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Looking to buy an Arc/Tig welder for my shop

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  • Looking to buy an Arc/Tig welder for my shop

    I have a Millermatic 140 with Auto-Set and absolutely love how easy it is. Look at the door guide for the wire size and thickness and set it and go. Is very nice for when I haven't turned the machine on in months and can't remember the settings.

    Now I will be moving "my hobbies" into a 20ft x 20ft by (maybe 15ft high shop) and want something that I can finally arc weld with. I grew up arc welding since my parents ran a welding company for 27+ years.

    Machines I have used:
    *Big Lincoln floor unit that looks exactly like their IdealArc 250
    *Big miller unit that easily went 300Adc (not sure the model)
    Both these units were used when we moved to that shop in 1994 and they still weld great today. These units really packed a punch and we even used 3/16 jet rod many times when making cutting boxes (5/8" steel) for oil rigs.
    *Also used the Lincoln Diesel truck welders many times and the miller bobcats.

    One issue now is I see the new inverter style welders have features like hot start, and arc force controls (dig).

    Can someone explain how these hot start and arc force controls are any different then just turning up your machine a little bit with a remote and then turning it down after you got the weld started with a remote?

    I have tig welded all of about 30 minutes on a machine in my college machine shop just to try it out.

    I am wanting a machine that I can learn to tig weld mild steel, possibly aluminum but not sacrifice Arc welding functions (my main use).

    I have been looking at the
    -Miller Dynasty 200
    -Miller Maxstar 200
    -Miller CST 280
    -Lincoln Invertec V205T
    -Lincoln Invertec® V275-S

    Looked at these too
    **Lincoln Square Wave™ TIG 175 TIG Welder
    **Lincoln Precision TIG® 225 TIG Welder

    But they have a fixed length (less than 50ft ground lead).
    Also they do not have any arc force type adjustments (if these are in fact a benefit?)

    I want to be able to have the room with the leads to add on to my shop someday and need the leads to reach to top of the shop easily.

    Also plan on putting a fence around the lot, but don't want to be dragging a heavy machine on a cart with a 100ft 230V extension cord if the ground only reaches 10 ft.

    For tig work I will only be working in the shop, but want the ability to reach out and do quality work with the Arc welder with 6010 and 7018 (1/8") rod.

    Would like to be able to practice more on plate tests and 6G (6" sch 40) to keep in practice and don't want to feel like my new machine is lacking compared to what I used in the past. Also would like to be able to work on these same tests with the Tig once I get use to it.

    Anyone have any suggestions as to which welders would have all the stick features and also be easy to setup for tig and produce quality welds like for testing. Not that I will be trying to test with tig, I just want it to be capable of that good of quality without having to spend everyday with the machine to remember every little quark about it.

    Thanks,
    Clint

  • #2
    Forgot to mention. Shop has 240V available and a dedicated 200A service panel all to itself.

    Do want to possibly go with an inverter style welder for the energy savings, but don't want the welder to fail in 10 years due to components thermal cycling and wearing out. In the windfarms around here they go through IGBT drives very frequently and the longest they typically last is 4 years pushing 350Amps at 575AC. I know that is a lot more power than any welder, but the manufactures also are not going to go overkill on sizing the IGBTs in the welders either. We typically see much higher failures during the summer months when it is hottest.

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    • #3
      Miller article about arc force: http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...rticle108.html

      Comment


      • #4
        Can't help with your welder selection evaluation, but any of them can have the leads extended to whatever length would make you happy. Head to your local welding supply and pick up some cable connectors and cable for the leads or buy online. I found the right gauge cable for my leads on eBay a number of years ago at 50 cents a foot...but those days are gone. While it is a bit more expensive, I'd recommend buying extra connectors and running 25 ft. sections at a time so you don't have to haul the whole heavy mess out everytime you use the extra lead.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the reply WyoRoy.

          So can you daisy chain leads now with these welders, like adding 25ft sections in if you need them to your work and electrode leads?

          If so that would be ideal since in the shop I could use the 15ft Arc welding leads the machines come with and then add in sections to get the length I need when building the fence around the property while keeping the unit close to the outlet.

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          • #6
            WyoRoy,

            Do you see much difference in using the Precision Tig and the Dialarc for Arc welding?

            I see online the PrecisionTig 275 has the hot start and the Arc Force features and the Dialarc does not have any sort of dig features.

            I've never used an arc welder newer than probably an 80s or 90s model so I'm curious if the Arc force and hot start features can really make any difference on 6010 and 7018 rods.

            Thanks,
            Clint

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            • #7
              As long as you are just talking about extending your leads for the stick welding side of the welder, I don't see a problem. Take that with a grain of salt though as I've never done it with anything other than my old style transformer based stick welders, but again, I still don't see a problem. These days, price is going to be your limiting factor as copper isn't as cheap as it once was.

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              • #8
                I've never used the PrecisionTig 275 for stick welding. The Dialarc 250 works well for my stick welding needs as an amatuer and the expense of the PrecisionTig 275 has always kept me from utilizing the stick feature for fear that it may eventually cause problems with the Tig side of the welder. Probably just a baseless fear, but since I have the stick covered already I never saw the need to try.

                EDIT: Most of my welding is done with the Mig as it is sufficiently powerful enough to do most work. I'll dig the Dialarc out for a job like attaching a bale spear to a Bobcat adapter plate, but most of the time it just sits forlornly in the corner of the shop underutilized.
                Last edited by WyoRoy; 12-19-2012, 05:25 PM.

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                • #9
                  Thanks again WyoRoy for the reply. I wouldn't think stick welding with the precision tig would in any way cause trouble with the tig side. It is after all listed as an excellent stick welder with 6010.

                  That wouldn't fit my need though since I am looking for something excellent with both the 6010 and 7018 rods as well as having a range of features for the tig welding side.

                  Anyone out there have any experience with the following:
                  -Miller Dynasty 200
                  -Miller Maxstar 200
                  -Miller CST 280
                  -Lincoln Invertec V205T
                  -Lincoln Invertec® V275-S

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Looking to buy an Arc/Tig welder for my shop

                    The miller CST 280 is a great machine that the only one I have used but it has all the power you need it can plug into 440 3 phase and right down to I think 110 but def 220 the miller video is on you tube for it Good luck

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nathan128 View Post
                      The miller CST 280 is a great machine that the only one I have used but it has all the power you need it can plug into 440 3 phase and right down to I think 110 but def 220 the miller video is on you tube for it Good luck
                      Hi Nathan, I'll do some searching on youtube, thanks for the tip.

                      So have you used the miller CST 280 for both the stick and DC Tig modes? How is the arc on the welder?

                      Do you the "soft" and "stiff" settings make much of a difference on the 7018 and 6010 settings?

                      I only have 240 single phase and that worries me on the CST 280. It seems like you can only turn it up to 200A on single phase...

                      But what happens if you or someone else helping me turns it up past 200A and I start welding with it on single phase? Does it just not work, or does it limit the output internally without causing any problems...?? So many questions about this one.

                      The manual says:
                      Miller CST 280
                      200 A at 28 V,
                      50% Duty Cycle*

                      150 A at 26 V,
                      100% Duty Cycle*

                      *Output ratings on 230 V single-phase are reduced to comply with
                      CSA current limitation on input power cable.

                      It looks like on the Miller even though it is called the "CST 280", on single phase it is only capable of delivering 200 amps according to the graph in the manual.

                      So essentially I would be paying more for a welder that appears to be the same amps out as the Maxstar 200 STR with slightly more duty cycle on single phase..?

                      Is there really anything that makes the CST different from the Maxstar other than the duty cycle?

                      I



                      Lincoln is claiming they can go much higher and I guess some how these CSA current limitations don't apply to them....? I don't know. But seems like you get a lot more output on single phase than any other 240V machine I have found.

                      Lincoln Invertec V275-S --- single phase 230V
                      275A/31V/35%
                      250A/30V/60%
                      200A/28V/100%

                      I just haven't found many people using the V275-S to talk to... probably not many on a Miller forum and I know the Lincoln dealer here will be biased somewhat.




                      Last edited by clint738; 12-20-2012, 04:34 PM. Reason: spelling

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                      • #12
                        I've got a cst280. Nice small machine and can burn some pretty good size rod. I can also cook through 1/8" and 5/32" rod all day on an undersized breaker without popping it. My millermatic 251 with through a breaker sometimes. Somewhat annoying. I am slowing putting together a lift-tig setup for it so that I can tig mild and stainless steel. I have a torch and hose but I need a tank of argon and tri-mix and a regulator... Sorry I can't help with tig. If you get a tig specific maxstar then you get some more features than the cst for just a little bit more price. The cst is a stick welder that CAN tig, but isn't really designed for it. I would run the dynasty and call it good. You can get the air cooled setup with foot pedal for a decent price. How much stick vs tig do you see yourself doing? Mig is my go to because it is super easy to setup and very easy to keep clean and finish. No slag chipping or anything. Also, the hot start and dig settings on the cst seem to make a small difference, but I am not experienced enough to tell what exactly that different is...

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                        • #13
                          We have the CST 280's at work and they are awesome . Nice for tig but our chief
                          use is for arc. I have my own and love it. I do mostly stick too .The soft/stiff settings for 6010 and 7018 do really work.
                          We also have the Maxstar 200 . Nicer for tig put are not liked for arc. Given a choice for arc most want the 280 over the maxstar. Maxstar digital readout is a
                          nice feature along with 110/220 voltage but I voted for the 280.
                          That is why there are so many different machines. You must have more than one.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BD1 View Post
                            That is why there are so many different machines. You must have more than one.
                            That is a true statement! Ultimately I plan on keeping the cst and adding a dynasty to the line up. With the millermatic I have that should round out the set perfectly. I can then start adding welders again after I get my cnc plasma and big press brake setup...

                            You guys have good luck with the lift-tig on the cst? What type of material? Air- or water-cooled torches? What type of tungsten are you using and have you noticed what type the machine prefers?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BD1 View Post
                              We have the CST 280's at work and they are awesome . Nice for tig but our chief
                              use is for arc. I have my own and love it. I do mostly stick too .The soft/stiff settings for 6010 and 7018 do really work.
                              We also have the Maxstar 200 . Nicer for tig put are not liked for arc. Given a choice for arc most want the 280 over the maxstar. Maxstar digital readout is a
                              nice feature along with 110/220 voltage but I voted for the 280.
                              That is why there are so many different machines. You must have more than one.
                              So even though the tig units (Maxstar and Dynasty) are capable of stick welding, they are not as good as the Arc welders (CST 280, Dialarc, or thunderbolt) at arc welding?

                              I do already have a Millermatic 140 and love it. Just wish it could weld thicker material. But I grew up on arc and want to get a machine of my own now. I can use my father-in-laws Lincoln cracker box AC/DC 225/125 arc welder, but hate that it does not have a continuous amp adjustment. Sometimes one click is too hot and the click below it seems a little cold.

                              About 70% of my projects will be Arc welding and for thin stuff (maybe the other 30%) I would like to replace my mig welding with learning to tig weld.

                              This is where I run into an issue that while The CST280 is great for arc it definetly can't do AC tig and I'm not sure if the Dynasty 200 is that great for arc.

                              What ever machine I get, I want it to be a good arc welder that I could practice my 6G pipe and plate welding.

                              I think I read the 6" schedule 40 pipe is actually 0.28", so thicker than 1/4". Would that be a problem for the Dynasty to arc weld and tig weld?

                              My wife really won't want to hear "I need 2 machines this christmas" since she's actually buying it for me.
                              Last edited by clint738; 12-21-2012, 07:33 AM.

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