Stick / Tig

tomplumNovember 30, 2013

I'm going to replace my stick welder and thought maybe upgrade and learn to do some Tig. I want to branch out and do more metals including aluminum. Does one dare seek out what is on the list or just buy new? Suggestions would be appreciated. I just don't want to grab onto something that is used up!

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My sentiments exactly. I was thinking of buying a TIG this year but all the ones pictured on Craigslist or ebay were really ratty looking.

A new Miller is about $1100 plus the tank, not a lot of money, but more than I want to pay, just to experiment with. And if I buy a used one for $500 and it needs a repair or I really like TIG welding and want something newer, then I've wasted $500.

What I'd like to find is one where it only has a couple of hours on it and the wife just wants it out of the house, but so does everybody else. And these tools really hold their value.

So, for the time being, I just let it ride, as I have more than enough to do elsewhere.

An added thought. I have a big, beautiful, industrial Airco stick welder, well equipped, but I don't like stick welding. I've used a MIG for over 30 years now and really love it. How much aluminum do I really want/need to do?

This post was edited by baymee on Sun, Dec 1, 13 at 6:25

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 6:22AM
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Tom Currently have a Miller -180 (115 / 220 Volt) unit have used it for over ten yrs . I think the current Model 907670 is about $1500.00 . I paid $975.00 when I purchased mine. I use it on every thing up to 3/16 inch including alluminium and magnesium on occasion . Actually since my Son and I got out of Snowmobile Racing , I hardly ever have need for the exotic metal welding , I repaired a small leak on my neighbours Jon boat last yr and that was it . You may wish to look at a simple Mig set up , either Miller or Hobart have great units . You get what you pay for on these Specialty Pieces. .

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 9:44AM
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I have a small Miller Mig too. The stick just plain has to go. I suppose that I really could upgrade the Mig and get a unit w/ a spool gun. There is always something I'd rather make out of aluminum, but never had the rods or the welder to do it really. (have had a small stash of aluminum just in case ;) Miller has a stick / Tig but no AC on tig so no aluminum welding. Miller and Thermo DYnamics both have multi proccess machines that seem to do it all, well at least MIG, TIG and Stick- that people seem to like in the real world. Maybe they would be good enough for what I do. Zoro Tools will have 30% off on Monday which brings them down to a better price.
I have stick welded too long to not have one I think. Sometimes I have to weld in areas that is next to impossible to prep and at least my little Mig doesn't prevail. Is a bigger MIG more forgiving?

This post was edited by tomplum on Sun, Dec 1, 13 at 10:34

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 10:30AM
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There are tight spaces, like where you have to weld in a valley and can't get the MIG head into, that are ideal for stick. Or you can't get the head close enough and it's heavy metal, or where the head blocks your sight.

You can also bend a stick to weld around a corner. MIG doesn't work for any of these things. My boiler jacket cracked behind the sheet metal front and there's no way I can get a MIG in there to fix it. So far, the leak sealant is working all season.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 11:46AM
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I have a scar about the size of a quarter on the top of my foot. I was playing with a TIG and a glob of hot stainless fell on my shoe at the very end of the tongue and burned through my sock and deep into the flesh. Ouch.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 11:49AM
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I'm with you there. I find Tig appealing, but sometimes you just need a stick welder. If I just scored another ac/dc stick, at least I could aluminum weld. I've killed my Thunderbolt from many years ago. At least if I remember right, the carrier inside wouldn't crank up and down anymore so I replaced it with a one rough candidate off off the list already. So a new AC dc from Zoro will be about 450$ on Monday, or pour through the soon to be discarded welders on the list. Thermal Arc 186 has a stick / Tig set up which is AC DC. Big enough savings from buying a separate stick and Tig?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 1:44PM
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Yeah there are times when I prefer the Stick . I have a shop dedicated Lincoln Idealarc-250 which is used extensively in the garage for Position Welding Projects. The Miller at just over 50 # is ideal especially since it is Dual Feed . I can take it in the field with my 115 V Gen Set and repair anything at Hunting or Fishing Camp along with my Portable Torch Set . It all depends on your usage .

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 6:42PM
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I looked at the Miller site to see what they say about the spool welders. You should have 230V capability and they even recommend certain wire sizes. It was a pretty informative article. Even so, welding aluminum is trickier than steel and probably not as easy as they make it out to be.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 2:54PM
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I liked the Miller site too Baymee. There is so much on the web on welding. But I bit the bullet. Kinda like a kid in an expensive candy store. I've got 220 front and back,but I've been asked several times to weld away from the spread- and I've always said no, it comes here for welding n fab. With that logic, I wanted a dual voltage smorgasbord of a welder if it had a good reputation. It became a choice of what I bought and a Miller Multimatic. On line reviews etc seemed good for both. But now the choice is made.... The old stick welder will go cheap or get scrapped, the old Mig I can get something out of. I got the Fabricator 211i model.
With the fabricator, I can learn tig welding on steel anyways and can aluminum weld w/ the spool gun. Should I get into aluminum crafting, my guess is that it would be time to invest in an AC Tig with more features.
So guidance would be appreciated as I want to get this set up and buy the right stuff the first time. My Mig experience is limited. I've got the wire in it from 2 years ago when I got the thing and in looking up the spec, the first thing I see that it is crap. So who's brand / what wire would you put in here if it was yours for general repairs and fab? I have a pound roll each of aluminum and flux coated for the spool gun already. I have a 80 CU Foot tank (own). I'll need another tank so I can have a mix (C25 best for mig/ steel? ) and straight Argon for Tig / AL Mig . My thought was to score a tank of the list so I'm not paying rentals and hopefully get 2 larger tanks. Thoughts on that? Does anyone have an opinion on Airgas VS Liberty? Prolly the smartest thing to do would have been to take an afternoon and visit both welding shops. Well, here I am...

Here is a link that might be useful: Welding Candy Store

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 7:22PM
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I use CO2/Argon Mix for steel and Argon for SS. I get my wire at the regional welding supply company. I bought my Miller-matic 211 a few years ago and it's almost impossible to make a bad weld. They must have some sort of computer in it.

Flux coated wire will gunk up your liner. Not a big deal on the short hand held, but will cause feeding problems on a long cable.

If I weld clean steel, the welds are beautiful. If I get lazy, and don't clean the paint or rust, the welds are still great, but the fumes from the burning paint affect the gas shield. Still, never had a weld fail over the years. Most welding isn't that critical.

When welding outside, the wind can blow away the shielding gas, so I bump the volume/pressure up to 15/20. Most welding only requires 10.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 10:14PM
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Baymee, best ask santa for a Tig- it seems kind of fun so far!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 11:47PM
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Let us know how you are making out.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 5:33AM
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There will be lots to practice on. Trying to think of a good first real project! Tank support straps don't really qualify, do they? Scored a full straight argon tank off the list this week, plus upgraded my mig tank size.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 8:24PM
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