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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    120

    Default Miller Econotig - Why Buy It?

    Hi,

    I have read the various threads on the Web discussing the Miller Econotig.

    Usually they go..."for a little more you could have Brand X so why buy it?"

    Well the question I have is when would you consider the Econotig a good purchase?

    For a hobbyist who welds occasionly on a variety of metals, would it be a good fit?

    As for its welding (stick and TIG) capability, just how good is the Econotig REALLY?

    Several posters mention that they consider it to be overpriced.

    At what price would you consider it to be a good buy for its capacity?

    Thanks in advance for any information you can offer.

    TMT

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    3,711

    Default

    T M T,

    I will say the Syncro 180 is a better choice in the long run at approximately 1550 for the SD package. It will hold its value well and won't be hard to resale. The duty cycle is better and everything about the S180 SD is professional. I see them in numerous shops including a few race teams.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,311

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Too_Many_Tools
    Hi,

    I have read the various threads on the Web discussing the Miller Econotig.

    Usually they go..."for a little more you could have Brand X so why buy it?"

    Well the question I have is when would you consider the Econotig a good purchase?

    For a hobbyist who welds occasionly on a variety of metals, would it be a good fit?

    As for its welding (stick and TIG) capability, just how good is the Econotig REALLY?

    Several posters mention that they consider it to be overpriced.

    At what price would you consider it to be a good buy for its capacity?

    Thanks in advance for any information you can offer.

    TMT

    What was good about the econotig was, it was one of the first small non inverter ac/dc tig machines. It's duty-cycle and output really make it a work out when using it on ac. You will be snapping it off all the time unless you are welding pretty thin stuff. Get a 180 or 185 machine for the duty-cycle alone. The Thermal-arc 185 does a leap frog over a SD 180 almost as much or more as a the SD 180 does over a econotig. They are about maybe $100 more for the Thermal. To me it is a no brainer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    212

    Default

    I have an older Econtwin HF tig.

    Here is what I think so far:

    I too am a hobbist welder and so far it seems to be doing the job for me, but I also got the welder at a VERY good price. I am welding SS, AL, and mild in TIG and have also used the machine as a stick welder.

    I have run into a duty cycle issue once and it caused me to run smaller beads and let the machine cool. Not really a big deal for a hobbist.

    For welding aluminum, I would really like to have foot control of the current. This machine does not have foot control and it takes a while to get a puddle to form and corners and "bead ends" can be more of a challenge.

    My plan in the future is to purchase a Dynasty 200DX but this is mostly for the portability and small size. The other bells and whistles are nice as well.

    The econotwin will take more line power than an inverter so if rewiring the garage/house is an issue it may make more financial sense to purchase a slightly more expensive machine than rewiring.

    It all comes down to what you are welding, how much you are welding and what you want to spend. You did not indicate any thicknesses or lengths.

    I am by no means a professional welder and I am sure that there are limitations of this older welder compared to a newer welder. After speaking with several professional welders on this site, it would appear that this machine does still weld well and when I upgrade in the future I will be better off since I practiced on this machine.

    I hope this helps. If you have any additional questions I'll do my best to answer them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,311

    Default

    I have an older Econtwin HF tig.

    Just so everybody knows,that is a totally different machine then a econotig.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    875

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Too_Many_Tools
    Hi,

    I have read the various threads on the Web discussing the Miller Econotig.

    Usually they go..."for a little more you could have Brand X so why buy it?"

    Well the question I have is when would you consider the Econotig a good purchase?

    For a hobbyist who welds occasionly on a variety of metals, would it be a good fit?

    As for its welding (stick and TIG) capability, just how good is the Econotig REALLY?

    Several posters mention that they consider it to be overpriced.

    At what price would you consider it to be a good buy for its capacity?

    Thanks in advance for any information you can offer.

    TMT
    At $500-600 I would consider buying one, but head to head against the Synchrowave 180SD it's a no-brainer; the Econotig doesn't cut it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    120

    Default

    Thanks for responses so far...they are appreciated.

    My understanding is that the Miller Econotig and Hobart Tigmate are equivalent...correct?

    Does anyone have an opinion on Miller versus Hobart in respect to their offerings? I am currently upgrading my welding setups and when I compare the offerings that both companies have, I see ALOT of similarities except for the blue and gray paint jobs. Is that the only difference?

    In respect to TIG, I continue to hear good things about Thermal Arc. Any comments?

    Being that I have a NIB Hobart Tigmate for a very good price sitting in the garage right now, it is getting harder and harder to justify spending the difference to upgrade a Miller SD180. I don't have any problem spending money if one "needs" the added capability but at the moment I suspect it is a "want" rather than a "need".

    To summarize the main points of what I have read about the Econotig/Tigmate versus the SD180 versus inverters...

    - For TIG, the Econotig/Tigmate has a range of 20-165A AC/30-160A DC
    while the SD180 has a range of 10-180A AC/DC.
    (For a higher range in stick, I have access to a 230A AC/DC stick welder. I would like to have access to a lower amperage setting in TIG. Any suggestions as to how to lower the amperage in both AC and DC TIG on the low end of the range?)

    - The Econotig/Tigmate is rated at 20% duty cycle while the SD180 is a
    40% duty cycle.
    (Being this welder is for hobby work with robotics and telescope
    making which tends to be thinner and various metals, the difference in duty cycle shouldn't matter.)

    - Weightwise, the Econotig/Tigmate is 140lbs. versus 224lbs. for the
    SD180.
    (Lighter is better.)

    - Currentwise, I have the wiring in place at my residence to use the Econotig/Tigmate or a SD180 (both around 50A). Unfortunately we all move sometime and having a welder that can be run off a dryer outlet (30A) is a plus when you move into that new location that can't be updated.
    (Lower current draw is better for future hookups in the future.)

    - HFwise for TIG, the SD180 is a square wave machine while the
    Econotig/Tigmate has sinewave capability.
    (How much difference does this really make in aluminum? Any comments?)

    - The pricing I am seeing for the SD180 is about $1450 (Internet or
    local) while the NIB Tigmate I have found will end costing in the
    neighborhood of $500-600. What is the pricing for a comparable inverter?
    (Cheaper is good...more money to spend on other toys...err I mean
    tools.)

    - As for inverters, how is their track record for durability? As we all know, repairs are expensive for any welder IF you can get the parts. My guess is that transformer based machines are more reliable and cheaper to fix when they do break down. On that subject, how has the reliability of the Econotig been?

    Thanks for any comments you can offer.

    TMT

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    875

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Too_Many_Tools
    Thanks for responses so far...they are appreciated.

    My understanding is that the Miller Econotig and Hobart Tigmate are equivalent...correct?

    Does anyone have an opinion on Miller versus Hobart in respect to their offerings? I am currently upgrading my welding setups and when I compare the offerings that both companies have, I see ALOT of similarities except for the blue and gray paint jobs. Is that the only difference?

    In respect to TIG, I continue to hear good things about Thermal Arc. Any comments?

    Being that I have a NIB Hobart Tigmate for a very good price sitting in the garage right now, it is getting harder and harder to justify spending the difference to upgrade a Miller SD180. I don't have any problem spending money if one "needs" the added capability but at the moment I suspect it is a "want" rather than a "need".

    To summarize the main points of what I have read about the Econotig/Tigmate versus the SD180 versus inverters...

    - For TIG, the Econotig/Tigmate has a range of 20-165A AC/30-160A DC
    while the SD180 has a range of 10-180A AC/DC.
    (For a higher range in stick, I have access to a 230A AC/DC stick welder. I would like to have access to a lower amperage setting in TIG. Any suggestions as to how to lower the amperage in both AC and DC TIG on the low end of the range?)

    - The Econotig/Tigmate is rated at 20% duty cycle while the SD180 is a
    40% duty cycle.
    (Being this welder is for hobby work with robotics and telescope
    making which tends to be thinner and various metals, the difference in duty cycle shouldn't matter.)

    - Weightwise, the Econotig/Tigmate is 140lbs. versus 224lbs. for the
    SD180.
    (Lighter is better.)

    - Currentwise, I have the wiring in place at my residence to use the Econotig/Tigmate or a SD180 (both around 50A). Unfortunately we all move sometime and having a welder that can be run off a dryer outlet (30A) is a plus when you move into that new location that can't be updated.
    (Lower current draw is better for future hookups in the future.)

    - HFwise for TIG, the SD180 is a square wave machine while the
    Econotig/Tigmate has sinewave capability.
    (How much difference does this really make in aluminum? Any comments?)

    - The pricing I am seeing for the SD180 is about $1450 (Internet or
    local) while the NIB Tigmate I have found will end costing in the
    neighborhood of $500-600. What is the pricing for a comparable inverter?
    (Cheaper is good...more money to spend on other toys...err I mean
    tools.)

    - As for inverters, how is their track record for durability? As we all know, repairs are expensive for any welder IF you can get the parts. My guess is that transformer based machines are more reliable and cheaper to fix when they do break down. On that subject, how has the reliability of the Econotig been?

    Thanks for any comments you can offer.

    TMT

    From your posts at Weld Talk I already knew you had the NIB Tigmate. For what you will pay for it I would say its a no brainer. To quote an old friend "if you don't buy it at that price, two fools met".

    For stick machines I would buy whichever is cheaper between Hobart and Miller. With the smaller Migs I like Hobart's tapped transformer and lower price, but once you go full size the Millers really shine.

    I had a 1986 vintage PowCon for 6 years and had only a couple of minor issues wih it, and one of them was my fault. Parts/service are more expensive for inverters and are more likely to be needed than for a transformer machine, but portability becomes an issue for many people, especially professionals.

    For shop use I would be happy with a transformer machine up to 60 amps but if you need much more power than that installation and electric costs become a factor.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    King NC
    Posts
    45

    Default

    [
    (Being this welder is for hobby work with robotics and telescope
    making which tends to be thinner and various metals, the difference in duty cycle shouldn't matter.)

    Try the machine out on the thin material you plan on welding. I think you stated earlier that the bottom end was more imprtant to you. It was to me and that is why I went with the TA185.

    Steve

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