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Inexpensive Tig welders

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
If buddy wants to weld everything but aluminum any DC stick welder is a tig, all you need is a torch with a gas valve, regulator and bottle.

Lots of cheap old transformer welders out there like some of the guys here are running, you just don't get any bells and whistles
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
If buddy wants to weld everything but aluminum any DC stick welder is a tig, all you need is a torch with a gas valve, regulator and bottle.

Tell me more! I have a Tombstone Lincoln ac/dc.

Please keep in mind that the only good beads I ever laid were either pure luck or heavily modified with a grinder. Even then, they prolly only looked good but wouldn't pass a chisel test.
 

trevj

Ultra Member
Tell me more! I have a Tombstone Lincoln ac/dc.

Please keep in mind that the only good beads I ever laid were either pure luck or heavily modified with a grinder. Even then, they prolly only looked good but wouldn't pass a chisel test.
He left out the one other part you have to have, and that is the lug that normally mounts to the stud on your welder that connects the gas hose to the torch, as well as connecting the power to it. If your torch has a single hose rather than separate lines for each of power and gas, anyways. You can mount it on the welder, but a lot of guys just clamp the power lead of the stick welder, direct to the lug.

You get scratch start DC only. AC needs a continuous High Frequency to maintain the arc past the current reversals.

But quite literally, the recipe is Bottle, regulator, gas hose, lug, air cooled TIG torch.

Connect the ground to the work, connect the stinger to the power lug (DCEN, or it eats your electrode!), set your amperage, open the gas valve, and scratch the surface with the electrode, and form the puddle. Add filler as needed.

Having an AC/DC machine, you might be a good candidate for keeping an eye out for a used TIG Box from any of the name brands. Mine is a Miller HF-251,https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...usg=AOvVaw32wh_CUi24nL5WqR70nZ5V&opi=89978449 that came from an auction that described it as an air compressor, so it was cheap! I have seen them come up out of trade colleges and schools, over the years, so this may be a line to watch.
 

trevj

Ultra Member
This Old Tony was chatting/reviewing about a combo Revolution model

For giggles, I looked the price up for one of those. List is US$6000! Side note, it's another Made in Italy welder!

I watched part of Tony's video, and am reminded once again, why he has been blocked from my video feed....
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
You don't need a lug on the machine, they sell several styles of tweeco connector that your tig hose comes into and it breaks out a gas connection and a tweeco connection for your power, im sure they make them for a dinse connector as well if that's what you roll

Needing a connector is a moot point, you need some form of connection in any case

Foot pedal is nice (but expensive in this sort of set up), hf box is eh, foot pedal would be a better expenditure of money

There is nothing wrong with scratch starting in non critical applications, you will sharpen your tungsten more often, that's the downside really. In critical applications (x-ray/ut...pipeline/nuclear) you leave small tungsten inclusions in the weld every time you start, this is why they came out with the hf boxes

I was taught in trade school on a Miller dial arc with no foot pedal and no high freq box, it works fine (although I would take a dynasty over that in a heart beat)

Bottle + torch + regulator and your off to the races
 

trevj

Ultra Member
You don't need a lug on the machine, they sell several styles of tweeco connector that your tig hose comes into and it breaks out a gas connection and a tweeco connection for your power, im sure they make them for a dinse connector as well if that's what you roll

Needing a connector is a moot point, you need some form of connection in any case

Foot pedal is nice (but expensive in this sort of set up), hf box is eh, foot pedal would be a better expenditure of money

There is nothing wrong with scratch starting in non critical applications, you will sharpen your tungsten more often, that's the downside really. In critical applications (x-ray/ut...pipeline/nuclear) you leave small tungsten inclusions in the weld every time you start, this is why they came out with the hf boxes

I was taught in trade school on a Miller dial arc with no foot pedal and no high freq box, it works fine (although I would take a dynasty over that in a heart beat)

Bottle + torch + regulator and your off to the races
The foot pedal is not going to do you any good, unless your machine is already set up for one to control the amperage. An HF Box will at least provide usable, if not very convenient, HF start and continuous (for AC use).

Yon Hairy Gent, @Susquatch, has an AC/DC Lincoln Tombstone, so I suggest you would be hard pressed to get anything of useful value from the foot pedal! Do tell if you know otherwise.

Am well aware that you do not NEED a lug on the machine, I believe I stated so in my post. But if, like the air cooled torches I have, the torch has a single line that carries both the gas and contains the power cable, you need a lug adapter to connect your gas to the torch. Cheap, as TIG gear goes, I think the last I bought was under $20... Makes a handy place to connect the power from the welder! Like as not, he will be in the shop one way or another, as he will likely need an adapter to connect the gas line to the torch, as, IIRC, the torch and the gas line are both usually male fittings. Also cheap though.

And yeah, I am a big time fan of foot pedal welding! I just don't see a way to incorporate one in his case.
 

trevj

Ultra Member
As a side note, on doing some searching, (bumbling through a number of variations on terms to use, until the results that I was seeking showed up) I see that there are complete High Frequency generator boards available on AliExpress and Ebay, for chump change (in the grand scheme of metalwork!).

I don't have the foggiest how one might incorporate same, but the few mentions I see state that you need a capacitor to block the HF from feeding back in to the welding power source. Not anywhere near as convenient as an HF box, but if a fella were electronically skilled, it looks like a cheap way to add some functionality. Likely wire it so that the HF fires on, when a trigger is pressed, would be a start. Smarter guys than me could likely add a timer circuit... But a fella sorta needs to have a few other skills and a willingness to dick about with the stuff, if he wanted to kludge together a cruder substitute for an HF box.

Back when I first hit the interwebs, there was a lot of talk about building DC welder's out of AC only sources, using diodes that were available cheaply as surplus from the various North American sources. PA carried them, at the time, and I knew a couple guys that build bridge rectifiers from them. None of this stuff is really new, it's just a bunch of new guys trying to learn it all over again, eh?
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
Yon Hairy Gent, @Susquatch, has an AC/DC Lincoln Tombstone, so I suggest you would be hard pressed to get anything of useful value from the foot pedal! Do tell if you know otherwise.

I only mentioned that would be a better use of funds because there are many more of those old foot pedals kicking around than old hf boxes, one would just need to figure out how to wire it in with the existing rheostat on the tombstone

I will put it this way, unless someone gave me an old hf box or pedal free I wouldn't bother, just run it as is, you don't need either to tig weld steel/stainless, and if a guy really gets into tig welding put those bucks towards a more purpose made machine

I knew a few guys that did the AC to DC welder with surplus SCR's and big capacitors...works ok actually. But that was a different time, when something like a dial arc was still somewhat new....now you can get an old DC transformer machine for 0$-500$, probabaly with cables to ! Not many people want them these days, to big, to heavy and need to large of a breaker....they are reliable though
 

Tom O

Ultra Member
If buddy wants to weld everything but aluminum any DC stick welder is a tig, all you need is a torch with a gas valve, regulator and bottle.

Lots of cheap old transformer welders out there like some of the guys here are running, you just don't get any bells and whistles
Like this one I got at PA sometime around 2007 it’s scratch start 120 volts and was excellent for body panel replacement. It’s the one I lent out to the Sait lads when they went Stateside. The Tig kit was bought separately from PA around $150.00 if I’m remembering correctly.

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And as always be careful out there!

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trevj

Ultra Member
I only mentioned that would be a better use of funds because there are many more of those old foot pedals kicking around than old hf boxes, one would just need to figure out how to wire it in with the existing rheostat on the tombstone

I will put it this way, unless someone gave me an old hf box or pedal free I wouldn't bother, just run it as is, you don't need either to tig weld steel/stainless, and if a guy really gets into tig welding put those bucks towards a more purpose made machine

I knew a few guys that did the AC to DC welder with surplus SCR's and big capacitors...works ok actually. But that was a different time, when something like a dial arc was still somewhat new....now you can get an old DC transformer machine for 0$-500$, probabaly with cables to ! Not many people want them these days, to big, to heavy and need to large of a breaker....they are reliable though

Ironically, I paid a great deal more for the correct foot pedal for my Miller 250HF, than I did for the HF TIG box that I have for my 225D Bobcat! I actually paid less for the Miller Water Cooler on the 250HF too! So, mileage varies. In the end, you run what you feel comfortable with. And what deals you may stumble across!

But yeah, it becomes self defeating, pounding more and more money into a welding machine that could otherwise be spent on a newer and more capable rig.
 

trevj

Ultra Member
<gasp> I regret even mentioning it now LOL.
While I can see the attraction to one small space under the bench providing a lot of different capabilities, my basic problem with the 'multiple in one' machines is that in the event of a failure of one part of the system, you have essentially lost ALL capability while it is off being repaired, if it even can be...

I know I don't have that much invested in my used stuff, though to be fair, it has taken many years, some fair amount of horse trading, and a little luck, to accumulate what I have now.

FWIW, I was just in a friend's shop today, he has an Everlast TIG/Stick machine, outfitted with their watercooler. Says it welds nice, though he has not put a lot of hours on it since he got it three years back. Said he had $3K CDN in it from new.

Seems to me a lot like modern cars, with all their video screens. Great while they work, but when they stop working, then what?
 

MikeANW

Member
I know I'm late to the game but.......I have an AHP Alpha Tig 201DX. I've had it for 4 years and use it weekly. it does AC/DC TIG and Stick. its been great. was about $800CDN. Only thing rerquired was a bottle of Argon!! Only thing i've replaced is the torch, as I prefer the CK Worldwide Flex head torch. for MIG I use a Hobart Handler 210, and a Spool gun for aluminum as required. i too did not want an all-in-one for fear of any breakage. i have a Lincoln 140 as a backup. :cool:
 
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