Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
12/7/20 1:05 p.m.

Anything is possible with enough sheer force. From lifting a car to building skyscrapers to putting a man on the moon, humanity has used this technique to overcome every obstacle–even connecting two pieces of metal. 

Welding used to take a blacksmith hours using a process called forge w…

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RevolverRob
RevolverRob New Reader
12/7/20 2:24 p.m.

Interesting piece, but $1500 to setup in TIG isn't in the budget for me (and I'd hazard a lot of folks).

Will you guys be doing any pieces on the lower-end scratch-start inverter-based TIG machines that are available for a few hundred bucks?

That's what I went with a few weeks ago, an 80-amp stick welder with a TIG torch from Eastwood. Even by the time I bought a regulator and a large(r) bottle of argon, I was only into the whole thing for $450. But it's certainly not as easy to use as the more expensive variable units. But these small machines seem like they offer a tremendous bang for the buck in ability, portability, and simplicity.

 

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
12/7/20 2:38 p.m.

In reply to RevolverRob :

Minimum machine is $650 for what I would call "decent". But with a tig machine, you get what you pay for. 

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/7/20 2:45 p.m.

Tig without HF start at the very least is painful to learn.

RevolverRob
RevolverRob New Reader
12/7/20 2:49 p.m.

In reply to Ranger50 :

I guess the question then is what are the parameters for defining 'decent'? I.e., what features do you need in a given box?

_

Scratch start isn't actually all that difficult to figure out...A copper welding spoon or plate helps, a lot, for starting and ending the weld. It took me a couple of dozen attempts of just starting the arc to reliably scratch start. After three-dozen attempts it's easy.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
12/7/20 2:58 p.m.

I learned and bought a TIG to do bodywork before I bought a MIG. Self taught and got along OK. PITA to use on any location or any position that is not a bench with fixtured components. Stuff has to be surgical-room clean to get good welds.

Have hardly touched the TIG since I bought the Lincoln 185 MIG.

Other than doing alloy, I see no benefit to the much slower TIG process.

Some argue that TIG gives a more malleable bead for doing sheet metal work, but if that is the case, then I would point you towards an oxyacetylene rig as it is  a more versatile tool. ie it cuts and loosens metal stuff.

 

Pete

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
12/7/20 3:07 p.m.

Yeah, a lot has changed in the seven years since I wrote this story. Prices have continued to drop like crazy, and I'm real curious about the new wave of dirt-cheap imported inverter machines. I've heard positive and negative anecdotes, sounds like they're either perfect forever or broken right out of the box, but I'm not sure how much of that is just internet hate.

Here's my anecdote: I still have this Lincoln TIG that was built in 2012, and still use it all the time. Over seven years, it's needed nothing but consumables and hasn't let me down once. And if it ever does, there's a very good chance of getting replacement parts and tech support locally. Same goes for my Lincoln MIG, which has been around even longer, gets far more use, and still runs like a Swiss watch. Name brands are more expensive, but so far my Lincoln welders are firmly in the "buy-once-cry-once" category.

 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
12/7/20 3:12 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Agreed. Both my metal melty machines are Lincoln. Had a SIP for a while, but it had circuit board issues and parts were not available.

AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter)
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/26/21 8:45 a.m.

I currently have the Eastwood AC/DC TIG Welder which is ~$700 new. I got it much cheaper used, and just needed a fresh torch/lead. It does fine for what I need right now. It can do aluminum with the AC, and does fine on fairly thick steel too on DC.

When I upgrade, I will most likely get a Primeweld tig255x, the reviews are great, apparently the customer support is great, it comes with a CK torch to start with which is something I had to upgrade to on the Eastwood, and it has pulse settings and a lot more control. 

 

I also owned a Miller Syncrowave 250 for a short time, MASSIVE machine, water cooled CK torch. It was not the DX, so it didn't have pulse functions, but it really did weld beautifully. Only downside was it kept tripping my breakers as the older transformer style welders draw more power. I ended up selling it for a nice profit, but it was a very nice machine. 

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ SuperDork
9/17/21 6:34 a.m.

I already knew most all of this BUT I read it anyway because it is one of the best written articles I've come across in several years.  It's what we used to pay money for to the likes of HP-books and others.  But unfortunately, those didn't come with a comment section that allowed the book to talk back to you.

Great work Tom

 

 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
9/17/21 7:24 a.m.

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/17/21 5:10 p.m.

MIG welding 101 for car hobbyists please!

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/18/21 8:20 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Same goes for my Lincoln MIG, which has been around even longer, gets far more use, and still runs like a Swiss watch. Name brands are more expensive, but so far my Lincoln welders are firmly in the "buy-once-cry-once" category.

I second this. I have had a lincoln 140 MIG buzz box for 15years?   It has been rock solid. I has welded everything from rust holes in Land Rover stamped steel oil pans to installing new mounting brackets on to trailer axles.  It will weld 1/4 inch plate but preheating with a torch I found makes this possible.  It is an exceptionally good unit for a wide verity of jobs. Not the best on either end of the spectrum but great for general use And will get the job done if you understand its limitations and work with them.  
 

For most people I have found that having a buzz box that you can bring to the thing that needs welding is really important especially if you are limited to driveway work.  Adding a generator that can power your small welder is something I did years ago and that has been helpful in several occasions. 

russde
russde Reader
10/17/21 2:41 p.m.

Does this table also hold canoes?

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