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Retired elictrician trying to TIG

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  • Retired elictrician trying to TIG

    Hello weld talk ,
    . Since this the new member introduction section heres a little background on myself .
    . I'm a 62 year old used up old retiree from GM .
    had other jobs along the long road of working life but most of my years I spent as an hourly Test Mechanic (prototype and testing setup to collect data on new cars in the engineering group) .
    Trying to remain employed there I changed trades (a second full apprenticeship) to Industrial Electrician , and spent my last 10 or 12 years doing that .
    . During my Mechanic days I'd do some tig welding attaching steel taps and fittings for pressure tube and thermocouples mostly to exaust systems (and whatever else the engineers wanted data on) . Also would fab up small control panels (for switches , lights , readouts etc. ) From sheet aluminum and tig them together.
    . I always enjoyed doing the TIg , something about that controlled "electrical flame" just seemed so cool . That was all a long time ago and I'm gonna be rusty at best.
    But now that I'm in fixed income land a new tig welder is cost prohibitive to me.
    . So I'm hoping to draw on my electrical background and set up an amperage control on a AC/DC Lincoln buzz box that I have .
    . Current welding equipment I have is a little 110v
    Millermatic 130 mig welder (run it with gas not flux core wire) that I use for auto body and fixing broken lawnmower handles and stuff .
    . I'm not great with it but I do ok , not a pro welder and never have been , but I can stick 2 pieces of metal together with it.
    . Ive got that used Lincoln AC/DC 225 , an old S.D. LEE high frequency box , and a made in Hong Kong air cooled tig torch with a valve for gas flow on it . Don't know much about the specs of it or the actual manufacturer but its marked WP-26VF
    on the head .
    .I was drawn to this site after reading about Mike W.'s work on the variable amperage control (and other people that have done it)
    . Ive also got an SCR that I can't put my finger on right at the moment that is suppossed to be the right size for that project.
    . Although I have good soldering skills and can read an electrical print my confidence level is kinda low on building the controller board for the SCR . (Electrical equipment that I'm used to is WAY bigger than that little board)
    Im hoping I can find a kind person or 2 that are smarter than me that can help me get my equipment set up so I can start practicing Tig .
    . Oh btw : next purchase is an Argon bottle and flow gauge
    ​​​​. Sorry about the long post but I do appreciate anyone that reads it .
    . I'll keep digging through threads and try to figure out what I'm doing . But some advice would be SO appreciated .
    . I really miss that knowledge base from my days in the factory .
    . THANK YOU

    trying to attach some pics of my meager equipment here but haven't figured out how yet
    ​​

  • #2
    You know, I'm sure your a smart guy and all, but that would be going about it the hard way. Have you looked into the used market? Or off shore new with a good return policy. I think you'd be miles ahead and frankly, up and running sooner.
    But I admire your courage. And because I'm changing a fuel pressure regulator in a 2001 GM Express, If it turns out to be as much work as building what your building, I'm going to be disappointed.

    Thought I'd mention that and welcome to the party.

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    • #3
      Hello Oldguy ,
      . And thanks for your response . I'm guessing 56 is your birthday , if so that makes you one year older than me . So maybe I should shut up and listen to my elders
      just by skimming over some of your posts your obviously a way more knowledgeable welder than I'll ever be and I respect that .
      But the only way to get better at something is to practice . So maybe for the time being I should just set up for scratch start TIG and get some practice like that .
      I'm at a more time than money point of life . And gotta figure that you get what you pay for with imported equipment .
      Thank you for at least reading my post and for your reply .
      Nice to meet you

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      • #4
        A guy doesn't get old as dirt with out realizing that at some point there is older dirt out there. That dirt comes with some experience and tends to offer advice from that experience, at least this old dirt does. I'm not always one to follow good advice, but when offered I do listen, I expect you will do much the same so the effort is worth doing.
        My interest in welding has been due in part to spending a life time in the trade, and as an educator of welding. In doing so, following up on what's sold and being used around the world as technology advances, I've discovered and I can say it isn't all Blue and Red in color. Electronics has change the game and global sales has changed the market.
        I'm going to admit, GTAW has been sold as the top dog to fixing all that's wrong in the world. In some ways it is but it's also slow, expensive and still with limitations. I have a Syncrowave 250 and let me tell you, most days it's a boat anchor.
        I suggested buying an off shore brand and still do. It's new, comes with a warrenty and frankly, there are some brands that do yield good quality. Those folks in Japan, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, they ain't all using Hobart, Miller and Lincoln. Not to say those companies haven't rebranded to make sales or open in a market to gain a sale advantage, just that they have competition.
        But as a guy who understands more time then money, I'd have you ask, if I'm not making money with it to justify the expense, how deep into the well do you dip to taste the cool drink of water?

        Now not that it's part of the GTAW question, but if someone came to me and said I have $1000 to spend and want to weld what should I buy, I'd say a small buzz box for SMAW rods, a set of bottles with regulators for heating cutting fusion welding brazing and soldering, and if money is left over a small mig. Unless you have a real need to weld aluminum, thin stainless, I wouldn't mention GTAW at all. Don't ask me about PAC cutting...?

        But it's always best to learn to crawl before you try walking and running. Oxy acetylene is a good way to make the transition and cheap by comparison for practice costs.

        This was the only time, the only part that was GTAW on my hotrod project. Everything else was GMAW or on occasion oxy acetylene gas welded. THis was before a repo part was available. Maybe I should have waited?
        Click image for larger version

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ID:	706060Try and imagine the time, effort and cost if a person was to TIG this. It's not a wonder the hobby has little interest to a younger generation. They all think they need to be TIG welders? Who can afford that I ask you?

        Pleasure meeting you as well. Good luck with your endeavors. I

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        • #5
          It's hard to beat a pro , I do appreciate you sharing knowledge with me .
          I will give serious consideration to your advice

          P.S. ... we're not older than dirt , just more life experienced. .....It's just the stuff I've known and forgotten that scares me

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Testwrench View Post
            It's hard to beat a pro , I do appreciate you sharing knowledge with me .
            I will give serious consideration to your advice

            P.S. ... we're not older than dirt , just more life experienced. .....It's just the stuff I've known and forgotten that scares me
            Well if it comes down to getting in the game rather then sit on the side lines wishing, I know what I'd do. And if I liked it. I'd do it again only better. Good luck.
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            • #7
              Ok so with considering the import market can you make any suggestions on machines that won't break the bank that are of decent quality ?
              theres lots of them out there and I'm sure some are junk and some are of decent utility .
              . Watched an interesting youtube video last night about a Primeweld 225 AC/DC machine but I don't know .
              Do you have any thoughts for me on an entry level machine that might last for awhile ?

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              • #8
                That's a negative. No recommendation's to give at this time, but if you check out https://www.mig-welding.co.uk/ , they it seems are buying more of the off shore brands. Someone else hopefully has more to offer, but a bit of older post reading should also offer a result that might direct you to a better choice. I have also seen a few video's of such a comparison, buyer beware and buy with visa to double the warrenty. Let us know.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Testwrench View Post
                  . Watched an interesting youtube video last night about a Primeweld 225 AC/DC machine but I don't know .
                  Checked a bit on this one, and immediately noticed several reasons that would disqualify it, as a good tig buy, even though it's getting quite a lot of promotion by a guy on WW.

                  First, i wasted quite a bit of time searching for a manual, and found nothing. Any reputable manufacturer is only too happy to have
                  you download their manual.

                  Second, I wasted even more time searching for the advertised 3 year warranty with free shipping, and again found nothing. Again,, while this doesn't seem to bother the boys on WW, most reputable manufacturers and sellers want you to know warranty and support system information.

                  Third, I noticed that much of the specs and claims about what the machine will do, on the web-site, is written in Chinglish or is too vague to judge validity.

                  Fourth, I noticed that this machine exterior and controls resembles some I have seen before under several other company names, which leads me to believe that this may be re-badged tech, masquerading as new.

                  Since the specs available do not include volt/amp curves and proper duty cycle info, (and duty cycle is really important on a tig machine), I would take the $$$ this machine costs and spend it on a good used tig machine that may have fewer bells and whistles, but has a reliable 60 to 100 % duty cycle.

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                  • #10
                    Now you understand, Hobart, Miller, ESAB, Lincoln.....

                    Dale
                    Last edited by Dale M.; 09-20-2019, 09:11 AM.
                    "Fear The Government That Wants To Take Your Guns" - Thomas Jefferson..

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dale M. View Post
                      Now you understand, Hobart, Miller, ESAD, Lincoln.....

                      Dale
                      ... or, if you have unlimited funds, an approximate equivalent to the PrimeWeld above, is the Fronius Magicwave 230i, but, has always been way more than I can justify. About 5000 US, without the cooler;

                      Here are other, mainly reputable options:

                      https://www.thefabricator.com/guide/gtaw-power-source


                      Last edited by Northweldor; 09-20-2019, 07:32 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Unlimited funds ...nope thats certainly not me .
                        Im probably better off for the time being rigging up the tig torch I have to the old Lincoln 225 , trying some scratch start tig with it and getting some practice in . If I can get that old S.D. Lee high freq unit wired in with it so much the better (I mean hey they manufactured them for some practicle purpose back in thier day right)
                        maybe I can get enough heat control for steel at least by speeding up and slowing down my travel speed .
                        . If things work out getting some practice in like that maybe I can think about saving a sizeable amount of pennies up for some kind of new machine .
                        . Thank you for the info .

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