TIG Welder - what does a new(er) machine offer?
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    Default TIG Welder - what does a new(er) machine offer?

    Background, I need a TIG welder, primary use is odd nickel alloys and stainless, all under 1/4" in thickness.

    I currently have both a Trailblazer 300 with HF251D start box and a Miller 330/A/b/p. The 330 has something wrong with it, haven't figured it out, likely the caps and maybe some insulation problems elsewhere.

    Getting the trailblazer out and hooked up is a bit of a pain in the ass, especially in the winter.

    It does do everything I have asked of it thus far.

    So, replacing both with current capacity (and expected need) means something as simple as an econotig or whatever 150-200 amp with HF start is available.

    What am I getting however, if I upgrade to a used syncrowave or something along those lines...something with all the fancy settings. Most of my welding is just stack of dimes style, maybe a 1/2" of structural filler added, then 8" of fusion weld, just to seal surfaces.

    And even then, am I better off just digging in to the 330 and fixing it?

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    Full disclosure: I have a Miller Syncrowave 200, That said, I've been pining for something better but I really don't need one.

    That said, the inverter machines that are available now in several brands have some nice features. One of the things that I would really like to have would be the variable frequency available in inverter devices that you don't have with a transformer machine. They are stuck with 60 Hz.

    Pulse is a nice thing to have, but I already have that. I would say that the variable frequency feature would be foremost in my list of wants.

    I must say though, that in my days working in manufacturing, I've seen some terrific welding done on transformer machines. One thing in their favor is their reliability. Some folks shy away from the inverter machines because they fear the possibility of a P.C. Board failure, although those are rare,

    So, I guess I'll keep the old Syncrowave for a while longer. You might just want to fix up the old 300.

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    What does variable frequency get you?

    I could never get the hang of pulse...Iíd be good for a few seconds, then get off speed, try to add filler to a cold weld, and that was it.

    But that was a cybertig made in the 70ís too. I donít think I had adjustability of the pulse frequency.


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    Variable frequency isn't going to be a game changer for what your stated use is since it's all DC welding. In your shoes, I would investigate what it's going to take to fix your 330 and go from there.

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    If Syncrowave is what you're considering for newer bells and whistles, don't bother. It doesn't give you much more than what you have currently - you'll need to upgrade to an inverter to get enough of an upgrade to actually be an upgrade.

    But like Graham said, for the type of stuff you're doing on DC, not really a big deal, other than power savings.

    Adjustable AC frequency and balance ARE a big deal on aluminum, especially thinner, and if that's what you were doing, the upgrade to an inverter would absolutely make sense. But for standard DC stuff, stick with what you have.
    Last edited by Fish On; 10-05-2020 at 06:39 PM.

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    Nothing lost to rip into the 330 and see if it's something simple.

    I bought a Bobcat 225 diesel welder, that had 12 hours on it and no arc. It was the grease in the selector switches, it had dried and snot-balled up, preventing the contacts from making. PITA troubleshooting, but an easy and cheap fix!

    Otherwise, for basic DC TIG, you are likely looking at something that is smaller than your current HF Box, as far as size goes, in a portable Inverter welder.

    The down side is they are not giving them away. The upside is that you can run on far less current from the wall, most of them have multi voltage capability, it seems to me, and they can be picked up and hauled about anywhere. And, who doesn't like a new toy?

    I have a Miller 250HF sitting on my floor. I'd be really happy to have an inverter, but it does not get used enough to justify a replacement. It's too heavy to steal casually too.

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    My experience:

    Pulse for DC Welding ó Low Pulse Settings: I find it most useful for fusion welds and lay wire. High Pulse Settings: edge buildup and thin materials

    Frequency ó as others have mentioned, most useful in AC but it has specific uses in thin materials to control penetration patterns (as does wave types)

    Slope ó both inverters and transformers have up slope and down slope, but itís most common on inverters. And the 300 ABP you mentioned doesnít have it (if my memory serves)

    Programming ó if you do production or short production welding, the new inverters will allow you to save your favorite settings. More important if you play with frequency and wave types

    Power ó if you weld a lot, the power savings can be significant.

    Word of warning for inverters if you weld thin materials: many of the cheaper inverters have a strong initial amps when striking the arc and then it slopes down to your desired amp setting. This happens on the well-loved red welders (mine did). (Donít just blame it on color/brand). What I mean is that you dial in 5
    amps, it starts at 30 amps and slopes down to 5 amps. I canít remember the arc characteristics of transformers at low amps.

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    I forget, can the Miller 330 ABP do lift arc? If not, thatís useful on things where you donít want to use HF and you donít want scratch start.

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    As I am someone who owns a couple millers, if you dont need anything fancy then all you will get is power savings and portability with something like a maxstar or dynasty. The multi voltage is amazing for me as I do a lot of industrial work. The 200s will do 110 to 480 1 and 3 phase, so very versatile. But if you dont want pulse or AC, there isnt much of a gain.

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    I'll also lay it out there before hand. I have a Everlast Power Tig 255 EXT and it has more bells and whistles than you could shake a stick at. It was priced well, supported well and works well. It has too much for me, but I'm a hack, but it does have the ability to do whatever you want, plus canned programs to make it easy to forego all the bells and whistles. It's worth looking at.

    Stuart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
    ...if you dont need anything fancy then all you will get is power savings and portability with something like a maxstar or dynasty...
    Have to disagree--at least a little bit. My brother and I have been welding for over 50 years. We started our tig experience
    with an old 250 amp AC/DC Lincoln Idealarc. Scratch start only. From there we progressed through a couple of Miller Dialarc
    AC/DC 250 HF machines and a nice 350 amp Syncrowave. A couple of years ago we finally broke down and bought a Dynasty
    350 and I can tell you there is a difference. The Dynasty is way more machine than any of the others.

    I think the biggest problem with these newer machines that have all the bells and whistles is that you have to put some effort
    into learning how to take full advantage of all the features. I know of a couple shops that have the same machine but only use
    some of the features. They're basically afraid of the welder. Put some time into learning how to fully use the tool and you will
    never look back...

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    I have a Syncrowave 250 I picked up a couple years ago and it’s great machine. It does everything I need and more but like everyone else has said, it’s power hungry. As of last week, I’ve been on the hunt for a new mig welder and been comparing all of them.

    I’ve been looking at the new Miller Multimatic 255 inverter machine for $3k. It has a better duty cycle on Tig and Arc welding than my 250 at half the input amps, 85lbs, 1/3 the space and it does Mig welding. It’s almost to good to be true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    Background, I need a TIG welder, primary use is odd nickel alloys and stainless, all under 1/4" in thickness.

    I currently have both a Trailblazer 300 with HF251D start box and a Miller 330/A/b/p. The 330 has something wrong with it, haven't figured it out, likely the caps and maybe some insulation problems elsewhere.

    Getting the trailblazer out and hooked up is a bit of a pain in the ass, especially in the winter.

    It does do everything I have asked of it thus far.

    So, replacing both with current capacity (and expected need) means something as simple as an econotig or whatever 150-200 amp with HF start is available.

    What am I getting however, if I upgrade to a used syncrowave or something along those lines...something with all the fancy settings. Most of my welding is just stack of dimes style, maybe a 1/2" of structural filler added, then 8" of fusion weld, just to seal surfaces.

    And even then, am I better off just digging in to the 330 and fixing it?
    ID attempt to fix what you have, it will be more reliable and already familliar.

    A new machine is nice but also a pain unless you want to drop 10 grand as the low end models are something to be desired.
    ive got a lincoln precision tig 200 brand new, It sucks....... it works but the design is horrible.

    i have pulse but never need to use it, my foot pedal does all the work. ac freq only good if you to a ton of aluminum.
    just find even a used unit, it will have HF Start and you will be good if you need another.

    And i had an everlast that just didnt last.......... it blew up pretty good, solenoids stuck in it etc.

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    Thanks Guys...guess it's time to dig in to this one.

    Funny, because I first bought it just because it can put out more heat than I can feed it with...I needed it to melt iridium and palladium and other oxygen sensitive alloys in a lab scale arc furnace.

    At that time I thought "mig will do anything I need".

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    I had both older and new machines. Old Miller at the shop, new one at home. The newer one would start much easier and weld better at lower amperages than the older one.


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