Hey All,
I see in the meeting minutes that it says the heliarc is operational. Does that mean we got a tank of pure argon in already?

Yes, I brought down my personal #4 argon tank to get us up and running. I accidentally left my aluminum filler rod out at the rink and it got contaminated likely however there is er70 s2 and s6 down there and well as some stainless. The s6 and stainless are in my spot by in the bottom corner next to the fab lab on the right side. I am finishing up home repairs from my parents and my house from the extreme cold and my pipes freezing as well as a power surge that shut the computer board off on the hot tub thus freezing the pvc lines and busting thing up BAD. I will likely not make it down till monday however I was going to get with ryan and make a good cheat sheet set for it as a few of the settings are reverse of miller/lincoln settings the hard way. I only had 1 extra pack of both 1/16th and 3/32nd tungstens so I would highly recommend sticking to dc mild steel/stainless for the time being. There are a few little other upgrades that have to be picked up to make the unit run better and have better efficiency.welds via gaslens and even just the ceramic stubby gas cups for now. I would highly recommend not just jumpin on this machine and going as I do not believe we have any of the available preset profiles saved and go through the manual / or if Ryan is there he was able to see where things went a little goofy when going through the settings and blew the tungsten when we were messing with it.

This machine is freaking awesome and the price…hats of to Ryan for finding it for that price :slight_smile: Given the weather over the weekend I likely will not be down till monday as I am waiting for an amazon shipment (if things are on schedule) for saturday and sunday I have family stuff. I grabbed a nice large electric oil radiator to help with the freeze in the welding room and plan on being there during the afternoon/evening on monday. Turning scrap metal into heat sinks / torch holders / and other fixtures will need to be thought out of course. A good deal of thought will have to be put in a cart however I think Ryan said he had an idea on how to go with it. I hope that answers some questions of what I know of at least lol for now.

Awesome. I plan to bring my own filler rod and tungstens. and I wouldn’t jump on the machine, I’d definitely read the manual first to make sure I understand the settings.

Idk that I have time this weekend to actually get down there or not - may swing in Monday depending on how much work I get done this weekend.

Tiff -

I’m not worried about you or others with significant TIG experience hurting the machine. We need to get some hours on the welder this month while we’re still in the initial warranty period. Ask here on the list, or text me if I can assist with setup.

In case you haven’t found it already, the manual is linked below. There are also several YouTube videos from weldingtipsandtricks.com and weld.com covering this model of welder, which may serve as another starting point for material settings.

After Kevin dialed in the machine, we ran test beads for a couple hours last Friday, and again on Tuesday night. I don’t have much to compare with, but it seems like a nice machine so far. It’s easily holding stable low amp arcs, and did fine on aluminum once I’d done a little more research.

I’ve been breaking the machine down and putting it away after use each night to leave the metals room in a usable state for other members. I request that others do the same for the time being. I’d thought to build a basic welding cart this evening, but will likely stay off the road during snowpocalypse 2018.

As Kevin mentions, we’re still getting our bearings with and trying to round out an accessory pack for the machine. About $500 remain in the budget. Gas cylinders are obviously required. We’ll want to compensate Kevin for his loaned consumables. Beyond this, I’m as yet unsure where to draw the line between Hive provided consumables and member materials.

Thus far, Kevin, Greg, new member Josh, and I have all spent a little time with the machine. Those who already have TIG experience should be encouraged to chime in here on the mailing list.

Let’s discuss our initial experiences with the welder, and offer suggestions on any necessary accessories.


  • Ry

I’m all for having a working system that people can use for infrequent jobs.
If someone wants to build a radar tower then they should provide for the consumables.

Let’s get Kevin’s tank replaced and get what we need to have a working system. If the remaining $500 won’t cover it, then let’s talk about what is needed.

Let me know what help looks like.

The remaining funds will be sufficient if wisely spent. Spitballing generously, we’re looking at $150 for the gas and $50 or so to have a pack of tungsten on hand. A dedicated tungsten grinder seems warranted. (An extra grinder appeared during cleanup last Saturday, so that’s possibly already sorted.) Beyond that, I intend to get a couple weeks of torch time in, solicit further ideas, and reassess.

When we resume welding classes, we’ll likely want to include a few tungstens as part of the class cost. The consumption rate is determined by proficiency, so not everyone will want or need a full pack.

  • Ry

A tungsten grinder is absolutely needed. As far as having some on hand, maybe - might also just be worth expecting people to provide their own - especially since it is an individual preference thing

For the tungsten grinder I have some coupons for harbor freight, and making a jig would be a quick project. Their hobby grinder and cutoff wheel would make a nice little station for tungstens.

Also I forgot to mention I did pick up a nice 6mm thick carbon fiber and ceramic welding mat. It is flexible and is 1 foot square so if a repair is needed on something that has a finish of some type you want to insulate and protect from the welding process. These things are priceless for items that require a lot of disassembly especially if you are only fixing a small area. I would also recommend to anyone that is going to be using this to get a tig finger as even my nice tig gloves started to burn when bumping up amperage lol. A good set of flexible welding gloves or even doubling up with a mechanics glove inside of a harbor freight welding glove works as well. I would HIGHLY recommend people get their own gloves also as you get to know the heat they can handle and when to back off however the main reason being they get crazy greasy n smelly lol. Before I forget to… our Harbor Freight auto darkening helmets are not technically tig rated as sometimes at lower amps it will not kick the shade in quick enough. I have a tig helmet from thermal arc I believe with the XL viewing screen that is auto darkening and tig approved of which I will bring down to the hive with me if people want to try it. I do gotta look at the battery tabs first or I might have killed the battery from leaving it out in the cold as its not responding. I don’t know if we want to pick up a tig approved auto darkening helmet and just make the main headband that is neoprene one that velcros on and off. That way replacement sweat bands could be purchased and people sharpie their name on them, that way we have an approved helmet for tig and mig with an XL lens and wont be nasty from the sweat band. If I remember right I got mine on sale with a 3 year warranty from amazon for 70 bucks and the clear replaceable safety/[protector lens for pretty cheap as well.

Here is the grinder for the tungstens I was talking about and a sharpening jig can be made very easily. It also comes with a dremel flexi line that can be hooked up as well :slight_smile: https://www.harborfreight.com/bench-grinder-with-flex-shaft-43533.html

This is the small 2 inch hobby mitre that can take both blades with teeth for food/ plastic/ carbon fiber/soft metal tubing and can have the thin metal chop saw blade put on for cutting down tungstens for the stubby and low profile tighteners. https://www.harborfreight.com/2-in-mini-bench-top-cut-off-saw-62136.html and here is the metal blades for it HF does not carry that size anymore, https://www.amazon.com/Norton-Diameter-Reinforced-Abrasive-Thickness/dp/B00B774OL6/ref=sr_1_12?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1515831627&sr=1-12&keywords=2+inch+metal+wheel

Its been a late night working on things, I hope everyone made / makes it through the snow safely!

Sounds like a wiki page. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Kevin’s discussion creates a vision that the nominal welding certification class fee would cover the Hive providing graduates with their own pair of standard Harbor Freight welding gloves and welding helmet headband that would have labels with their names. The weld shop could have a cubby/display wall rack where the name labeled gloves would be displayed/stored for convenient/ready access. It would look like the named beer mug wall at the Hofbrauhaus in Newport. I also like the tungsten grinder and sharpening jig setup. Let’s put in all the right accessories to set this area up nice.

Sounds nice