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Edcutate me on welders

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I'm looking for some education on welders so I can find one that'll meet my needs.

I'm decent with flux-core mig, but I need something better.

I've been looking at TIG welders, but don't know what to look for.

I found a fan cooled inverter welder on craigslist, but is that what I want?

It's the THERMAL ARC 95S Inverter welder.

 

I know with the fan cooled ones there's something about duty cycle, but what exactly does that mean? Does it mean it needs to "take a break" to not overheat?

And what about being inverter? Seems I've heard mixed stuff about those.

 

Thanks for any input

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I'm looking for some education on welders so I can find one that'll meet my needs.

I'm decent with flux-core mig, but I need something better.

I've been looking at TIG welders, but don't know what to look for.

I found a fan cooled inverter welder on craigslist, but is that what I want?

It's the THERMAL ARC 95S Inverter welder.

 

Thermal Arc is Tweeco's welder division. It's a quality machine that competes with Lincoln and Miller. Not a cheap unit.

 

I know with the fan cooled ones there's something about duty cycle, but what exactly does that mean? Does it mean it needs to "take a break" to not overheat?

 

All welders have a duty cycle (even if it's 100%) and most that aren't full industrial machines have one that's 80% or less at full output. Duty cycle is not a measure of time but of percentage of time - so say that you are welding along on some fairly thick material at full current output of your machine - at some point you will have to take a break and the cooldown time will be 20% of the total between on and off time. So hypothetical numbers would be something like 8 minutes of weld time and 2 minutes of cool-down. The machine will have a thermal overload that will trip and stop you from welding when it needs to cool down.

 

Now - that's all fine and dandy but in the REAL world most fabricators don't over-temp their machine very often. You do so much moving, adjusting, cutting, and preping that the machine has a chance to cool anyway and rarely do you end up having to wait on the machine.

 

Fan cooling just means it's not water cooled. Only BIG machines are water cooled.

 

And what about being inverter? Seems I've heard mixed stuff about those.

 

Inverter machines are fine. They make really excellent quality one's now and they are tiny in comparison to the gigantic transformers they once used for high frequency welding. The machine rectifies the incoming 240v AC (RMS) power source to about 320v DC and then passes it through an inverter that creates a low voltage (~10 to 30v), high current, PWM 20Khz output for welding. The ultra-high frequency is what you want for really smooth welds and the voltage is dropped to bring the current way up for a nice fat arc that will jump across to the work. It's not a bad thing at all and all the major manufacturers are turning to this technology to save cost and weight.

 

I personally own an inverter plasma/TIG machine and I love what it can do for it's teensy tiny footprint.

 

GD

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Thank you very much for your input!

when I saw it advertised as only weighing 15lbs I was shocked!

The duty cycle makes sense, I probably only weld 30 seconds to a minute at a time anyway.

 

Do you agree that in general TIG has better results than MIG does?

I like the concept better, and don't see why I can't learn how to do it as well as I can MIG.

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Do you agree that in general TIG has better results than MIG does?

 

They both have their uses. MIG Stands for Metal Inert Gas welding - which is not what you are doing if you are using flux core wire. That's FCAW (Flux Core Arc Welding). With solid wire and 75/25 sheilding gas I can weld mild steel as well as I can with a TIG machine but 10x faster. TIG is a SLOW process and doesn't lend itself to overhead or welding in tight spaces or on unprepped surfaces.

 

TIG is the aerospace version of welding. You can do it in a white lab coat - but it's very slow and tedious and still requires sheilding gas (Argon - not a mix) as well as tungsten electrodes that are carefully shaped and are a consumable and filler metal that is carefully selected based on what material you are welding. It's more expensive and it's extreemely time consuming and somewhat limited due to the difficulty level, required cleanliness of the base metals, and two-handed nature of the operation. You can't just point and shoot with one hand while you hold something steady with your other.

 

I like the concept better, and don't see why I can't learn how to do it as well as I can MIG.

 

It's not a matter of better or worse - it entirely depends on what you are welding as to the appropriate choice of welding apparatus. As a general rule FCAW or MIG (GMAW) is the most versatile and simplest form of welding today. Everything is integrated into the machine - filler metal, sheilding gas or flux core wire, and no other major consumables.

 

TIG is far, far superior at aluminium and stainless steel welding. But an inverter machine will probably not have great aluminium ability. You really need a proper square wave high frequency machine for aluminium.

 

GD

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Hmm, some interesting food for thought there.

Especially about welding in tight spaces thing. I hadn't really thought about that too much, but it's something I get into somewhat often. With cars it's often a lot faster to weld stuff in place, even though it's a bit tight. So that may be something I should consider.

MIG sounds like it's better for some of everything, TIG sounds like it's more for precision stuff that has to be perfect and beautiful, rather than structural and fast.

 

I worked on a boat in a welding shop for about 3 months (I was doing boat systems, electronics, etc. Not welding) but being in the shop I talked to the guys on break, etc. They were pretty much doing all aluminum with huge TIG machines. He swore by it, but he could also butt weld coke cans perfectly, and make stick welds look damn near perfect...

I tried my hand at TIG and sucked bad... Sounds like for welding up rusty cars MIG might be best.

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I would agree - get a wire feed machine and try using solid core wire with sheilding gas. The flux core gets in the way with all the slag, etc. Messy process.

 

GD

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I would agree - get a wire feed machine and try using solid core wire with sheilding gas. The flux core gets in the way with all the slag, etc. Messy process.

 

GD

 

I would agree; having been welding cars for 25 years. I use .025 wire with argon/C02 for shielding gas. Flux core has it's place, but is best for thicker metal(i.e. not sheet metal) and outdoor work where shielding gases get blown away.

 

Look for a decent quality welder, such as a Lincoln or a MIller. Cheaper welders often have a torch that's live all the time, which makes it easy to flash yourself.

 

I have this baby: http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/6/Tools/WeldingSoldering/Welders/PRDOVR~0588041P/Lincoln+Electric+MIG+Pak+180+Wire+Feed+Welder.jsp?locale=en

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What ever you do, don't skimp out on price of the welder, stay away from the cheap crap from Harbor freight and the like.

 

Personally I prefer Miller, ya the Lincoln 180 will weld just as well as my Miller 211 MVP but at the end of the day the Miller just seems to come out better in all areas.

 

I have a spool gun with my welder as well, so I can weld stainless and aluminum also...but it doesn't do quite as well as a TIG nor can it get down to doing thin metal either, like a TIG can

 

I agree about using a solid core wire with shielding gas.

 

YMMV...also just my two cents

 

Jody from Welding Tips and Tricks has a ton of great information you may want to look at before deciding what to get.

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Haha, that guy is funny and has some really good tips! Thanks for the link.

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Hi
I manage a welding shop and Tig and Mig all day long some of the previous post are missleading and factually incorrect!
For what you want to do a small lift start DC plant would be fine to do your light gauge Mild steels and Stainless steel, you will need a bottle of Argon, which will obviously cost rental, a decent regulator and if your gas flow is set right it will last for ages.
It doesn't have to cost a fortune, obviously the more money you throw at one the more you get! but for the hobbyist you don't need it
As for spares well for home your not really going to need much, a spare ceramic, collet and collet body and a back cap, however the most used item will be your "tungstens" all of these are available cheaply from ebay the quality of which is good enough for your needs.
PM me if you want and Ill give you my phone number and talk you through it.

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Here in my Li'l 'n Crazy country, the mini inverter Welders that are Popular, are ingco brand; like the one on this Video:

 

The newer models reach 180 amps; by the way, I've teaching my Daughter in mechanics, including Welding :)

https://imgur.com/gallery/C6iTgMp

Kind Regards.

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