What is a TIG welder used for and Where?
Tungsten inert gas welding also known as TIG is a processes which uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce a weld while shield gas protects the area from contamination. The TIG welding method which is the focus of this review uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce a weld. The TIG welding process was developed in the 1930s and used during WWII to weld parts of aircraft. Today, it is used on stainless steel, aluminum, brass, gold and chromoly and any material with the capacity to conduct electricity.
A TIG welder is used for areas with high optics and aesthetic value. They are well suited for finishing to give a beautiful appearance. Furthermore, because of the versatility of the TIG torch, they are specialized for thinking hard to reach places. Similarly, they work best on clean surfaces which makes it fitting for indoor welding purposes and they leave a perfect finish. Using a TIG welder for largescale outdoor welding jobs may be ill advised as they work slower than other welding processes. Also the outdoors contains dirt which will defeat the aim of using a TIG welder.
TIG welding process
There are three necessary things to do before a TIG weld of course after accessing a TIG welding machine.
- First you need to have a TIG torch which is held like a pencil. The reason for this is to allow for easy manipulation of the torch in the welding process. The TIG torch usually has a gas lens set up in it, the gas that comes out of it spreads very evenly around the welding area and you don’t get a lot of turbulence.
- Second factor to be considered is the power supply. If you are going to weld steel of 4130 for example you need to set the power supply on DC negative and the machine on 100A.
- The third factor is the foot control, which is like the gas pedal on a car, pushing it all the way down will give you a 100 amps. Letting it back up will let the arc off. The TIG torch is held straight up in the air, but if you can’t see, you tilt it a little about 150.
You hit the foot control, the gas comes on and an arc is initiated. When you can see a puddle, using your free hand, you dab with the filler metal gently over the area to be welded.
TIG vs MIG welding?
Before one can proceed to TIG welding, it is imperative to have basic training on mig welding. This perhaps is the reason why TIG welding and MIG are often compared by potential buyers and users.
- MIG welding works best for large scale projects under the shortest amount of time while a TIG welder does small jobs at a time.
- A MIG mention welds faster than a TIG welder as its main focus isn’t aesthetic and optics.
- TIG process has short welds with beautiful precision but a mig process is not all about appearance.
- TIG welds a greater number of electrical conductive materials while MIG is a little limited.
- The MIG process can be automated, that is performed by robots while TIG welding has to be done by hand and manually too.
- TIG weld leaves behind beautifully consistent beads on a clean surface but not so much on a dirty surface. A MIG well on the other hand works well on both a clean and a dirty surface.
What are the Advantages of TIG welding?
There are a number of reasons why a TIG weld is preferred for welding purposes. They include:
- A TIG welder can weld all materials that can conduct electricity only by changing its polarity.
- TIG welding is very clean. It leaves no splatter and you don’t have to clean the weld surface after work which saves time.
- They make solid welds for small scale project. This makes it suitable for a hobbyist.
- A TIG weld makes very beautiful beads with precision which makes it ideal for finishing and areas with high optics.
- A TIG welder can be used in small tiny places.
When do you use a TIG welder?
Before proceeding to a TIG welder, you should first be familiar with the MIG process as TIG requires a level of expertise and a high degree of dexterity. Knowledge of this will enable you decide if your work requires the TIG process. If you are unsure however, here are some tips and pointers to help in your decision to settle for a TIG welder.
A TIG weld is most effective when the material is thin as they require low-amp welding. A TIG welder shouldn’t be considered if materials are thicker than 0.5”. Similarly, if the material to be welded is aluminum then AC powered TIG welder is a better solution while a DC powered TIG welder is ideal for stainless steel.
Appearance and optics
If a weld job is going to be highly visible, then a TIG welder should be used as the process is extremely precise and consistent with little splatter. This makes it perfect for jobs that have high optics and are always visible; finishings.
Model: TIG200P HitBox
The Tig200p Hitbox is a kick-ass inverter based TIG welder with Pulse digital high frequency with stick MMA welding features that is controlled digitally. It is portable with a dual input voltage of 110V and 220V which is as an added advantage low power consuming for energy saving. The Tig200p is one phased, has a dual frequency of 50/ 60 Hz, a duty cycle of 60% and an output of 30 – 200A. It is compact and lightweight weighing 16.5lbs. and perfect for indoor welding as it is quiet. We like the clamp ( has a good squeeze to it) . The ARC cable has a good squeeze to it and is brass on both sides( good quality)
- It is a high frequency start machine and does not include a foot pedal.
- Can run on a 5000watt generator
- It’s a DC only welder and as such cannot weld aluminum
Improvements: We would have liked to have seen it come with a regulator and the cable is slightly floppy. Not a flex head tig torch, decent seams (not the best) but has a flex ball at the strain relief. There's no voltage control and it will only TIG in 2t and 4t, this isn't much of a big deal as 2t can be used momentarily to drop the heat. Also, control knobs are a little sensitive and tough to use.
Conclusion: All in all we love the build of this TIG/ARC machine. Decent assemblage of parts but the power is distinctively effective.
The Lotos TIG200 is versatile and compact inverter based tig welding machine that offers unmatched performance in TIG welding. The tig 200 has an auto- detect dual voltage of 220V and 110V as well as dual frequency of 50Hz and 60 Hz. The dual voltage machine is perfect for professionals as well a weekend warrior who is looking to get high quality industrial features in an affordable welding machine. It is perfect for welding stainless steel, mild steel aluminum and other metal materials with the capacity of 3/8 “.
- Easy switch between 220V and 110V
- Has a high frequency start
- Hand control and foot control pedal included
Improvement: We would have preferred a pencil torch over the European torch which is not easy to maneuver and dust can get under its covers.
Conclusion: The Lotos TIG200 comes out of the box ready to weld and has a potential of 100% duty cycle on low amp jobs.
The TIG 200DC by Amico is a truly versatile TIG machine with the stick and ARC features. It is an inverter system based unit with dual voltage of 110V/ 230V and output range of DC 20-200 amps. It is one phased and lightweight coming at just 15.5 lbs. with a duty circle of 60% at AC 230V at 200A, and 60% at AC 110V at 150 A.
- Also does stick welding and has ARC features.
- Doesn’t come with a foot pedal or high frequency starting.
- Requires scratching to start.
- Requires argon flow meter / regulator which is sold separately.
Improvement: We noticed that descriptions are written in chinglish, it can’t do any heavy welding and you are sure to outgrow it.
Conclusion: It’s so versatile and has a high duty cycle that you’ll get hooked on TIG once you get the Argon tank. Great machine.
The Everlast PowerTIG 250EX is an AC/DC TIG STICK pulse welder that is well equipped for the professional and the enthusiast with a low 5 amp start for TIG in AC and DC modes. The PowerTIG 250EX is an inverter based single phase 240V with an output of 250 amps and a 60% duty cycle.
- Arc force control for stick reduces spatter, improves arc performance in short arc conditions.
- Improved HF start circuit to ensure longevity.
- As low as 5 amps can start the machine in both AC and dc mode.
Improvement: It is quite expensive and it requires a minimum working voltage of 208V. For phase 1 and phase 3, it requires a 240V power supply.
Conclusion: This machine has a 5-year warranty period and with a 100% duty cycle at 200A, you are sure to get a lot of work done in no time.
Overall Rating: 4.4/5
Hobart is a leading brand in the welding community making successive high quality welding equipment and the Hobart EZ TIG 165i is equally impressive. The EZ TIG 165i is one of the easiest TIG welders to use despite the price tag. Yes, you will be paying more but Hobart’s dedication to quality puts them in a league of their own. Weighing 50lbs., the EZ TIG 165i is the complete package with AC/ DC 200V, and a foot control pedal.
- The interface has two settings options to change to; max output knob and AC/ DC option switch
- Single knob control makes it the easiest and quickest welder to set up
- Easy to use interface even for a first timer
Improvement: If you have a 1/16”, 0.040 or 0.20” electrode, you will have to order some as it comes with a 3/32” cullet and cullet body.
Conclusion: It is a very easy to set up and use machine and puts up a grand performance.
5| ANSEN 180AMP TIG & STICK
The Ansen TIG-185S high performance inverter based TIG welding machine is one that will exceed your expectations. It is a very portable unit at 15lbs which makes it very easy to carry and move around during work. With an input voltage of 115V/ 230V, and output of 20 -180 Amps, a frequency of 60Hz and a 60% duty cycle, the TIG- 185S is a performance pacesetter in the welding industry. The TIG- 185S is applicable to welding stainless steel, steel, carbon steel, copper, copper alloy and other non-ferrous metal welding. It however welds aluminum in stick mode. As an added bonus, it comes with all pictured accessories.
- Additional stick welding feature
- Advanced control module for improved performance
- Has both TIG and Stick welding functions.
- Adjustable and multiple welding methods
Improvement: Electrode holder could be of better quality and it doesn’t weld aluminum.
Conclusion: The Ansen 160 is great for beginners, affordable and has a high duty circle
The 2018 AHP AlphaTIG 200X is a great 200-amp AC/DC welder with an added stick function that can be used by a hobbyist professionally and offers the best versatility in the class of its price range on the market. The AHP has a 110/ 220V and an amperage ranging from 10- 200. It features standard TIG torch consumables used in the WP17 flex hose torch and for those who wish to add the trigger switch to the torch, a separate TIG control switch is provided. It works excellently on 1/4” aluminum, 3/8” mild steel, stainless steel and other thinner-gauge materials.
- Features HF start TIG and foot pedal for control and operation
- Doubles as a stick welder
- Advanced inverter technology with Power Width Modulation and IGBT technology ensures a steady long lasting power source
- Has a 5-year warranty period.
Improvement: Gas regulator doesn’t give precise reportage and display screen doesn’t show accurate amperage.
Conclusion: A 60% duty cycle and a high amperage provides flexibility to weld more metals and for longer.
The Square Wave TIG200 is a packed full with features, versatile and a high powered TIG welder from a recognizable brand. The TIG is capable of both AC/ DC welding and can weld materials from steel to aluminum to magnesium and anything in-between. It’s a dual voltage machine of 120V/ 230V. It is quite heavy with a professional build, and it is unbelievably a hobby machine with a lot of features.
- It is one of the most adaptable welders on the market with its 170A powerful stick welder
- It has a foot control pedal which comes with the machine
- The TIG torch has a super flex cable which makes it very flexible
- Very easy to use interface with minimal buttons.
Improvement: This welder is a little loud, cannot attach a spool gun and it struggled a little on the low arc start before stabilizing.
Conclusion: TIG and Stick welding accessories are of a high quality as is the machine itself and can weld at 10 amps.
The Maxstar 150STL by Miller is a leader in terms of portability and quality. Despite its very impressive power output, the miller maxstar 150 STL is the smallest TIG welder on the market weighting just 13.7lbs and comes with a shoulder strap to further buttress this point. The maxstar 150 STL is a one phased, dual voltage of 120V/240V with 150A output max.
- The maxstar 150 STL has the Miller multi-voltage plug (MVP) for easy switch between 120V and 240V
- The STL has DC inverter with lift ARC features
- Fan 0n demand cooling system
Improvement: Unfortunately, the Maxstar cannot weld aluminum or thick materials and foot pedal sold separately.
Conclusion: For TIG, this device offers an outstanding 100% duty cycle at 100A and it is tough to beat.
The Razorweld digital TIG 200 amp is an inverter based digitally controlled AC/ DC TIG welder that is quickly becoming a popular brand among professional welders owing to its exceptional features. This equipment weights 36lbs., includes a 220/110 pigtail, operates on both 115V and 230V, has a duty cycle of 35% at 200A output, pulse up to 200hz AC/DC and leaves no tungsten inclusion or electrode contaminated. It comes with a foot control pedal.
- Easy to use intelligent digital controls
- Has complete TIG package functionality
- Auto protection shuts down equipment in the event of a largescale fluctuation.
- Novel air channels ensure adequate protection, reliability and longevity of equipment.
- HF ignition offers pre-gas and an instant Arc ignition with the touch of a switch
- AC frequency up to 250Hz
Improvement: We found that the ground clamp has a lot of spring tension, more than any we have used before, TIG Torch is not wired and foot pedal is sold separately which makes the cost price higher than it already is.
Conclusion: We like that the amperage can be adjusted directly from the torch and digital control provides professional control and we love that it is super quiet.