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Old 09-30-2012, 02:18 PM   #1
hapisok
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TIG, MIG or both?

looking to pickup a welder for my garage but can't decide between a tig or mig. i'd like to be able to weld both SS and aluminum. im not a welder, but gonna learn as i've got some projects that i want to do without paying an arm and a leg for somebody else to f* up. pro's and con's of working with them would be appreciated.

thanks

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Old 09-30-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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What are you welding? Mig is for sure going to be more novice friendly.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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Mig is cheaper to use, easier to learn, messier welds, and throws a lot of sparks.

Tig is more expensive, harder to use, is cleaner, and makes much nicer welds.

Search Google for mig vs. tig and you'll find a ton of info out there.

Good luck.

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Old 09-30-2012, 09:24 PM   #4
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You will need a spool gun for mig aluminum, tig is stronger cleaner but if you tig aluminum you'll need a variable machine TIG aluminum not too easy to do, just practice TIG is easy if you go mild steel a 7018 base,
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
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I just MIG'd in a O2 sensor took two minutes it is faster
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:20 AM   #6
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thanks for the responses so far.

i've done some searches on google and i really like the look of TIG. im willing to put the time in to learn how to do it right for a nice clean finished look.

after taking headers in to have O2 bungs welded on and exhaust systems, if i had bought one and learned how to do it, investing in a welder would have paid for itself already. i'll be welding up my header/exhaust system which is SS and some other projects which are aluminum.

thanks again.

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Old 10-01-2012, 05:17 AM   #7
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There are a few things to consider. Tig welding is the cleanest of all welding and can eaily be changed to weld various metals with the flick of a switch. Mig welding is most common in most production shops as it is easy to learn and very versitile. Mig welding requires one hand operation, tig requires two as well as a foot or hand switch for temperature control. Personally, I prefer Tig welding but on occasion I use my mig welder but it is a rarety, the welds do not compare with Tig.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:48 AM   #8
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PERFECT! just what i was looking for.

thanks!
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:11 AM   #9
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If you get a source to run GTAW (tig)and it is versatile, you should be able to also use it for GMAW (mig) and FCAW (flux core or dual shield). Dual shield with 75% argon, 25% CO2 is also very clean other than the slag produced but nice weld.

Aluminum tig will take a lot of practice and your parts must be absolutely clean. I've welded all my life and am now an AWS Certified Welding Inspector. If you have never welded I would recommend (mig). Either way, aluminum will require more expensive 100% argon or even more expensive tri mix. Mig can use relatively cheap CO2 for gas coverage.
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:06 AM   #10
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We use both at the shop, but the tig welder gets used most often.

It will generally require much more skill than a mig.

It is generally more expensive to purchase and operate.

Generally generates less heat and more concentrated heat onto the parts being welded.

Proper welds with both will be less obtrusive with a tig.

Mig can be much faster in some types of projects.

If I could only have one welder it would be a tig.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:15 PM   #11
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Tig is much better but more difficult.

I'm certified to do unlimited thickness welding on MIG (like, bridge welds) but I cant even make stuff stick together with tig. Im sure if I tired for more than 20 minutes I can get better but its definately not a cake walk.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:31 PM   #12
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fair enough, and i appreciate all the input. i do like the pretty welds of tig. and seeing how all i've got is time and im learning then it looks like i'll get a dual setup so i can effectively use one and learn the other once i've got it down. only way to get better is by doing.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:00 PM   #13
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Tig for sure.

Also, can refer you to some good units for reasonable that you will love. Take the time to learn and you will be amazed at what you can do, and make sure the tig you get is both AC & DC to do both Aluminum and steel.

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Old 10-15-2012, 06:30 PM   #14
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I enjoy TIG welding much more than MIG... I've got both here at the shop, and TIG just seems more fun. It can be hard(er) to learn though, however some people can just pick up the torch and run with it... A lot of hand/eye/foot coordination going on.

I'd say the best thing about MIG is it's waaay faster that's for sure.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:52 PM   #15
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One thing that no one mentioned....

Buy the BEST machine you can afford. I made the mistake when I bought my first MIG to not go with the 220 machine (I only had 1 plug at the time, and my wife wasnt gonna gonna let me unplug the drier to do some welding!!)

But now that I have proper power supply, I am kicking myself for going with a cheaper, 110 volt machine. Its fine for little projects, but not for the bigger stuff.

I havent learned TIG yet, so I cant really speak to your question.

J
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:48 AM   #16
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tracy,

what are some of your recommendations for a home DIY'er? there seem to be a lot of options out there ranging anywhere from $300 to well over $1000+.

thanks
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:34 AM   #17
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I don't think you will find many tig welders for under $1000.00 and any you do find will most likely be underpowered. If you are welding steel I would recomend a minimum of 180 amp for up to about 3/16-1/4" thick materials. Personally I would not purchase a tig machine under 250 amp but would preffer a 300 amp machine. When welding aluminum, especially thicher materials a 180 amp machine is marginal.

If it is something you are serious about and don't mind spending the money I would look into Miller welders, I've had a couple and was very happy with them. If you want to get serious look into the the newer technology inverter welders. I currently have a 300 amp thermo dynamics inverter welder. It can weld anything from beer cans to aluminum engine case sections with ease. They also will weld thicker aluminum without the need for pre-heating. Because of their technology welding thinner metals is also easier with much more control .

I'm not sure if there are any in your area but Middelsex gasses, a welding supply co, usually have free instructional classes for tig welding. It is a basic introductory class but may be beneficial in showing the basics as well as machine capabilities.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:48 AM   #18
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http://www.everlastgenerators.com/

Excelent welders for low prices...get 220V, and with enough capabilities. These weld every bit as good as the miller unit I have had for years, only complaint is the foot pedal is not as smooth as a top brand, but it only takes a few minutes to get used to it.

Unreal adjustments and I use one of these daily production with excelent results.

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Old 10-16-2012, 10:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SC2150 View Post
http://www.everlastgenerators.com/

Excelent welders for low prices...get 220V, and with enough capabilities. These weld every bit as good as the miller unit I have had for years, only complaint is the foot pedal is not as smooth as a top brand, but it only takes a few minutes to get used to it.

Unreal adjustments and I use one of these daily production with excelent results.

Funny you should mention that brand, both a friend and myself are looking at purchasing a new TIG from them. Which one do you have? I've seen some good reviews, and I've seen a couple bad ones...

The worst one I've seen is here: http://ls1tech.com/forums/tools-fabr...er-review.html

hapisok, keep in mind if you do get one of these welders, if you get into the bigger range you will need the water cooler system for the torch also... The PowerTig 200DX comes with an air cooled torch, so no need for the water cooler, and can be had for $999 w/ free shipping from Amazon.com... The only thing I don't like about the smller units is that they have a 20amp start for AC (aluminum welding), which may suck on extremely thin aluminum projects...

I'm eyeballing the PowerTig 250ex (which has a 5amp start) to replace my fading 1972 Miller Dialarc HF, but I'm on the fence and would hate to get a piece of crap and have to send it back...
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:16 AM   #20
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Go with Miller or Lincoln ...IMO (and a lot of others) Hobart sucks.
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:24 PM   #21
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I have a little 110 Lincoln Flux core welder that I have since converted to a MIG welder. I could not image not having it. Use is often.
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:08 PM   #22
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Go with Miller or Lincoln ...IMO (and a lot of others) Hobart sucks.
Both Hobart and Miller are owned by the came company and share a lot of the same technology... I've used Hobart stuff before and haven't had a problem with it.

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I have a little 110 Lincoln Flux core welder that I have since converted to a MIG welder. I could not image not having it. Use is often.
I also have one of these for the times that need a welder outside the shop... Comes in pretty handy... And I believe at least with mine there is an aluminum welding option that I can get for it. Of course it's not tig, but still handy to have.
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:16 PM   #23
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I have the 250EX and the water cooling is easy (comes all set up for it, just add a tank and a small pump).

This gets used daily, and some days near non stop. Zero issues, cant say enough and it replaced my $5k Miller.

Only thing I dont like is the foot pedal, but got used to it in no time.

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Old 10-16-2012, 05:37 PM   #24
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If you are planning on welding a bit of thicker aluminum a water cooler is a must, the air cooled torches are not sufficient. Also some welders can use a contactor/amp control switch mounted to the torch, this is very useful when doing a lot of off bench welding. I build motrcycle chassis and find that using a foot switch can be quite problematic at times although when I can I preffer the foot switch.
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:53 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SC2150 View Post
I have the 250EX and the water cooling is easy (comes all set up for it, just add a tank and a small pump).

This gets used daily, and some days near non stop. Zero issues, cant say enough and it replaced my $5k Miller.

Only thing I dont like is the foot pedal, but got used to it in no time.

Huh, thanks for the info... I bet I could use the current water cooler of the old Miller?

I spoke with the local Industrial Source welder's supply rep today when he came by and asked him about the Everlast stuff. Said he had never heard of it. He recommended a Lincoln tig, over a Miller, and the problem one might have with the Everlast even if it was a good unit was that a guy might have a hard time getting consumables, or repair parts for it. It's starting to look like a better and better deal though.

How long have you had your 250ex?

Quote:
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If you are planning on welding a bit of thicker aluminum a water cooler is a must, the air cooled torches are not sufficient. Also some welders can use a contactor/amp control switch mounted to the torch, this is very useful when doing a lot of off bench welding. I build motrcycle chassis and find that using a foot switch can be quite problematic at times although when I can I preffer the foot switch.
Even if welding thin aluminum, if you expect to be welding for a long period of time the water cooler is a must... I melted the water lines in the whip while welding a fuel cell because the other welder in the shop had turned off the water cooler (If left on it will turn on/off with the welder, but it can be turned off separately) and I didn't realize it... OOPS!

I've gotten pretty good operating the foot pedal in various ways if the foot can't always operate it... If I'm not sitting on a chair or stool I'm usually crouched down, or sitting on my A$$. With practice you can run the pedal with your knee when kneeling down, or the back of your leg if sitting... I hate the hand operated amp control on the torch... I'll figure a way to run the foot pedal with some part of my body
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