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Affordable TIG welders

TerryD

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Looking at a couple Amazon specials.

There's this one for $825 that has a lot of knobs instead of a more menu like structure.


And this one. A buddy has it and likes it pretty good. But you've gotta scroll through the settings to change what you want.


Any thoughts from the Brotherhood? Looking to buy soon.
 

TreeFarm

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I have the AHP Alpha tig 200x or something like that. I bought it in 2015 and have used the hell out of it for AC, DC, and stick. Well worth the $800 paid on amazon back then. four of my friends have bought them after using mine.

The thing about Tigs is, they are all solid state. They are just fancy stick welders. Electronics are electronics to a point so the price point doesn't really mater unless you need high duty cycle or and high end stuff like water cooling. With cheap units you run the risk of quality control but thats where a good return policy comes in. The one place you do get shafted on cheap units is the pedal. I haven't looked into putting a better pedal on mine but probably will some day.

Another thing to look out for on cheap ones is settings. Make sure it has all the settings you want especially on the AC side. being able to set AC balance and frequency is a must in my opinion. My friend has a cheap eastwood tig that doesn't have those settings. Fine because he almost never does aluminum but it would be a deal breaker for me.

So bacially my advice is, find one with a full row of AC settings and good reviews. All of the accessories like the torch and hose can be replaced later if they fail or you don't like them. It may be worth paying attention to the size of the DINSE connector on the unit. If its non standard it may be hard to find leads in the future.
 
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TerryD

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I have the AHP Alpha tig 200x or something like that. I bought it in 2015 and have used the hell out of it for AC, DC, and stick. Well worth the $800 paid on amazon back then. four of my friends have bought them after using mine.

The thing about Tigs is, they are all solid state. They are just fancy stick welders. Electronics are electronics to a point so the price point doesn't really mater unless you need high duty cycle or and high end stuff like water cooling. With cheap units you run the risk of quality control but thats where a good return policy comes in. The one place you do get shafted on cheap units is the pedal. I haven't looked into putting a better pedal on mine but probably will some day.

Another thing to look out for on cheap ones is settings. Make sure it has all the settings you want especially on the AC side. being able to set AC balance and frequency is a must in my opinion. My friend has a cheap eastwood tig that doesn't have those settings. Fine because he almost never does aluminum but it would be a deal breaker for me.

So bacially my advice is, find one with a full row of AC settings and good reviews. All of the accessories like the torch and hose can be replaced later if they fail or you don't like them. It may be worth paying attention to the size of the DINSE connector on the unit. If its non standard it may be hard to find leads in the future.
Is this the one you have?

I'm not familiar with TIG. I never used my AC/DC Lincoln stick welder so I sold it. Figured I'd invest in the ability to weld aluminum and jump into TIG.

Probably a flimsy excuse but it's the one I'm using.
 

TreeFarm

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Is this the one you have?

I'm not familiar with TIG. I never used my AC/DC Lincoln stick welder so I sold it. Figured I'd invest in the ability to weld aluminum and jump into TIG.

Probably a flimsy excuse but it's the one I'm using.

I Have the 2015 version of this. Looks like AHP so going away from knobs in favor of the newer style touch screen units which everyone else is doing too. This is their current unit. I have no idea how good it is but after having mine for 6 years. I would trust buying it for myself.


A tig welder is just a stick welder with shielding gas and external filler material. which is why you can stick weld with a tig unit if they give you the settings for it. Basically turning off high frequency start and shielding gas and reverting to scratch start.

Having the ability to work with aluminum is a game changer. I don't do it a ton but when I need to, its nice to be able to. Tig and especially aluminum is a bit of a learning curve. Welding steel with tig is just like welding it with a gas torch. You can jump in and just do it. Aluminum on the other hand required me to do some research and have a basic understanding of what is actually happening in the process. Which is why finding a machine that lets you adjust AC balance and frequency is important. Those settings drastically change the aluminum oxide cleaning and characteristics of the weld.
 

TerryD

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Awesome! And it's a little cheaper than the two I was looking at.
 

TreeFarm

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I would recommend upgrading right away or fairly quickly to a gas lens kit. Something like this works. The gas lens has way better gas coverage because of how it flows vs the standard cheap parts you will get with any of the welders.


Another thing I learned the hard way. In low amperage or out of positions situations, cheap auto darkening helmets wont work since they aren't sensitive enough to the light output. Higher end helmets use sensors that detect the emf from welding vs just the light output.
 

TerryD

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Thanks for the input! Gonna probably put the money down on it this weekend.
 

TerryD

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I ordered the Weldpro. The other one wasn't going to ship till June and this one will be here Monday.

Now to get a tank of gas and start learning how to weld with this thing!
 

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I ordered the Weldpro. The other one wasn't going to ship till June and this one will be here Monday.

Now to get a tank of gas and start learning how to weld with this thing!

get ready for fun and frustration. Keep the consumables and material clean. If you’re doing aluminum, make sure you’re wire brush and other stuff only gets used on aluminum so you don’t contaminate it.
 

TerryD

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get ready for fun and frustration. Keep the consumables and material clean. If you’re doing aluminum, make sure you’re wire brush and other stuff only gets used on aluminum so you don’t contaminate it.
Yeah, that's kinda what I've seen. Gonna have to just set up and start practicing when I get it all. Try and try again....
 

TerryD

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Whatever it came with! Haha! I'm reading up on all that tonight to figure out the differences ......
 

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I generally use blue 2% lanthanated. Good all around characteristics with ac and dc and holds a point well.

The last pack I picked up was grey 2% ceriated since my shop was out of blue. It’s been going well for me so far. It favors low amp dc but handles AC well.

Another thing is deciding on a diameter. I generally use 1/16” for every day stuff. Step up to 1/8” for aluminum.
 

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Off to a good start. Try to get comfortable and stabilize your hand more. Try tapering off your power at the end so the puddle cools slower.
 
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