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Thread: Need help buying TIG welder

  1. #1
    Senior Member Zapins's Avatar
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    Need help buying TIG welder

    I'd like to buy a TIG welder so I can properly weld bronze without getting terrible joints like I get with oxy-acetylene.

    I need advice on a decent model I can buy for this purpose. My budget is 2-$300. I think I'll also need an argon tank to go with it?

    Any advice, or links where to buy one would be welcome. Ebay models would be great too.

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    A true tig welder for <$300...? Unfortunately that's not likely to happen. However if it does please post back about it.

    I think there are some supposed hybrid mig/tig units available but I think they start at over $500 and their abilities to tig effectively seems to be in question from what I've read.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Zapins's Avatar
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    What about these on ebay (the $200 ones)? Not sure if they are true tig welders, just looking for something that will work well for bronze http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...p2045573.m1684

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    Senior Member chubbyjp77's Avatar
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    I don't think that particular unit has a high frequency arc start and stabilization. A pretty handy feature, no scratch starting. And argon bottle alone will likely cost just under $200. I would say that a cheap TIG welder is almost a nonexistent thing. Once you buy consumables for it you'll have another $200 invested.

    I have a Miller Syncrowave 180. Paid $1200 for it used and put out another $300-$400 for consumables. Most Tig units will stick weld also. High frequency is nice to keep a steady arc and ease starting an arc. A means of controlling current on the fly is also usually included, such as a foot pedal or fingertip control. 100% argon is a must and proper filler metal for the material your welding is a plus. Although you don't always need it. I definitely understand the budget thing but a good welder will last a lifetime and I feel it's worth saving for. I still have a 1962 Lincoln Weld and Power generator/welder that was given to my dad from his dad and he gave it to me. Still starts on one pull if it has fresh fuel in it.

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    Senior Member Zapins's Avatar
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    I was thinking 2-300 for the tig machine itself not the consumables. Those I can find on craigslist locally at more reasonable prices over time. The body of the machine is what I was curious about.

    I talked with mantrid who uses a Stamos STP 250P tig from ebay, but the original seller isn't in business anymore so the pricing of it is a bit of a mystery.

    I own a Lincoln tombstone, but I do not have the right power supply to run it and I'm not sure if it could be used to weld bronze.

    For an example, what do you think of this tig welder? Can it weld bronze using self cast bronze rods? Does it use argon gas? I don't see it in the description and I don't see any recognizable argon gas fittings. http://www.ebay.com/itm/200-AMP-DC-I...item2ec8dfccfd

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    Senior Member Wolfcreek-Steve's Avatar
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    TIG welding always requires an inert gas. On lower priced units, it is a direct feed from the bottle, with no control on the machine. If I could find a TIG welder for $300, I'd have one in use and a couple for back-ups.
    I also have a Lincoln tombstone for my heavy work and out of position work. (over 5/16 mild steel)
    What is that squeaking noise?

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    Senior Member chubbyjp77's Avatar
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    I'm not sure an inverter machine is going to do the trick for bronze. I welded bronze once and it was kind of like welding aluminum. It took a lot of current because it carries heat quickly and I also used an AC setting to draw the impurities out of the base metal. On DC the crap floated on top and made it impossible. The AC sine wave scrubs the crap away. That machine and all Tig machines us argon to sheild and cool the torch. Process isn't possible without it. All welding is shielded from atmosphere one way or another. Depending on the size of your castings it may take a good bit of current. A silicone bronze rod should work in most cases. Cast rods might but they cannot have impurities or inclusions or it'll be tough to weld with.

    Most inverter machines are DC and aren't really what you'll want. If your using a clean bronze without impurities like zinc a DC machine should be fine. You'll run it on DCEN (DC current electrode negative). An inverted with an 80/20 waveform might work but I'm not certain. AC is the ticket for Aluminum and bronzes for the cleaning factor. A good torch at high currents is also needed. Welding a lot of bronze could melt an air cooled torch down. Most air cooled torches are good for about 150 amps tops. Either way if it doesn't melt down it'll be uncomfortable hot. The tombstone probably won't work well if at all for bronze.

    I also peened my weldment immediately to reduce stress. I treated it like I was welding cast iron. I would preheat any large parts of it applies here. Hope this helps you out.
    Last edited by chubbyjp77; 06-19-2015 at 02:35 AM.

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    A mate of mine has a ebay Combo unit. Tig, Plasma cutter and MIG. I think it was branded a Rossi. Dosen't mean much, you buy 100 of the things from China and they will put "Grannys Whorehouse bar and Grill' as the branding if you want.

    This thing does not have a pedal which found strange. I have used it as a plasma and it works Bloody well in that capacity but I have only done a test weld on steel with the Thing in TIG mode. I can't speak to the abilities or weld Quality but I know my mate has put a lot of work on the thing welding in MIG and TIG and as a plasma building his race car and a few trailers. The one thing that I could confirm is the thing has held up pretty well and hasn't failed which is something.

    I believe he paid about $500 for that unit around 4 years ago but I have seen they have come down a lot and have been thinking about purchasing one myself. They are now in the 3-400 range, depending on the amp output.
    The Rossi brand is still on fleabay here at least and the seller/ Importer is one of the big local ones.

    The only problem I found with the thing that was when running it as a plasma cutter, the draw of the welder and My compressor overloaded the electrical circuit and blew fuses. I got round this by running one of the 2 off another circuit with an extension lead and then by filling the Auxiliary air tank I made for the compressor years ago and turning it off while I was cutting. I have enough air to run the plasma quite a while before the pressure drops below that the plasma cutter needs. When the air gets low I just run the compressor a few min to charge the tanks up again and that's always been more than enough to get through what I wanted to do in any one session.
    My mate doesn't have that problem as his shed is wired like a heavy industrial factory with 3x single phase 40A Circuits and 2X 3 Phase circuits. It's about a 6 car size shed so what the hell the previous owner was running in there to justify wiring it up like that we can only guess. There was a lot of insulation and ventilation equipment when my mate got there so maybe it was more an agricultural enterprise than a manufacturing one??

    I don't know if these machines would do what you want and I am sure they would not have the features and capabilities that a unit 4-5X more expensive would have, but I can say the unit my friend has got has served his ( and my) need very well for what we do with it.
    The one he got has proven to be trouble free and a very useful and reliable tool rather than the junk some would presume it to be.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Zapins's Avatar
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    Hmm good to know. I usually filter out Chinese products, especially electronic stuff as they are usually crap quality.

    So after reading chubby's post it looks like I am looking for an AC unit. Prices are up in the 500 dollar range. I checked craigslist and there seem to be a few cheaper AC units in my area, but they look badly beat up and possibly in need of repair. So I might extend my buy radius to surrounding areas and see if there are any more units that might work. I'll post what I find if anything looks promising. In the meantime if you guys have more advice or find any usable machines I'd love to hear/see them.

    Also, perhaps 2-300 is a bit under budget for this tool, 500ish seems more realistic for a lower end machine.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bob S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zapins View Post
    I'd like to buy a TIG welder so I can properly weld bronze without getting terrible joints like I get with oxy-acetylene.

    I need advice on a decent model I can buy for this purpose. My budget is 2-$300. I think I'll also need an argon tank to go with it?
    Any advice, or links where to buy one would be welcome. Ebay models would be great too.
    The welder that I purchased a Lincoln 175 amp square wave cost me a little over $3000 which also included a 180cf Argon bottle with a flow meter and the foot control. I later switched their air cooled handle to a liquid cooled handle. My primary use is welding aluminum castings that may have had a small flaw or for cast parts that needed to be joined together.

    I think when you purchase a very cheap or used unit you end up with somebody else's problems or the inability for the welder to do what you are expected from that unit. I have had not problem with this welder and can get the job done without screwing around. I have used it to weld bronze castings as well and it has more then paid for itself in the first year of purchase with saved castings and being able to complete more complex type of jobs that get thrown at me that need to welder together as a finished piece after casting. Bob
    I used to spend my time to save money but now I'm willing to spend my money to save time.

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