TIG welder or MIG welder?

Discussion in 'Painting, Welding, Bending and Gas Tanks' started by arceeguy, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Hey guys, my current 140A MIG welder (a Cebora pocket MIG) is pretty much shot. The wire feed mechanism has always been troublesome, and now the contactor is getting flakey. Local welding shop says that Cebora welders have not been imported here to the US (from Italy) in over a decade and parts are scarce. I was helping a friend repair a rusted out snow blower impeller housing and got fed up with the carpy equipment.

    So I was looking at a Lincoln 180C MIG welder as a replacement ($800) - it is a much higher quality unit than the Cebora. (which cost about $500 in 1992) Then I happened to see a Miller Diversion 165 TIG welder package for $1400. I have never TIG welded before, but I like the fact that TIG produces the cleanest looking welds and it would allow me to do custom work on chrome-moly and aluminum bike frames. The welding shop said that the TIG will be able to do anything the MIG welder can do, plus aluminum, stainless steel and chrome moly. The only downside is that it is much slower laying down a bead, which is not a concern for me.

    Can anyone with TIG experience give me any guidance?


  2. Turtle Tedd

    Turtle Tedd Member

    ..Get the TIG ..165 and below willl do almost anything..Have been using different tig and mig machines for 35 years , almost all the mig units have the wire feed problem you describe except the very best ones like the Cobramatic ,that use a push motor and a pull motor in the feed mechanism..I am sure you can pick up tig tecniques without much trouble..
  3. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Hey Tedd, thanks for the input! The sales guy said that the Miller unit will have enough precision control (with optional foot pedal) to weld aluminum cans together and enough brawn to weld bicycle/motorcycle frames with ease. (with a skilled operator, of course)

    As a former electronics repair tech, I am skilled at precision soldering techniques so hopefully I will be able to pick up TIG welding by practice, practice, and more practice.

    I don't have a 220 outlet in my garage, so I'll have to run it off of a portable generator. That was the nice thing about the old Pocket MIG, it ran off of 110V, and if you were doing typical sheet metal repairs or auto body panels, it wouldn't trip a 15A circuit. Both the 180C and Diversion 165 require 220V input. Even the 180C MIG feed mechanism is a push type mechanism like the pocket MIG, but it is made of metal and looks a hella mo bettah if you know what I mean. I was just getting sick of the birds nests and have some hard earned cash burning a hole in my pocket soooooo..........
  4. professor

    professor Active Member

    I've got a big tig/stick unit at work, that in tig mode I am unable to do sheet metal with, maybe it is me or not a tiny enough tungsten, I blow holes real good.
    Also at work, I have one of everything- the afore mentioned unit, big and little migs, oxy.
    It's true, a tig allows you to do real precise welds, but you need a set-up of some kind to hold parts for tacking. You will miss being able to tack with one hand.
    If you do alum, you will absolutely need argon cover gas- not cheaper stuff.
  5. professor

    professor Active Member

    Arcee, 2 of my buddys told me of a Miller that you carry around (a 110) that they watched welders at a job site welding 4' pipe with. I really quizzed them about what they saw, the welder was climbing all over- out of position and doing super welds.
    I thought it was crazy but have to believe my guys. I forget what Miller calls it- was around a grand. I was impressed though.
    I don't think you are going to like a generator booming away every time you need to weld.
    One of my friends was in the market for a welding machine for home, and he insisted on one with NO computer boards inside it. Because THAT is what goes out in the newer machines and those are expensive. This was a couple of years ago.
  6. Turtle Tedd

    Turtle Tedd Member

    ARC...cant you tap into the 220 line that runs into your house?...Generator will work I went that way when I had mobile business..Tig does not do as well out side in windy conditions..Inside is best,gas coverage is critical..American ingenuity can be used though .. I.E. plastic curtains, cardboard etc...make sure you get the foot pedal on off heat control..much more precise and easier to use than torch mounted especially on curved/rounded surfaces , on thin material and aluminum 220 extension cord to your dryer or stove outlet works fine
  7. Turtle Tedd

    Turtle Tedd Member

    MIG - the push type wire feed mechanisms ,will work good if kept properly clean and adjusted..replaced along with the liner on a regular basis on all metals except aluminuim..you can always get parts for Miller and Lincoln...welding aluminum cans might be a tall order with the tig unit your looking at but .0312 (1/32) no problem if its clean.. as far as the thin stuff goes
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  8. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    I am used to running the genny for my larger air compressor anyway.
    My house has one of those old "push matic" breaker panels (manufacturer out of biz), so I need to upgrade the panel and run a line out to the garage. Both Lincoln and Miller have a pretty generous warranty on their electronics, so I'm not too concerned. Now if we were talking about a Harbor Freight welder I'd be concerned!

    I don't think I'd be attempting to weld aluminum cans together for anything but a challenge. Most of my work will be with 12+ gauge steel, with some aluminum and chrome-moly work for bike frames.

    Professor is right that I will miss being able to tack with one hand.

    Maybe I should splurge and get the Miller TIG and then buy a Harbor Freight 110V MIG. (no fancy electronics in the HFT unit)
  9. Turtle Tedd

    Turtle Tedd Member

    your generator should run either of those machines..no problem...cost me a bunch to upgrade my electric service..and that was many years ago..your not talking about a Harbor Freight gassless flux core wonder are you???
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  10. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    HFT also sells a wire feed welder with gas hookup. I can't see getting a MIG without the "IG", if you know what I mean. :)

    I'm not sure what a new panel and the wiring would cost, but I know that the generator isn't a hassle to start up every so often!

    Maybe after some more consulting gigs I can upgrade my panel - and get both the Miller TIG and Lincoln MIG.
  11. Turtle Tedd

    Turtle Tedd Member

    sounds like you got the right plan...
  12. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Just takes money....
  13. motor_head

    motor_head Member

    could just mount a small breaker box or fuse box next to it and tap the main lines in the old box and run a 220 circuit from that, thats been done alot in older houses
  14. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Hmmmmmm - that is a good idea. I will check with an electrician to see if it meets code where I live.
  15. mlcorson

    mlcorson Member

    I've owned a gas torch and a tig/arc (Thermal Arc 135) for several years. I never wanted a mig as I didn't like all the moving parts. I've welded stainless with my tig...gorgeous welds. However, as far as welding in tight corners, the tig cup needs to be sized properly in order to get into those areas. This could be a problem with tight pipe angles in bike frames. For welding bike frames, I would probably use gas brazing. A properly brazed weld can be many times stronger than a traditional metal to metal weld. If you can find both tig/arc and gas at a reasonable price (Craigslist?), you'll certainly have all the bases covered.