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  1. #1
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    Looking to by a Tig Welder

    I don't plan on building frames to sell and I do not plan on welding Aluminum or anything thicker than bike tubing. My budget is around $1000. Question is how well do the tig welders like the ones below work?

    TIGWELD 200SX 200AMP AC/DC TIG/STICK WELDER

    FREE SHIPPING Hobart EZ-TIG 165i 230V Inverter-Based AC/DC TIG Welder 165 Amp AC Output/165 Amp DC Output, Model# 500551 | Tig Welders| Northern Tool + Equipment


    TIG200 DC Welder | TIG Welder | TIG Welders | Eastwood

    Diversion 165 - TIG Welder - GTAW - Miller Welding

  2. #2
    squish, squish in da fish
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    imo i personally stick w/ name brands when it comes to certain things and welders are one of those things. miller makes hobart, those 2 welders are the same that you have links for. idk about their tig's, but the comparable mig's on the hobart side have dumbed down parts, ie:feeder motors. so go w/ blue, but why haven't you looked at lincoln?

    if you dont plan on welding AL then why dont you just braze?

  3. #3
    AZ
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    For a few hundred more you could pick up a Miller Synchrowave 200 demo unit.

  4. #4
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    At your budget you should either be looking at used stuff on Craigslist (best to have a pal come along who knows what he/she is doing to keep you from getting ripped off) or fillet braze, much cheaper and you can do everything you'd ever want for hobby building.

    -Walt
    Waltworks Custom Bicycles
    Park City, UT USA
    www.waltworks.com
    waltworks.blogspot.com

  5. #5
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    I only have a tiny bit of experiance but as a newbie who went through this not too long ago I can share my thoughts and what I did.

    Basically I like TIG and don't really like fire so although I have done some brazing I never really enjoyed it and prefer the magic of TIG to the art of flux and fire.

    The TIG welders I spent the most time on are my own Miller 150 STH and a cheap Hobart that I learned on. I think the Hobart was called an Econo Tig at a shared stop (Tech Shop RDU).

    For me the big difference was dealing with AMP control. The Miller allows you to strike an arc at really low amps and gives tyou the ability to control heat much better. Especially when learning on bicycle tubing the control over amps made things much easier.

    The Hobart would not strike an arc until 20 or 30 amps and modulation was not nearly as good as what I have with the Miller. With the Hobart I found I was blowing holes in tubes but I only used it a few weeks and only for short periods of time. I have spent a lot more time with the Miller and while my welds are not yet pretty thety seem to be plenty strong and have stood up to a lot of pretty harsh miles.

    I got my Miller used for $700 and feel like it was a pretty good deal. The used 150 STH machines are often pretty cheap because they are little, can't weld aluminum, and don't really have enough power for doing big stuff. For bike tubing they work pretty well.

    Make sure you don't confuse the 150 STH with other version of the 150 unit. With the 150 STH you get high frequency start and pulse while the other 150 modles are just stick and scratch start.
    Mark Farnsworth, Raleigh, NC
    http://farnsworthbikes.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishwrinkle View Post
    imo i personally stick w/ name brands when it comes to certain things and welders are one of those things. miller makes hobart, those 2 welders are the same that you have links for. idk about their tig's, but the comparable mig's on the hobart side have dumbed down parts, ie:feeder motors. so go w/ blue, but why haven't you looked at lincoln?

    if you dont plan on welding AL then why dont you just braze?
    I noticed the Miller and Hobart look the same must be made in the same place. The Miller is usually $250 more than the Hobart because the foot pedal is extra.

    I looked at Lincoln they are $1600 or more new.

    Haven't had much luck on craigslist and ebay for local sales but I will keep looking.

    I can braze now but I'm not interested in making or buying fixtures, don't need much in the way of fixtures for tig.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Integrexman View Post

    I can braze now but I'm not interested in making or buying fixtures, don't need much in the way of fixtures for tig.
    How so? I don't see what difference it makes for tig, fillet or lugged, you still need fixtures/jigs.

    Brian

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by calstar View Post
    How so? I don't see what difference it makes for tig, fillet or lugged, you still need fixtures/jigs.

    Brian

    How?
    1. Miter S.T. and scribe lines on BB shell to center S.T. tack them together and check on surface plate. Weld.(no fixture so fare)
    2. Cut S.T. to length silver braze seat collar to S.T. (no fixture)
    3. Miter D.T. and cut H.T. to length. Scribe line on H.T. for D.T. tack, check then weld (no fixture)
    4. Miter B.B. end of D.T. check fit and perpendicularity before S.T. miter. Miter D.T. to fit S.T. scribe lines to center D.T. on B.B. shell. Tack check and weld. This is the hardest one to do miters have to be perfect. (no fixture)
    5. Miter H.T. end of T.T. check and miter S.T. end. Tack ckeck and weld. (no fixture)
    6. I did use a fixture to tack the chain stays. Check on surface plate install axle in dropouts and weld.
    7. Seatstays I use no fixture just a wheel I know is centered. Tack, check and install an axle in the dropouts for welding.

    Why? Ever if you have perfect miters and fixture, tacking the front triangle together and tig welding it you will put stress into the frame. By welding as much as possible in sub assembly's you do not. I also found that frames come out straighter this way. I always make the T.T. slightly long because I know it will pull the H.T and S.T. together.

    On a bike with front suspension and 2.2" tires riding on dirt this may not be noticeable. But on a road bike it is.

    Fillet brazed and lugged frames can not be tacked without a fixture unless you have three or four arms.

  9. #9
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    You can do all of that without a TIG welder... seriously, at your budget, you'll be way better off fillet brazing.

    -Walt
    Waltworks Custom Bicycles
    Park City, UT USA
    www.waltworks.com
    waltworks.blogspot.com

  10. #10
    Nemophilist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    You can do all of that without a TIG welder... seriously, at your budget, you'll be way better off fillet brazing.

    -Walt
    Yes;

    My advice would be to remain patient, save, and get a TIG that will do everything you might ever conceive of doing, like heavier stock, and aluminum too. You will thank me for this advice years from now....
    Most people ply the Well Trodden Path. A few seek a different way, and leave a Trail behind.
    - John Hajny, a.k.a. TrailMaker

  11. #11
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    Check out the Thermalarc 186. It's still outside your budget ($1,700 w foot pedal, gas extra) but it is a nice machine that will do low amps and ac/dc. It's also white a bit less expensive than red or blue.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruary View Post
    Check out the Thermalarc 186. It's still outside your budget ($1,700 w foot pedal, gas extra) but it is a nice machine that will do low amps and ac/dc. It's also white a bit less expensive than red or blue.
    I've heard really good things about this machine. Apparently Carl Strong is a fan of it (he helped set the one up at my school). I'm saving up for one right now.

  13. #13
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    I've got a ThermalArc 180 (older version of the 186 I think) and it is a great machine. From what I've been told ThermalArc is the company that designed the electronics that Miller uses in their AC/DC inverter TIG machines. When it comes to Lincoln vs Miller, I find it interesting that I work in a factory that builds rockets and ever welder is allowed to use the machine of their choice and every single one is using Miller. The only Lincoln machines we have here are MIG, and then they are mounted on robots. It isn't exactly empirical evidence that one is better than the other but it is enough for me to be biased towards blue.

  14. #14
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    I've been contemplating getting one of these Eastwood AC/DC tig welders

    TIG Welder | TIG Welders | TIG Welding ? Eastwood TIG 200 AC/DC Welder

    It seems like they had some quality issues early on, but they got it straightened out and were good with replacing the defective units.

    Anyone got any experience with these machines?

  15. #15
    shifty
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    I picked up one of these last fall... (delivered and a cart for less than the price shown, I just 'asked')

    PowerTig 250EX - Multi Purpose Units, Diesel Generators, Welders, Arc Tig Mig Welding Equipment, Plasma Cutters

    I'm a hobby builder, also like to be able to weld 'stuff' and was a bit hesitant about not buying blue or red, but that machine is a pretty good bang for the buck. I have a good relationship with my local welding supply store that sells Miller and the owner there told me 'under his breath' that he was a big fan of that model. :shrugs: 5 year warranty, plenty of power, bells and whistles. If I was doing it for a living or got a screaming deal on a used blue/red I might have gone a different route, but for its been fine.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Integrexman View Post
    How?
    1. Miter S.T. and scribe lines on BB shell to center S.T. tack them together and check on surface plate. Weld.(no fixture so fare)
    2. Cut S.T. to length silver braze seat collar to S.T. (no fixture)
    3. Miter D.T. and cut H.T. to length. Scribe line on H.T. for D.T. tack, check then weld (no fixture)
    4. Miter B.B. end of D.T. check fit and perpendicularity before S.T. miter. Miter D.T. to fit S.T. scribe lines to center D.T. on B.B. shell. Tack check and weld. This is the hardest one to do miters have to be perfect. (no fixture)
    5. Miter H.T. end of T.T. check and miter S.T. end. Tack ckeck and weld. (no fixture)
    6. I did use a fixture to tack the chain stays. Check on surface plate install axle in dropouts and weld.
    7. Seatstays I use no fixture just a wheel I know is centered. Tack, check and install an axle in the dropouts for welding.

    Why? Ever if you have perfect miters and fixture, tacking the front triangle together and tig welding it you will put stress into the frame. By welding as much as possible in sub assembly's you do not. I also found that frames come out straighter this way. I always make the T.T. slightly long because I know it will pull the H.T and S.T. together.

    On a bike with front suspension and 2.2" tires riding on dirt this may not be noticeable. But on a road bike it is.

    Fillet brazed and lugged frames can not be tacked without a fixture unless you have three or four arms.
    Firstly, I commend you on the use of a surface plate.

    I will however correct you on constructiing a lug frame jigless. The very method you have described is the method I used to make my early lug frames. Same comments and results as you allude to. In fact if I were asked to describe what I did, it would be exactly word for word the description you have given.

    I would suggest that a filleted frame could be done this way as well, though I personally have not tried to so.

    Eric
    If I don't make an attempt, how will I know if it will work?

  17. #17
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    Eric, I agree with you and Walt a lug or fillet frame can be made without a fixture. I just think it is easier to tack the tubes together with a tig if you don't have a fixture. If you are building a lot of frames a good fixture is worth buying. Even with a fixture I would build in the same order I described.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by einreb View Post
    I picked up one of these last fall... (delivered and a cart for less than the price shown, I just 'asked')

    PowerTig 250EX - Multi Purpose Units, Diesel Generators, Welders, Arc Tig Mig Welding Equipment, Plasma Cutters

    I'm a hobby builder, also like to be able to weld 'stuff' and was a bit hesitant about not buying blue or red, but that machine is a pretty good bang for the buck. I have a good relationship with my local welding supply store that sells Miller and the owner there told me 'under his breath' that he was a big fan of that model. :shrugs: 5 year warranty, plenty of power, bells and whistles. If I was doing it for a living or got a screaming deal on a used blue/red I might have gone a different route, but for its been fine.
    X2 on that. Pretty much my story as well.

  19. #19
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    TLKD

    Which Everlasting model do you have?

  20. #20
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    Powertig 200DX.

    If you go that route you'll probably want to save a hundred or two to buy a better torch right away. The torch a guy gets with this machine is a size 26 and has 3a switch on it. I unpacked it, took it as if I was gonna weld with it and it was a definite NO just becaue of the size of the torch and also the 2-3 cables that are wrapped that it's attached to. I guess a guy could weld with this but I have become spoiled with size 17 and stubby gas lens equipped torches.

  21. #21
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    Here's a link to a review of Everlast by Jody on his "Welding Tips and Tricks" site. He's a no bs kind of guy, very knowlegable about all types of welding. He has several vids using Everlast products, this one reviews the pro 256.

    MultiProcess Welder

    Brian

  22. #22
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    I will second the Thermal Arc machine. I have the 185 and use it every week. It has been a reliable and capable machine. With a water cooled torch it does aluminum very well and has all the pulse and AC balance controls my Synchrowave is lacking. Used Synchrowaves can be a really good deal, too if you have the room and can lift and move them.

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