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seattlejester

TIG welder recommendation

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Looking for a recommendation on a TIG welder.

Would like an AC capable unit. 

Prefer to have 120-220 volt option, also would prefer a relatively portable size, not one of those that you need a flatbed to carry about.

Budget $1000 I think at the moment, kind of excludes me from the blue and red.

Units on my list are the Eastwood digital and Everlast 185DV

The Eastwood manual has also caught my eye, it is really really affordable, makes it pretty tempting.

Your thoughts would be appreciated. 

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I have the Eastwood manual machine. I got it on sale, added the better foot pedal (this is a must), then a stubby gas lens kit, it is awesome. Welds anything I need to, and it it is very affordable. With the money I saved, I got a bunch of consumables and material.  

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I've heard mixed reviews on Everlast products, some guys swear by them for non-production use, but everyonce in a while some say that they're unreliable - don't know what circumstances they were really using the machines under.    I've got an Eastwood Mig that I've been super impressed with (except for a cheap chinesium gas solenoid), and their new digital 200 looks promising, though not sure if I'd ever use the added features it has.  If it were my money, and there weren't any decent used blues or reds on craigslist, I'd go for the eastwood and upgrades LLave suggested.

Edited by tim.d

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I have an Eastwood Mig and an AHP Alphatig 200x.  I have been very happy with both.  The only gripe I have with either of them is the Alphatig breaker is on the back of the machine, so depending on how you have it position, it is kind of a pain in the butt.  Oh yeah, the Eastwood got delivered damaged, contacted Eastwood and never heard anything from them.  It was superficial damage so I didn't sweat it (plastic hinges on the door were broken.) That was 5 years ago and it still works great.  

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Appreciate the responses guys.

So far my list is 

AHP Alpha

Everlast 185

Everlast 200

Eastwood Tig manual

Eastwood Tig digital (this one requires 220v only though)

 

Thoughts at the moment are all of these are kind of a hit or miss. Granted one really doesn't know how people use them. I am leaning towards the Everlast just for the small form factor compared to the AHP Alpha and the Eastwood Tig Manual. Not sure if I need the 200, the savings could go towards consumables or a better torch/regulator etc. 

Things I plan to buy additionally are a stubby clear gas lens, foot pedal if needed, and some small form gloves, as well as plenty of consumables

 

One day in my dream garage I'll have a blue I think, but willing to take a cheap first foot into the thing.

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We will see, I am not in a terrible rush, and a lot of fabrication is kind of off the table, I would like to make my mounts a bit more permanent and do some intercooler pipes, but I can honestly wait till winter I think. Will keep an eye out for some screaming deals.

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On 10/12/2017 at 2:35 PM, Tebirkesueth said:

I have been looking at the Kemppi MinarcMig 200. Have heard good things about Kemppi in general, perhaps that suits your needs?  

https://www.premierwelding.com/kemppi-minarcmig-evo-200-package?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0-LntoPs1gIV1RobCh1GzgIBEAQYAiABEgJ-G_D_BwE

That is pretty pricey for just a mig, never even heard of the brand.

Also I'm looking for a tig, so getting another mig would not be very helpful given I already have one.

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Well this topic has got me doing some more research since I last looked into a tig, and my opinion has changed...

Factors:

  • Quality/Inclusion of Foot Pedal
  • Regulator or Flow Meter?
  • Pulse Settings (Didn't think I'd care too much for this, but I tried it on a buddy's welder last week and its great)
  • Starting Amps

 

Between these Models:

  • AHP AlphaTig 200x ($680-800, +200 = $1k)
    • Pros: Low Initial Cost, pedal interchangeability, pulse & ac settings. All of your settings are easy to see at a glance. 
    • cons: realistically need to replace pedal and flow meter... so tack on another 200 to price.  "More difficult" to store settings - need to record rotary position instead of digital readout. Not a big deal but people do seem to complain.  Most questionable build quality.  Price on amazon seems to fluctuate.  Starting Amps high (10-20 IIRC)
  • Eastwood Tig200 (680+160=$840)
    • Pros: Low initial cost, decently well built, Eastwood has good support.
    • Cons: Garbage foot pedal, no pulse settings. Definitely pretty barebones.  Eastwood seems to have proprietary connectors which makes parts interchangeability questionable.  Also sold as the Longevity 200SX.
  • Eastwood Tig200 Digital (900+40=$940)
    •  Pros: Loads of settings, bendyhead torch, eastwood quality, can save settings. A/C Tig Mix - includes a DC pulse to stabilize arc (!)
    •  Cons: Settings menu difficult to use quickly, steeper learning curve on setting up machine, again parts interchangeability is questionable, foot pedal looks unique to this product. Literature says it comes with a flow meter, but then parts list calls it a regulator. Product advertisements make it look like a regulator, probably need to replace. No specifications on starting amps, 220v ONLY
  • Everlast 185DV (900+160 = $1060)
    • Pros:  Everlast seems to have stepped up their game with their Tigs.  My previous comment was in reference to a multi-machine that I had experience with years ago, but its hard to find many negative things about their current machines.  Machine settings are easiest to identify, included accessories will be the nicest and are interchangeable with other manufacturers. 5amp DC start (!), will have the cleanest arc.
    • Cons: No foot pedal included, lower max amperage than others.
    • Edit: Just found this amazon listing for the 185DV + Pedal for $950

 

Here's how my thinking has changed:

For me, a tig welder is more than just welding aluminum, it's also working on your welding skills and quality/precision of the weld.  At the point I'm spending $800, I don't want to cut myself 10-20% short and regret something.  For just welding aluminum without other concern yeah I think I'd go with the AlphaTig.  But for stepping up my welding game, I think I'd rather spend that little bit extra and get a better quality arc.  In the end, you're spending roughly the same amount on all of them, and the 5amp DC start of the Everlast means less blow through of thinner (ahem Datsun) metal.  If the Eastwood was dual voltage, I think that would tie with the Everlast and put up with the settings menu, but I've only got one 240v outlet in my garage and I don't want to be fighting for machine space.

 

So as of right now, I'm voting for the Everlast 185DV. 

Edited by tim.d

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I bought a used MILLER Syncrowave 210. Its above your budget , but I found it used for almost half retail with only a few hours on it. I have little tig experience , but this machine makes it easy . With inverter science it makes it small and I can do 110 or 220. Spool gun works better than I could have expected . 

Makes the pain of selling my Mikunis for a welder easier to swallow :)

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Bought and alpha tig 2 years ago with zero tig experience. Gradually taught myself with YouTube videos and asking questions. 

It's allowed me to make my own turbo setup from the log manifolds to full exhuast. Is it the best no, does it work, we'll nothing I made has broke only the rod inside the engine.

Review Kinda:

I paid 800 shipped from amazon the plastic cover broke when I flipped it up and the torch flex head broke in two weeks, the torch hose is really stiff which over time causes an annoying pressure on your hand, the screen reads zero on start up sometimes until an arc is struck so you can't set anything. I have since upgraded to a more *limp* torch hose and a non flex torch head, also installed a gas lens for a wp17. Changed the regulator and put a tee valve on it to use for purging. All in all it has done everything I needed it to.

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Appreciate the comments guys. Good looking out. 

Still stalking craigslist for sure. 

I'm honestly pretty sold on the Everlast for very similar points you make above. The size is a big plus, and the simplicity in some regards is nice as well. Second would be the Alpha, but at the same time I feel like I will most likely just set and forget some of the dials, and the size makes it a bit more daunting to carry around to friend's houses when they need help.

I do have my eye on I think it is called the dynasty line from the big blue down the road if I really get into it, but I think this will mostly be for a bit of intercooler fabrication realistically so probably overkill . Although I would like to try a manifold or two for some adventurous friends.

Just some other local thoughts I have gotten: A local garage has two everlast units that they have used to build a couple cars and they seem pretty happy with them. Asking around at the welding shop, I was surprised to hear that their opinions are kind of changing. Of course they all had a red or a blue, but at the same time the feeling was that they have gotten almost disturbingly competitive, they had no problems recommending it for a first machine for a hobby welder with the caveat of warranty and parts. 

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