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Who Here Builds Cars WITHOUT a TIG Welder?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by MrGasser, May 18, 2010.

  1. grimmfalcon138
    Joined: Jan 14, 2010
    Posts: 164

    from az

    Mig can look almost as good as tig, know your heat and wire speed. Tig is too costly for most dyi'ers and takes a lot of work to be really good. I'm not saying it's a bad choice, just not the wright one for some.
  2. I have done all forms of welding, but dont currently have ANY machines of my own. I sold a badass Tig setup, a Miller Dynasty 200 DX (digital) with a coolmate 3 cooler. I sold it to wire a car I was building.... What a dumbass. I have used it to build aluminum radiators, which is what I did for a while. Welding steel with a tig is easy as pie, but aluminum can give you fits. And anybody who says practice makes perfect is full of shit. PERFECT practice makes perfect...... Aluminum requires everything to be right, metal prep, tungsten to be clean, correct heat, etc... It doesnt take more than a few seconds to have a puddle of worthless shit. The biggest mistake i have seen people make when learning, is that once the tungsten is accidentally touched to the work, you need to stop. Go clean or grind it off. After it is dirty, everything clings and sticks to it..... I am a paraplegic, and learned to tig weld by operating the pedal with my elbow..... I have no stomach muscles, so the work needs to be close by, or I need to be able to lean on it. I made a little plate that slid on the armrest of my old wheelchair, to have a place for the pedal to sit. I tried and have used the rheostat-type hand operated setups, but didnt like them much. I agree that 95% of all work can be done with a mig. The thing about tig that benefits me, is that it doesnt have any sparks or spatter. Sure, you can have weld droplets drop down and burn you, but it can be controlled better. I am always sitting, and weld with a leather apron on my lap. I sit on a $400 air cushion I cant afford to replace, so I must be careful when welding!! Even though I can Tig weld, and you can do more and weld more metals with a Tig, I think my next welder may be a mig, because it is just faster, and better for small quick jobs, such as tacking, or temporary welds to be ground later. No prep needed for temp welds as long as the ground works. And also because I dont have that kind of money for a nice tig setup with cooler these days. A decent tig setup really needs a cooler IMO.......

  3. chopt49
    Joined: Jul 5, 2006
    Posts: 945


    MIG and my gas set up ... suits me just fine...

    I will admit a do dream of owning and learning TIG... sigh. Someday when money is flush.

  4. 57FORD
    Joined: Mar 8, 2010
    Posts: 97


    i Mig sheet and Arc everything else
  5. This is true, my buddy Dave(Xtralow60) makes MIGs that look like TIGs.
  6. Fordgasser1
    Joined: Jan 20, 2009
    Posts: 1,217

    from Jersey

    For those of you who think you can't afford a tig,this is for you..A friend of mine bought one and I laughed at it..But once I got it setup and a little practice,I was tig welding in no time..It's a cheap way to try out TIG without making a huge investment..

    All you need to buy is an argon regulator(mine cost 89.00),some tungstin(2%thoriated works good)some steel welding rod (1/8th" and 1/16")and a bottle of argon(18.00 rental)..For under 500.00 you can be tig welding steel..I use mine all the time and once you get the hang of it and learn the settings,it works well on steel and moly..It's portability makes it great to use anywhere you have 220 outlet..
    The drawbacks:..It's a "scratch start" machine,just like an stick or arc would be,you must touch the tungsten to the metal to get an arc..Not good for the tungsten,but you get used to it...It doesn't have a foot pedal to adjust the amps while welding(you could add one if wanted),so you must do a little trial and error to find the setting you need..You can't do aluminum(no reverse polarity or high frequency for cleaning)..

    I'll try and post some examples of my Tig welds with this machine..You'll be amazed how nice it can weld..
  7. Zombie Hot Rod
    Joined: Oct 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,451

    Zombie Hot Rod
    from New York

    They MIG weld suspension bridges, I think it'll be ok for your hot rod frame.
  8. my old welding instructor used to say "mig welding is as easy as peeling a banana" because it is a pretty "dumbed down process". tig is like brazing and sure makes clean welds.
  9. Mig and Oxy-Acetylene. Still use the arc welder on occasion. Learned Tig back in the late 60s but never could afford a good one.
  10. choppwatchagot
    Joined: Apr 18, 2010
    Posts: 166


    i mig weld for 8 hours a night every night at my sorry excuse for a job but witha good machine youd be amazed at what a mig can do
  11. jfrolka
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 897


    Mig machines are great, the Snap-On line is my fav so far and Miller.... I picked up a Miller Econo Tig awhile back and I love that little machine. The Econo tig has a weldcraft torch upgrade and has been welding my chassis great. I blew thru 1/4" wall when I cranked that little bastard to 80 amps the other day. Cheap and does a great job! Recommend it to all.
  12. evol55
    Joined: Apr 25, 2004
    Posts: 257


    I got a new welder call a JBwelder. That is the best welder I have ever used. Nah I just use my Mig welder.
  13. Finnrodder
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,960

    from Finland

    I use both of them,mig and tig.Mig for sheetmetal,but sometimes i do it with tig too.Usually i use tig for thicker pieces.Argon gas prices are getting quite pricey in here,so thats one reason i use mig too.
  14. elricho
    Joined: Jul 19, 2009
    Posts: 197


    Always used mig-for the sheer ease of it!
    But would love to be able to tig-it just looks heaps nicer.
    Just bought a second hand tig-when I get the new garage set up-I will start playing with it-the tig I mean!!!
    Get your mind out of the gutter!!!
  15. lonelywanderer
    Joined: Dec 2, 2009
    Posts: 15

    from hawaii

    i get to use a tig in school and its super fun if you wanna make some nice detail but at home i only got a mig and it does just find for what i need but if i had some extra cash i'd pick up a nice liquid cooled tig machine in a heart beat
  16. bob308
    Joined: Nov 27, 2009
    Posts: 220


    i am certified in mig tig and stick and own all three.. i have used stick when building dirt cars . mig and oxy-accel. and mig for sheet metal work.
  17. Doug B
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 478

    Doug B

    I don't own any welders. All the fab and patch panels on my car was done at the shop where I work with a gas shielded Air Co mig welder and a torch. I took a few tig lessons from a guy,and I will learn when I can spend the time practicing.

    Attached Files:

  18. John_Kelly
    Joined: Feb 19, 2003
    Posts: 535


    Oxy-acetylene is the best for sheet metal as far as I'm concerned. Tig is just as good in most ways except it's more expensive, less portable, and requires electricity. Mig is a good choice for thicker stuff or if it is all you have. Certainly easier to learn how to mig weld than the other two.

  19. mrjynx
    Joined: Nov 24, 2008
    Posts: 971


    Anyone JUST use gasless?

    I was under the impression it would be too hot for car body work.

    I just yesterday bought a gas/nogas mig that goes down to 24a and I plan to use 0.6mm wire with argon/co2 mixture.

    Would be great if I could just use the gasless wire, aint used it yet tho.
    I have seen gasless car body work done ont internet, everythings so conflicting.

    I was also looking at something called technoweld, more like solder, melts at 350 degrees I think. saw ppl using it on cans.

    apparently you can get attachments for arc welders that take the voltage down to get thinner welds. no idea bout any of this stuff.
  20. shelby1
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 57

    from Lillian,Al

    I know this is not what you asked for....but I wanted to show that with some scrounging , and using what you have on hand a welder can be built without a lot of cash and and a lot of confusion over electrical/electronics.
    The welder in the pics I built over 2 years, I have not finished it yet as I have been helping my son build a house., I hope to finish it this summer.
    All it is ,is a GM Dump truck alternator ,that was 160 Amps that was tossed in the scrap pile (bad fields,and regulator ) that I put new fields in(200 Amp...41 bucks) and a new diode pack to handle the higher amps(14 bucks), a 5 horse electric motor that was froze up (worked it loose) a contacter (junk pile ...3 to make one) a 120 to 12 volt transformer from a yard sale battery charger. The frame was built form scrap angle stock from shipping crates for four wheelers and yard kart go-kart frame and caster wheel from a old shopping cart.
    It will tig (scratch start with out the high freq start) wire weld (flux core) with a gutted Lincoln unit,that with a gas unit will Mig and will stick weld and with the right parts in the Lincoln unit will Mig aluminum.
    The voltage controller was built with 12 bucks of parts from Radio Shack.As it sits now I have about 160 bucks in it.I have welded with every one off the process's except for Aluminum . My Brother-in-law is professional welder and loves the thing,he says that hard to believe that you could do this with a alternator .
    I am going to post a complete build on this complete with pics and wiring diagrams,I know that it looks complicated but its not.
    As soon as I get done with the house thing I'll get started. I have not decided on which web site to post this but from what I have seen on the HAMB over the past year or so (been lurking for a while) this is where I'll most likely post it as there is a more "make do with what you got"spirit here.
    The pic that the unit looks not finished was the first way I built it with a 65 amp Alt to prove that it would work.....
    The other pics are how it looks now .....
    The pics of the blue unit is a high freq start unit that I bought for 40 bucks,I was going to strip it for parts because it was not supposed to work.......It was wired fine!

    Attached Files:

  21. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,428

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    years ago all i used was stick..'cause thats all i had.

    than about 10 years ago went to Mig..I dont even touch my stick welder for building

    Tig?..yeah i wanna learn, was working on doing just that back about 3 years ago using a friends machine trying to make all my exhaust for my 53 chevy..aluminised exhaust pipe or maybe it was galvanised..? is a fucking no go!(it fucks up the tungsten electrode..forms a ball)..lesson learned, went back and mig'ed it all up because its what i know...but still wanna learn and wanna have a tig machine some day
  22. bobscogin
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,751


    You talking about flux core? I've used it, and in my opinion it ain't much better on sheet metal than a 6013 1/16" stick rod. Using gas as the shield is the only way to really get the benefit of a MIG machine.

  23. brocluno
    Joined: Nov 1, 2009
    Posts: 165


    Stick or torch. Everything else gets farmed out. Since i'm not into fine finishes, let the sparks fly :)
  24. thebugbox
    Joined: Nov 29, 2009
    Posts: 255


    I started with one of those SAMS CLUB Flux Core Mig welders (I believe it was a Lincoln re-branded, but not sure). CRAP CRAP CRAP. I honestly thought it was me, and that I sucked at welding. So I asked a welder friend to help me fix something at my house. He couldn't make anything but pop corn welds either. Two weeks later it was gone.

    I bought a Millermatic 185. One of the smallest Miller 220v units. I run Argon/CO2 and thin wire (can't remember off hand). I've patched lots of rusted metal, floor pans, fenders, etc... It is all about patience. Any knucklehead can spot weld this gas MIG. Spot weld no closer than 1" at a time. Let it cool down until you can touch it bare handed. Clean the oil off from your bare hand. More spot welds. Rinse and Repeat...

    I secretly want a TIG, but I'll live with my MIG for now. Don't even own a torch setup yet. That's on the list though.
  25. Retrorod
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 2,020


    I'm a MIG and Oxy-Acetylene user. Everything I've done for many years has been done the old fashioned way. I bought a new Lincoln TIG 175 Square Wave machine a few years ago and it just sits in the closet...rarely used. It probably has two hours on it total. I guess if I used it more and got better with it I'd use it more but it seems every time I need to weld I just grab the torch or my Lincoln 200 MIG and do it.

    Now that I think about it...I think I'll sell the TIG, let someone get some use out of it rather than just gather dust.
  26. I don't own a tig. Hell I'd use a gas welder if that was all I had.

  27. 51 Hemi J
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 394

    51 Hemi J

    I have an old MIG 220V All Star and it does well for my general fab. I recently bought an old Miller Dialarc HF TIG and have started using it in my shop and will say - currently I use the MIG more. This is only due to my limited experience with the TIG.

    The machine I bought can be purchased for a fairly decent price out there, but make sure it has everything. The little things like new torch, collets, ceramic shield and ground wire, power wires and so on really add up. Bought mine for $500 and have another $500 in the other stuff. Mine was merely a box with the foot pedal. I got lucky and feel mine should have fairly little use as it was a welder owned by the local high school. It runs great.

    Don't be afraid of purchasing an older machine like the Dialarc HF. It has all the features of a new unit, with all the digital garb removed. Also being High Freq, it can weld Aluminum.
  28. That would be very cool, should be of much interest.
  29. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,978


    MIG and Oxy-Acetylene do damn near anything that needs to be done on a car restoration. If you are welding non ferrous, then you might need to consider TIG.
  30. I learned on Oxy/Acet, then had a good stick welder . . . then waited another 20 years to buy a TIG. I've never had a MIG, but will buy one some day. I love TIG welding, the art of it, the quality of the weld . . . even the complexity to some degree. With that said, there are a LOT of places that a good MIG would be a heck of a lot faster, easier, etc.. Think of welding full-length boxing plates in . . . you're talking four 12 foot welds! I guarantee that you'd be done one hell of a lot sooner with a MIG, than a TIG.

    With that said, the fitment that TIG requires is actually a good thing -- you end up with better joints, cleaner welds and in most cases probably a better result (if you do it right). If you can Oxy/Acet weld, you can learn TIG -- as long as you have somebody to help you setup the machine and give you the basics.

    I am self taught -- but I read and I have practiced a lot. Have much more to learn . . . but it is fun!

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