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Discussion Starter #1
After years of kicking it around, I've decided to anti up and throw myself in the market for a TIG welder. I know there's a huge amount of fabricators in our community so I'm looking for experienced (and preferably professional) people to chime in with their valuable knowledge.

I'm looking for a good bang-for-buck welder that can weld stainless and aluminum from thin piping to 3/16" or 1/4" plate. I know that higher amperage is a must for aluminum. Is this a good fit for my goals and pocket? vvvvvvvv

http://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-us/Equipment/Pages/product.aspx?product=K5126-1(LincolnElectric)

If not, please mention why it isn't and recommend a better alternative.
 

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For the money everlast is hard to beat. We had a tig/mig combo and recently bought a tig w/water cooling, mig, and plasma cutter and they all three work very well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
HotSoup, MR2Ben:

There are tons of models within each brand name. What do you guys recommend for a hobbyist like myself who'll only used it every once in a while for exhaust/intercooler piping and bracketry? Is the one in the link a good fit in your opinion?
 

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The link is not working for me, but I am in pretty much the same situation as you. I was looking for something to do exhaust/ic piping/brackets/etc..

Keep in mind I've never done tig welding before, and only a very limited amount of mig.

I ended up getting a Lincoln squarewave 200 a couple days ago. I really liked that it can do aluminium/steel/pretty much whatever and was in the $1500ish price range new(after tax) for a reputable brand with a 3 year warranty. The fact that it can run off of 120 or 230 and is small/lightweight were even better for my purpose and if anything breaks on it I should be able to get replacement parts.

I know that it is an entry level tig and will be limited, but I am thinking it will be a good fit for what I intend to use it for.

Some other things to factor into the budget, along with what I paid:

Argon tank. I went with a 125cf and opted to buy instead of lease - $225

Welding helmet. I went with a HTP Striker Supreme - $100

Welding gloves. I just got a pair of Tillman gloves - $15

Welding jacket. Still gotta get one but I figure $30 - $40?

Tungsten/filler. I think I spent about $40 to practice on mild steel.

Welding table. I didn't have anything to work on so I got a Hobart folding welding table from Sears for $100

All in all, I think I'm about $2k in for the setup. I just got everything so I've only spent about 20min playing around with it, but so far I'm loving it. I still need a TON of practice. Hopefully I will get to put a good bit of time practicing this weekend and can give an update.

Again, keep in mind this is coming from someone who is in the same boat, but has next to zero experience welding.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The link is not working for me, but I am in pretty much the same situation as you. I was looking for something to do exhaust/ic piping/brackets/etc..

Keep in mind I've never done tig welding before, and only a very limited amount of mig.

I ended up getting a Lincoln squarewave 200 a couple days ago. I really liked that it can do aluminium/steel/pretty much whatever and was in the $1500ish price range new(after tax) for a reputable brand with a 3 year warranty. The fact that it can run off of 120 or 230 and is small/lightweight were even better for my purpose and if anything breaks on it I should be able to get replacement parts.

I know that it is an entry level tig and will be limited, but I am thinking it will be a good fit for what I intend to use it for.

Some other things to factor into the budget, along with what I paid:

Argon tank. I went with a 125cf and opted to buy instead of lease - $225

Welding helmet. I went with a HTP Striker Supreme - $100

Welding gloves. I just got a pair of Tillman gloves - $15

Welding jacket. Still gotta get one but I figure $30 - $40?

Tungsten/filler. I think I spent about $40 to practice on mild steel.

Welding table. I didn't have anything to work on so I got a Hobart folding welding table from Sears for $100

All in all, I think I'm about $2k in for the setup. I just got everything so I've only spent about 20min playing around with it, but so far I'm loving it. I still need a TON of practice. Hopefully I will get to put a good bit of time practicing this weekend and can give an update.

Again, keep in mind this is coming from someone who is in the same boat, but has next to zero experience welding.
Thanks for the info. The square wave 200 was the one in the link. It looks like a nice unit for average joe car hobbyist like myself. Glad to hear your experience has been positive so far. Please come back and let me know how you like it after playing with it for a while, maybe post some pics of your work.
 

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I use a Miller Diversion, great welder with many capabilities (AC and DC)
 

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I am looking to pick up an Everlast 185DV in the next month. It does AC and DC, and can run on 110v or 220v. For tinkering and learning to do my own stuff it looks like a good option.
 

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I too used to have a 180 diversion that i converted to a Water cooled set up. boy i tell you that was worth it. Millers are known for having a stable and proprietary high freq. something no one else on the market has. my machine did have a ground issue with the main board that was covered in the warranty. it does come with an adapter to run bot 120V and 220V. i used it for 220V. would buy again for my next garage. until then im using my Miller Dynasty 350 at my shop :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I assume 180 and 185 refer to the amperage of the machines? If so, is that enough juice to weld, say, a thicker plate? Like welding an intake manifold or aluminum radiator?

I don't want to buy one of these smaller TIGs and discover that it struggles with the thicker stuff, you know? Also do these smaller units have good control down to thinner thicknesses like 0.5mm for example?
 

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I have a miller syncrowave 250 in my garage at home. AC/DC Tig, stick. Thing is a beast. should last me 20 years or more. But overkill for the occasional hobbyist.
 

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I have a miller sychrowave 180. I bought is 8 years ago barley used for 1200$ it's a great machine. If you can find one I'd recommend it.
 

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IMO anything under 200 amps is under powered for any kind of serious aluminum fabrication. It really does a fantastic job of dispersing heat. Brackets and ic piping will be fine but making a proper intake manifold will be difficult. Seth at Sleeper designs started off with a miller syncrowave 200 and he had to preheat his parts to weld the FFIM flanges.

For this reason I went with a lincoln precision tig 275, I looked at everlast hard but found some mixed reviews. I would have had no problem going blue either but I got a screaming deal trading and old boat for the lincoln.
 

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I was a welder nearly half my life before I changed professions. I bought an Everlast tig welder a couple years ago for the price it was great. It was the 250ex water cooled. Took a little while to get it adjusted but it welds similar to a Lincoln in my opinion. And it's an invert-er welder so you can run a smaller breaker. Here's a video I made on it a while back.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaQ1piYUq8k
 
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