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Head First into TIG Welding

Discussion in 'Tools and Tech' started by Horseplay, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. Horseplay

    Horseplay I Don't Care. Do you?

    A few years ago I bought a Lincoln 210MP welder. With the Lincoln I really improved my MIG welding over what I was ever able to achieve with lesser machines. I chose that particular unit because our of the box it could both MIG and stick weld but also was capable of TIG welding with the purchase of a couple extras. I figured in the future I would explore that path. Well the day came I was ready and after some more (OK, a LOT) research and elected to purchase a second machine which was built for specifically TIG welding.

    I am a "home hobbiest" and, to be honest, cannot begin to even justify the cost to get a TIG machine given the volume of work I might create. But since when did that logic ever stop a guy from buying a new tool?! So my search was to find the very best machine I could for the budget I had set for myself. Having started cheap in MIG and finding that didn't go so well I was ready to spend more out fo the gate but not break the bank. That in mind, my search ended up honing in on the AHP Alpha-TIG 200x. I simply couldn't find a bad review on it anywhere. And I tried. Even the top welder type channels on Youtube sing it's praises. The only knock on the thing anyone had was the pedal design. it is different and likely more of a "used to this not that" kind of issue. So I pulled the trigger and ordered one up. The basic welder itself only cost a few hundred more than the accessories I would have needed to TIG with my Lincoln so really a great deal. I also bought an aftermarket pedal which is more of the standard design. All told about $800 at this point.

    Then came the "extras" I wanted/needed. A new helmet. I wanted something with one of the new clear lenses instead of the old green tint. Old eyes make it harder to see. Chose to try out the new Eastwood. See it how it goes. For the price it was worth a shot. While there they had a sale on their tungsten sharpener that caught my attention...and my wallet. Then I got a stubby lens kit from Weldmonger.com along with some "tig fingers", a magnetic holder which will be very useful for some planned projects and some different cup sizes and styles. Of course, then I needed the consumables so a few packs of both steel and aluminum rod and a variety of tungtens. Last I decided to get a second welding cart instead of making/buying something which could house both my welding machines. I plan to get a plasma cutter soon which will ride tandem with the Lincoln. The cart I got for the TIG was bought from Northern Tool. I like it. Very well constructed. Last but not least I need argon. Around here the best deal I have found is to sign a 25 year lease on a tank (150#) and use the same company for refills. That set me back just under $400 first time. Refills are closer to around $80 a pop.

    So if you are following along and wondering, I am at about $1800 or so heading in but should be set for anything I want to try (steel and aluminum) and have enough material on hand to last a good long time.

    I plan to start playing around with it next week. We will see how the learning curve is compared to MIG. This winter I want to get started on the F1 which will be getting a complete new front set up including a MII crossmember and likely air ride. The rear plan is a triangulated four link and air as well. Probably going with some really big tires out back too so some frame modifications will be needed. A whole lot of welding lies ahead of me. Couldn't be more excited!
    AHP welder 2.jpg TIG rods.jpg AHP controls.jpg
     
    Grabber70Mach likes this.
  2. msell66

    msell66 Burning Fossil Fuels Donator

    You paid too much.


    Mark
     
  3. Horseplay

    Horseplay I Don't Care. Do you?

    No shiit. Point I was trying to make was even trying to come at it cheap still racks up some bucks. I probably spent a good $4-500 on stuff that could have waited but that might also have lengthened the learning curve by using stuff that was close but night exactly right. We'll see. I really enjoy designing and fabbing stuff so having the flexibility this new set-up gives me should fun.

    A side project that I might start on soon is building a rotating welding table/chuck. Think welding tubing, etc.
     
  4. Horseplay

    Horseplay I Don't Care. Do you?

    Anybody here have experience with TIG welding? Tips or pointers to share? Long weekend ahead and I might actually fire things up and see how it goes.
     
  5. kb3

    kb3 Well-Known Member

    First....can't hardly recognize you since you dropped the pic of that handsome man as your avatar. Secondly....no TIG experience but I will be following this thread as the process has always intrigued me and I really would like to learn some new skills!
     
  6. msell66

    msell66 Burning Fossil Fuels Donator

    Lmao


    Mark
     
  7. Mach1 Driver

    Mach1 Driver Active Member

    Terry go to Weldingtipsandtricks.com for both MIG and TIG instruction- there's a series of 7 TIG basics.
    It's video, but I'm old school and like to see it in print also, so I took notes. They are attached (I have MIG notes too if you're interested).
     

    Attached Files:

  8. kb3

    kb3 Well-Known Member

    I would appreciate your MIG notes, even if no one else is interested!
     
  9. Mach1 Driver

    Mach1 Driver Active Member

    Well dang, I went looking for the file and discovered that I have the notes in my terrible handwriting, but I haven't typed them up yet- its 23 pages. I guess I could scan those if you want them. I can read them but they were taken as the video played so the spelling sucks...and engineers can't spell anyway. Let me know
     
  10. Horseplay

    Horseplay I Don't Care. Do you?

    Too awesome of you to provide this and thanks. I have spent far too long watching those videos. His review of the welder is the reason I bought it. Guy is a wealth of info. I bought a lot of stuff off his store Weldmonger.com
     
  11. Mach1 Driver

    Mach1 Driver Active Member

    Yes, I like him too. I have an old stick welder and was ready to buy a combination MIG/TIG by Miller until I watched a bunch of Craig Hopkins videos on car restoration. He gave instruction on how to use MIG welders (Lincoln) on sheet metal, and since i don't expect to do any aluminum welding I'm interested in hearing your opinion of TIG and what you used it for. I've heard it said that a monkey can be trained to do MIG, but TIG requires quite a bit of coordination since both hands and one foot are all doing something different at the same time. Frankly I don't know if I'm up to it.
     
  12. Horseplay

    Horseplay I Don't Care. Do you?

    I've gotten "capable" with MIG but there are times I find it can be frustrating to make good but also cosmetically appealing welds. I've had days of surrounding myself with "caterpillars", for example. With a good machine and proper technique TIG can do some really great welding and have amazing looking welds. Being kind of a detail guy I want my stuff to look good and I'm hoping this makes that easier. It's slower than MIG but it's not like I rush anything. :D

    Plus, TIG seems to be the way to go with SS and obviously aluminum. Exhaust work an area I think I will like it better.
     
  13. Mach1 Driver

    Mach1 Driver Active Member

    kb3, I typed up the notes and added some pictures, and attached the summary for the MIG Videos, but you still need to view the videos for it to make much sense. I hope it helps. BTW, the best video I've seen that instructs how to weld sheet metal panels is by Craig Hopkins, titled "Auto Body MIG Welding" and is still available at autometaldirect.com under Apparel and Accessories.
     

    Attached Files:

    Grabber70Mach likes this.
  14. Fst Blk

    Fst Blk Well-Known Member

    I bought a set of videos by Craig several years ago. That’s where I first started learning to weld.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  15. kb3

    kb3 Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much. Always enjoy learning as much as I can!
     
  16. Mach1 Driver

    Mach1 Driver Active Member

    I'm curious how successful you were with Hopkins' cooling technique?
     
  17. Fst Blk

    Fst Blk Well-Known Member

    I tried it while welding in the floor pans that I butt welded. After a couple thousand tacks to stitch weld it I lost interest lol. I never tried it again. I didn’t notice anything honestly.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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