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  • Beginner TIG Recommendations

    Lets say you had about $400 to drop on a basic TIG setup, any recommendations for machine? First TIG, no idea what im doing, so i dont need anything fancy. Balance control, 2t/4t, AC welding, pulsed gap, i dont even know what most of those are. Just looking for something basic that can handle welding steel, ideally has 120/240v input, with high-frequency start. This one caught my eye a while back:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZZNL8Y...lig_dp_it&th=1

    I like the idea of having a plasma cutter rolled into the machine, seems like one of those things thats bound to come in handy. Looks like it ticks off most of the boxes for weld control too. Still, dunno how much id actually need the plasma cutter, so might be worth going for a cheaper unit thats just a welder:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KP3DN2S...v_ov_lig_dp_it

    Lets get a few things out of the way though: I live in a tool desert, used just isnt an option around here. Im not looking to save up and get a $1500 "last machine youll ever use" thing, that $400 is a set limit, if i had more than that id just buy another gun with the extra. Im not a professional welder, dont need all the fancy stuff, just a dude sticking metal together in his backyard. Imports are a-ok. Basic is good, i have no idea what im doing

  • #2
    The Lotos machine in your link seems pretty nice. I'm happy with the plasma cutter I got from them.

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    • #3
      You only need dc for steel BUT you need AC if you ever want to do aluminum. Tig is a very versatile machine and will come in handy more than you think. Seriously consider getting one that has AC capability also. Aluminum is so common out there, not having that capability is a big drawback.

      The AHP tig is under $700 delivered and a nice machine. I know its over your $400 limit but there is a big difference for that difference in cost.

      The lotos you linked to on amazon does not appear to have the flowmeter/regulator for the argon gas. Shielding gas is a must for TIG, so those parts will cost additional. It also does not have a foot pedal included, TIG is possible without a pedal but again is a serious handicap. Add the argon gas setup and the foot pedal and you are very close now to the cost of the AHP. AHP has a 3yr warranty vs the 1 year for the LOTOS.

      Plasma is extremely handy to have, I love mine. It gets used a lot. Wish I got one a long time ago, didn't know what I was missing out on.

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      • #4
        Well, like i mentioned, im aware that a larger, more capable machine can do more. Im also aware that a ferrari can go faster than most cars. I dont need to go fast, so i drive a 30 year old f150. By the same token, i dont need to weld aluminium, so lacking that capability isnt a drawback. Again, not looking for the last welder ill ever buy with all the bells and whistles. At $700, the AHP isnt just over my limit, its double, and the limit it just that, a limit. I have $400 to spend on the machine, thats it. Its not a question of saving up, $400 is what ill spend on the machine

        Glad someone has experience with the Lotos brand. I saw the machine get pretty good reviews, and it seems like a decent starting point, but i always like checking to see what else people have used that meets the requirements

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        • #5
          Thanks, Sparky_NY. I've been following this thread hoping someone might come along with a suggestion for a budget yet capable 120/240 AC/DC TIG so aluminum is a possibility. For me, aluminum is definitely in the mix. Looking at that price point of $750-$800, there seem to be several 200 amp, AC/DC 120/240V machines from several manufacturers.

          I hate - HATE - having to buy a bunch of accessories to make a basic machine capable of working. The fact that the AHP comes with a foot pedal and flow meter is important, for me. A foot pedal and flow meter aren't "bells and whistles," they are essential parts of TIG, so they have to be there. Add the consumables (argon, tungsten, rod) and you are welding.

          YMMV, but I'm okay with knowing the price point I need for my needs and saving for that goal.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by epicfail48 View Post
            Well, like i mentioned, im aware that a larger, more capable machine can do more. Im also aware that a ferrari can go faster than most cars. I dont need to go fast, so i drive a 30 year old f150. By the same token, i dont need to weld aluminium, so lacking that capability isnt a drawback. Again, not looking for the last welder ill ever buy with all the bells and whistles. At $700, the AHP isnt just over my limit, its double, and the limit it just that, a limit. I have $400 to spend on the machine, thats it. Its not a question of saving up, $400 is what ill spend on the machine

            Glad someone has experience with the Lotos brand. I saw the machine get pretty good reviews, and it seems like a decent starting point, but i always like checking to see what else people have used that meets the requirements
            Understood but remember to include money for the argon flowmeter/regulator and a tank of argon. Tig is not possible without the inert gas. The pedal is not mandatory but makes useable results more likely.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sparky_NY View Post

              Understood but remember to include money for the argon flowmeter/regulator and a tank of argon. Tig is not possible without the inert gas. The pedal is not mandatory but makes useable results more likely.
              I am. In reality my upper budget is closer to $600 for the complete setup, thats why i specified $400 for the machine

              Far as the pedal goes, its on the list for down the line. Right now im just focusing on getting 2 pieces to stick together, at all, before worrying about perfection. My understanding is that the pedal is used to vary the amps during the weld, to dial in that last 10% to perfection. Im more worried about the first 90%, and adding in another control is just going to make things more confusing for me honestly. Never TIG, stick, MIG or gas welded anything, just flux-core wire feed. Got a lot of fumbling along to do, ill worry about the advanced stuff later

              Comment


              • #8
                You will rapidly learn that a pedal is essential for doing more than tack welding. You need to vary the heat to allow a quick puddle and then again to reduce overheating and blowing through.

                Dan
                At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                Location: SF East Bay.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I understand your budget and your set price. I do think you are setting yourself up with failure. Foot pedals, and etc are important. I can see your welder sitting in a corner, not used, because you got frustrated learning. More importantly, your welds will fail due to lack experience. Buy something that if you decide you don't want to do this anymore, it is worth reselling. TIG welding is not easy!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DrMike View Post
                    Thanks, Sparky_NY. I've been following this thread hoping someone might come along with a suggestion for a budget yet capable 120/240 AC/DC TIG so aluminum is a possibility. For me, aluminum is definitely in the mix. Looking at that price point of $750-$800, there seem to be several 200 amp, AC/DC 120/240V machines from several manufacturers.

                    I hate - HATE - having to buy a bunch of accessories to make a basic machine capable of working. The fact that the AHP comes with a foot pedal and flow meter is important, for me. A foot pedal and flow meter aren't "bells and whistles," they are essential parts of TIG, so they have to be there. Add the consumables (argon, tungsten, rod) and you are welding.

                    YMMV, but I'm okay with knowing the price point I need for my needs and saving for that goal.
                    The primeweld TIG225 is even a better deal than the AHP I think. It has much better quality torch/hose (genuine CK worldwide) and a better warranty (they pay shipping). Both get good reviews and are very close in price.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tungsten dipper View Post
                      I understand your budget and your set price. I do think you are setting yourself up with failure. Foot pedals, and etc are important. I can see your welder sitting in a corner, not used, because you got frustrated learning. More importantly, your welds will fail due to lack experience. Buy something that if you decide you don't want to do this anymore, it is worth reselling. TIG welding is not easy!
                      All excellent advise ! The importance of a foot pedal cannot be overstated !
                      Last edited by Sparky_NY; 12-18-2020, 07:35 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sparky_NY View Post

                        The primeweld TIG225 is even a better deal than the AHP I think. It has much better quality torch/hose (genuine CK worldwide) and a better warranty (they pay shipping). Both get good reviews and are very close in price.
                        CK Worldwide is a first class company!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Most of these cheaper welders are made in china. Even if it's still under warranty when it breaks you still have to pay for shipping it to the seller and him
                          sending back a repaired or replacement welder. Guess how much that costs? Chinese welders are well known to break down.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by john buck View Post
                            Most of these cheaper welders are made in china. Even if it's still under warranty when it breaks you still have to pay for shipping it to the seller and him
                            sending back a repaired or replacement welder. Guess how much that costs? Chinese welders are well known to break down.
                            Partly true.... For the AHP, they pay shipping both ways to their US facility for the first 30 days, for the remainder of the 3 years you have to pay shipping (68lbs to Tenn). The warranty is one of the perks for the Primeweld Tig225, they pay shipping both ways for the full 3 years. Both brands are sold directly by the companies US facilities(brick and mortar), no middleman.

                            BTW Its NOT just the cheap welders that are made in china, some of the big name models are made there now also ! Its also not uncommon for the big name machines to break down also, if a board fails out of warranty often the machine is not repaired due to the outrageous cost of boards. Big name pc boards often cost more than the complete import welder package !

                            Here is a typical example ! https://www.airgas.com/product/Weldi...s/p/LING4551-2
                            Last edited by Sparky_NY; 12-18-2020, 09:59 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I'm on my third TIG machine.....Started out with a huge Miller EconoTIG.....Didn't have enough electricity in my shop to run a big transformer machine like this. Sold it and bought a Miller Diversion 165....Great welder but limited in capability. Sold it for $50 more than I paid for it nearly 10 years later!

                              Lots and lots of research and bought a Primeweld TIG225 .......WOW! Simply amazing machine for the money. Even at twice the prioce! High quality hardware. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING included (just need gas). CK torch, industrial foot pedal, excellent glass gas regulator, great manual.....all for $799 shipped (Amazon)

                              My TIG welding on Aluminum and Stainless jumped up 5X in quality over the Miller products. I thought it was me, but a good, stable welder will make you a better welder.

                              Collect bottles and cans, shovel snow, get a part time job......save up another $400 and get a Primeweld TIG225 ........ One of the best decisions you'll ever make

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