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Passport Pro and 16 gauge aluminum?

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  • Passport Pro and 16 gauge aluminum?

    I'm thinking about getting a Passport Pro. I need to be able to weld 16 guage aluminum. The Passport Pro PDF files says "18 guage to 1/4 inch aluminum". Should I believe it?

    The Miller web page on MIG aluminum welding hints says not to try MIG on anything under 14 gauge. I have never welded before, so will be happy to get any advice I can. I'd hate to spend the money and not be able to do what I need to do.

    The primary use is hobby auto. I'll be welding intakes, intercooler pipes, etc. I need both aluminum and stainless steel.

  • #2
    i think if it said 18 gage is doable it likely is. with that in mind i also think for a more precise weld a TIG might be in order.
    never welded an inter cooler, how small of a weld is needed?? i think a demo might be in order. maybe rent one for a week to see how well it handles the job at hand.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped
    sigpic
    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
    summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
    JAMES

    Comment


    • #3
      Renting one is a good idea. I wonder if I could find one close by, and one that has the Passport Pro no-less.

      I'm not sure I plan on welding intercooler endtanks, I was more refering to the pipes leading to and from it (which is one of my immediate needs). They would likely be 16 gauge aluminum tubes 2.5" in diameter. I could use stainless for almost everything really (intercooler endtanks being one exception), but I like the idea of using aluminum for weight reasons.

      What I really want is a Dynasty 200 DX. However, cost is a factor and the Dynasty 200 DX doesn't even come with a torch, whereas the Passport Pro comes with most of the accessories. The price difference to get all set up between the two is almost two times.

      The middle ground is the Syncrowave 200. My problem with it is that it weighs in at ~250 lbs and it requires 230V. I know I'd need to run 230V with the Passport Pro and Dynasty 200 DX for thicker materials, but being able to run 120V for most of what I do is nice. And that I can pick the thing up and use it elsewhere in 120V is even nicer.

      The other issue is that I've never welded. Everyone says TIG is hard to learn. I don't have a lot of extra time. I don't expect to be an expert MIG welder instantly, but if I have a shot at being a good MIG in the amount of time that leaves me still as a sucky TIG welder, well, that is a point to consider as well.

      Is there anything that can't be done with TIG that should be done with MIG? I know MIG is faster, so probably better for huge jobs that need to get done quickly, but other then that, is there a plus MIG has going for it over TIG?

      Comment


      • #4
        the only + MIG has over TIG is speed, deposition rates. TIG can get it all done, slower but generally a nicer look, but it dose take skill and time to learn.once learned some guys will TIG at an impressive pace, but they been at it for a wile.
        if $ was the only concern i would suggest the TA-185 as a TIG option. i and many other members have them and every one (myself included) is very happy with them. no 120V option as its 240V only, but other then that its close to the same options as the Dyn 200. it comes complete ready to weld with every thing except the gas tank for $2,000.oo even. generally about $600-800 under the Dyn200. still only needs 30amp circuit and is easy to cary around.
        it sounds like the passport pro is more along what you are looking for. i would stop in at your LWS and see about a rental or demo. bring some samples to try out the pas-pro on. maybe have them do a few welds if you need time to learn. i'm shore if you buy one from them they will give you a crash coarse on it to get you started.
        thanks for the help
        ......or..........
        hope i helped
        sigpic
        feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
        summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
        JAMES

        Comment


        • #5
          Cool. Thanks for the input. The TA185 looks interesting. I hadn't seen it before. So I guess I have it narrowed down to the following (prices general based on quick searches).

          1. Passport Plus ~$1550 with spoolgun (minus current $100 rebate)
          2. TA185 ~$2350
          3. Dynasty 200 DX ~$3250 for machine + "kit"

          Part me thinks I should get a TIG because I may want to do more, and then I'd end up having to buy one later. There have been many times I've bought something that did what I needed at the time only to kick myself later as I have a need which the tool wasn't capable of handling, so I ended up "upgrading" and losing money in the process. On the other hand, maybe the Passport Plus really can do everything I need. But I don't know if I can judge that until I can really weld myself and start playing around.

          Hard decisions.

          Now for a stupid question... Is there an average length of time that some which is fairly adept at learning new things can become a semi-decent TIG welder? I know it is different for everyone, but at this point I have no clue what to even think. It doesn't look that hard.
          Last edited by root; 01-27-2008, 07:16 PM. Reason: Major goof in Dynasty DX 200 price

          Comment


          • #6
            Some pick up TIG quicker than MIG...it depends on you and who can help you...it's best to have someone there that knows what they are doing to help you and possibly stop bad habits early....
            George W. Bush was saving your butt whether you liked it or not!
            Fear is temporary, regret is forever
            HH210 with SG

            Comment


            • #7
              yep, what he said.
              look for local shop willing to help you learn. some LWS now offer buy here learn here incentives to get you to buy local. seeing it done right will really help.vo-tec schools are options also. even a simple metal art class might be an option if the instructor is willing to help you learn what you need. see whats out there.
              even with a TIG in the shop i think the pas-port would be a nice partner. the 2 together would offer you greater flexibility to meet deadlines or what ever may come up. starting out with a pas-port then adding a TIG later letting the pas port pay for the TIG would be best. always good to have more options, TIG and MIG go well together to round out a shop.
              i picked up TIG fast but struggle with stick ???? although i have an O/A background so TIG was easy for me. still no pro, nor am i very fast. but i can get the job done.

              i got all my welding equipment threw IOC.
              TA-185 = $2,049.oo free dilivery.
              http://cgi.ebay.com/THERMAL-ARC-AM-1...QQcmdZViewItem
              $2457.oo for a TA-200 fully equiped
              thanks for the help
              ......or..........
              hope i helped
              sigpic
              feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
              summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
              JAMES

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks guys. I think I now have enough info to make a decision, although it is still going to be a difficult one. The TA185 is close enough in price to the Passport Plus that it puts TIG back in the game again.

                It is down to those two. So it is essentially a TIG vs MIG decision. I definitely can't afford both (but I accept gifts, anybody? ). Even if I end up buying the other a year from now, I have to make the current decision as if this will be the only one I will ever buy.

                TA185 would be the most versatile and capable. The PP can run on 120V or 230V and they say it can weld 16 gauge aluminum (as I assume the TA185 can), which for the moment is the critical requirement.

                I'm not sure what I'll choose, but hopefully I'll make a choice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm not sure what I'll choose, but hopefully I'll make a choice
                  tuff call.
                  see if ya cant do a little test driving.
                  list your location, maybe one of the members is near you and would be willing to let ya come over and test drive theres or at least try it on your samples to see if its do able.maybe let ya know about a class option near you. i would be happy to let ya come over and try my TA-185.........or give ya a few good starter tip's to help ya get started any way. 16 gage is a piece of cake on the TA-185 well so is 20 gage for that matter.
                  TIG is a lot of fun, but it is not the fastest option. if you are near me pop over and we will TIG up some stuff.

                  good luck on your choice
                  thanks for the help
                  ......or..........
                  hope i helped
                  sigpic
                  feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
                  summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
                  JAMES

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the offer to let me try yours. Unfortunately I'm in central Florida. A bit of a trek.

                    The TA185 is really starting to tempt me though. The more I think about the things I could eventually do with it, the more I think I want the TA185. I was searching around the Internet and came across a thread from a guy that is doing pretty much the same sort of stuff I'm planning on doing and he bought the TA185 and loves it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      the TA will do the job no question there, just a question of time.
                      time to learn, time to get the job done.
                      thanks for the help
                      ......or..........
                      hope i helped
                      sigpic
                      feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
                      summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
                      JAMES

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I just thought of four more questions.

                        1. With a TIG, can you make small tack welds without the filler rod? That is, if I'm holding something in position with one hand, can I tack with the other using a TIG welder? I think I've seen people do it, but wasn't sure.

                        2. What does the electrical plug look like on the TA185? Sounds like a silly question, but if I try to arrange to get a 230V outlet in my garage before the TA185 shows up, I'd like to make sure it is the right one. I assume it is essentially like the 120V, a three prong, but a little larger than a 120V? It is the three phase outlet that is really different, right?

                        3. How long is the power cord on the TA185?

                        4. What amperage breaker circuit should I set this up on? 30A? 40A?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          nothing against the TA-185, i love mine. but i would not count out the pasport pro without trying it out first. its gotten great reviews, its easyer to learn and much easyer to tack with.and 120V is an option
                          but yes you can tack with TIG, not as easily as with mig and in some cases i find filler is needed. again i'm no pro at TIG, but find tacking with filler much easyer. big time so with aluminum. again all part of the longer learning time.
                          the plug is a standerd 240V plug. see pic. 30 amp breaker is fine.
                          the cord is about 10ft. but i did not put a tape on it. might be in the sale page.
                          Attached Files
                          thanks for the help
                          ......or..........
                          hope i helped
                          sigpic
                          feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
                          summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
                          JAMES

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Cool. Thanks for the plug pics. I went to Lowe's to scope things out and found something like four different 230V, 3-prong plug types. They couldn't just make things simple.

                            And now I think you are just trying to drive me crazy. When I think I've decided on the Passport, you mention the TA. Just when I think I've decide on the TA, you give the Passport a plug. If they find me babbling in a corner, I hope you feel sorry.

                            The passport does make good sense. I still like the 120V ability as I wouldn't need to deal with running a 230V line initially, and my immediate needs should be covered with only 120V. Plus it does sound like I could pick it up and work with it faster being a novice. My one single fear is that I'll eventually not be able to do something I want to do and have to buy another unit. Not that it is a bad thing, but right now justifying the cost of either is a close thing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'll make this simple for you then. 16 ga aluminum with a standard ( non-pulsing ) GMAW like a Passport is extremely difficult. The rate of travel will be very fast. You'd basically have very little to no control.

                              Between a standard GMAW unit and a TIG, the TIG is most definitely the way to go for welding 16 ga aluminum. You'll have far more control over the weld puddle with TIG, and even more yet if the TIG unit offers pulse as an option, and then it is used.

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