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  • tig welder / Chicago Electric

    Ok, I have my flame retardant underware on, now I will ask the question.

    I alway seem to run across projects where I need to weld something. Normally I will take the project in to work. But I am smart enough to understand that my current working position may not last forever.

    The welders at work are Lincolin and Hobart. But, I have seen in a Harbor Freight add that they now have a TIG outfit for $200.00.

    I keep thinking that I would be better off to save the $$ and buy a brand name. I would hate to invest $200.00 and be disappointed with the results. But with the few times that I use such equipment, a 35% duty welder might get me by.

    Has anyone bought any kind of welder from Harbor Freight? What were your results?
    Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

  • #2
    Many of the cheap sets are scratch start I think and dont have hi-fequency
    also you nead AC function on them to weld alluminium....also foot opperated amps increase and pulse and ramp up ramp down are good addition.....think you will be disapointed if you dont have all or some of these features.
    all the best....mark

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    • #3
      The only way you would be disappointed with the purchase of a new $200 TIG welder is if you intend to use it to TIG weld, as a paper weight you will be very happy with your choice.
      All kidding aside you won't be the slightest bit happy if you by it. A TIG welder that works can't be made and shipped from China for that price (cheap labor has nothing to do with it)

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      • #4
        Thgis level of welder is probably a buzz box with a TIG wand. I didn't see a TIG for $200 on their website. Plus if you get a less expensive unit, I highly suggest that you do only light work with it and get a leather welders jacket and apron. Don't want you to get RF burns.

        You get what you pay for.

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        • #5
          rockrat,
          I have a Lincoln 175 Sq. Wave Tig. It's been replaced by a much more capable model. I got a good price because it WAS being replaced so no complains. It was about $1340 with no tax or shipping off the net. I have since learned that in a Tig welder, welding the thinnest metal is a valued skill, so the LOWEST current is a good indication of quality. As was stated, you will want AC to do aluminum, don't bother without it. Also a pulser is a very useful attachment, although I'm still learning how to use mine a year later. I'm not sure if a Tig welder is Better than sex, but it's up there. I hate to get dirty using a torch or a stick unless I have too now. And I have paid more than the cost of the newer Tig model in attachments for pulser, handcontrol etc. for a basic machine that is not as precise. But I'm sure glad I got all the same, as I can do things I never imagined before.

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          • #6
            First, I doubt that a $200 TIG unit would do AC/DC. Its going to be strictly a DC box. In that case, it won't do aluminum or any of the other exotics.

            For $200, you would be better off hitting Home Depot and getting a Lincoln wire feed with flux core .035" wire. Those are decent enough little boxes. I have used one for several years without problem. I am on my 4th spool of wire, which is a lot of welding for a small machine like this. No signs of wear.

            Kevin

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            • #7
              Honestly, I probably already knew the answer. You have all confirmed what I was guessing at anyway. The welder in question is in an after turkey day sales flier. The number on it does not work on their web site. I did go to the store to at least look at one, but there were none left. The description did not note a pulse start or a foot pedal with it. Both of which I am really used to.

              I guess I'll keep watching the sales fliers and talking with the fellow that sells us our welding supplies. He might take pity on me and sell me one at a discount. Or at least find a floor model at a bit of a discount.
              Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

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              • #8
                aaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhh I hate that expression 'you get what you pay for'. It just ain't necessarily so. Such a joyless determinism! If it were such a trustworth maxim I'd just hand my credit card and all purchasing decisions over to my 13 year old nephew.
                Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.

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                • #9
                  I bought a used 460A Miller about 7 years
                  ago. It's not a square wave but it has
                  high freq, AC/DC+/DC-. I think I gave $1200
                  for the whole thing. They used a crane to
                  take it off the truck, LOL.

                  It sure is nice being able to weld ANYTHING
                  anytime.

                  Oh yeah, it goes down to 5 amps! You can
                  weld aluminum foil.



                  [This message has been edited by maddog (edited 11-27-2004).]

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                  • #10
                    maddog, you spoiled my calm evening. My Lincoln Sq Wave 175 Tig goes down to 10 amps. I have only recently got to the point I can weld 22 gauge (about .032 inch) steel without blowing holes in it most of the time. I watched the instructor in my Tig class weld 2 .005 stainless shims togther this week. He showed us how to use the "balance" knob to trade cleaning/penetration & keeping the electrode tip sharp fro a smaller bead. He says the best Tig welding machines are the "old dynosaurs" like you described. They look like an industrial airconditioning unit, they cost more to move than purchase& they take half the output of Boulder Dam to strike an arc. I want one. I believe you CAN weld aluminum foil.
                    mike

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                    • #11
                      I bought a HF MIG welder, 151T, 90 amp ($400). It is great for welding up to 1/8th inch steel, and has not failed once in 3 years.
                      I have the full setup (Argon) for gas welding aluminum and SS. Although it says it will weld aluminum it doesn't have the amp control for doing such.
                      I too am looking for a TIG to weld small stuff. I have learned a lot, and the point is you have to spend $ for a real TIG. I have a great STick welder and looked at a "Buzz Box". It too is severely limited because there is no amp control.
                      I am hoping to get a name brand TIG early next year. My point? $200 bucks for a HF TIG? Let us know how long it works.
                      Duke Reno / Yankee Metallic Metalcraft

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