Tig Welder Discussion

Hi All,
I would like to open up a discussion in regards to purchasing a Tig Welder for the Hive. I know Kevin is working on getting one donated, but a discussion on what the hive needs is still going to be useful.

Things worth discussing:

  1. AC & DC needed - I would say this is needed, to be able to weld steel and aluminum. But how thick of materials do we want to be able to weld?

  2. What voltage/amperage would the hive like?

  • Ability to do both 110 and 220? or only 220?
  1. Size - how big of a machine do we want? Some of the older machines are quite large but will run forever. Some of the newer inverter based technology machines are much smaller and portable but if the board goes out, you have to replace the board (which of course costs quite a bit). Do we want a machine we can move to other parts of the hive, or have it be located only in the metal room?

  2. Brand - some of the well known american brands or do we want to venture into the cheaper Italian and Chinese made machines?

  3. Warrenty - do we want to invest in a decent warrenty?

  4. Torch, foot petal, etc - if the controls that come with the machine are poorly made, would people be up for spending a little extra to get a nice foot petal and a decent torch (with various cup sizes etc).

  5. Electrodes - do we want to have a variety of tungsten electrodes available for users to use or should we stick to one type and users that want something different can get them?

  6. Shielding gases - currently working on getting quotes on argon tanks (purchasing/leasing, etc). do we also want to consider getting helium to be able to weld hotter?

Those are all the questions I can think of right now. Please respond to this thread with thoughts and opinions on getting a tig welder and any concerns you may have. I am very interested in getting a decent tig welder (have wanted one for several years and am finally going to head up the requisition of one if we do not get one donated to the hive).


helium no
argon yes

AC a must

Water cooled nice, not really needed for hive IMHO

new machine? inverter, 220/120 convertible nice. 220 a must. single phase a must.

i like miller, but $
I like Everlast based on experience of friends who weld for a living.

I am of the opinion that the hive not provide tungstens. At all. That way folks that know how to use machine know to bring/own what they need.


I was just getting ready to start this so thank you Tiffany. So far I have a few key companies to hit up for not only welders but the supplies that go with them from consumables to clamps, jigs, copper backers, nothing equipment for a drill dress or stand alone, and safety gear. I am hoping to use the power tool drag racing and the huge positive image we have at the maker faires to get items donated to the hive as well as them kick in money towards Maker Faire expensive. So far I have a decent “hit list” of companies that would benefit from both the tax write-off as well as advertising opportunities.

As far as the welder goes I’m swinging for the fence with hopes of a good tig/plasma cutter combo in 220 of course. If we end up with them only being able to do a ac/dc variable frequeny and wave form. I have a few extra sets of argon regulators but hey if those can be thrown in as well some extra Harris or name brand regs would be great. I have already brought down the extra full size argon tank however the last time it was filled they contaminated it with and liquid substance that seems oily. However I can easily swap that out when it’s time. My voice was able to hold out for a small while the other day and talk to coy, he was able to also have some business contacts through one of the major companies.

My fingers crossed that this will stop kicking my butt and I will be able to put resources and didn’t to getting the ball rolling. It is been pretty much impossible for me to make the phone calls as well as visit in person. Two of them main companies I would like to hit up that would fit though power tool racing advertising, donation money towards Maker Faire related items, and of course the main reason for all of this, the welder and the materials. We have Summit Racing and Jegs corporate locations right up by Columbus and they have been great with me over the years :slight_smile: . Both companies love advertising and getting their names out there as well to be the first name that comes to mind to the Powersports community. Here are the other companies as well that I am going to try and make a personal phone call along with when I send then the donation request.

Hobart corporate or rural king. Rural kings in the area have not stocked tigs as I check every time at the Lebanon and Hamilton location when picking up shooting toys :wink: . I have seen technicians show up on their website and they are hereby authorized dealer so they should be able to get a hold of a unit if things are worked out, the stores also carry a good deal welding tools and supplies for being a Walmart like Farm Store.

Lincoln corporate or tractor supply. Same info as above applies. Made contacts at maker faire.

Miller corprate.
Esab corporate.
Eastwood corporate, year one.

Non welding supply contacts would include the Henry Ford Foundation for a donation/grant to the hive. It operates separate from the Museum that already helps out with Maker Faire stuff so I do not want to it the museum side.

Airgas supply, and other welding commercial stores.

On a side note what phase service do we have available at the hive in case someone has a open box or demo unit like s 3 phase, etc.

If anyone is contacts or leads please send me a email at kevinkennethschuler@gmail.com
I can’t wait to get the welding/dirty room upgraded as soon as this medical stuff clears. I know I am the warden but if someone could take care of wiring and layout if gear comes quick for some reason and they decide to do the gallbladder soon. I have like 4 issues they are dancing around right now.

Thank you everyone!

While soliciting donations is great, there is no guaranteed time frame associated with it. A really nice brand new TIG can be had well below $3k. If we don’t have a commitment for a donation by the time we work out what we really want, I say we just buy it.

I agree Dave.

Right, if we do not get any commitment within a few weeks as soon as my crap clears up we can always modify the donations to be a part of the accessories, filler metals, spool gun for the mig, better metal prep equipment, and so on. I can also get a hold of my snap, mac, and Cornwell guy to see if he was any nice ones traded in or couldn’t be paid for. If you got some tool reps out by you Dave and you could inquire as well that would be awesome. The tax write-off for them would be way nicer than what the cash price would be.

I wanted to bump this,

Kevin you’ve had a few months to make these inquiries has any thing turned up?

Tiffany are you prepared to go ahead and propose a vote to the hive on this if Kevin has or hasn’t turned up anything?
I don’t know crap about these things =D

I’m not sure if Miles reads the mailing list but I believe he would also be interested in this, I know he has recently been getting into welding.

Ryan, Are you MIA? last I recall you did welding too.

Anyone else available for comment on welding?

I’d like to learn, but I’m too ignorant to suggest what we should purchase. I think it’s been long enough without anything from Kevin, maybe it’s time to buy something.

Ummmmm it’s been to long from hearing from me? I thought we just had a talk about the multiple surgeries I had come up over the past month and a half lol and brought it up at the meetings that I would be out of commission for a short while.

There is also likely going to be a handful of other items I am going to have to check on come next Tuesdays meeting when I am able to come back in and figure out what gear we lost that Dave B was nice enough to lend to the hive, especially in the welding room. With Dave leaving we also just lost our o scope and a good amount of other essential hive equip.

Luckily they were able to knock out 4 of the ops in one day on the 27th and just have to go back for a knee but I agree we can look into the options at hand and try and work with some of these companies which will likely be a must now given the other purchase that will need to be made prior to this.

Right now without any corporate help we are looking at the 3000 to 4000 range that can vary slightly from brand to brand getting the modes and features we are looking for.

I talked with my fire department and should have the catalog of c02 fire extinguishers we are getting donated through our fire academy. I also have worked on getting the medical/fire class together and staffed at the hive, and then the day where people can come up to our training grounds and go hands on with extinguishers to get a feel for things.

Given the madness that became of the mailing list for a bit, getting surgeries, and following through with the fire safety that was set as a priotity I got stretched a little thin. We are going to have to see if Dave packed up the welding helmets he had left down there for people to use, surface Prep grinders, and other general gear he was nice enough to let everyone use. The cost of getting back on track as well as getting people to at least remove the welding helmets if hour going to paint in that room as the lenses are getting destroyed…technically there is no paintingin there anyways.

So… the cards on the table right now are we have a few expensive votes on the table. Does the hive feel I should just propose a 4k vote to cover needed items in the metal room and tig for now and call up and work with the distributor or… do we want to get the electronic area votes and other things that we had on loan that are no longer at the hive taken care of first. Then keep the tig at number one on the wish list and pull the trigger with it along with the new room items aka spray booth tools and parts.

I’m leaning towards the miller, hobart, or Lincoln models at the moment and possibly esab if pricing can be worked out so replacement parts are easy and don’t end up with a frakenwelder. Features we are going to need/be an let to add is variable pedal, high frequency start, ac dc output, and a 2 or 3 wave function depending on the machine. The one item up for debate is to get the aluminum spool gun for our current mig as it is a vital tool for doing easy aluminum welding compared to going straight tig.

Let’s figure this out as I will be mobile again luckily this week coming up and will have a gap until the next surgery. I’m all ears on what direction we should pursue. I should have about a month until the next surgery to get a knee redone lol.

Here is what I’m leaning towards… of course it may be cheaper elsewhere but it’s a benchmark tig for our use. Plus it’s a multi function… now esab has extremely nice warrior line ones but a lot of machines do not come ready to go like this link… all you get is main weld pack and NOTHING ELSE :frowning: .


I’d add that in this instance, quality matters. I have a mid (wire feed ) range mig, and it so outperformed what one of my blacksmithing friends had, he really really needed to borrow it. He’d heard the “yeah yeah, don’t cheap out mantra” but was astounded by the difference between cheap and mid range. After using it a few times, he upgraded in a hurry.

That being said… welding is an art and a skill… and challenging enough to learn without fighting the equipment. I think the investment worth it, because if there is a high end welder, and people need good welds… shop usage will increase. Shop usage increases, money problems decrease, everybody wins :slight_smile:

I personally am partial to the lincoln squarewaves :slight_smile:

I’m going to try and look through their line tiff and see what they have as well. I am in hopes of getting a multi use multi output system that will function even as a secondary mig with different wire in it. Especially if they are running a special where you get the aluminum spool gun option with variable pulsed outputs on the mig end.

With getting back into tig welding aluminum machines thar have an enhanced output arc for removing oxidation and etches helps a lot. The other thing that would be nice is if it was factory a 110/ 220 design in case we wanted to go mobile within the hive to add onto a project or machine.

I am not a huge brand nazi as I have welded on a bunch of different machines so if people have a specific model throw it up for discussion.

check out the squareline 200.

as far as backup mig, i think we should skip that - seems an unnecessary complication.

This purchase is going to be much more involved then just a TIG welder. We are going to have to look at getting some basic fixture jigs, heatsinks, prep tools, and get them blasting cabinet and media that is in it labeled and figured out. It may just be me but when it comes to welding mhorne hit the point home that we need to consider. For every new fabrication project you do there will likely be multiple down times and items your just trying to repair or enhance lol. Being able to repair a goofy aluminum assembly that broke is usually where good welding and options save your ass with down time. Whatever scrap we have before taking it over for recycling practice on :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t buy a separate mig unit, I’m just looking to have the options of being able to add a whip or spool gun given the extra output energy forms and capabilities. That way we have a machine that is able for a huge array of tasks and not have to look any other welding units until we go titanium and needing a purging/vac chamber lol.

to add on, an electrode grinder of some sort would be necessary.

just curious, are you saying upgrade the current sandblasting cabinet we have or getting a new one? not sure I understand…

No need to upgrade it, just know what abrasives are in it and if we need something with a rougher or lite cut. Yes adding an electrode grinder would be crucial or teach people to free hand them :slight_smile:

It’s a tungsten electrode that needs a 30 degree point? Could a jig be fabbed up for a a pedestal grinder? Is a special wheel needed? The carbide brazed tip tools for the lathe need a green wheel, maybe a dual purpose grinder could be set up (yes brazed carbide is not indexable, but they are cheap)

We made a jig with a few angles and just used a specific abrasive wheel.

Here is a good comparison of the welders in the area we are going to be at… Im a little biased towards towards the miller due to what we do at the hive. We have a bit of thin wall stock and the 5 amp start is smooooth. to teach aluminum on higher amp starts is nowhere near as forgiving as steel and you just blow it out. We would want to add a flex head torch for sure and possibly the vis a cups like be brought up for both gas and teaching people to see arc length better.

the easier the machine is on adjustments vs being able to do anything that we put on the table minus welding sewer lids together lol the miller syncrowave 210 is what im leaning towards… We wouldn’t have to buy again as it covers everything we are currently welding…