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Thread: Recommendations for A Small TIG Welder for Aluminium

  1. #41
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    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.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by macona
    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.
    Andy

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by macona
    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.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Tiers
    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.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by vpt
    yeah it does aluminum.

    Nice work!
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazlo
    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?

  7. #47
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    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Tiers
    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.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by vpt
    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.

  10. #50
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    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!
    Bill

    Being ROAD KILL on the Information Super Highway and Electrically Challenged really SUCKS!!

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