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Want a new toy (tig) - which one?

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  • Want a new toy (tig) - which one?

    OK its time for a new toy. Already have a good mig and plasma cutter. Want to play with aluminum. I'm just a home hobbiest that likes to fabricate things. Have built my own offroad vehicle, made various things, from a stand for a bird cage to gates with the mig, etc. My 29 year old daughter is a hobby artist and keeps talking about 'dad can we make things out of steel/aluminum' We are going to try to use the plasma to do 'cut' artwork here shortly.

    Anyway I have been comparing the Miller econotig with the 'new' miller synchrowave 180SD. Ignore price. No business case here. The econotig only seems to go down to 30 amps and will do 18GA to 3/16 steel and 14GA to 3/16 aluminum and has a low duty cycle.

    The synchrowave 180SD will go down to 10amps but I can't find specs on lower gage range for aluminum. The 180 has more bells/whistles, better duty cycle, etc.

    So if I'm going to do some tubing work (.065-.120 wall steel) and aluminum/steel sheet down to (lets say) 22GA and maybe something like weld aluminum bungs onto aluminum radiators/tanks and maybe a custom tank or two, plus whatever the artist daughter dreams up, will either of these welders work and do a good job? I'm open to any and all suggestions. Maybe even the Hobart Tigmate? What about used Tig machines? Are they like a timex watch and 'take a lick and keep on ticking'?

    Thanks in advance, Dave

  • #2
    If you are gonna do much of any aluminum go with the Syncrowave. I have an Econotig that is great and I was in the same situation as you. I went for the Econotig and it works good on DC, but when you do any aluminum, it isnt as good. The tigmate is the same as the econotig in case you diddnt know. I would sell the econotig if you want to spend less money, but if you can afford it I would go with the syncrowave.

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    • #3
      I've been shopping myself - if you want to do anything over light gauges of aluminum, the syncrowave 180 is the way to go for the reasons you mentioned and then some. However, if you want to get into schedule 40 aluminum pipe or thicker wall aluminum material, even the syncrowave 180 is pretty light and your into a syncro 250 or 300. I decided to make my project (a boat hard top) out of sch 5 or 10 stainless (90-100 amps DC maybe) just to stay away from the 180-200+ amps you would need on aluminum pipe. See my earlier post about welding 6063 T3 aluminum pipe. I even considered a Millermatic 251 which on current special includes a spool gun (required for aluminum) for around $1700, but TIG units still give the best quality bead, precision and can also be used for stick. I've found a new 180 for around $1300 and I'm thinking real hard about buying that unit for meeting my long term needs.
      Pete

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      • #4
        Pete,

        Have y9ou found the new 180 with meters for $1300 or the previous model?

        Thanks,
        Bill C
        "The more I learn about welding the more I find there is to learn..."

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        • #5
          I need to clarify which model it is. I assume you're refering to the digital diplays on the unit itself.
          Pete

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pszelwach
            I need to clarify which model it is. I assume you're refering to the digital diplays on the unit itself.
            Yes, the new one with the digital displays; Miller # 907054. Cheapest I have found so far is the $1400 at Cyberweld.com. I am about to order one and saving money is good!

            Thanks!
            Bill C
            "The more I learn about welding the more I find there is to learn..."

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            • #7
              fwiw,

              I've just took delivery of the new Syn 180SD with the digital display for $1410 shipped to my door 2 weeks ago. Got it from Brwelder. I have one of my buddy, a certified electrician, hooked up a whole new 100A slave panel for the garage wiring complete with a 60A disconnect box for the 180SD alone for an additional $150. Now that's a buddy rate. Regular rate could be up as high as twice that. If you get one of these bigger machine, be prepared to also include the cost to have the proper electrical hook up in mind.

              Be safe and dont burn your garage/ workshop down. Your home insurance might give you a hard time covering the damage if they find out you mickey mouse the connection.

              Andre
              Hobart Handler 135
              Miller Dynasty 200DX
              Miller Spectrum 2050
              Miller "Captain America" Big Window Elite Helmet

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              • #8
                MY TURN..............YES ON PAYING AN ELECRTRICIAN TO PROPERLY WIRE IN THE UNIT.............EVER HEARD THAT BE SAFE OUT THERE THING........ I PERSONALLY LIKE THE 180SD BUT SINCE YOUR SPENDING YOUR HARD EARNED CASH........... DID YOU DECIDE YET????????.......................ROCK
                [email protected]

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