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$2K for a Welder....TIG or MIG?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Splinter, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Splinter
    Joined: May 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,112


    Just like it says- I'm getting set to drop up to $2K on a welder (figured it's time I start) to do what I need to on "El Juapo". I'll be doing the usual stuff, motor mounts, channeling a body, split bones mounts, etc. I'm just wondering, for that price, am I better off with an "entry Level" Tig machine, or should I just get a Pretty nice Mig rig and get going? Gimme your thoughts.....
    Also, any good places in the LA area to buy such a rig you would reccomend to a fellow HAMB'er?
    Thanks in advance, my brothers.....
  2. 392_hemi
    Joined: Jun 16, 2004
    Posts: 1,737


    Although I prefer TiG for just about everything, you'll have to make some serious compromises to get a TiG welder for that kind of money unless you get a used one. So I'd buy a nice big Miller MiG welder, as that will handle pretty much anything you're looking to do. Then when you get another $4k or so, you can spring for a Miller Syncrowave 250 or something comparable.
  3. dodgerodder
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 1,943


    I agree. 2G won't get you a tig that will be enough to do everything with for sure.

    About $1200 will get you a Miller MM210 Mig that will last you forever, and be plenty of welder to do anything you will come across building a car, from chassis work to bodywork.

    And you'll have plenty left over for a gas bottle, and a good auto darkening helmet. And still have cash to burn.

    I've had my Miller MM210 for a long time, and run miles of beads with it. It has been a great welder, I wouldn't want to be without it. I weld up to 3/8" plate on a regular basis with mine, and its got plenty of @ss to produce sound welds

  4. ABone312
    Joined: Aug 28, 2003
    Posts: 445


    You could about get both for the money. I know a few people that are using Miller Econotigs and are happy with them, sell for about $1350. Then you can go to the local Lowes or Home Depot and get a basic 110 Mig, mine is a Lincoln 135, for a few hundred. You can get both of those machines and bottles for both and come in right about $2000. I use the mig on sheetmetal, but prefer the tig for structural and chassis welds.

  5. mark-h-a
    Joined: Sep 27, 2005
    Posts: 85

    from Corona, CA

    Well.... I got a Lincoln TIG 185 for $1700 new off ebay. It will weld everything you just mentioned. I love this welder. It will easily weld everything you just mentioned, and makes outstanding welds. They also have a web site to help set the welder up. Good luck in whatever you choose.
  6. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,917


    For 2G, take a grand or so and buy a pretty good MIG. Take the rest of the money you have, and put it away to save for a good TIG. As much as I love my MIG at home, the Miller Synchowave 250 that I use daily at school makes it look like sissy shit. Once you start TIGing, you'll never look at MIG welding the same
  7. 5foot2
    Joined: Apr 28, 2005
    Posts: 285

    from Maine

    I bought a lincon sp175+ last month. I was a $700ish mig welder and does a really nice job on sheet through 1/4. 3/8 would be a multi pass weld. Monday I ordered a lincoln pt185 tig welder for $1650. I've never used the pt185 (in fact this will be my first tig welding experiance), but by all accounts it's a nice machine also.
  8. buschandbusch
    Joined: Jan 11, 2006
    Posts: 1,291

    from Reno, NV

    My Lincoln Square Wave TIG 175Pro will handle any car job with ease. I never understood trying to TIG more than 1/4" anyway? For that pull out the stick, that's always been my first love and the same machine does both, what a bonus! Welded all the parts onto our T frame with a stick and it turned out damn good, just takes a little more practice
  9. Littleman
    Joined: Aug 25, 2004
    Posts: 2,619

    Alliance Member
    from OHIO, USA

    I bought my Miller 250/250 w/ water kooler for 1,450.00....used.the guy repairs and sells welding equipment, so he checked it out before I took it home, and has been trouble free since It was wired in, at least 3 yrs or longer..And it is not one of those huge older machines but close to the size of the newer models.I would look into that....It would not hurt...Littleman
  10. Praxair has sales once in a while. They are all over so. Cal. they had a miller tig with running gear a while back for 1800.00 plus you could try it out in the store. I test run machines at the store in Placentia before I buy. Good luck, Mike
  11. unclescooby
    Joined: Jul 5, 2004
    Posts: 4,970

    from indy

    We picked up some Miller 330 Aircrafters today for $650 each from the government auction. We'll have less than $2k in themwhen we completely deck them out with new accessories.
  12. 5051
    Joined: Nov 30, 2005
    Posts: 451


    Friend of mine is a VP at Rutland tool. He told me they might be having a huge sale on Miller products here shortly. Might be able to buy at distributor pricing. I will check into it more, for I am planning on getting something. Let me know what model/s you are thinking about.
  13. fordcragar
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 3,179

    from Yakima WA.

    I have a Miller 180 Square Wave and feel the same as buschandbusch about it. I also have an old Airco 230 Amp mig welder that I use too.

    I never use the mig for sheet metal, the welds are to hard and don't metal finish very well. So for sheet metal it is either Tig or gas.
  14. 392_hemi
    Joined: Jun 16, 2004
    Posts: 1,737


    The problems with an economy priced TiG setup are: 1) you're not going to have a lot of power, and 2) you probably won't have a water cooled torch, unless you purchase that as an add-on. For power requirements, I tend to look for a machine that will handle anything I might want to do down the road. It's no fun to be in the middle of a project and realize the machine is maxed out and not putting out enough amps. As for the water cooled torch, this is pretty much a necessity if you're going to weld aluminum.
  15. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,399


    What are the common things that go wrong with a TIG machine? What to look for when buying a new machine? I am looking at the Miller 200 squarewave right now.
  16. 392_hemi
    Joined: Jun 16, 2004
    Posts: 1,737


    Not much to go wrong with it if you buy a decent one to start with, especially if it's an transformer type machine. Lots of people had problems with the inverter machines when they first came out, but apparently the bugs have been worked out. But they're no disputing they are not as durable as the transformer machines. I'm planning to buy a new machine in about a month, and it's going to be a Miller Syncrowave 250. That and the Syncrowave 350 are probably the best TiG machines on the market.

    The Syncrowave 200 is a decent machine, but it does not have a water cooled torch. If you add the cost of the torch, water cooler and running gear, you'll probably be at about half the difference between the 200 and 250. You can get a complete Syncrowave 250 with built in cooler, torch, running gear, hose, regulator, etc. (everything you need but a bottle of gas) for about $3,500.
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 983

    from Not Listed

    Maybe this has been already resolved, but do you have Tig experience? Like a lot of people I much prefer the Tig welder, too. However, Tig is a lot more of an art than Mig. You could Mig in your garage for a week and feel great about welding something well enought to drive it. I've seen people take an entire class in order to learn how to Tig, and they still sucked at it. Also, you have to keep in mind that building a chassis usually requires a lot of out of position welding. THIS IS NOT FOR THE NOVICE TIG WELDER!
  18. 392_hemi
    Joined: Jun 16, 2004
    Posts: 1,737


    I'm AWS certified in all positions except overhead for steel plate up to 3/4 inch. So yes, I do know how to TiG weld. I kinda assumed someone who is willing to spend the money for a TiG machine either knows how to use it, or is willing to put in the time to learn. It's definitely more difficult than MiG, which you could probably teach a monkey to do. But it's not rocket science. A semester or two at a local community college and you'll be more proficient than a most.
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 983

    from Not Listed

    First off sorry, I was just relpying to your message so I didn't have to go to the top, to reply to the original questioner. I wanted to know if he could Tig weld not you.
    Second, sell that certified welder stuff somewhere else. Unless your building submarines or nuclear reactors up there in Deerfield, who cares. I took a class to learn to Tig. On the last day you could bring some $ and the instructor would watch you put some plate togeather and give you some paper saying good job, "your certified". The instructor we had, who was a master, said certification if only for getting welding jobs, not a measure of welding ability.
  20. Splinter
    Joined: May 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,112


    no, I've got NO welding experience, haven't ever even tried it. The frame welding I didn't want to trust myself with, so I'm gonna have Jason (Killer on the HAMB) do the boxing and z'ing on, then I was going to do motor mounts, bones mounts, etc. I just wanted a general concencus on welders. I do a lot of woodworking, too, and I know how frustrating it is to economise on a tool, and find out after 2 jobs that you're going to have to go buy a bigger/better machine, and it would have been cheaper to buy the good one all along. I didn't want to have the same problem with welders, buy a $400 machine and find out it's only good for patch panels, and now my motor mounts are gonna break.....
    Thanks for all the advise, guys!!
  21. 392_hemi
    Joined: Jun 16, 2004
    Posts: 1,737


    Sorry, guess I misunderstood. As far as certification is concerned, AWS certification is widely recognized as an industry standard, and is not the same as some "generic" certification you get from a welding instructor. AWS is responsible for most of the welding codes used by industry, and they have a whole series of certificatoin requirements for specific materials, thinknesses, fitments, positions, etc. AWS certificatoin does not mean you can weld any metal in any position with any process, but it is a very good indication of welding abilities for a specific set of parameters.
  22. T2B
    Joined: Jul 21, 2006
    Posts: 17

    from san diego

    Buy a MIG and a cutting rig. Has said before any monkey can MIG. TIG takes training, skill and practice, plus really good metal fitting skills. The cutting rig will come in much hadnier than you might think and you could learn to hammer weld. Besides the welder is the cheap part once you figure out that you have to cut, grind, shape, bend, sand, fit, mold and then weld a part. The welder is cheap, it is all the little grinders, files, CLECOS, dollies that will break you. Buy a MIG and learn to weld, then buy a TIG if you feel you still need it. You can build one hell of a hot rod with a MIG welder. Bet ya' the guys in the '50s didn't use a TIG welder.
  23. You can get a new Syncrowave 200 delivered for 1875.00 , about 150.00 to 175.00 for a big bottle, filled, and you're around 2K for the whole thing, with the runner kit (wheels & cart), or $1750.00 without the cart kit. Definately no "beginner" TIG. It'll do everything you'll ever want to do. I weld every day, all kinds of different stuff, frames, building tools with thick stuff, alum., etc., and still haven't outgrown my Syncro 180SD, although I do run it water cooled for big amps.

    Learn to gas weld first, and/or make sure you're really going to put in the time to learn TIG and the Syncro200 will be a good choice for your 2K.

    Indiana Oxygen:

    Miller/Hobart discussion board, read it.

  24. mpls|cafe|racer
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,323


    I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with you on this one. For starters, a lot of the time MIG is a better choice. It creates the most concise heat affected zone, even better than TIG most of the time.

    Each have their own place in the real world. I can TIG weld very well, but personally, I enjoy the convenience and practicality of MIG welding. It's faster, get's the job done just as well, and, if you are good at it, it's just as appealing in terms of appearance as TIG welding is.

    Saying that one is better than the other just shows you don't know how to do either properly. ;)

    Oh, and before you try to bag me in my response, I'm a professional welder... so don't try the "you probably don't even weld" line on me. As for what I weld? Well, think of me next time you are walking in a sky scraper, because I weld for a company that does structural steel fabrications. I make skyscraper sekeletons! :)
  25. InDaShop
    Joined: Aug 15, 2004
    Posts: 2,785

    from Houston

    Tig is the shit, but you got to be the shit to make it work. I'm talking practice, regular usage, and mad fab skills for fitament.
    Its also hard to use in tight places say under a car.

    I can Tig, but I don't. I didn't do it enough to be great and make sweet welds all the time. Thus my not trusting my TIG welds.

    I Mig everything. I have 2 a Millermatic (110v) machine, and a 251 (220v) machine. They do everything and do it well.

    For cutting I have a torch setup, I also gas weld, and use a Henrob torch for that. It handles all my aluminum, and stainless needs.

    The best welder pricing I have found is Quimby
    They also sell on eBay. Free shipping, and no sales tax. My 251 came from them drop shipped straight from Miller in Dallas.
  26. MIKE-3137
    Joined: Feb 19, 2003
    Posts: 1,578



    Thats a tough choice, I think you really kinda need both, maybe get a new tig and a used mig? TIG welds are beautiful at the hands of a master, but you won't learn it overnight and its tough to get into some areas with the torch, I practice as much as I can, still got a ways to go.

    As far as the syncrowave 200 Ive had it about 2 months now and it works great, but I would definitely recommend taking a course or two. In my case I have a friend who has tig welded for years at the local shipyard, and he's been popping in from time to time to check me out. It would be really hard to learn without somebodys guidance, So far I do great on practice pieces, and then blow holes in the good stuff. TIG is WAY more finicky with metal cleanliness and heat, especially on sheetmetal but gives you a lot more control which is what I got it for. My friend really likes the syncro 200, and thats from someone who welds on the big tig units all day.

    The torch gets HOT for sure, but i've never used a watercooled setup so don't know what i'm missing, I found out the first day how quickly the UV rays will cook your arms

    You need a good quality helmet, I broke down and got the miller elite after struggling with my old one. If you can't see the puddle you cant do squat.,

    At this point I still use my MIG a lot. hopefully I can get away from it a little more but in tight spots its tough to get to the pedal on the TIG, there is a finger control available i'm told, seems like that would be easier in tight spots.
    I really like the fact that theres not much smoke or sparks flying around.
  27. TimDavis
    Joined: Sep 4, 2005
    Posts: 718


    I have a Lincoln Power Mig 255, and a ThemaDyne 185TSW Tig. The inverter based Tig machines have some pretty incredible features on the AC side. The Maxstars from Miller, the ThermaDyne I Have, the Lincoln has one - I think TIG200 maybe(?)....all great machines.

    The great thing about the inverters is low input amperage - they go run wide open at 200A on a 50A 220v breaker in most cases, they are light, small, flexible, etc. I have had my 185 since they came out, so I guess 3 years now with no trouble at all. I weld aluminum, steel, SS, etc.

    It comes down to personal preference in the end I guess.
  28. zibo
    Joined: Mar 17, 2002
    Posts: 2,346

    from dago ca

    I think your talkin about the thermal arc 185tsw.
    Inverter tig, purple box.
    I've been saving up for one.
    we used it at a past job and it was great.

    Still get a mig first especially if your not a welder.
  29. TimDavis
    Joined: Sep 4, 2005
    Posts: 718


    You are right - I haven't been welder shopping in a while...ThermaDyne is the parent company name - the single phase line of welders is marketed under the Thermal Arc name.
    Joined: Apr 9, 2002
    Posts: 1,783

    Veteran bicyle road racing purists prefer silver-brazed frames.

    I'd rather have a used TIG than a new MIG.

    Ever seen any MIG welds on an aircraft?


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