012, 04:38 PM
Inverters have been around long before IGBTs came into the scene. The earliest ones (PowCon) used SCRs and machines after that used big power darlingtons. An inverter is simply another name for a switched mode power supply. Just like what is in your computer, but bigger.

The chart there for electrode shape is only good for DC on a transformer machine. No matter what you do on AC the tip will melt into a ball.

Its not chevy vs ford, more like 80's chevy vs. modern chevy. More efficient, more features, costs more and has more components.

Not quite true on the bulletproofness of tombstones. I have replaced quite a few switches and range selectors on those machines. On the machines that have mechanical shunts there are all sorts of problems that creep up like the shunts jamming, threads stripping, or parts rattling loose.

MIG will not work for what the OP wants. At least not very well. You would probably have to preheat every part before you tacked it. MIG aluminum tends to cold start, where at the beginning of the weld the mig is depositing aluminum on top of the surface with no real penetration. Newer machines have modes for handling this where they feed the wire in slowly at the beginning of the weld and bring it up, but those machines are around $6k (Millermatic 350P).

I don't think you would want to use pop rivets, maybe drive rivets.

J Tiers
01-07-2012, 07:01 PM
Wind chimes and pop rivets..... probably not..... at least not if the idea is to put an end on the tube..... pop rivets or most any rivet is going to be a potential source of frictional damping, and I'd think it would ruin the sound.



MIG will not work for what the OP wants. At least not very well. You would probably have to preheat every part before you tacked it. MIG aluminum tends to cold start, where at the beginning of the weld the mig is depositing aluminum on top of the surface with no real penetration. Newer machines have modes for handling this where they feed the wire in slowly at the beginning of the weld and bring it up, but those machines are around $6k (Millermatic 350P).


In class, thinnish aluminum, I never saw ANY trouble with preheat..... my problem (Miller GMAW with spool gun) was to move along fast enough..... being used to steel, I found that if I worked like steel, there was nothing in the weld area..... it vanished.... Musta been hot enough..........;)

When I moved along briskly, I got, much to my surprise, a good weld.

I recall we were doing something like 0.093 aluminum. Made a mental note not to figure I was gonna be any good with aluminum for a while if ever.....

Machine
01-07-2012, 07:24 PM
What about this lumiweld stuff? I guess this is sort of like soldering aluminum? Would that work for the OP's needs? Looks like all it needs is a propane torch.

http://www.aluminumrepair.com/examples.asp

macona
01-07-2012, 08:43 PM
In class, thinnish aluminum, I never saw ANY trouble with preheat.....

Doubt you were using a little 100 amp mig. With a bigger machine with thin material you won't really see it. Try going up to something like 3/8" -1/2 and it will become apparent.

macona
01-07-2012, 08:45 PM
What about this lumiweld stuff? I guess this is sort of like soldering aluminum? Would that work for the OP's needs? Looks like all it needs is a propane torch.

http://www.aluminumrepair.com/examples.asp

Its crap. Its a zinc alloy rod. Good for plugging holes and stuff like that.

J Tiers
01-07-2012, 11:09 PM
Doubt you were using a little 100 amp mig. With a bigger machine with thin material you won't really see it. Try going up to something like 3/8" -1/2 and it will become apparent.

I think that one was about a 150 amp smallish roll-around unit, it was NOT the huge 300A or so boxes that were at the welding booths..... Not unlike the typical HF or other import 100-150A Mig welder size, but it was a Miller.

Well, for wind chimes, typically the material will be thin.... the OP gave material as 1/8" aluminum with 1/2" diameter rod, structure type unknown, joint type unknown aside from "tack weld", and alloy unknown.

And, since soft aluminum typically makes a crummy bell, I'd assume it is an alloy, but which one?

Is the alloy he is using even reasonably weldable? I sure don't know from the info so far, but IIRC the harder alloys are not as weldable.

BTW, you mentioned the fewer PWBs in the Miller units.... that isn't always good.

One huge PWB that does a lot of functions can cost many times the cost of smaller single-purpose ones, AND you have to replace a lot of perfectly good stuff just to fix a problem with one function occupying perhaps 20% of the PWB...........

It's all a trade-off. One I know all too well, after 32+ years of designing electronics of all sorts, including SMPS stuff at and above welder power levels.

macona
01-08-2012, 12:34 AM
I have fixed a lot of issues just because of connector problems. Less connectors in a machine the better. These things are in damp conditions often and oxidation can be a problem. Both miller and lincoln use mostly the Molex MiniFit Jr connectors and not the gold plated pins.

J Tiers
01-08-2012, 12:38 AM
Both miller and lincoln use mostly the Molex MiniFit Jr connectors and not the gold plated pins.

Yah do gotta know when to use which...... I like the Minifit Jr, we use a lot of them, and they work well. But for signal level, the gold is good.

Like I said, it's a trade-off.

vpt
01-08-2012, 09:32 AM
Nice work!


Thanks!





The chart there for electrode shape is only good for DC on a transformer machine. No matter what you do on AC the tip will melt into a ball.

Its not chevy vs ford, more like 80's chevy vs. modern chevy. More efficient, more features, costs more and has more components.

I don't think you would want to use pop rivets, maybe drive rivets.



Yes the chart is for DC but for AC and pure tung don't think so much the point of the tung but the size of the tung. ;)

Modern chevys aren't as efficient as the old ones. Gas mileage wise the new ones are LUCKY to get the same mileage as the old trucks. A 1988 honda civic HF got as good if not better mileage than a new toyota prius! :eek:



Like I mentioned before, it is up to the OP if he wants to invest twice the cost to get a machine half the weight/size for a hobby. Another problem we forgot to look at is any TIG will have a argon tank hooked to it so no matter how small, light, or portable it will have the tank. I have no problems what so ever pulling my old big dinosaur around on its wheeled cart. With both welders (transformer and inverter) having a 80# bottle hooked up to them will need a cart to move around and once both are side by side on their carts there is no difference in moving the two around.

BigBoy1
01-08-2012, 05:53 PM
Thanks for the information about the inverters and transformers. It helped.

Yes, I have tried the propane torch and the "aluminum soldering rods." I'm not a fan of them. The problem I had was there was no warning like a color change with steel when you are getting close to the melting point. You are heating and heating and then all of a sudden you have your parts forming a puddle. Especially bad if the two parts are different sizes so one will heat faster than the other. You get one part that is melting while the other is not hot enough to melt the solder, resulting is big mess.

Aluminum pop riviets are an option but to me they just don't look right on something which I'm trying to make into a functional and decorative piece.

The two aluminums alloys I'm using are 6061 and 3003. I'll be welding the 6061 to both itself and to the 3003.

I've looked at Thermal Arc machines and these are the two I have found which are in my price range.

http://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/servlet/the-3464/THERMAL-ARC-95S-/Detail

http://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/servlet/the-3581/THERMAL-ARC--161S/Detail

I'll try to find a dealer with in a 100 mile radius and go and look at these machines and see if I could try them out.

macona
01-08-2012, 06:56 PM
BigBoy, you need AC to weld aluminum.

If ~$500 is what you can spend you will have to hope to find a used machine on craigslist or the local newspaper.

jep24601
01-08-2012, 07:54 PM
BigBoy, you need AC to weld aluminum.

If ~$500 is what you can spend you will have to hope to find a used machine on craigslist or the local newspaper.
Yes, you won't even get a no-name Chinese Inverter AC Tig on ebay for $500.

Edit: The Lotos 3in1 machine claims to be able to stick weld aluminum:

"Only Lotos 3in1 machine CT520D is able to stick weld aluminum with

Lotos improved circuit board (patent pending). None of copycat machine by

other competitors has this feature."


"

macona
01-08-2012, 08:41 PM
Any stick machine can stick aluminum. Its just a rod. But that stuff will burn though what he wants to do.

vpt
01-09-2012, 08:33 AM
Yeah I've tried stick welding aluminum before. I'd only suggest that if the parts are 1/4" or thicker.

Like mentioned those are only DC machines and AC "should" be used for aluminum. I say should because it is possible to weld aluminum with DC. I never tried it much, when I did try it the weld didn't come out very nice. But I have seen people show pics of DC aluminum welds that looked good after being wiped up.

If you are looking for something around $500 I can almost guaranty you will be getting a used transformer machine off craigslist. Once you get it to your work station the weight of the machine won't bother you.

Unless you can find someone that doesn't know welders worth and are selling off their ex husbands or boyfriends inverter machine.

Forestgnome
01-09-2012, 08:50 AM
Thanks for the information about the inverters and transformers. It helped.

Yes, I have tried the propane torch and the "aluminum soldering rods." I'm not a fan of them. The problem I had was there was no warning like a color change with steel when you are getting close to the melting point. You are heating and heating and then all of a sudden you have your parts forming a puddle. Especially bad if the two parts are different sizes so one will heat faster than the other. You get one part that is melting while the other is not hot enough to melt the solder, resulting is big mess.

Aluminum pop riviets are an option but to me they just don't look right on something which I'm trying to make into a functional and decorative piece.

The two aluminums alloys I'm using are 6061 and 3003. I'll be welding the 6061 to both itself and to the 3003.

I've looked at Thermal Arc machines and these are the two I have found which are in my price range.

http://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/servlet/the-3464/THERMAL-ARC-95S-/Detail

http://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com/servlet/the-3581/THERMAL-ARC--161S/Detail

I'll try to find a dealer with in a 100 mile radius and go and look at these machines and see if I could try them out.
Those are DC scratch-start tigs. Not what you need for what you're doing.

BigBoy1
01-09-2012, 08:52 AM
BigBoy, you need AC to weld aluminum.

If ~$500 is what you can spend you will have to hope to find a used machine on craigslist or the local newspaper.


See what one learns! Since I'm not a welder, I didn't realize that aluminum required AC for welding. Now that I know that, I'll make sure that is part of the search. The three Miller machine mentioned so far have been the Dynasty 200 DX ($4000 range), the Syncrowave 200 ($2500 range), and the Diversion 165 ($1500 range). I now realize that my original budget will have to be increased to get what I want. This is what I found on flea Bay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MILLER-DIVERSION-165-ACDC-TIG-WELDER-907005-FOOT-CONTROL-300432-/370559581408?pt=BI_Welders&hash=item5647127ce0

I've looked at Craig's list but there are rather slim pickings for my area. Most welders are the stick type in the $100 to $300 range.

jep24601
01-09-2012, 09:36 AM
You could also look for an arc stabilizer like this one:

http://stlouis.craigslist.org/tls/2790534839.html

You would then need a regular ac/dc transformer stick welder, tig torch and hose and argon bottle and regulator. You could scrape that together for $500 and it would work although you wouldn't have the nice control features of a modern Tig machine.

dave5605
01-09-2012, 11:01 AM
Bigboy1, realize even with a tig welder you have the situation of the thinner material wanting to puddle before the thicker material. Its all how you direct the arc to get more heat into the thicker part so it puddles at the same time as the thinner piece. Then the two puddles flow together, with a little help from the filler rod that is dipped into the puddle as you go. I think that 1/2" stuff is going to be a challenge.

Tigging aluminum isn't going to be as easy as hitting wood with a hot glue gun to make connections. Its going to take practice.

Also everything is going to have to be clean, clean, clean. Steel wire brushes will be a no-no. Stainless steel brushes will be what you need. There is a right and wrong way to grind your electrodes too. You also won't want to grind the electrodes on the same wheel as you grind steel.

You will also learn about electrode stick out, pre/post flow of gas, and the possible use of a gas lense (amongst other things).

The rule of thumb is you need 1 amp per .001 in material thickness so you can see the dilema when trying to weld together vastly different sizes of material.

Get the Miller student package for tig welding. Money well spent and its not expensive.

Krunch
01-09-2012, 11:59 AM
Parts I've made with it. Mostly .090 sheet and 3/8" to 1/2" plate.

You can weld 3/8" and 1/2" aluminum with a 165A machine? :eek: :confused:

My Syncrowave 250, which puts out almost double the amperage of the Diversion 165 (310A) won't even weld 1/2" aluminum, according to Miller.

macona
01-09-2012, 02:32 PM
I still would go with the diversion. Its small and you can move it around. You can do what I do and have the bottle remote and have a long hose going to the machine with a quick disconnect. Uses less power and will have better arc characteristics.

Arc stabilizers still require the rest of the set up and then you are stuck with an alway hot electrode, manual gas, and no remote current control. Not my idea of fun.

I suppose you could weld thicker stuff with enough preheat.

jep24601
01-09-2012, 03:02 PM
Arc stabilizers still require the rest of the set up and then you are stuck with an alway hot electrode, manual gas, and no remote current control. Not my idea of fun.
All too true. The OP would do best to up his budget for a decent AC/DC Tig welder as many have suggested.

Where does a set of wind chimes have any need of a 1/2" dia rod by the way?

Machine
01-09-2012, 04:52 PM
Sounds like BigBoy has gotten the info he needs and I learned a lot too by listening in on the conversation. Hope you didn't mind me piggybacking on your thread Bigboy, appreciate the info from all the experts, it's really fun learnin' this stuff.

vpt
01-09-2012, 06:11 PM
You can weld 3/8" and 1/2" aluminum with a 165A machine? :eek: :confused:

My Syncrowave 250, which puts out almost double the amperage of the Diversion 165 (310A) won't even weld 1/2" aluminum, according to Miller.


I've welded up to 1" material with my little 175 lincoln. Preheat is a big help and you just make multiple passes.

DHACK666
01-09-2012, 06:20 PM
Here is something in your price range.
I have a 3 in one but if you just want tig.

http://www.everlastgenerators.com/PowerTig-185-Micro-3910-pd.html

But because you may need to be able to tweek your setting for what you are trying to weld. You may want to go with the 200.

http://www.everlastgenerators.com/PowerTig--200DX-351-pd.html

J Tiers
01-09-2012, 08:41 PM
I've welded up to 1" material with my little 175 lincoln. Preheat is a big help and you just make multiple passes.

I have welded thicker STEEL with the 175 at work..... 5/16" wall tube to 0.093" sheet........ You just stay over on the thick stuff and only "visit" the thin stuff with the pool.

Aluminum sucks away heat.... never have tried that thick, and only aluminum once anyhow..

It's a question maybe..... can the OP use aluminum 0.5" OD tube instead of solid rod? Some uses probably could, in which case it might be lots easier. Others no, and he would be stuck.

Jim Caudill
01-09-2012, 10:43 PM
Don't forget the Hobart version of the Diversion 165 (same machine different color/grpahics). It's about $1285 from Cyberweld and it comes with a foot pedal, IIRC.

vpt
01-10-2012, 07:58 AM
I have welded thicker STEEL with the 175 at work..... 5/16" wall tube to 0.093" sheet........ You just stay over on the thick stuff and only "visit" the thin stuff with the pool.



If even visit, sometimes just getting close to the thinner stuff will make it melt in.

vpt
01-10-2012, 08:03 AM
1" aluminum?



Yeah, 1" thick aluminum. Machine set to kill, full peddle, add a few drops of filler, wait, move, add filler, wait, move.

medwards
01-10-2012, 08:57 AM
You can weld 3/8" and 1/2" aluminum with a 165A machine? :eek: :confused:

My Syncrowave 250, which puts out almost double the amperage of the Diversion 165 (310A) won't even weld 1/2" aluminum, according to Miller.

No, sorry I should have been more clear. I use either 1/2" or 3/8" for the flanges and weld .090 sheet to either one. The thickest I've done on both sides of a weld is 1/4" to 1/4" lap joints. That was quite a struggle for the welder.

I have welded thin .090" sheet and .125" walll tube to 3/4" thick castings. It takes a few seconds to get the casting up to temp, but it works and the welds are strong.

Krunch
01-10-2012, 08:59 AM
Yeah, 1" thick aluminum. Machine set to kill, full peddle, add a few drops of filler, wait, move, add filler, wait, move.

What's that 175 give you...about 10% DC at 175A?

1 minute of welding every 10 minutes sounds like a good way to use up a lot of oxyfuel on preheat! :eek:

vpt
01-10-2012, 03:46 PM
What's that 175 give you...about 10% DC at 175A?

1 minute of welding every 10 minutes sounds like a good way to use up a lot of oxyfuel on preheat! :eek:



It was one job and not a very long weld. I don't wait for the DC I weld till my overheat kicks on and wait 10 minutes or so for it to go off and back to welding. I have only hit the overheat protection twice on my machine, had it for over 10 years now using it at least every other day.

macona
01-10-2012, 08:47 PM
What's that 175 give you...about 10% DC at 175A?

1 minute of welding every 10 minutes sounds like a good way to use up a lot of oxyfuel on preheat! :eek:

Should be about 20% on that machine. Worst thing you will do is trip the temp sensor and have to wait till it cools down.

ak95xj
01-10-2012, 09:36 PM
Welded 1/8" thick aluminum tonight on my diversion 180..Set at 160 amps..Thats almost maxed out..When I bought this welder was not interested in welding aluminum (still am not), just thin steel..

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb284/ak4130/Picture012.jpg

Machine
01-11-2012, 09:00 PM
Nice job ak. I see you like both types of Miller too! :D

Jerry
01-11-2012, 10:51 PM
http://www.jerryclement.ca/Electronics/Ham-Radio/10282516_SCgV88#!i=1603483827&k=j3k7w6d

I own a Miller Diversion 165, and I am happy with the capabilities of this tig welder.

BigBoy1
01-13-2012, 06:39 AM
I want to thank all who have posted and helped me with my welding questions. You have helped me make a desision on a welder. I have upped my budget to $2000 and for that amount I have a found a Miller Diversion 180 TIG welder. The unit includes all of the cables, foot pedel and gas bottle and some spare tungsten rods and my budget just covers it. I will be ordering it next week so once I get it and start to try to weld, I'm sure I'll be posting more questions/problems in the future. Thanks to all.

vpt
01-13-2012, 07:52 AM
Excellent stuff! You will be pleased with the miller!

Jerry
01-13-2012, 11:35 AM
You made a excellent choice in the Miller 180 Diversion, and if you are mainly welding at your welding bench, you will want to strip the stock WP17 torch that comes with the 180, and replace the handle/switch assembly, with just the simpler handle available for the WP17, allowing for better control of the torch on the bench. The link below shows the WP17 torch equiped with the replacement handle. I also purchased the smaller WP-9 torch as well, although not shown in my photo. The place to buy these accessories, is from Arc Zone in California, as they sell a service kit for either torch, that comes with both standard collets, and gas lens collets, and assortment of shielding cups, as well as back caps, gaskets, o-rings, etc. I also, mainly use gas lens collets, as shown in my photo, as I find the extreme stick out of the tungsten beneficial, for the type of welding that I do. Also included in their accessory kit, is a sample of their ArcTime Hybrid tungstens.
I almost fell off my welding stool the first time I tried one of their ArcTime Hybrid tungstens in my Diversion 165. They are superb, and there is a night & day difference in how my Diversion 165 starts the arc, and how it welds. In fact I ordered up a complete selection soon after, and retired all my other tungsten., The Arctime Hybid tungstens from Arc Zone, are the only tungstens that I now use with my Diversion 165.

http://www.jerryclement.ca/Machines/Machine-Shop/MG5314/969708213_kU5im-L-1.jpg

psomero
01-13-2012, 04:14 PM
I had a SyncroWave 180.........didn't have a 60amp circuit in the garage for it. Couldn't weld aluminum if my life depended on it. Big, heavy old technology.

http://images16.fotki.com/v272/photos/3/36012/5990996/P1010443-vi.jpg

Sold it and bought a Diversion............I now weld aluminum like a pro.

http://images43.fotki.com/v1369/photos/3/36012/6984454/P1010508-vi.jpg

The Diversion is a perfect TIG machine for home or small shop.


I can weld aluminum all day on my prior generation Syncrowave 180SD once I set my mind to it.

I used to say it couldn't handle Al, but then a more aluminum-experienced friend told me to stop my whining and laid down some beautiful welds using my machine.

medwards
01-13-2012, 04:56 PM
You made a excellent choice in the Miller 180 Diversion, and if you are mainly welding at your welding bench, you will want to strip the stock WP17 torch that comes with the 180, and replace the handle/switch assembly, with just the simpler handle available for the WP17, allowing for better control of the torch on the bench. The link below shows the WP17 torch equiped with the replacement handle. I also purchased the smaller WP-9 torch as well, although not shown in my photo. The place to buy these accessories, is from Arc Zone in California, as they sell a service kit for either torch, that comes with both standard collets, and gas lens collets, and assortment of shielding cups, as well as back caps, gaskets, o-rings, etc. I also, mainly use gas lens collets, as shown in my photo, as I find the extreme stick out of the tungsten beneficial, for the type of welding that I do. Also included in their accessory kit, is a sample of their ArcTime Hybrid tungstens.
I almost fell off my welding stool the first time I tried one of their ArcTime Hybrid tungstens in my Diversion 165. They are superb, and there is a night & day difference in how my Diversion 165 starts the arc, and how it welds. In fact I ordered up a complete selection soon after, and retired all my other tungsten., The Arctime Hybid tungstens from Arc Zone, are the only tungstens that I now use with my Diversion 165.

http://www.jerryclement.ca/Machines/Machine-Shop/MG5314/969708213_kU5im-L-1.jpg

I've done the same with mine. I also replaced the power/ gas hose with a more flexible one and that made a world of difference. The hose that comes on the diversion is rediculously stiff.
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n177/edwardsmt/CIMG0313.jpg
The only issue with doing this is that the diversion uses a proprietary hose with a special end fitting that allows you to hook up the up the power and gas hose.
Standard hose on top. Diversion hose on bottom. Also, FYI miller does not reccomend using a power hose any longer than what is supplied (~12'). Any longer and it can stress the inverter.
http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/low900rr/Weldinghoses.jpg
You can make an adapter to allow you to use a standard style hose in the diversion. I have made many of these for diversion users, but since this is a roll your own machinist site, I will give out the drawing to the part for anyone that needs it.
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n177/edwardsmt/CIMG0325.jpg
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n177/edwardsmt/IMG_0061.jpg

ak95xj
01-14-2012, 12:22 AM
Diversions are cool.I was using mine for a while before I hooked up a 240 running at 100+ amps off a 20 amp 120v receptacle,no problems never tripped the breaker...Only thing that bothers me is the lack of stick welding capability , that i find myself doing much more of then i thought I would.(use my harbor freight 100$ special for that)...

rode2rouen
01-14-2012, 08:56 AM
BigBoy1, after reading your OP, I'm curious as whether you have considered using Oxy/Acetylene or Oxy/Propane for your particular work.

The investment level would be considerably lower than TIG, and the learning curve would likely be similar.

Check out this site: https://www.tinmantech.com/index.php
Lots of tools and info on gas welding/brazing aluminum.

I'm not anti-TIG, I have a very cool Lincoln SW255, it's just that there are a lot of ways to skin your cat.........;)


Rex

vpt
01-14-2012, 09:30 AM
BigBoy1, after reading your OP, I'm curious as whether you have considered using Oxy/Acetylene or Oxy/Propane for your particular work.

The investment level would be considerably lower than TIG, and the learning curve would likely be similar.

Check out this site: https://www.tinmantech.com/index.php
Lots of tools and info on gas welding/brazing aluminum.

I'm not anti-TIG, I have a very cool Lincoln SW255, it's just that there are a lot of ways to skin your cat.........;)


Rex


Initial cost is lower but what about long term after filling two bottles 10 or more times opposed to just filling a argon bottle once in awhile?


In the car world this is a common subject with nitrous over a turbo or supercharger. Sure its cheaper initially but after filling the bottle 10 times you have more invested than if you just got a SC or turbo.

rode2rouen
01-14-2012, 12:05 PM
Initial cost is lower but what about long term after filling two bottles 10 or more times opposed to just filling a argon bottle once in awhile?





He's doing hobby work, not mass production, for crying out loud! A couple of medium sized bottles and a Meco Midget torch would prolly last him years.


Rex

composter
09-23-2013, 12:57 PM
Why did you have to replace so many IGBTs in the TA 300 GTSW? What was the problem? How was it remedied? I have a TA 300GTSW with the same problem, and would like to fix it. Thanks.

Tilaran
09-23-2013, 03:12 PM
Buy a Meco torch and call it a day.

pdms1
02-23-2014, 02:19 PM
I've done the same with mine. I also replaced the power/ gas hose with a more flexible one and that made a world of difference. The hose that comes on the diversion is rediculously stiff.
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n177/edwardsmt/CIMG0313.jpg
The only issue with doing this is that the diversion uses a proprietary hose with a special end fitting that allows you to hook up the up the power and gas hose.
Standard hose on top. Diversion hose on bottom. Also, FYI miller does not reccomend using a power hose any longer than what is supplied (~12'). Any longer and it can stress the inverter.
http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/low900rr/Weldinghoses.jpg
You can make an adapter to allow you to use a standard style hose in the diversion. I have made many of these for diversion users, but since this is a roll your own machinist site, I will give out the drawing to the part for anyone that needs it.
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n177/edwardsmt/CIMG0325.jpg
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n177/edwardsmt/IMG_0061.jpg

I am away from my shop for a month. Do you know where I can purchase a hose adapter like yours for my Miller Diversion 180?

pdms1
03-10-2014, 01:30 PM
Please send me the diagram for the adaptor for the diversion welder. Do you still supply them? How much do you charge? Also, where did you buy the more flexible gas hose? Thanks