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which welder would you get?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by red baron, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. red baron
    Joined: Jun 2, 2007
    Posts: 596

    red baron
    from o'side

    I am looking at buying an entry level TIG welder, and have pretty much narrowed it down to one of two welders. The Miller Diversion 185 or the Thermal Arc 180.

    The Miller has simpler controls and is 110/220, which is nice and has that nice blue color.

    The Thermal Arc is 220, has the stick feature and has more control options. While it doesn't have that Miller name it does have a really good 5 year warranty.

    All that being said, which one would you get for this kind of hobby?
  2. Can you add the foot pedal to either of these?
  3. red baron
    Joined: Jun 2, 2007
    Posts: 596

    red baron
    from o'side

    They both have foot pedals.
  4. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 29,488

    Jalopy Joker

    you can use a search here on this subject - lots of info posted

  5. Looks like the Diversion has a pedal plug.
    If the Thermal Arc you are looking at is the "all in one" machine, I've heard there are some real compromises in having that sort of setup...

    For what it's worth, I'd stick (no pun intended:D) with the Miller. They just seem to have TIG figured out.

    I have a Syncrowave 200 in my own shop, and use Lincoln TIGs at work. The Miller puts down a much more consistent bead in all conditions.
  6. toughnut
    Joined: Jul 28, 2009
    Posts: 106

    from Arizona

    $ Eastwoods $
    I don't know anything about the merits of their welders, but I do know that they stand behind them. Anyway, Eastwoods is having a sale on a package of both a TIG welder and a Plasma cutter for $999. Sounds like a good deal to me. Good luck.
  7. Lucky3
    Joined: Dec 9, 2009
    Posts: 652


    Miller....nuff said !
  8. rcoffey
    Joined: Dec 13, 2007
    Posts: 161


    you can tig with any stick machine ,you just swap the polarity a foot peddle is nice or a remote dial
  9. red baron
    Joined: Jun 2, 2007
    Posts: 596

    red baron
    from o'side

    On the thermal arc I'm looking at the bigger one that is just a TIG stick unit, not the tig/plasma/whatever else they put on it. New they go for 2500. I have found the diversions for 1800. The diversion doesn't have the stick function( so I've heard) And its less controls on the welding. You select a material and a thickness and that's it, where as the thermal you can chance the waves etc..
  10. telecaster_6
    Joined: Dec 8, 2001
    Posts: 604

    from Dorr, Mi

    Miller all day long. I can vouch for it as i own a Diversion. I also have a welding engineering degree from Ferris State so i've ran just about every kind of welding machine you can imagine from 50's stick welders to running robots equipped with $50,000 Fronious power supplies.

    Miller made the diversion simple for a people can't screw it up. The more knobs you have to turn..the more dangerous you are. The arc is very stable, and runs anice as a top end machine. Plus having the variplug option comes in real handy as i can almost gaurantee you're gonna want to tig something someday and you wont have a 220 outlet anywhere in site.

    I actually dropped a clamp on the foot pedal cord and sheared it right in two. Luckily...they made the cables out of ethernet cables so it was a quick trip to staples and $10 later i was back up and running. I've since converted mine to an industrial pedal as the rheostate in it is more sensitive and the cable is alot more robust.

    Go with the miller...i gaurantee you wont regret it.
  11. moparmonkey
    Joined: Aug 14, 2009
    Posts: 565

    from NorCal


    5 year warranty? The tig I'm using in my shop right now is a Miller 320 AB/P. If I figured the numbers right, its a 1971. You can still go on Miller's website and download a manual for it.
  12. slddnmatt
    Joined: Mar 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,683


  13. ottoman
    Joined: May 4, 2008
    Posts: 338

    from Wisconsin

    Love my diversion 160. The 185 ... to me... wasnt worth the extra $$ unless the 110v option is important to you.
  14. cretin
    Joined: Oct 10, 2006
    Posts: 3,047


    We have the Diversion at the shop, and it is nice. My only complaints are that the pedal is tiny and feels weird, and I don't like the torch. Even with those complaints I would go with the miller. You can always swap that stuff out.
  15. red baron
    Joined: Jun 2, 2007
    Posts: 596

    red baron
    from o'side

    Thanks guys, these are the kinds of answers I'm looking for, people with experience on the machines.
  16. AcadianKid
    Joined: Dec 5, 2005
    Posts: 202


    I have the ThermalDyne Pro Wave 185, I like it. That being said, if I had to buy one, I would go with the Miller. Thats what I use at work and I love it. I got such a great deal on the other that it was impossible to pass up.
    Just my .2
  17. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,963


    miller for sure
  18. falconsprint63
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,358

    from Mayberry

    the 185's on my short list of stuff to add to the shop. FWIW.
  19. Dane
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,351

    from Soquel, CA

  20. Noland
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,236


    I have a 330 AB/P. made in the same era still works like a top. Miller is the only way to go in my opinion. If your going to spend that kind of cash, make it a good investment an spent it on something good.
  21. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,480

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    We've had several Thermaldyne plasma machines at work. The early ones had bad transformers. We had a liquid cooled torch machine that worked well but they stopped supplying parts after 5 years. The latest one we have is a POS that they won't warranty because they say it's used in an environment with too much metallic dust.
  22. RalphyBoy161
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 915

    Member friend taught me on one
  23. dirt t
    Joined: Mar 20, 2007
    Posts: 5,093

    dirt t
    1. HAMB Old Farts' Club

    I have a Miller .Great machiene and great service.
  24. Flop
    Joined: Jun 8, 2006
    Posts: 3,886


    milllller! have a synchrowave 200 and a dvi mig in my shop . synchrowave has been getting daily use for the past 2 months an hasnt skipped a beat. bought my dvi new and havent had 1 problem and thats going on 5 years.
  25. TheMonkey
    Joined: May 11, 2008
    Posts: 314

    from MN

    I bought miller diversion to learn on and it has been great. My miller mig has never caused trouble so i stuck with them. My friend is trained TIG welder and he loves using my diversion.

    Also- I got the 165 because the savings were big and it has the same duty cycles as 185 up to 165 with a strong duty cycle. Beyond 165, 185 will weld with much smaller duty cycle. Either one will weld 1/4" steel if i recall. The 110 option on 185 is nice if you need it, but limits power from 110 outlet.
  26. Finn Jensen
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 671

    Finn Jensen

    I have been eyeballing that same machine. The 185 does offer higher output and some other extra features. But if a person only intends to use 220V, the additional 500 bucks or so for the 185 seems hard to justify.
  27. Compton
    Joined: Dec 9, 2011
    Posts: 11

    from Grimesland

    Miller and Thermal Arc are great machines. Welded with both in an industrial/pharmaceutical setting. Previously ASME and AWS certified for numerous processes but no longer maintain certification since I no longer weld professionally.

    I have the Thermal Arc 211I on order and was able to save $700 over the competing Miller unit. Also believe it or not the Thermal Arc has received better reviews than the Miller Multimatic in many cases.

    Don't let the Blue paint and huge fan base blur your vision. Decide on your user requirements and evaluate how best the various makes and models can meet your needs and lastly look at the cost. These machines are intended to last years so don't cut yourself short over a few hundred dollars.

    Strike an Arc or hand someone else your stinger!!

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