From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Newbie TIG Welding Small Thin Tube
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1999 18:02:31 EDT
John Roncallo wrote:
> > You can switch to a water cooled torch, which is quite a bit smaller, but
> > you then have to rig up an adapter to run the water cooling.
> > I used to do this on my Miller econotig.
> I would rather pass on the water cooling.
I suggest you take a second look. The small size and light weight
of a water-cooled torch is work the small hassle. If you don't want
to buy a cooling rig, a carbonator pump (available for almost
nothing from used restaurant equipment firms) and a tank of some
sort will do the trick.
> > > I'd like to try using OA goggles with a #10 filter preferably an auto
> > > darkening filter. Any safety issues with that at these low currents.
> > > Also loosing the gloves would help.
> > Stick to a full shield, no goggles, googles with get you well on your way
> > to skin cancer.
> Point taken.
Pay attention to your clothing too. The UV is much more intense
than with stick welding. It easily penetrates thin clothing and the
burns are pretty miserable. I learned this the hard way by
reporting for my high school job welding up cracked volkswagen heads
for a rebuilder wearing a tee shirt. By the time I got home that
night I didn't want to even think about moving or even breathing...
> > Buy a cheap quartz work light at homebase and place it next to your work
> > so you can really see what is going on.
> Will add to the list
The quartz lite is a start but it puts a LOT of heat on you when you
need it least. My eyes are getting up in age (along with the rest
of me!) and the best thing I did to help maintain my welding quality
was to provide LOTS of light. I have a 1000 watt metal-halide
stadium light mounted on a custom roll-around stand that resembles a
hand cart. This luminary focusses the light from the M-H bulb quite
sharply. I can position the light next to my 10 ft ceiling in my
shop, focus the light on the work and be able to clearly see my work
through a #10 hood even without the arc running. You cannot imagine
how much this improves your work. You can position your hands, your
filler rod and your torch AFTER the hood is down and comfortable.
No more scratching or jabbing to try and get the arc started (or
wondering how close you are to the work with a high freq starter).
The arc is simply a bright spot in your field of view. You can
observe the entire puddle and not just that part that is illuminated
enough by the arc to see. And since the lamp is quite a distance
away and is shining through a sheet of glass on the fixture, very
little heat reaches the work area. My Hubbell fixture costs about
$350 if you buy one new but I picked mine up for $50 from a company
that does stadium light maintenance. The bracket mounting area in
the die cast ballast case was cracked. Absolutely of no consequence
to this application.
This light is also a wonderful general work light. If you have to
work under a vehicle, simply shine the light on the floor near the
work location. Reflected light is more than enough to see.
From: Don Clarke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: TIG welding aluminum sheet
Date: Sun, 05 Mar 2000 02:34:22 GMT
amma miller wrote:
> The problem is that the metal and the filler
> rod just ball up into ugly globs that won't
> flow and smooth out.
Sounds like a "dirty metal" problem to me. TIG welding aluminum can be a
frustrating process if the joint is not extremely clean. For a repair
job I usually sandblast and then wire brush with a stainless steel brush
and then clean with an uncontaminated solvent to remove any trace of
oil. Then I wash with clean water and wipe dry with paper towel. Unless
I'm in a rush, in which case I start welding after the wire brushing.
Always use a stainless steel brush, not a regular one. Non stainless
steel brush will contaminate the joint.
I'm assuming that you have controlled the gas shielding problem...
Subject: Re: Tig Welder Question
From: Robert Bastow <Teenut@hotmail.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 17:11:03 GMT
Mike Graham wrote:
> On Thu, 18 Mar 1999 08:51:23 -0500, Robert Bastow wrote:
> >Small to tiny; Gunsmithing and Model Engineering...Max 1/8" thickness,
> >no plate or section welding. Bolt handles, shortening receivers will be
> >the heaviest. Welding up pits, building up sears, sights, will be small
> Do you have personal objections to inverter machines?
Wots an Inverter machine??
> Is portability an issue?
No...it can be as light or as heavy as required...It ain't going nowhere!
> Since you're doing all ferrous
> stuff, does scratch-start bother you, or would you need hot-start because of
> the cosmetic issues in guns and models?
Cosmetics is all important. I liked the foot control because you didn't have to
scratch or even touch. Lotsa people can run a nice bead ONCE they get it
started..it's at the start and finish where you get all the craters and
With the foot control one could start the arc tiny, play around with a pool of
metal a 1/16" diameter, boost it up to 1/4" and back down again with the tip of
your toe. No Craters, no chickensh** no porosity, perfect weld every time and I
could teach girls to do the welding in half an hour!! They took to it fast..it
was just like needlepoint in metal!!
> If you want portable it would be worth looking at the Lincoln
>Invertec V250-S. It's a relatively high-amperage machine, but has some
>really nice bells and whistles.
Starting to narrow the field Portable not required High amps not required.
Does anyone make a LOW (Top end) amperage machine like this?
> The Square Wave 175 would probably be cheaper, but it's not portable,
>and being a good ole' fashioned transformer/rectifier machine it only
>goes down to 12 amps instead of 1 amp like the Invertec jobbie, which
>is a factor if you want to weld tinfoil. 8-)
Not tinfoil but certainly .030" thickness would be handy
>If the touch-start TIG aspect of the V250-S is not practical (not
>scratch-start, it's touch-start) then a Invertec V200T would be better.
One of the strong points of non contact start is the lack of electrode
contamination, and maintainence of the point equals better control of the arc.
Thanks Mike, I will print this and go look at prices..I still would like to keep
this under a grand (Dream on Huh!!)
Subject: Re: drill sharpening FAQ?
From: Robert Bastow <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 20:09:22 GMT
Maybe the rules of tungsten contamination don't apply in some parts of the
world..Wish I lived there!
But I have found MY immunity blanket!! ;^)
When I bought my Lincoln S W 175..the salesman, of course, loaded me down with
enough supplies, spares, collets...to rebuild the Titanic..I don't think I'll
need to buy another electrode as long as I live.
Among the "Pills and potions, soaps and lotions" he wafted in front of my glazed
eyes was a small, wide topped jar. I must have nodded, because it was at the
bottom of the HUGE cardboard box of "STUFF" I unloaded at home that evening.
"Anchor Brand" I read, "Chemical Sharpener" :^0 "Chemically sharpens tungsten
electrodes without grinding, splintering, flat spots or ridges"
Yeh, Right!! They really did read me for the total amateur!! Hide it, Hide the
A week later, knee deep in a Waffle House Menu of Scattered, splattered,
shattered, tattered, ridged, splintered and contaminated electrodes, I swallowed
what little pride I hade left and reached for the bottle!!
After sobering up..
Whoops, wrong meeting!! That's Tuesdays..What's today? :^o
Instructions are simple..Hold electrode on Ground Clamp until cherry red.
Quickly immerse tep about 1/4" deep into the Chemical Sharpener (THEY spell it
in caps..but Brian says I mustn't ;^) Repeatedly dip until a satisfactory point
results, or reaction ceases.
Reaction Ceases!! Theirs? Mine??
Well a couple of "Flashburns" later...I peer from under the tea bags at..
The most beautiful, chemically clean, slender, polished, needle like POINT
(sorry..), point, you ever saw in all your born days.
Now you would read, (if this were a "true story" on National TV) how my tig
welding woes were over..how I went on to National Fame and Wealth within days of
Not so..this is RCM!! Thud! My tig welding education was just beginning, truth
be known I probably will only graduate grade 12 by repeating grade 6 twice!
But among my many tribulations..Im-Perfect Points does not number! Every time I
drop the pedal on that sucker..I know, whatever trials may (will) come to
pass..it won't be caused by a "lumpy, splintered....yada yada..contaminated
Ain't science wonderful ?
Now I wait for someone to respond and say it ain't so and how you can't put a
proper point on a 0.040" electrode without a Darex and a Microscope!!
Ted Edwards wrote:
> Mike Graham wrote:
> > and the tolerances aren't hideously tight. Usually the only bench grinder
> > around is the one for the TIG tungstens, and if anyone catches you grinding
> > a drill bit on it, you are a dead man.
> Why? I don't grind Al, brass, ... on my only bench grinder. It's used
> for steel and tungstens and I haven't had any problems that I can
> attribute to contaminated tungstens. BTW, I was welding Al yesterday
> and had to re-do my tungsten several times (I have a depth preseption
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Preparing for Power Outages?
Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2007 17:31:26 -0500
On Sun, 04 Mar 2007 17:30:24 -0000, firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary Heston)
>However, I've about decided that it'd be more flexible to buy a generator
>in the 5KW - 5.5KW range and a separate welder. I don't see any of the
>genwelders mention being able to use utility power for welding; with
>separate units, you can weld without running the generator. The price can
>work out to be cheaper, too.
Just a word of experience. Some generators don't play well with
welders. I had a very nice Yamaha 5kw and have a Generac 8kw and
neither play well. The Yamaha would burn out its voltage regulator
rapidly. After repairing it a couple of times I re-designed it to
make it last. The Generac de-excites for a moment (the arc goes off)
and then it comes back up.
In both cases, the problem is the very rapidly and widely varying
current draw. The Yamaha's voltage regulator tried to keep up and
ended up burning out its pass transistor. I redesigned the regulator
with a heavier pass transistor and a switchable long time constant
filter in the input. That kept the regulator alive but the resulting
poor regulation didn't make for very good welding. One could make a
weld that would hold but it wasn't pretty.
The Generac, even though it has more than enough capacity, simply
can't be used. The output shuts down moments after the arc is struck.
I'm sure it's a similar problem but I've not had a chance to look at
I have a homemade 10KW diesel generator that uses one of those cheap
Italian aluminum framed alternators that Harbor Freight and Northern
sell. It's "harmonically regulated". That is, the stator has an aux
winding that is resonated to the 3rd harmonic by a capacitor. The
field rotor is nothing more than a 2 pole electromagnet with a diode
across the ends. The rotor forms the secondary of a transformer at
the 3rd harmonic and the diode half-wave rectifies it to excite the
field. Fairly new architecture - the patents date to the 70s.
Anyway, this unit works fairly well for stick welding but very poorly
for MIG. Regulation is inherent in the design and does not rely on
electronics. The problem with MIG is that the MIG welder depends on
there being great surge current available from the line to blow the
bridge each time the wire shorts to the work. The utility supplies
that but a small generator can't. My rather high end Miller contains
some storage capacitors to reduce the surge draw but it's still there.
I can weld with this generator and MIG but it is rough and unstable
and the weld looks messy. I consider it emergency use only.
If you have much welding at all to do I suggest getting the
combination welder/generator. Those are designed primarily for
welding with the 120 vac output thrown in for good measure.
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Welding on the Road
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 20:38:49 -0400
On Fri, 31 Aug 2007 12:26:34 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
>Not inexpensive (about $1K) but kinda nice for the FullTime gadget
That price is pretty grotesque considering what it is. I have a nice little Harbor
Freight 120 amp inverter TIG/stick welder that's about the size of a lunch box and
that cost only about $130 on sale. I haven't quite been able to coax it to run on my
inverter but it does great on my generator.
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Welding on the Road
Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2007 13:34:57 -0400
>Could you provide a bit more feedback on this Harbor Freight unit?
It's a 240 volt inverter welder. Within its limitations it works great. I welded up
a log splitter for a friend last fall, running it wide open for hours at a time. No
heating or other problems, though the large muffin fan is kinda noisy. DC only.
The arc is very smooth, second only to an MG unit. To be expected given the high
frequency inverter. No AC or high frequency start - DC only. TIG works fine with
the small included torch. Fixed pre and post purge interval.
I've had it open (of course). First, to replace the sorry semi-rigid PVC cord with
35 ft of SJO cord (weighs more than the unit) and then to poke around and analyze the
circuit. Pretty typical ChiCom construction. Cheap case and component mounting,
somewhat sloppy workmanship but the result work. I took photos, of course, so if
you're really interested I could put them up on my web site.
I've been trying to get it to work with my 1500 watt inverter using an
autotransformer. The problem appears to be a non-switchable feature. It applies
full output for a moment regardless of heat setting. This is to help ignite the arc.
It also overloads the inverter. I think that it would work OK if I could get past
that initial surge.
It runs fine on all my generators except the little 1KW ones which is saying
something. My Miller 195 MIG smoked the voltage regulator on my Yamaha 4KW
generator. Apparently it tried to follow the rapidly and widely varying load that a
MIG welder presents, overheated and the blue smoke leaked out. Fortunately the blue
smoke was unbound by potting compound so I could easily fix it.
I think that I paid $129 for the setup. Probably on sale. The TIG torch is almost
worth that. The price was low enough for an experiment and of course, I could have
taken it back if I didn't like it.
I've used it on a few occasions from the back of my truck to weld up broken ORV parts
that the guys have broken playing in the ORV rec area. All stick welding. Did a
very credible job. I'd like a little more current output - 150 amps would be about
right - but for the price I can't complain.
I have a friend who has one of those small Miller do-everything-but-part-your-hair
inverter welders. I'm thinking he paid nearly $3,000 for it. On DC, my little unit
welds just as nicely. Of course, it doesn't have the square wave AC, the
asymmetrical waveform and all the other bells and whistles of the Miller. I can live
with that for the money involved.
I've been thinking about building a lightweight portable gas powered welder similar
to my cordless battery charger, only direct coupled. This little unit has kinda
deflected those plans since it works so well. Not as portable as a self-contained
machine but OTOH, I don't have to lug around the engine either.