Tig welding SS for show, which Tig welder
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    Default Tig welding SS for show, which Tig welder

    Have a regular job that I farm out the Tig welding. Shown is my attempt at mig with SS wire. Had to get blended with TIG to look pretty. I botched it decent lots of spatter. Print just says "weld" it's a handle so no structural concerns. Want to get a Tig to do this job. But ONLY this job. A 1k welder would pay for itself in a couple runs. But which one to get?

    image.jpg
    Last edited by Toplineeng; 01-13-2020 at 11:58 AM.

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    I can weld metal together, but I've never considered myself a welder. Therefore I have to have access to guys that do it much better than I, especially TIG. One thing I have learned is the machine rarely makes a difference to the quality and appearance of the finished product. I'm guessing but I would think a higher priced machine would have more power, a higher rated duty cycle and some additional bells and whistles than your $1K version. Great welding skills result from great amounts of helmet down time, not the machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toplineeng View Post
    Have a regular job that I farm out the Tig welding. Shown is my attempt at mig with SS wire. Had to get blended with TIG to look pretty. I botched it decent lots of spatter. Print just says "weld" it's a handle so no structural concerns. Want to get a Tig to do this job. But ONLY this job. A 1k welder would pay for itself in a couple runs. But which one to get?
    No vid shown that I can find. 2-3 tanks of argon and a few hundred pounds of tortured metal practice should get you close. Keep at it with pics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toplineeng View Post
    Have a regular job that I farm out the Tig welding. Shown is my attempt at mig with SS wire. Had to get blended with TIG to look pretty. I botched it decent lots of spatter. Print just says "weld" it's a handle so no structural concerns. Want to get a Tig to do this job. But ONLY this job. A 1k welder would pay for itself in a couple runs. But which one to get?
    I just bought a Prime Weld TIG225X. Price is $775.00 with shipping delivered with a 3yr. warranty. Either Ebay or Amazon Prime. Needed it for just one job out of state.

    Inverter welder that runs off 120-240AC. Full featured 5A-225A with adjustable preflow and post flow timers, pulse, variable pulse frequency. Foot pedal, 2T and 4T hand switch,decent air cooled tig torch with flow regulator, and stick stinger.

    I was originally looking for a small Thermal Arc or Miller Inverter tig welder for 120/240 AC used but all I could find was over $1000 and well (hard usage) used plus most did not have all of the needed accessories.

    Not a real fan of a lot of the cheap import stuff but this was for just the one job and I really did need the low voltage power source. I had read quite a few good reviews on this welder and the reviews do actually reflect the welder quality. Welder has good start characteristics with a nice steady arc. Much superior to the Miller Maxstars I have rented.

    My main tig welder is an old Hobart Cyberwave 300 with the 800 controller on it. The only advantages the Cyberwave has is the 300A rating and a slightly better duty cycle, watercooled torch, and can weld as low as 1A.

    Overall, I really like this welder and especially for the price point. I would rate this welder far superior to the Miller Maxstar 161 though the Prime Weld TIG225X does weigh 75lbs. vs. the Miller Maxstar at 16lbs. The Miller Maxstar really shouldn't be compared with the Prime Weld TIG225X but considering I got a lot more welder for less than half the price, I am very satisfied.

    The dealer does have a good reputation of handling warranty returns and has a very high satisfaction score so I figured even if the welder does becomes a throw away, I should easily have my money out of it by then.

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    Have you tried dual shield stainless wire? it is "the shit" when it comes to stainless mig. Depending on how powerful your mig is (no 110v machines) it might be great for the job. I did a lot of ss angle iron frames 1 1/2"x1 1/2" x 1/8" with it and it was smooth and beautiful, no crown, slightly concave fillets and minimal to no spatter. Gas was just c02 IIRC.

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    Bare minimum requirement is foot pedal and post flow. Trying to learn to do it right without those options makes it Way more annoying and you mind as well figure out how to mig it better...

    The not necessary but useful if you can afford it option is pulse. Pic didnt show up but im guessing this is thin, which is where pulse works best. It can do wonders for SS fusion welds if you dont need to add filler, but even with filler it can help with practice.

    The totally unnecessary option would be AC, and thats only if you even Think you might want to weld aluminium at some point in the future. If all you will ever weld is SS, pick the machine with enough amps for your part and go with that.
    AC adds around $500 or more to the price tag. You might be able to get away with ~$500 for the machine depending on which brand and how thick your parts are...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toplineeng View Post
    Have a regular job that I farm out the Tig welding. Shown is my attempt at mig with SS wire. Had to get blended with TIG to look pretty. I botched it decent lots of spatter. Print just says "weld" it's a handle so no structural concerns. Want to get a Tig to do this job. But ONLY this job. A 1k welder would pay for itself in a couple runs. But which one to get?
    Post a few pix of the job, and your "attempts"....

    Could be maybe just stick welding would suffice ?

    or maybe a simple change to your gas & settings might be all that is needed.

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    I was in a similar spot in my shop and picked up a old Hobart Tigwave 250- great older welder.
    The guy how had it before me bought it new for a 1/2 long aluminum weld for handles on a part for a bus parts contract for NY city.

    He had no ideal how to weld and had the dealer come out to the shop and setup the machine for that one part and the Hobart sat unused after he lost that job.

    So that Tigwave was practically new, welds great, and was relatively low priced.
    I would look for something similar.

    I paid $1500 and the welder came setup with cooler, torch, a bunch of tungsten, filler wire and torch consumables.
    I have seen the same welder listed locally for around $500.
    There is one listed in MD right now for $2500 with similar gear as mine.

    Facebook Marketplace: Hobart 250 ac/dc tigwave
    with a tc900 water cooler - Air Conditioners - Potomac Park, Maryland

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    Under a grand gets you chinese junk.
    Which works, until it doesnt.

    I find it amusing that there is big thread right now in General, dissing the people who bought a $2500 Grizzly lathe as despicable hobbyists, and yet, again and again, the same people are whining about how expensive welders are, and trying to get a recomendation on which Chinese inverter welder is actually secretly "good".

    Chinese inverter welders, just like 4x6 horizontal bandsaws, dont actually all come out of the same factory- but the range of quality is pretty slim, as they are all trying to meet a price point.

    My advice, having tig welded for money for almost 40 years now, is either buy a used older american made transformer machine like Trboatworks did(Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, etc) , or bite the bullet and buy a new Miller or Lincoln for $1500 to $3000, depending on amperage needs.
    Either will actually work, and can usually be repaired if it breaks, and will have resale value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    I find it amusing that there is big thread right now in General, dissing the people who bought a $2500 Grizzly lathe as despicable hobbyists, and yet, again and again, the same people are whining about how expensive welders are, and trying to get a recomendation on which Chinese inverter welder is actually secretly "good".

    Chinese inverter welders, just like 4x6 horizontal bandsaws, dont actually all come out of the same factory- but the range of quality is pretty slim, as they are all trying to meet a price point.
    Hey Now !

    Don't get all grumpy on the snowflakes man !

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    only when its the exact same snowflakes who say a $80,000 Haas is a cheap piece of shit, and you arent a real machinist unless you buy a Mazak or a Mori. And who drive $60,000 pickups with a 4' bed.

    I am of the "buy one good one, and keep it for life" school.

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    I am also not a welder, but own several.

    I would practice with the MIG, there is a point where you get set up just right, amperage, wire feed, where changes from tickety ticekety splat, to a nice even bzzzzzzzzz.

    MIG was designed for production, where you get everything just so and go, they use it on robots.

    It will never match the TIG but you ought to be able to make something you are pleased with.

    Lots of practice on very similar size/thickness

    I have a Lincoln low end TIG I bought in 1997, not huge current, but has been servicable for that time, was 1400 bucks back then, no adjustments other than current and AC/DC/polarity, weight at least 100 pounds.
    I would consider buying a used one that you can test out as old welders without computers never die!

    [edit] Lincoln Square Wave 175 is the TIG I have, its an all in one type setup with high frequency start. Still on their website:
    Square Wave™ TIG 175 TIG Welder
    tho I think discontinued

    I think 'real' old ones come up for reasonable. I don't consider mine 'real'
    Last edited by gustafson; 01-13-2020 at 02:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    Under a grand gets you chinese junk.
    Which works, until it doesnt.

    I find it amusing that there is big thread right now in General, dissing the people who bought a $2500 Grizzly lathe as despicable hobbyists, and yet, again and again, the same people are whining about how expensive welders are, and trying to get a recomendation on which Chinese inverter welder is actually secretly "good".

    Chinese inverter welders, just like 4x6 horizontal bandsaws, dont actually all come out of the same factory- but the range of quality is pretty slim, as they are all trying to meet a price point.

    My advice, having tig welded for money for almost 40 years now, is either buy a used older american made transformer machine like Trboatworks did(Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, etc) , or bite the bullet and buy a new Miller or Lincoln for $1500 to $3000, depending on amperage needs.
    Either will actually work, and can usually be repaired if it breaks, and will have resale value.
    I couldn't agree more. Love my aging Miller Syncrowave 200. Although I'm not a pro-welder, it does what I need and it's seen a lot of use. Even if I bought a newer inverter unit, I'd still keep my Miller because it's shown great reliability and it has a nice arc.

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    Default great insight!

    I threw the picture into the original post (late), but here it is again. image.jpg

    I did not yet try the "dual shield stainless wire"

    I didn't practice enough with set-ups, settings, etc. That's on me.

    Customer really 'likes' the tig 'look' and it's really all looks for this job. Shown int he pic was my weld gone over again with a tig to 'blend'.

    I was using a Argon blend for my gas and a standard SS wire. I'll send updates as I schlopp them off the line. Thanks all!

    From this my thoughts are aligning with 'get a decent used tig welder that seen some real life experience, it WILL get used with aluminum and elsewhere so why not, just bite the bullet, sell my 40,000 pickup, and get to practicing

    Thanks for the comments all!

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    On inverter welders — many cheapo welders will do fine on DC TIG. I had a ‘red’ brand stick welder with lift arc TIG that was made in Mexico and ‘globally sourced’. It did just fine for lift arc TIG. It wasn’t as nice as my European inverter welder, but it did just fine.

    Dual shield stainless — I think the other folks are talking about Ultracore (red brand’s version). I think the smallest wire diameter is 045 which looks like it will be a bit big for this application. Correct me where I got it wrong because I haven’t run that wire.

    On the welds — check your settings. The welds are a bit big and appear cold. I may be wrong though.

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    I'm told that the welders sold by Eastwood are quality pieces, and U.S. made, but I have no firsthand experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrHook View Post
    I'm told that the welders sold by Eastwood are quality pieces, and U.S. made, but I have no firsthand experience.
    Eastwood welders are made in China, to their specs, and they back them up with a 3 year warranty.
    So- they are similar to Grizzly lathes- made in china, to Grizzly specs.

    You decide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    Eastwood welders are made in China, to their specs, and they back them up with a 3 year warranty.
    So- they are similar to Grizzly lathes- made in china, to Grizzly specs.

    You decide.
    My sources were incorrect, then!

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    I have welded with a lot of the brands out there including Miller Lincoln along with the cheaper alternatives EverLast AHP. This is my take on cheaper welders. They work great when they work. I cannot tell you how many of them I've seen develop problems fairly quickly. To be fair Miller and Lincoln and ESAB will also develop issues just not as often. The big difference is the customer service behind them. Good luck getting anything remotely resembling customer service from the cheaper Chinese brands like EverLast, AHP , Or Eastwood. It's not that they won't work with you to resolve issues it's that it can take easily over 3 months to address a problem If not 6.

    Also how much time are you willing to invest into learning TIG. There is a considerable learning curve. If you are not happy with your current welds in a different process Tig is going to be exponentially longer with to get the results you want.

    Have you considered outsourcing some of these parts to somebody who does TIG for a living day in and day out?

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    If your payback would be as quick you say then I think it would be dumb to buy a chinese welder.

    I did as Trboatworks did and picked up a used hobart tigwave, great welder, pretty much a hobart copy of the miller synchrowave. The Miller synchrowave is more common. Sometimes these can be had pretty cheap. Seems like some of the newer lincoln inverters might be a good choice too.


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