No announcement yet.

Am I making a mistake?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Am I making a mistake?

    I currently own a Miller Diversion 165 TIG welder, which I purchased for the sole purpose of building custom recumbent bikes. I'm only on carbon steel atm, but plan to move up to aluminum as my skills increase. I just finished my first frame, and decided I really don't enjoy the TIG process, mainly because it's such a slow, tedious process. In fact, I like it so little I've almost gotten to where I dread working on the bike.

    I'm considering selling the Diversion and getting a HH210 or IM230. I'm pretty familiar with the capabilities of TIG, but not as much so with the MIG process when it comes to thin walled materials. In fact, I've never used solid wire MIG, but I have done a bit of FCAW.

    Am I making a mistake switching from TIG to MIG for bikes? I know TIG is probably better for this, but will the HH210 do what I'm looking for? I'm mainly working with 16 ga. and 14 ga. material, and plan to start working on aluminum frames in the next couple of months. I'd also like to work on other projects in the future such as a custom bobber (frame, tank, fenders, etc), and if I get really motivated, I have plans to build a 3 wheeled V-Twin powered project car, but that's a couple of years off.

    I'm mainly trying to avoid hitting a wall with MIG and finding out that I need TIG to finish the bikes (and other projects) later. If I can do it all with either an HH210 or IM230 I'll be a happy camper.

    Thanks in advance for any replies.

  • #2
    Sorry to hear your dellima about the tig process but tig is so versatile I would keep your unit because there are times you will need tig when the other processes wil not get the best results. I would look to add to my arsenal a mig welder and keep what u have. My 2 cents worth...........
    Miller trailblazer 301G
    Miller S22P12 feeder w/ss case
    K&K 300 amp 15' .035-.045 (Bernard)
    Miller HF-251D-1, Weldcraft AC torch pkg
    Hobart HH187
    Harris DLX STLWKR
    O/A & chemolene
    WARNING These stunts are performed either by professionals or under the supervision of professionals. I insist no one attempt, recreate, or re-enact any activities performed.


    • #3
      Patience, Grasshopper. Perhaps some of our TIG wizards will wade in on this conversation.

      In a production environment, you always have to consider speed, quality and price.
      --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

      Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.


      • #4
        I have both mig and tig in my shop, and wouldn't be without either. Each has its place. I think you'll find out pretty quickly that you wish you hadn't sold the tig when you start trying to mig in tight places.

        Also, mig welding on thin tube can certainly test your religion. Holes can be made pretty easily unless you have a good deal of experience with the process on thin tube. This is not to mention that mig has a higher inherant risk of cold starts. With tig, either you have a puddle or you don't.

        While its entirely up to you, if it were me, I would keep both. They'll both be assets in what you intend to do.

        Just my opinion, however.


        • #5
          You are asking if you are making a mistake. I think, if you are taking the quick, easy way out, you are. Making any kind of a decision, without actually learning, I repeat LEARNING, the process, what are you basing your decision upon????

          You want quick and easy, why don't you just go buy a tube of JB Weld, doesn't get much faster than that
          *** Disclaimer ***

          As I have no wish to toy with anybody's life, I suggest you take this and all other posts with a certain amount of skepticism. Carefully evaluate, and if necessary, research on your own any suggestions or advice you might pick up here, especially those from my posts, as I obviously haven't the skill and experience exhibited by some of the more illustrious and more successful members of this forum. I'm not responsible for anything I say, as I drank toxic water when young.


          • #6
            Thanks everyone for your replies. I have a tendency to get pretty wordy when I write posts (which I'm about to illustrate), so I tried to keep my original post short. As such I think I left out some important details.

            After working in IT most of my adult life (I'm 36), I decided I wanted to change fields, get dirty and work with my hands while I was still young enough to do so. I'm currently 7 months into the welding program at my local CC. I intend on following up the diploma with the degree program from another college, also for welding technology.

            I spend my days learning about TIG, Stick, Flux Cored, (MIG is next semester), and my evenings doing the same either in my garage, doing club projects, attending AWS meetings, etc. I take the LEARNING (capitalized for emphasis, just for calweld) aspect of welding very seriously as this is a career I plan on spending the next 20 years in.

            So selling my TIG welder won't have a huge impact on my learning, and since I was planning to replace it with a Dynasty (mainly for the pulser) after I graduate, I don't think I'll miss having TIG too much for a while.

            As far as welding goes I acknowledge I'm still a rookie with a lot to learn, so I come to you great fellas for advice. I mainly wanted to make sure I wasn't going to hit a wall by switching processes.

            After a lot more research I found people building some very nice bikes using the MIG process, so I went in on Friday and fired up the Lincoln Electric PowerMIG 350 and did some aluminum welding on some thin tubing. It seems to me to be a very capable option for my needs, with a little more practice.

            As a bonus, the speed at which I can knock things out with MIG will help me churn through this stack of projects I want to knock out this spring / summer. This should only go to prove calweld's suspicions that I'm looking to do things easier and faster. It's true!

            Fortunately I saw his reply before Airgas opens up on Monday. Now I'll have time to test out the JB Weld on my next bike before throwing away good money on a MIG welder.

            Seriously though thanks again for all of the advice. I sold the TIG Friday night, and I'm currently trying to decide between the Millermatic 211 and the Hobart Ironman 230, but that's another thread.


            • #7
              36 What's the big hurry.
              Both your posts read like a can of Rock-Star.

              I'm not trying to be a wise-@ss.
              But part of working in the trades is "the work" !
              Not just the out-come.
              Tig is the ultimate controlled weld.
              My mentor can tig so fast he made 4 pairs of
              die-horses for our shop that'll hold a 2 ton mold.

              Or he can do the beer-can trick.
              Let it grow on Ya.
              Negative people have a problem for every solution


              • #8
                Originally posted by vicegrip View Post
                Both your posts read like a can of Rock-Star.
                Seems like a lot of words to fit on a can of Rock-Star, but since I've never read one, I'll take your word for it.

                Joking aside, I did mention my previous career was IT. I can type nearly as fast as I can talk. That makes it easy to ramble on I guess. I was trying to give enough information to help people give an informed reply.

                I'll try to keep it more concise next time. Perhaps, I'll ask future questions in the forum of a haiku.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jfw View Post
                  That makes it easy to ramble on I guess. ....................
                  ...............I'll try to keep it more concise next time. Perhaps, I'll ask future questions in the forum of a haiku.
                  Well you aren't thin-skinned that's good.

                  I actually meant more your intence eagerness to acheive....
                  rather than grow in your skills.
                  If I had a clue in composition, I wouldn't be so confusing.
                  Negative people have a problem for every solution


                  • #10
                    I am 35 and my dad (a welding instructor at a local CC) taught me how to TIG Aluminum when I was 10. He told me then that if I could get good at TIG Aluminum I could weld anything and write my own ticket. So here I am 25 yrs later. I would rather TIG Aluminum than any other process and I can TIG Aluminum with fairly great speed. It looks better than MIG and IMHO it is a better weld. All I can say is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!! I couldn't tell you how many holes I created, or contaminated welds, or a ton of other problems I had in the beginning. And I still make mistakes even as recently as a month ago when I grabbed a Stainless rod with a gloved hand not looking at it and pushing it into the puddle. After calling myself a few names I spent the next three hours on my Mill correcting my mistake and actually ended up losing money on that job.
                    Eric H. Smith
                    Hobart Champion 16
                    Miller ABP-330
                    Millermatic 185
                    Miller Spectrum 625
                    Miller Dialarc 250
                    MSC Mill
                    Craftsman Atlas Lathe
                    Grizzly Mill / Lathe Combo


                    • #11
                      I am 35 and my dad (a welding instructor at a local CC) taught me how to TIG Aluminum when I was 10. He told me then that if I could get good at TIG Aluminum I could weld anything and write my own ticket. So here I am 25 yrs later. I would rather TIG Aluminum than any other process and I can TIG Aluminum with fairly great speed.
                      This is an interesting thought. I am 50 with a 2 yr old son. He already wants to know how it works and what it does but that is a general gift. One thing i am going to give him is to learn one thing well, no reason for a kid not to learn a marketable skill so if he has to pick up a lunch box at 18 he can.
                      I worked on a building and one of the connectors was a guy in mid 40's. There are a lot of guys so this well but this dude was about as super smooth as it gets. I talk to him a bit, turns out he says, I am a phys ed teacher and on summer and vacations I set steel. He says, I don't know nuthin about welding and cutting or fabrication, none of it, this is all I know how to do.
                      Think this back thru and I bet he had some help. Someone asked little Johnny what you want to do when you grow up. Well he want to be like daddy that is some general for Steel Con or something so,,,, every free minute since he is 18, while other kids flip burgers for minimum wage he has a gift and setting red iron, overtime, bonus, etc.
                      Little Johnny's mentor helped him out with a couple more ideas, says,,,, be something like a phys ed teacher, inside all winter, insurance, pension, easy job, not much homework and keep out of debt, make another 30 large in the summers, ready to draw another pension at 48 where you might want to think its a younger guys game, keep in shape easy, coast it out to retirement.
                      Simple plan, paid for college with summer job, be able to retire with 2 pensions and social sec, ha Aluminum tig is another place as well as a couple other niche type things that could carry a guy along where you wouldn't have to know every thing to make your way. Get good enough and people don't ask you to do other stuff, stand around a power plant on overtime until someone points at it and says weld. I know a couple knobs that don't know much but they are speed demons with a tig. I think pipe bending would be one other niche could be like that.


                      • #12
                        I got a couple buds too, eek out a living, great fabricators but the kid is learning the same hand to mouth existence, kid learned from the old man but really didn't, the other bud has kid who is the only non schooled on an engineering staff of 50.
                        Being in the farming biz I have had to somewhat did out of a rut but I see examples. My uncle, good farmer on some level but never taught anyone to do anything, farm is bust after a generation of 80 hr weeks by him and the son, milking 100 cows, my other bud milks 3000 and the son has operation where he milks 5000, wonder what second son learned that the first didn't.


                        • #13
                          Sberry, I am with you 110%. I always stressed to my sons to learn a "bicycle Skill", something that they could always fall back on no matter what. My bike skill was auto mechanics, I did other stuff along the way, but the fall back position was always workin on cars. I ended up doing that most of my adult carreer, and was good at it and made enough to feed a couple of families and raise a couple sets of kids. I hated the dirt, grease and grime, but it darn sure paid the bills too. So anybody who wants a "right now" skill is lookin for a get rich scheme, and will realize sooner or later that nothing will replace work, and experience will come if you persist at anything long enough. So at the tender age of 52 and medically retired I have taken myself back to school to learn how to weld properly, I can stick it together now with no problem, always could, I needed to learn the finer points of exactly why it is the way it is. I am like you too, I will spend the time it takes to learn and get the experience to do it right. And sure enough, my kid is doing the same thing now, finally he sees dad figuring it out and has finally got the "NOW" out of his system enough to realize there aint no free lunch an he better pay attention and apply himself now, so he doesnt end up working for "somebody" else his entire life instead of himself. Patience and persistance will pay off in the long run, get rich now is just that, now and probably not later... Good thoughts man!!!!
                          Last edited by Rbeckett; 07-04-2010, 07:44 AM. Reason: Need more coffee, cant spell worth a crap, unedumacated
                          Enough tools to do anything, common sense to use em properly.
                          Big nasty scar, no kidneys, so you think you got issues?


                          • #14
                            You can use MIG or TIG but it still will require skill and good set up.

                            Show us some of your weldments.
                            We can help if you work with us.
                            Last edited by donald branscom; 03-19-2011, 08:06 PM.


                            • #15
                              This thread has been some of the best reading I've had in a while, thanks to all for contributing.

                              Now to the point, if the OP plans on upgrading to a TIG machine with more features anyways, why not cut to the chase ditch the TIG buy a MIG and get on with it? If the TIG was never going to be replaced I'd argue that holding onto it would be well worth it down the road, but if there is already a plan to replace it what's the problem?