I really didn't intend to get into an argument over which welder is most preferred, and I made that clear in the beginning with the 20 to 1 comment, because there is no doubt which is more popular. To each his own, as they say, but the OP asked for information not popularity. The mig is a vital welding machine for the hot rod industry, and without it there would be a lot fewer people welding, so we owe a lot to the mig welder.
But it does have its limitations, like all things, and I keep hearing that the mig is more versatile, so I did a little research to find out what some of the pro's say.
Rich Reichenbach, manager of the fabrication and design shop in Livonia, Mi. prefers TIG welding with Miller's Dynasty™ 300 DX.
The Dynasty 300 DX has a 5 to 300 amp output range (250 amps at 40 percent duty cycle) and, similar to the Aerowave, produces code-quality TIG welds. The Dynasty's advanced squarewave technology gives an optimal arc for various joint configurations, regardless of a material's thickness.
"The Dynasty is my favorite machine," Reichenbach says. "The unit is very small and versatile, and it has excellent arc control at low amperages. It keeps the tungsten a lot cleaner, you can weld very thin materials found on radiators and mufflers, and it is very stable."
Reichenbach uses the 90 lb. Dynasty 300 DX to weld all the upper and lower control arms, the suspension components in the steering, spindles and steering arms and aluminum brake drops. He uses 4130 chrome-moly on the control arms and between schedule 80 and schedule 120 when welding tubes.
At Joe Gibbs Racing – a Lincoln Electric-only shop – Love and his team try to incorporate as much TIG welding into chassis construction as possible. “We want the best-penetrating, most-consistent weld we can make,” he says. “Obviously there is a time issue in motorsports, but we want everything to be perfect, too. TIG is my preference, but I also think the highest form of motorsports should perform with the highest form of welding.” The crew uses MIG welding – a number of Lincoln’s MIG welders, including the Power MIG 215 and Power MIG 255 – for support tube and body fabrication
A brief comparison of the welding processes by Miller Electric
Farmers like Al Hoffmann wouldn't give up their MIG welders for anything. While an old Stick welding pro may disagree, learning to MIG weld is easier. With a little practice, even a first-time MIG user can achieve a good-looking weld. This means that anyone can use it.
For the farm or ranch, a MIG welder probably offers more advantages than any other welding process. The advantages of MIG welding are:
1) Easiest welding process to learn. 2) Welds light gauge material or thick plates. 3) Welds all common metals – carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminum. 4) High welding speeds can be obtained – up to four times faster than Stick welding – reducing repair or construction time. 5) Increased efficiency – 50 lb. of MIG welding wire yields 49 lb. of metal deposition, where 50 lb. of Stick electrode rods yields approximately 30 lb. of deposition.
A further advantage is that the same equipment used for MIG welding also performs flux cored welding. Rather than running a solid wire coupled with a shielding gas, flux cored welding uses self-shielded wire with flux inside.
The advantages of flux cored welding are:
1) Less affected by drafts, so better suited for outdoor work. 2) Works as well as Stick on rusty or dirty material. 3) Continuous wire feed, which minimizes starts and stops. 4) Deep penetration for welding thick sections. 5) Increased metal deposition (two or three times that of Stick welding), which is beneficial for hardfacing. 6) Can eliminate need for a shielding gas bottle, which increases portability.
Between its MIG and flux cored capabilities, a wire welder can perform any task a Stick welder can, and do it more efficiently. While a good quality wire welder costs $450 to $2,000 (depending on its size), the costs for wire and gas are much less than that for Stick welding rods. Coupled with the ability to weld aluminum and sheet metal, a wire welder can pay for itself very quickly.
This welding process uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode and a shielding gas which protects the welding area from contamination. The concentrated heat and precise control of the TIG arc allows thin material (.010 in.) to be welded. The advantages of TIG welding are:
1) Precise welding on thin materials is easily accomplished, plus there is less distortion overall. 2) Provides the highest quality work, as well as highly aesthetic weld beads. 3) Allows the welder to adjust heat input while welding by using a foot or hand amperage control. 4) Welds steel, aluminum and other metals with just a single gas, argon.
Although TIG welding is a relatively slow process, it provides high quality welds. Typical applications are for aluminum irrigation pipes, stainless steel sprayer tanks and aluminum engine parts.
Another factor to consider is that TIG machines also have Stick welding capabilities (they are often referred to as TIG/Stick welders). While costing more than MIG or Stick-only welders, a single TIG/Stick machine gives the user greater flexibility. Miller's Econotig® TIG/Stick welder provides this flexibility and offers features found on industrial-class equipment, but with a price tag geared for the do-it-yourself welder.
HTP America Inc
Advantages of TIG Welders
While using a TIG welder requires that separate filler material be used when additional material is needed, TIG welding has a number of advantages over other welding processes.
The sharp and rigid tungsten allows for high precision welding.
The small arc produced by TIG welding is ideal for welding thin materials.
No material is added to the weld unless it is required.
The inert gas shielding the weld creates no slag or splatter, making TIG welding a much cleaner and time-efficient process
The Fabricator. Com
GMAW or GTAW?
While many fabricators and engineers have their preferences, gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) or tig, and gas metal arc welding (GMAW) or mig, are the two primary welding processes used in motorsports fabrication. In years past roll cages were welded using shielded metal arc welding (SMAW).
Like most racing fabrication shops, Roush uses both processes, but Moore said he favors GTAW because of its cleanness and precision.
Holmes said that GTAW has its benefits for motorsports fabrication.
"With TIG you get better control over your quality and less heat distortion," he said, adding that he's seen GTAW use increase in NASCAR. "The heat-affected zone is a little bit smaller so your chances of cracking lessen. It takes a lot more time, but you get less distortion, so it will hold tolerances better and the quality is higher."
Despite motorsports fabricators' preferences, each process is suited for different parts of a race car.
"Typically, as far as NASCAR goes, they use MIG to hang the sheet metal on the bodies. In the NHRA [National Hot Rod Association] and IRL [Indy Racing League], the majority is TIG-welded, [and] the chassis and everything in IRL is TIG-welded," Holmes said, adding that each racing league has its own fabrication rules.
Robo Worx Welding Division
TIG and MIG seem similar, but they aren't. Take a look at the pros and cons of TIG and MIG welding and you'll know which one to choose.
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding is a very common arc welding application. Typically utilized for automotive applications, it uses a continuous and consumable wire electrode and shielding gas to create the weld.
The Advantages of MIG Welding:
MIG is Faster: If you're looking for speed, MIG provides a fast welding answer. It is a very easy process to automate.
MIG Welding is User-friendly: MIG is typically more user-friendly and easy to set up. The process tends to be more forgiving.
MIG is More Affordable: MIG equipment is less costly and more accessible than other welding equipment.
MIG Doesn't Always Work: MIG welding is not the best solution for every type of metal or every type of weldment.
MIG is Messy: The MIG process creates more spatter and smoke than TIG.
Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding is used primarily in the aerospace industry. More complicated than MIG welding, this process combines a non-consumable tungsten electrode, a shielding gas (MIG) and typically a filler metal.
The Advantages of TIG Welding:
TIG is Clean: TIG welding doesn't create as much spatter and sparks as MIG. It creates a better work environment with less smoke and fumes.
Autogenous TIG Welds: TIG welding can create autogenous welds - those that do not involve any filler material. The weld is created when the part melts together. This type of weldment is commonly used for parts in the aerospace community.
TIG is Precise: TIG welding offers more precision when it comes to thin materials. It produces welds without contamination.
Cost: TIG equipment is more sophisticated, so it is also more costly.
Time: If you're looking for fast installation, robotic TIG welding isn't your best bet. It takes a while to set up and performs a bit slower than MIG.
Complications: TIG tends to be less forgiving and not as user-friendly as MIG. Parts and components must be in pristine condition for TIG welding
TIG WELDING for AUTOMOTIVE FABRICATION
Because of the higher welding speeds of the MIG process, the chance of producing porosity is higher. A common mistake with novice welders utilizing the MIG process is the possibility of producing a good looking weld with little penetration. A MIG can produce an arc into the puddle, allowing one to create a nice looking weld while the base metal underneath is not being properly melted. This cannot be detected before failure without either destructive or non-destructive testing. In the TIG process, the base metal is melted to produce a puddle before any filler is introduced into the weld. This allows the operator to see the penetration during the welding process. Another drawback in MIG welding in restoration of automobiles is the workability of the weld. The wire used in MIG cools harder than in TIG welding, making it harder to hammer and dolly the weld afterwards. Because MIG welding uses a constant fed wire to produce the arc, some buildup of material usually occurs that has to be ground off. This also generates heat in the panel that can cause warpage. With TIG, filler is only added when needed, and the thickness of the filler can be changed by picking up a different size rod. This reduces post weld finishing. While TIG welding requires greater skill, the results are far better than other welding methods.
Due to the slow speed of the TIG process, gases and other impurities escape to the surface of the puddle before solidification occurs, eliminating pockets called "Porosity" common in weld processes that employ gas shielding but have greater travel speeds than the TIG process. TIG also produces a welding heat is that is confined between the weld and base metal at the point of fusion and produces a narrow heat affected zone. This reduces stress, cracking and distortion in the finished weld. Spatter is not produced by this process, leaving the weld and surrounding metal clean. Because of the lack of spatter and flux smoke, the TIG process allows the operator a clear view of the weld puddle.
Best Practices for TIG Welding 1/4-inch (or thinner) Materials
From light fabrication to processing pipe and aerospace, thin is in—for materials that is. Due to certain weight, space and design requirements, applications in these industries frequently call for materials like stainless steel and mild steel or aluminum that are ¼ inch and thinner.
These applications, too, often require the TIG process. TIG creates a narrower heat-affected zone (or HAZ, the area between the weld deposit and the base metal ) compared to other welding processes. This is important, because the less heat generated when welding thin materials, the less chance of problems like burn through or warping.
Welding on 1/4 inch and thinner
metal requires caution to prevent
burn-through and other problems.
Other issues that can arise when welding ¼ inch or thinner materials include starting or stopping porosity and pinholes, small areas in the weld caused by gas entrapment from either the atmosphere or the shielding gas. Some materials, like stainless steel tend to buckle and crack if there is too much heat.
While there are solutions to the above issues, the goal in TIG welding thin materials is to prevent the problems in the first place.
Last edited by Chevymon; 09-10-2011 at 03:34 AM.
Chevymon, No one was really arguing anything and the discussion has been about the pros and cons of the different processes, your last post was a really good one on that subject BTW. Basically the subject turned into a question of which welder (actually which welding process) is best overall but that's a question that's not got a practical answer, it's almost like asking which is better for working on an engine "Sockets or wrenches"? That certainly was not poking fun at the OP's question because he asked about which process would be better for the jobs he described and his question was a good one, what I said was just to make the point that each tool (or welding process in the OP's case) has it's place and one is not necessarily better than the other, just that some are better than others at a particular job. The bottom line is that it is going to be nearly impossible to give a meaningful answer to the question of "which welder is best" unless it also includes the description of what it's to be used for, The OP did this but then the discussion kind of drifted. The original question has started a good discussion that has pretty much explained a lot, most in fact, of the pros and cons of each of the common welding methods and it has been covered in a "plain English" way that even a novice can understand so I really don't think there has been any disagreement.
Well said Red, you're a good man. I guess if he didn't get enough information to make a decision then he wasn't listening.
Extremely good answer, Red. Not everything is black and white, there are also shades of gray. You don't hunt squirrels with an elephant gun.
No one lives forever, the trick is creating something that will.
Very good read Chevymon
Bottom line is...
If you have an unlimited budget to buy and use TIG and alot of time to learn it to get acceptable results....than that'll be a good choice.
If you don't have an unlimited budget and want something that is easy to learn and in a short time being able to get more than acceptable results..Wirefeed(MIG/Fluxcore)
Here's just a few FACTS not opinions between the 2 processes..
Buying the equipment..MIG vs TIG=TIG is double if not more
Money to keep the machine running as in consumables=Again..TIG is more expensive..TIG needs expensive Tungsten that you will need different sizes and types for different types of applications..,different types and sizes of cups for different applications,different size collets and bodies...etc etc..You will also use twice if not more sheilding gas as you do with MIG...you can't just turn that flow meter down to 5 to try and compensate the usage for a slower process unless you want contaminated welds..be it TIG or MIG..you will run anywhere from 15-30 depending in the size and situation...
You will also have to get a decent flow meter with TIG,with the portable Wirefeed machines now a days everything is incuded,including the gauge and hose to the tank.
Here's just an example of all consumables needed for TIG..and this is just for the TIG torch..this does not include the other equipment needed to run the sheilding gas end...
A good wirefeed like Lincoln ProMig 180,Miller 180 autoset and Hobart handler 190 or 187 for anywhere from 550.00 to 800.00 you have EVERYTHING you need to get started and running from the sheilding gas tank all the way to the gun tip, Minus the sheilding gas tank which is what you will have to buy localy as with any machine or process you decide.<and these machines will do everything and more than needed in any auto fab from light sheetmetal using .023,024 or .025 wire and up to 1/4" or more with .035 wire.
The only thing needed to swap out the size wire is the feed rollers and gun tip..both VERY inexpensive...another consumable will be the liner for the MIG/Fluxcore hose/gun...my Lincoln 180 uses a Tweco setup..the liner is a whopping 19.95 at my local welding supply..so cheap i keep an extra around at all times but in the past 3 years i've had it..i've only had to replace it once....
A minumum TIG machine and needing more things to get running ..like the torch kit..flow meter..and depending on what machine you buy your different hoses and setup to run the shielding gas either through the machine(if its capable) etc etc..will run 1500.00 up to 4000.00 and more and depending on the deal you got,you may have to buy all the accesories to get started...
Miller Diversion 165 is a good Starter kit for TIG for AC/DC capabilities..and from what i seen is a minumum of around 1200.00.
They also have the Miller Maxstar 150STL for around 1000.00 but its limited to capabilities because of the low amperage and DC only..
I totaly agree a TIG weldment is much easier to hammer and dolly..but again as i said before..That is ONLY if you have total access the back of that panel,i've yet to do patch panels repair or replacement on a vehicle that i had total access to the back of the panel unless i was building the panel from scratch or cut out behind the panel to get access..the majority of patch panel work will be done on the car and there is no access to behind it...and TIG will warp it ALOT more than a good .023 MIG will when just totaly tacking it together at opposite ends as far away as possible and letting it air cool in between sessions.....like i said..i've tried both processes and MIG wins by far when wanting less hammer and dolly work...TIG spreads the heat too far because its impossible to be as quick with a TIG on the panel as you do MIG..you have to keep heat on the heat panel alot longer than MIG does and it spreads through the panel.I've tried both processes because i like TIG'n alot more than MIG..but MIG won by far for less warpage BEFORE grinding and hammering and dolly work..............
Now..if i'm in a brand new clean shop building a NASCAR or NHRA machine from scratch and all brand new parts from scratch where you will have THEE best case atmosphere and equipment and materials...hell yea i'll go with TIG in a heartbeat... Especialy if they are paying me by the hour TIG welding vs MIG welding to get the job done.
more to come in the next post..............
And please take note..i am BY FAR "disrespecting" TIG..as i've said..TIG is my favorite process..but all processes have their place in everything...i am just being un-bias here and i "wish" i could it all with TIG..but it just is not possible..
Last edited by SuthnCustoms; 09-12-2011 at 08:51 AM.
Here is a look at the price end differences of TIG vs Wirefeed too...
I'll use Ebay as a reference but its not always the lowest prices anymore because the cost to use eBay has gone through the roof anymore....
about the cheapest route for one of these machines will be lowes,home depot or tractor supply....lowes and home depot have the Lincoln 180's for a common price of around 650.00..and tractor supply has the hobart handler 187 and 190 for around 650.00...but in all these 3 big stores you'll catch them on sale for around 550.00 at times ..then its time to JUMP on it...
All those stores carry all the consumable for the wirefeeds needed too..like different size tips..cups..wire..etc etc...which is a GREAT plus on a weekend or late hours if your in a bind and NEED it NOW because welding supply stores have limited hours and usualy never open on weekends...
Here's an example of the Prices of TIG machines from the "Big 3"(Lincoln,Hobart and Miller).........
Your not going to find TIG machines other than at the local welding supply store or online.
Oh..and before anyone "claims" that the wirefeed machines at lowes and home depot and tractor supply are different from the ones sold at weld supply stores or dealers?..NOPE..the ONLY difference is you can only get the "tap" machines there but at dealers you can pay about 100.00 more for the "continuous" settings..all it means is the "tap" only has so many settings on the amperage range,where "C" means it is infinite like a volume knob for the amperage range..but they all have infinite wire feed rate settings...if you don't beleive me..email Hobart and Lincoln yourself and ask if the machines are different and inferior at those stores like we did in a few jeep and 4x4 forums..you'll get the same answer right from the horses mouth..there is no difference.............
Oh..and do yourself a huge favor and don't waste your money on those cheap china machines like Longetivity,Giantech, and Everlast...those are all the same exact china manufactured machines with ALOT of problems in a short time and even some of them are dead on arrival..just do an online research of those 3..especialy weldingweb.com where they all have their own dedicated forum threads...but hey..they have GREAT customer serivice for everlast and longetivity "when"..(Not if) they break down...!
I'd hate to be the one who sells these machines on the rep that we have the best customer service because it WILL break down.........
Last edited by SuthnCustoms; 09-12-2011 at 09:12 AM.
One last thing i want to verify for those "internet myths" about MIG and Fluxcore...
I see WAY too many people claim its just a fact of life that Fluxcore WILL leave a messy looking weld and spatter....apparantly ANY of thiose claiming this does NOT know how to run it right...i don't care if the president of Miller or Lincoln says it...i've ran miles and miles of fluxcore ,Mig and Dual Sheild in the past 30+ years and NEVER had a problem with spatter or messy welds..if i did..they'd tell me to put the shield down and go help out grinding,bolting up..etc etc..........
As in ANY process..you need to learn THAT process to run it right..not just say"well.i couldn't never get it to look good so its just something i live with"....its very EASY to run fluxcore and MIG to make it look nice and get good penetration WITHOUT a mess to clean up.......
Learn the right "stick out"..wire speed rate and pass speed and you'll lay down beautiful welds all day long..........
Just a quick example of what i mean..using my lil Lincoln 180T..035 NR211 on some old scrap from when we tore out all the plate in a coal bin at a coal burner power plant last fall.........i did this for those on a jeep forum claiming"i've been welding on nuclear subs since 1974 and you ALWAYS get spatter and crappy looking welds with wirefeed!.."..and he also layed claim that "pushing wire" will penetrate better than dragging....yesa..he's been welding on nuclear subs since 1974...gotta love the internet..be who you want to be!...lol
If you do decide to go with a TIG rig..seriously look at these machines..HTP welders...i am by far 1 to preach Miller,Lincoln and Hobarts but these machines have been around for 25 years and an excellent track record when it comes to everything from performance,reliability and customer service...do an internet search and find guys who have owned and used them for 10-20 years and have nothing but good to say about them...i ran into a Boilermaker outfit a few uears ago on a coal burner power plant welding the boiler tubes and they had a rack full of these machines using them for the TIG welds on the boiler tubes and they swear by them.
I sold my Miller Maxstar 200DX recently to a promising Pipefitter/welder apprentice because i am going to get an AC/DC TIG rig so i can also do a aluminum...i'll be buying the HTP Invertig 221...you get MORE features and adjustment capabilities for 1/2 the price of a Miller or Lincoln in the same ballpark as these machines..and they are made in Italy..some of them made in Denmark with german parts..NOTHING like the cheapo china units....
I called them already about one for myself and the guy said he'll have it ready for Weldcraft consumables since i have quite a few Weldcraft TIG Rigs i keep to take with me on jobs to use when needed,i'm used to my own rig and prefer to use it for a better quality job...
Here's just an example how fluxcore is SUPPOSED to be ran..
1st pic is 3 fluxcore passes(stringers)..no grinding after each pass..no "spatter"
2nd pic is 3 passes of MIG .035..same thing..no grinding,just wire brush after each pass........
All no weaving or "dip n move" like i see too many people do on the internet to try and make it look "perty"!..this causes spatter and poor uneven penetration and more stress in the weldment........one hot steady consistent pass.
3rd pic is the machine i used,,my Lincoln ProMig 180...
4th Pic is my Miller Maxstar 200DX TIG/Stick machine...if buying a TIG machine..make sure you get one with lift arc or high frequency start and foot pedal capability with the common 14 pin plug in........thats another thing will cost you a few hundred if not more..a foot control pedal or the TIG handle control........
Sorry about the long post..but iwas TRYING to cover all bases so the OP can get a "feel" for what he wants to invest in............i'm sure i missed alot...
VERY nice welds and great post hopefully the turn of the month will leave me some spending $$ to make an investment, funny out of all the tools i have a decent compressor and welder i do not have, i do have an old 220v stick welder but as im not equipped to run 220 that option is out lol mayne my generator has the ooph to do it dunno ill have to look , ill update with pics shortly of how the project is coming along waiting on a couple deliveries of parts, just spend 2900 in tires the other day got the hitch cutout so it sits on the frame nice, just need to have bolt holes put in the frame and a weld along either side of the hitch rails and ill be good in that dept TBC
hey guys just an update made a ton of progress, if anyone has mod power or knows someone i have a bunch of pics i cant upload bc they are way to large, upwards of 11megs i have a high quality camera. so this is where i stand... as you all know i sand blasted the frame rails on the truck and repainted, came out nice today i rented oxy acet torches and cut the frame, i also rented a miller 110v mig flux-core and welded a plate on closing the frame off. no tag along hitch like i had mentioned earlier the welds weren't the most wonderful but they were by far better than what was on there before haha and it has been years since i touched a welder. i did run into an issue with the electrical supply lol kept tripping the darn circuit breaker every time i started getting a good bead going. so i broke out the generator and trucked along the plate deff isn't going anywhere and i have to give much credit to you guys who have been welding for years its not as easy as it looks on tv. tomorrow will consist of drilling the holes for the 5th wheel hitch to be secured to the frame, using grade 8 3/4x1-3/4 bolts nuts lock washers so that wont be going anywhere. fuel tanks wont be in for at least 2 weeks so just doing the smaller stuff for now. like i said at the beginning of this post if anyone knows a way to upload these pics to here id really like to show you guys the progress im making.
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