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TIG foot control vs hand control

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by roundvalley, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. roundvalley
    Joined: Apr 10, 2005
    Posts: 1,773


    Bought a used TIG with foot control torch. Any opinions on staying with the foot control or changing to a hand control torch. Thanks for the help.
  2. the-rodster
    Joined: Jul 2, 2003
    Posts: 6,708


    I have both, foot is fine if your working on a bench, sitting down, but a lot of the time your not, and the hand control is better.

    I use the hand control pretty much all the time now.

    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,349

    from New york

    What's a ballpark on what a hand control costs?
  4. manicmechanic
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 210


    I've been tig welding for 22 years and only used the foot control. I thing it would be to hard too change for me now.[​IMG]

  5. blue_oval23
    Joined: Jun 25, 2006
    Posts: 69


    kind of depends on what you are welding. the foot contol gives you a larger range of heat, where the hand control that i have only allows +/- 10%. some times if you are welding thin allum. you need to let off more then 10% at the end of the bead to prevent blow through. but the hand control is nice when you are in tight places, like inside on the floor boards. and if you need to, use your knee on the foot control.
  6. roundvalley
    Joined: Apr 10, 2005
    Posts: 1,773


    Not sure about cost of hand control but think a footer is around $150. Another person says to stay with the foot and lay a brick on it for tight work inside?
  7. Soviet
    Joined: Sep 4, 2005
    Posts: 729


    I started welding with a hand control, and went to the foot pedal. I find it much easier to weld with my hands, and use the foot control. Just my prefrence though.
  8. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,052


    I have used both and generally prefer the pedal. The hand control adds bulk to the torch and sometimes the switch is in the wrong place when working in confined spaces. I have used my knee, elbow etc to work the pedal inside door cars and we quite often have someone else work the pedal on really weird jobs.

    Roo Man
  9. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,827


    I've only used a foot control, and only TIGed aluminum, never knew there was a hand control.
  10. HeyMang
    Joined: Oct 17, 2006
    Posts: 124


    You can also go with a scratch start Torch that has a gas valve on the body. It uses no remote. Its awesome for tight areas, but requires a lil experience because you have to dial in the machine to get your heat right. It also lets you turn any stick welding machine into a TIG!

    They can be had for about $40 for the 125amp models (smaller jobs), assuming its air cooled.

    I would stick with the foot switch though to get a feel of TIG welding if you havent done it much.
  11. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,978


    The Miller hand control is around 5 bills. I want one but I heard they have a samller range. But I get tired of squeezing the controller in between my knees if I am on my back welding.
  12. BigWigRaceCars
    Joined: Aug 7, 2006
    Posts: 171

    from Austin, TX

    Yes, especially if you're just learning. Stay with the foot control.
  13. roundvalley
    Joined: Apr 10, 2005
    Posts: 1,773


    Thanks for the help. Looks like I stay with the footer and save some $$ and easier to learn with.
  14. BobbyD
    Joined: Jun 6, 2005
    Posts: 581

    from Belmont NC

    I have a Miller 180SD and the hand control was like a $150. Like someone else said, you have to dial your heat in on a test piece, but it works great after you get going. The foot control is great for bench work, but welding roll-cages and shit its kinda hard to use the foot deal, so I've gotten to where I use the hand control most of the time on everything I do...
  15. It has been a few years since I had a Tig machine, but as I remember it, the foot control was to adjust the machine at the beginning and end of a weld. More when the metal was cold, and less as you ended the weld.
    I never could use the foot control because it was just too awkward for me. I just fine tuned the controls for the metal and used the finger trigger on by hand.
    I always would get a cramp about half way through the weld, with the foot control.
  16. On my ESAB I use a foot control, if I can't I just unplug it and set the power on the machine... I have a hand control but I think it's broken, I never got it to work right.

    I think a foot control is good for learning too, the fine adjustments on the fly give you a good idea what kind of power you need
  17. Zoo York
    Joined: May 31, 2006
    Posts: 173

    Zoo York
    from Zoo York

    I have both...The hand control is collecting dust. I used it once though, I prefer the foot control..
  18. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,985

    Member Emeritus

    I've only used the foot control with my machine. I've wanted to get a hand control but for the limited use I do it' probably not cost effective for the amount of time I would use it. In years gone by when I was welding 8-10 hours a day it would have been the cats ass but this semi-retirement mode I'm in calls for limited "new toy" purchases.

  19. JoshM
    Joined: Oct 12, 2006
    Posts: 6


    weld with both

    if you're posted up at your bench, foot control's where it's at, but it's well worth it to never have to duct tape your pedal vertically to a block of wood if you have to get under your car
  20. lehr
    Joined: May 13, 2004
    Posts: 602


    I have both I got my hand control from arc zone very nice company to deal with .
  21. NorCal
    Joined: Jul 31, 2008
    Posts: 2

    from California

    Once you figure out how to use it you can come down and weld on my 34, if I ever get it.
  22. jamesdfo
    Joined: Mar 16, 2006
    Posts: 133


    I like the hand control for out of position stuff (like bodywork). Any of the hand controls I have used give you 100% (based on 100% of whatever you have set the ameperage on the welder at) So, if I set my welder @ 70 amps (in the ballpark for sheetmetal), the hand control gives me from zero (off) to 70 amps (wide open) on the hand control. If you want it to "ramp up" quicker (ie: less travel required on the thumbwheel), you simply set the amperage on the unit higher, this will give you more amperage with less movement of the thumbwheel......
    My hand control came from arc-zone, URL is below......

  23. HemiRambler
    Joined: Aug 26, 2005
    Posts: 4,204


    I have a SLIDER type hand control for mine - it works OK but I dislike the fact that it doesn't have any sort of "return" feature - you have to manually scoot it back and forth in use - it may sound trival but it really makes me prefer the foot pedal 99% of the time.
  24. zibo
    Joined: Mar 17, 2002
    Posts: 2,346

    from dago ca

    There are different types of hand control mechanisms,

    One wheel moves perpendicular to the torch,
    Another moves lengthwise the torch.

    To me the thumb lengthwise movement can be awkward,
    and of course this is the one I ended up with!

    Make sure you test or shop a little as a your choice will
    make it easier or difficult to use.

  25. bulletproof1
    Joined: Feb 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,080

    from tulsa okla

    i like the thumb control.most of my welding is in tight places.
  26. 30roadster
    Joined: Aug 19, 2003
    Posts: 1,793


    Thanks alot Chris.... now i'm envisioning your sexy toned me out...what do you wear when you weld? :D

    I use foot control at work (dentist) so i have no use for the hand control.....gonn have to give Roots technique a try....
  27. Slide
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 3,025


    I don't mind the hand control (even the ones that are on/off buttons) for chassis work, but prefer the foot pedal for sheet metal.

    When I'm on my back welding under the car, I frequently put the pedal under the back of my knee or ankle and sorta just straighten my leg to press the pedal. Works pretty good for me.

    I've been known to use the back of my head, a shoulder, an elbow, etc. to press the pedal for welding in oddball positions.
  28. jamesdfo
    Joined: Mar 16, 2006
    Posts: 133


    Well, I guess that means I'm just a lazy Bast***, cuzz I aint about to take YOGA lessons just so I can manipulate a foot pedal while welding out of position:cool:

  29. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 7,523


    The ease of a foot control is you can feather the amperage while welding.

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