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Somewhat OT - Decent sub-$2K tig welder

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  • Somewhat OT - Decent sub-$2K tig welder

    When I was a teen, my dad taught me to stick-weld. I even have his 1970's welder in the shop. However, in the subsequent 30+ years those skills are somewhat rusty.

    I think I'd like to get back into welding by learning tig. However, I know nothing about what would constitute a decent machine. I'm hoping that I can get something suitable for around-the-homestead repairs and fabrication for under $2000.

    Any suggestions?
    -----------------------------------------------------
    http://www.WorkshopAholic.net

  • #2
    You don't state what metals you'd be welding. If aluminum is in the cards then you'd need an ac/dc machine. To conform to your budget I'd choose a Miller Synchrowave 200 which runs slightly over the 2K, used would lower your cost somewhat. With this sync you'd be limited to about 1/4" metal.
    The machine has the stick function included, but is not really portable. For steel only - I'd choose something like the Maxstar 150 STH inverter. It will run on both 110 and 220 and is very portable - also includes the stick function, but does not burn 6010well at all. Lincoln and others make/may make similar machines. Good luck.

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    • #3
      The types of metal would mostly be steel, but I'd definitely like to be able to work with 6-series aluminum

      I had looked at the Miller Syncrowave 200, but $2600 is probably stretching too far for me at this point.

      The Miller Diversion 180 is one that I'm seriously considering, would the 200 really be that much better for +$750?
      -----------------------------------------------------
      http://www.WorkshopAholic.net

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      • #4
        You can find a used Miller Synchrowave 250 with a water cooler and still have some spare money left.

        If you want to go portable, Thermal Arc inverter TIGs are very decent and not overly expensive.
        Mike
        WI/IL border, USA

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        • #5
          You are on the edge of picking up a Miller Dynasty 200 for that price.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by woodnerd

            I had looked at the Miller Syncrowave 200, but $2600 is probably stretching too far for me at this point.
            Nobody sells at MSRP except Miller themselves....

            http://store.cyberweld.com/milsyn180sd2.html
            and free shipping to boot.

            Cons:
            1) Not very portable. (HEAVY)
            2) A lot more power hungry than an inverter unit. (60 amp circuit.)

            Pros: Sturdy machine that will last FOREVER in a home shop environment.

            Last edited by Highpower; 10-10-2011, 02:59 PM.

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            • #7
              The BIG issue with TIG welders is available input voltage. I had a Miller Syncrowave 200 and didn't have the proper service current to operate it effectively for relatively heavy aluminum. It needed 60amps at 230V. I sold it and bought a Miller Diversion 160...........FANTASTIC welder. These newer welders are "Inversion" based power supplies and require much lower current and are MUCH smaller and portable.

              Although I have lots of experience with MIG and O/A, I had near zero experience with TIG. Lots of reading over on the Miller forum and other welding forums, and a ten hour TIG welding course at the local Vocational High School and I'm welding beautiful welds.

              The problem I have with TIG is there are LOTS of things to remember. If you are TIG welding every day, thise things you need to remember come naturally. But if you are like me and might use your TIG every other month for an hour or so, you need to keep the welding manual close by.

              The Miller Diversion products were made especially for folks like me. Turn it on, set a couple controls and start welding!

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              • #8
                There is a Dynasty 200 DX w/ torch & foot pedal, purportedly with 4 hrs service
                currently on eBay (330624342718) that is within budget at its present price.

                One consideration is that this machine's serial is LF328734, which predates
                the serial number marking Miller's introduction of new features (LJ280222L).

                While I suppose that the new features available on the current production
                machine are an improvement, my pre-update 200 DX welds quite satisfactorily
                and I am in no hurry to kick mine to the curb.

                (If you proceed to look at the Dynasty 200 series, take note that there is
                a significant difference between the capabilities of the 200 DX and the
                200 SD models.)

                .

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Highpower
                  Nobody sells at MSRP except Miller themselves....
                  I wasn't looking at the Miller site
                  -----------------------------------------------------
                  http://www.WorkshopAholic.net

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by woodnerd
                    I'm hoping that I can get something suitable for around-the-homestead repairs and fabrication for under $2000.

                    Any suggestions?

                    You ought to be lookin' at your local Craig's List!
                    $2K can usually get you into a real nice, reasonably late model, TIG set up.



                    Rex

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rode2rouen
                      You ought to be lookin' at your local Craig's List!
                      $2K can usually get you into a real nice, reasonably late model, TIG set up.
                      Unfortunately, not around here. I've been looking for a month or so, everything's either super-cheap (junky) or some industrial behemoth that I'm hesitant to hook up to my power panel. Or beat all to hell and back. Decent machinery is hard to come by around here, my CL finds are few and far-between.
                      -----------------------------------------------------
                      http://www.WorkshopAholic.net

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rbertalotto
                        These newer welders are "Inversion" based power supplies and require much lower current and are MUCH smaller and portable.
                        Are non-inverter welders very inefficient?

                        Otherwise, I don't see how the current can be much lower for a given welding voltage/current.
                        Last edited by noah katz; 10-10-2011, 07:36 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Inverter welders are much more efficient than old transformer style welders.
                          Its in the design, and the electronics.

                          I have a transformer model Syncrowave 250 tig machine, and it really does need a 100 amp breaker, and big copper wires feeding it, or it will overheat the wires and melt the insulation, and it will trip the breaker, if you try to weld thick aluminum with it.

                          I also have a newer, inverter, a Miller XMT 304. It will weld the same number of output amps, at between half and 60% or so of input amps.

                          So, yes, if you have a small home electrical panel, and dont have a spare 100 amp breaker, you will be a lot better off with a new inverter welder, be it a Miller, or Thermal Arc, or Lincoln, or even a chinese one.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by noah katz
                            Are non-inverter welders very inefficient?

                            Otherwise, I don't see how the current can be much lower for a given welding voltage/current.

                            Yes, the inverters are actually a switching power supply like in your computer. Line voltage is turned to DC, and then switched at several 10's of khz and ran through the transformer and re rectified. Much, much, more efficient. The transformer in a 300 amp inverter machine like the XMT-304 Ries and I have is small enough to hold with one hand. The same transformer in a normal transformer machine is several hundred pounds.

                            We have a Synchro 250 here at work but they only put in a 50 amp outlet for it. We needed to weld something up in aluminum but kept tripping the breaker. I brought in my Thermal Arc 300GTSW and never had a problem with the breaker.

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                            • #15
                              I have a line on a used Miller XMT 304 cv/cc. From the photos it looks to be in decent shape, the guy's asking $2k. It appears to have a max draw of 55 amp, is this one of the inverter models?
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