Low cost TIG setup for steel
New guy here. I was reading a thread here about getting lower heat with TIG and thought I would throw out the setup I have that a friend that is a long time welder and 20+ year Vo-Tech welding teacher helped me setup.
My power supply is a Century 230/140 AC/DC buzz box I bought from a pawn shop for $50.00. I do not have a high frequency unit so no aluminum. I use DC only.
I started with a Worldwide CK100 rigid torch using 3/32" tungsten but soon got tired of burning my hand and got a CK200 flex water cooled. I use city water for cooling and dump it into a roof gutter downspout. When the winter cold comes I drain it and go back to the CK100. The torchs have the gas valve on the handle.
I have a relay with a 120v coil from Granger in the power to the welder lead and a cheap foot switch from Granger that trips it. The relay is only rated for 15 or 20 amps I can't remember exactly but has not been a problem. I used household cheap extension cord plugged into a wall outlet to power the relay coil and use extension cord to the pedal. To start a arc the tungsten is grounded to the work-step on the pedal (that sends power to the welder) and pull the tungsten off of the work and the arc will start without contaminating the tungsten. It actually is easy to get the hang of getting the arc going.
I had times when with the amperage control on low it was too hot. I told a industrial electrician friend what the problem was and he said "No problem plug the welder into 120v". I installed a 240v twist lock outlet along side the 240v outlet and wired it 120v. Works like a charm. I asked him if it would
harm the cooling fan motor in the welder and he said "No it will just run slow". I have been using this setup for 8 years with no problems. For light work I use .035 stainless steel filler rod. I use .062 SS filler rod a lot also. It flows really nice.
The only issue I had with the low amperage welding was with my hood. I started with a relatively low cost Speediglas auto-darken hood and when I did low amperage welding it would lighten and flash me I believe because the arc was not bright enough. That was a PITA! I bought a good Miller hood and that cured the problem.
Last edited by jauguston; 01-31-2009 at 10:59 AM.