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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    3

    Talking Looking for a Tig machine, want to learn more about them and what is hot.

    I have been reading up on various Tig machines and I am leaning toward a Miller Syncrowave, but it is like going into a stereo store- too many options.

    I have looked at ESAB 260's Lincoln 355 SqWv, M350Dx, and there are so many other miller machines that do TIG of different sorts. (drag / lift Start / HF start etc.)

    I have used a 200 DX to tig together some projects, and I am a bit concerned that a synchowave 180 may be light on current, so I have been looking for a bit bigger machine with HF, foot control, and the capability to weld 3/8 steel and AL.

    I am looking to hear what some more experienced tig welders are using.
    Anyone willing to share some words of wisdom?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    203

    Default Syncrowave

    A used syncrowave would be a good choice. If you buy used, you can probably sell it for about what you paid for it, if you decided to upgrade at some future time.

    If you want a good basic TIG, without spending a lot of money, it is hard to beat a used Miller Syncrowave 180 or 200. I have owned both, both are good. Both have High Frequency, AC and DC, so you can weld any metal, including aluminum. Both include stick and TIG. The original version of the Syncrowave 180 is arguably better for beginners, as it has minimal controls, three switches and one knob, simple to use. The later version of the 180 (180SD) added an AC balance knob and digital displays. The 200 has lots of bells and whistles, including pulse, which I like for thin copper. The 180 is a little smaller, but both are relatively big and heavy, around 200 pounds. Figure on at least a 50 amp 220V circuit for either welder, which is what I use. Some recommend a 60 amp 220V breaker.

    I bought the 200 for $1300, too good a deal to pass up, and then sold my Synchrowave 180 for $1150. The 180 price that I got was probably higher than average, and the 200 price that I paid was lower than average, so I did very well, paid only $150 to upgrade.

    Anyway, for somewhere between $1000 and $1500, you can buy a used Syncrowave 180 or 200, and have a welder that will probably serve all your needs for decades. If you buy used, and you decide you need a bigger or fancier welder down the road, you can get almost all your money back when you sell it. You will take a big depreciation hit if you buy a new welder and sell it later. With these Syncrowaves you can TIG weld any thin metal up to about 3/16 inch, and you can stick weld any steel 1/8 inch or thicker. I used the 180 as a stick welder for months before I got around to buying an argon bottle. Some report that the 180 had a higher than average repair rate, but my original version 180 gave me no trouble.

    I am not a big fan of the Miller Diversion because it lacks stick. Stick is what you need to weld thick steel. The Dynasty is a great welder, but way too much money unless you have to have easy portability, or need 110V. (Note that a 20 amp 120Volt outlet will only run a welder at very reduced power, so 110V operation is not that great an advantage). The Miller EconoTIG looks good on paper, but a Miller factory guy said that it was not that great, that the Syncrowave 180 was a much better machine. Lincoln makes the Square Wave 175, and Precision TIG 225, similar to the Syncrowaves, look for a used Lincoln as a possible alternative. Many if not most inverter welders are DC only, so you canít TIG aluminum. (Examples: Multimatic 200, XMT series, Maxstar series, the new Thermal Arc multi-process welders, Lincoln V350 and C300, etc.)

    Note that many inverter welders, such as the Dynasty or Invertec series, do not come standard with a TIG torch, regulator, and foot pedal, so they are even more expensive than they look at first glance. The Syncrowaves come with everything you need except a gas bottle. The welder manufacturers are pushing their inverter machines, but it is hard to justify the much higher cost, especially when you can find a used Syncrowave for not much more than $1000. They have sold a lot of Syncrowaves, so you should be able to find a used one if you look.

    Just for comparison, a new Syncrowave 200 retails for $2900, a new Dynasty 200DX with torch, regulator, foot pedal, etc., retails for $4680. On the used market, the Dynasty 200 welders are hard to find, and priced around $3000. The Syncrowaves are easier to find used, and priced right.

    The Syncrowave 250 is an industry classic, a great machine, but big and heavy, and more expensive. It should probably have a 100 amp 220V circuit, especially if you want to get full power out of it. The 250 is just more welder than most folks need, unless you need to TIG 1/4 inch thick aluminum.

  3. #3

    Default

    Check this thermal arc out.

    http://m.cyberweld.com/tharc186acti.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default

    I think I'm going to pick up the Esab 161LTS today. It's on sale at my LWS...I already have the Miller Multimatic 200, but for the price of the TIG contractor kit for the machine I can get a dedicated TIG machine that will run 6010 cellulosic rods for an extra $200....AND a free new hood. So really the price difference is somewhere in the neighborhood of $50...essentially a steal!

    It doesn't have HF start, pulse, and it's DC only; but for the little bit that I would do with it...it would be perfect. Plus I can always get the aluminum spool gun for my Miller and should be set.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,168

    Default

    Some people like transformer tigs, others like inverter. If you are a hobby weldor either is fine. Myself I prefer inverter as I do production welding and use 3 phase power. My power draw is one half that of a transformer unit.

    I also need the perfomance. Transformer tigs just don't get up and go for me. But they can be smooth.

    The easiest tig ever designed was the inverter Diversion. I like the 180 dual voltage. Sure it feels has it's limitations but you will be tigging in no time. And tigging is HARD! Hence the Diversion series. Some newbies grasp it, outgrow it, and sell them for an upgrade.
    Nothing welded, Nothing gained

    Miller Dynasty700DX
    3 ea. Miller Dynasty350DX
    Miller Dynasty200DX
    ThermalArc 400 GTSW
    MillerMatic350P
    MillerMatic200 with spoolgun
    MKCobraMig260
    Lincoln SP-170T
    Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
    Hypertherm 1250
    Hypertherm 800
    PlasmaCam CNC cutter
    Fadal Toolroom CNC Mill
    SiberHegner CNC Mill
    2 ea. Bridgeport
    LeBlond 15" Lathe
    Haberle 18" Cold Saw
    Doringer 14" Cold Saw
    6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    La
    Posts
    248

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    Some people like transformer tigs, others like inverter. If you are a hobby weldor either is fine. Myself I prefer inverter as I do production welding and use 3 phase power. My power draw is one half that of a transformer unit.

    I also need the perfomance. Transformer tigs just don't get up and go for me. But they can be smooth.

    The easiest tig ever designed was the inverter Diversion. I like the 180 dual voltage. Sure it feels has it's limitations but you will be tigging in no time. And tigging is HARD! Hence the Diversion series. Some newbies grasp it, outgrow it, and sell them for an upgrade.



    Ive been having my Diversion 180 for a while now, great maching. Real smooth on DC, and its dialed in great in my opinion for aluminum. Like Shovelon said, I'm starting to outgrow mine. Started looking at the Dynasty


    Dynasty 200 DX
    Diversion 180 (FOR SALE)
    Millermatic 350P, XR-Aluma-Pro
    30A Spoolgun
    Lincoln Pro Mig 140
    Hypertherm Powermax 30
    14" Rage Evolution 360
    40 ton press brake
    Shop full of tools

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,168

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ja baudin View Post
    Ive been having my Diversion 180 for a while now, great maching. Real smooth on DC, and its dialed in great in my opinion for aluminum. Like Shovelon said, I'm starting to outgrow mine. Started looking at the Dynasty
    The jump to a Dynasty will be seamless if you go with the 200DX. Really a simplified 350 and 700. If they ever come out with the 280EZ, you will have the best of both worlds. It has the same interface as the Diversion, but with like a Diversion on steroids.
    Nothing welded, Nothing gained

    Miller Dynasty700DX
    3 ea. Miller Dynasty350DX
    Miller Dynasty200DX
    ThermalArc 400 GTSW
    MillerMatic350P
    MillerMatic200 with spoolgun
    MKCobraMig260
    Lincoln SP-170T
    Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
    Hypertherm 1250
    Hypertherm 800
    PlasmaCam CNC cutter
    Fadal Toolroom CNC Mill
    SiberHegner CNC Mill
    2 ea. Bridgeport
    LeBlond 15" Lathe
    Haberle 18" Cold Saw
    Doringer 14" Cold Saw
    6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    yuba city, CA
    Posts
    53

    Default is 3/8" AL a must have?

    Quote Originally Posted by emmettjg View Post
    I have been reading up on various Tig machines and I am leaning toward a Miller Syncrowave, but it is like going into a stereo store- too many options.

    I am a bit concerned that a synchowave 180 may be light on current, so I have been looking for a bit bigger machine with HF, foot control, and the capability to weld 3/8 steel and AL.

    I am looking to hear what some more experienced tig welders are using.
    Anyone willing to share some words of wisdom?
    If you'll really need to weld 3/8" AL, that narrows down the choices.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA
    Posts
    5

    Default

    I ended up with my dynasty because there is no way I could have run a syncrowave off the power in our shop. All I've got is a 30 amp 220v recepticle. Believe me, I was looking at syncs before I found out I couldn't run one.
    Dynasty 200DX
    Millermatic 211

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    3

    Default Thanks you guys,

    I want to thank you guys for all the data.
    There are a lot of great suggestions here.
    I have been looking at syncrowaves, and I am leaning that way.
    I suspect I will also invest at some point in a heavy duty Mig.
    I don't see too many machines out there that do all three processes (MIG, TIG and Stick) that will also weld aluminum.
    I suspect they will be out soon- with the added feature of plasma cutter.
    Dave, you asked if I really need 3/8" AL. - truly, I don't know for sure, but if I get to welding up a manifold, and I cannot do it because it is under powered, I would hate it. (then again a syncro 350 DX does not come cheap :-) )
    RAFerguson- thanks for your insight, I appreciate all the input guys!
    Emmett

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