Cheap tig welder

  1. Gazz292

    Gazz292 Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Scarborough
    I kinda taught me self to mig weld (unfortunately with a sip migmate 105... plastic feed roller gear and all that)

    I'm getting fed up of the mess mig welding makes, i only do it for my hobbies, occasionally needing to weld something to fix it or fabricate something simple, but i'm in a wooden shed now, and the weld splatter is getting on my tits... i've found myself bolting or pop riveting things together i would have welded at one point!!!

    Thinking a tig would be much cleaner, no balls of molten mig wire flying everywhere and burning into the worktop and floor.

    But i've never even picked up a tig torch in my life, haven't gas welded either... and i kind of see tig as the electric gas welding.

    i know i don't want to be messing about with scratch start, so HF start is a must, i'd love to get an AC/DC machine to weld alli some day, but i have to be realistic, i'm looking at the cheap end of the ebay specials here for now.

    seems about £150 or so will get a very basic HF start DC only tig on ebay... if i can believe the ads that is, and i assume at this price they are all basically repurposed stick welders.
    i've noticed that they use a simple on / off button on the torch, more expensive ones add the foot pedal option.

    As i'm used to mig welding where i just set the current and pull the trigger, would i be missing much not having the variable power available with a foot pedal?

    I have a project where i will be building a replica of a bus cab (for my simulator, no movement other than the force feedback steering)
    i'll using bits of steel angle, square section, tube and flat plate, about 1.5mm thick at most, and i'd like to be able to weld the frame together and make mods to it without having to remove everything from a 10 foot radius to avoid the weld splatter of the mig.

    Am i being realistic here, all the tig welding vids i've seen (this old tony, keith fenner, wintergratin on his marble machine etc) tig seems... well, nicer, a lot les foroscious than mig,
    i have no illusion my welds will look like pigeon crap, but as long as they stick the metal together i'll be happy.

    What else will i need?

    a bottle of pure argon i believe, how much does a small tig consume?
    there's a local dealer for rentfreegas near me,
    they have the 2 litre adams cylinders at 23 quid, and the 10 litre bottles at 57 quid, each with a similar deposit... i'm currently using the mig with the disposable argon/co2 mix bottles again (used to rent an X sized cylinder from boc, but was paying more in rent that gas i used.. this was 20 years ago mind, before rent free was an option)

    Spare tungstens, owt else?
     
  2. barking mat

    barking mat Barking at Pigeons

    Messages:
    4,612
    Location:
    Brittany, The Arz Valley.
    I sometimes pay more in bottle rental, than the gas I use.

    But rent free bottles aren't viable here.

    Find a second hand ac/dc tig, hf start, and it's an investment which should see you for life is my point of view.

    Consumambles: gas, filled rods, tungstens, collets, ceramic cups, that's about it, for me.
     
  3. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    3,380
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    You don't need a pedal. They are useful if you are joining 2 different thickness of steel togeather and very useful for ac aluminium.
    A pre/post flow timer is a nice feature if you can find a cheap welder with that. Not vital for mild steel though.

    If the deposit is the same price then I would just get the bigger bottle as I expect it works out quite a bit cheaper per litre of gas.
    Get some spare back caps and cups. They don't really wear out but break easily enough if you drop the torch.
     
  4. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    3,380
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    Pair of tig gloves as well. Your hands will be closer to the weld than with mig and the trigger and feeding filler for tig wants thinner gloves than mig ones.
     
  5. waddycall

    waddycall Member

    Messages:
    1,229
    United Kingdom
    I got my first tig for similar reasons. My workshop was a 20 minute drive away and full of combustible stuff. Even with 30-60 min firewatch after welding I was always uneasy closing the door after mig or stick welding. I had a thermal arc 175se and bought a star parts gas valve tig torch to go with it. It was scratch/lift start only but I learnt to tig weld with it.
     
  6. Gazz292

    Gazz292 Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Scarborough
    ahh, by similar deposit, i mean the deposit is practically the same as the rental, so first bottle if 2 litres... is £25 deposit, £23 fill, 10 litre is £55 deposit, £57 fill.

    not sure how much difference it makes, the 2 litre bottles are 200 bar, 10 litre 137 bar

    oops, forgot about filler wire, wouldnt get far without that,

    deffo will need some tig gloves, i got the thick mig gloves but can barely feel the mig torch button in them,
     
  7. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    3,380
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    Ignoring the deposits (as i presume they are refundable)
    The gas works out at 57p a litre in the small bottle but only 4p a litre in the bigger one.
    If you are using 6 litres per minute its quite a bit cheaper to lay out the extra up front for the bigger bottle.
     
  8. Gazz292

    Gazz292 Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Scarborough
    Well, i did my usual.. started off looking for something cheap that will do the job, ended up reading all ~85 pages of the sherman 206p page, almost convinced myself that was what i simply must buy, only the price of them now being nearer 600 quid made me come to my senses... tho i am still wondering if the £400 fantasy welder version is worth it... but no, i wanted cheap.

    Sure, I'd like to be able to weld alli....one day...
    but right now i want to weld a bit of mild steel together to make a frame for my simulator without covering everything in mig weld splatter, reduce the chance of burning me shed down, and learn to tig weld,
    i can upgrade the machine in a few years time when i want to weld alli i guess.

    So, im back to looking at the cheap ~£150 tig welders that offer hf start (never knew about lift start, but think i'd still prefer hf start...want to teach myself to never dip the tungsten :)
    But it seems they have pretty basic controls, usually 2 knobs that the different sellers claim are for different things (gas pressure!, gas flow times, current timing etc... i imagine it's pre and post gas flow times (on one knob) really) some of the welders at the £180 range start to have a 2t and 4t switch.

    Then for £205 there's this : https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/284068978522?
    Hitbox hbt 2000p pro,

    name alone is off putting (just missing the S in front of it) but it looks to have way more features than the cheaper welders... and it's only 55 quid more than i started with wanting to pay.

    It seems like the pre flow, start current, ramp up time, peak current, base current (in peak mode i presume), max current, ramp down time, finish current and post flow is fully adjustable, 2T and 4T selectable, DC pulse function, adjustable pulse freq. 0.5 - 200Hz, pulse width adjustment, spot weld timer and so on....
    Are most of these things what all tig's have? nice things to have? or things i don't really need.

    one thing i am wondering about, the torch is one of those that has 4 buttons on it, 2 to adjust the current, one for 'gas test??' and the start/stop button, with gloves on would i be mashing all the buttons trying to locate the main button and inadvertently adjusting things i don't want to.

    Anyone have any experience with these ones? or the 'hitbox' brand,
    the welder comes from spain (but sold by a china man... of course) and i havent found the instruction manual online yet.


    Ontop of buying the tig welder, i'd need to add

    10 litre bottle of argon... £70 for deposit and ~£60 for gas in my area (i have 2 choices really, rent free gas and hobbyweld, first one is 200 bar bottles, second one is 137 bar)
    Filler rods ... no idea what type or size or how many to get.... will be welding mild steel about 1.2 to 2mm thick at first.
    Torch spares (tungstens plus bits i'd break dropping and standing on it)
    A flex head for the torch seems a popular upgrade for all tig welders (no idea what size torch is on the machine i'm lookin at)
    Tig gloves

    owt else?

    I already have an argon regulator, was used with the mig welder when i used argoshield light from boc...but it has no flow meter, can i add one to a standard regulator, or just go for a pea shooter.
    already got an auto darkening helmet, tho it could do with a new front panel due to weld splatter.
     
  9. addjunkie

    addjunkie Member

    Messages:
    6,473
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    Go with the 200 bar bottles and 10 litre wont last very long tig welding, even less if your using a valved torch and forget.
    Biiger the bottle the cheaper gas is per liter. Though hobby weld do a bigger bottle at 300 bar, but dont know how much they are.
     
  10. Malky Member

    Messages:
    145
    Location:
    Scotland
    Personally I never quite trust these adds that state you are responsible for import taxes especially when the company base is in China and when you look through the different items there is at least 3 different locations.
    On the up side they list a uk vat number, all might be ok, good luck and keep us posted.
     
    Mark 2 likes this.
  11. Mark 2

    Mark 2 Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    488
    Location:
    London UK
    I'd (and did) keep it simple. Inverter with current and post gas. Tig is more about technique.
     
  12. Gazz292

    Gazz292 Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Scarborough
    The sherman 206p is on sale at weldes.co.uk, £480 for the welder with a pedal, or £560 for the welder alone and £50 for the pedal.

    So i've got one of those (xmas present from my GF)

    Now to spend as much as the welder on gas and consumables it seems.
     
  13. paulo1974 Member

    Messages:
    210
    Location:
    porto
    As i read you post I find out that you didn't mig or mag at all you use flux core. No match for mig and no mess. Second get a tig DC lot cheaper and for the price less hazardous that a low cost acdc. Start to weld and it's not as simple as in the YouTube videos.
     
  14. Gazz292

    Gazz292 Member

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Scarborough
    Never used flux cored wire in the mig, it's a gas only welder,
    i have done arc welding in the past, but not a lot of it.

    I have no illusions i will be spending months just getting the movements right to not dunk the tungsten, but i like learning new skills, so hopefuly it will be something i enjoy.
     
  15. Adam Marshall Member

    Messages:
    401
    Location:
    Nottinghamshire England
    I bought a thermal arc 175 te last summer, its really good on mma. Tried it abit on dc tig and it seems OK for small jobs, the little squeak when the hf initiates is abit annoying but you get over that. It is not foot pedal capable so this is a downside but it does have post flow.
     
Advertisements