I just got a new Syncro 200 on Friday. It was a bit of an impulse buy. I maybe should have thought about the Dynasty 200 but the Syncro is sitting in my garage, so I guess there isn't much point in worrying about it now.
So, what do I need to know about this thing before I get started? I know how to weld, but this will be my first time TIG welding. Any tips from the Pros? Can anyone recommend a good shield?
I welded quite a bit with a syncrowave 350LX.
For tig you have to set the machine to Electrode negative ( straight polarity )
When doing aluminium set it to AC. Change the balance to around 7 ( 70% EN ) and put it on HF continous ( it usualy turns that on by itself )
You have a knob for pre flow and post flow. Preflow only needs to be like .5 seconds. Post flow depends on the amperage and size of tungsten. If your tungsten turns blue after the gas stops, you need more post flow.
When you are ready to run your first tig bead of the day. Hit the pedal to turn the selenoid valve open and let some gas run thru the line for a few seconds. It will purge it. Then you're ready to weld. If you go at it right away without purging the line, you get a mess and you may have to regrind the tungsten.
Overall they're very easy machines to use.
Sometimes the HF start may not want to work. Take your foot off the pedal, touch the tungsten to the work, back it up a little (1/16) then hit the pedal. I don't know how, but it makes it work.
If you ever just get the HF start spark but no real arc check your ground. If ground is good check that the collet is tight.
Regarding shields. If you want a good shield there's hobart, miller, optrel.
If you want the best shield for not much more money, theres the Hornell Speedglas 9002X, or Jackson Nexgen.
I use a Speedglas 9002X and love it.
On Tig in general. I think this is about as good as it gets welding. Really is an enjoyable way to weld. I would suggest taking two pieces of 1/4" or similar plate pushed together for a nice butt weld. Only catch is, no filler rod. Just flow the two pieces together. Keep your tungsten out of the work.
Another good thing for practicing is 1/8" x 1" steel strips. A 20' lenght is only like 4$. Just chop them up in pieces 6" long and weld them all together. Different types of joints and such. A 20' lenght makes for a few hours of fun.
I'm taking a night class in TIG welding at the local vocational school. I'm into it for about 24 hours or so and I can finally make a decent (not great) looking weld. It takes lots & lots of practice to get the hand/eye coordination thing going!
I was really surprised at how quickly you can (or must) move the torch & rod along the joint!
Seems like I've spent most of my time regrinding the tungsten as it gets into the puddle or filler rod quite frequently!
I'd suggest getting some start-up assistance from a pro. My instructor has tigged full-time for about 11-12 years and he makes it look deceptively simple!
Speedglass helmets rock! Luv mine
I wanted a Tig set for years and because all I had heard about being difficult to learn, I never got one . . Finally bought a new Miller 180 Syncro . .and just plugged it in a tried it out . . I think the hardest part in the begining is to keep the electrode from dipping in the puddle . . Also using the pedal is rough at first . . I just set my welder on 100 amps max and then I could press the pedal fully and not burn through . . you can partice and try to keep the amps at 80-90 with the pedal and get use to the controls . . I started with a couple of 1/4 inch steel strips . . after about an hour of that, I tried alum . . it's not hard at all, just practice and keep the alum clean . .
Well, I've got it up and running. I still need lots of practice, but so far so good. My wife is learning too. In fact, she's much better than I am at the moment. By the time she got to her 5th bead it looked about perfect.
I'm just welding steel for the moment, but will try some aluminum once I get the hang of it. I also just order a gas lense and some of those fancy pyrex cups. I figure the clear cups will help me see the puddle better which might be especially helpful for a beginner. I post a review after I try them out.
I got the gas lense set-up with clear pyrex cups today. Pretty cool. When I first learned to weld I learned gas welding, so for me the clear cup helps a lot. It gives back a lot of the visibility the typical tig torch takes away, and makes it similar to the gas welding visibility I am used to. At ~$15 each, the cups are expensive, but I think they're worth it.
When the HF stops working, you may want to clean and reset the spark gaps. I had the same problem and got the answer from one of these forums. It welds like a dream now.
Nice impulse buy !
I find after Tig welding on and off for 10 years now that getting a comfortable setup is key, key, key.
I have a three legged stool that's a nice height for my bench vise.
I have copper jaws in my bench vise so the ground clamp is far from the workpiece and not in the way.
I will stop several times to reposition the workpiece so that I'm not welding in awkward positions...or those where I can't see.
I dry-run the path with my helmet open before I strike the arc to make sure the filler rod and torch motions are comfortable, make sure the electrode stickout is proper.
One mentor in this told me you have to "point the heat" which meant sharpening the electrode properly and regularly...all the more critical for thinner work.
I still find myself babying the pedal. My machine needs more of a drag-strip launch to get a good puddle going and then I can back off.
The other mentor told me the first time you pick up a new Tig filler rod, bend a hook in the end of it. Always. You can hang it on something handy then. Dropping it as a straight wire is nearly impossible to pickup with thick gloves on.
Speaking of which I began with regular thick stick or Mig welding gloves...and migrated over to the thin goatskin gloves for Tig. Made a big difference and I don't seem to burn myself like I thought. They aren't forgiving of picking up a hot workpiece, though, so channellocks are the order of the day when repositioning.
I practiced lots of Tig welds with no filler rod at all...just concentrating on moving the puddle. A decent weld can actually be made that way...filler rod just makes it faster.
Congrats on the purchase. I've had a Lincoln Square Wave 175 for years, and I think that once you get up to speed wtih TIG, nothing else even comes close. It doesn't replace O/A or MIG for some jobs such as heating, cutting or tacking.
As mentioned, the thin goatskin gloves rock -- TIG really concentrates the heat, unlike O/A, which just dumps heat all over. I don't know about your shop, but mine's a mess -- whenever I get new gloves, I try to keep them in a ziplock bag to keep oil & dirt off of them for a while.
Part of the learning curve for TIG (for me, at least) was the understanding of "CLEAN". This is especially important when you get into aluminum & stainless, even before good fitup. Trying to weld anything but bright metal (on any metal) will raise your frustration level. Abrasives & Acetone are your best friends when you're learning. I'm partial to "ScotchBrite" type wheels run in a drill press at medium-high RPM. Clean your rods (especially alu) w/ acetone -- you'd be amazed how much crap comes off them. On mild steel, mill scale MUST come off for at least 3/8" away from the joint, more if possible.
If I were a beginner again, I'd do my practice ONLY on new material until you get your habits initialized properly. I had "friends" come out of the woodwork that brought stuff like cracked engine cases (full of oil that you can't get out) and motorcycle battery boxes bent up from street signs (70xx alu, doesn't weld when it's new, never mind the reflective plastic & the crazy, gummy adhesive) which were horrible experiences for a noob.
With regard to dipping the electrode, don't worry, it happens... wire brush the work, sharpen the electrode, life goes on. Look at the arc & the puddle, not the tip. I find that I dip mostly when I'm adding filler rod because the puddle rises.
keep us posted on that 200. i just found out about it a few hours ago and got really excited because its so much cheaper than the millermatic 251 i was going to buy, i can get the sync 200 and a matic 175. since i don't see myself welding any 1/2 plate any time soon, that will take care of me for years for the same price as the matic 251.
at what point do you say an air cooled torch needs to be replaced with a water cooled?
To Racer Al - I also have a Lincoln Square Wave 175. Do you have any problems doing a lap weld on two 1/4" AL plates? I was having trouble getting it hot enough to get a puddle started then realized I was only using 3/32 tungsten. Went to 1/8 and it works better but I need about 160-170 amps. What's your experience with 1/4 AL with this machine?