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Old 04-23-2018, 08:54 AM
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Lincoln SW200 TIG for sheet metal

I'm about to pull the trigger on a Lincoln Square Wave 200 TIG, but I have one question for anyone with experience on this machine. My primary use will be butt welding patch panels. Apparently the arc start current is 10A or higher and not adjustable. Some on-line reviews list this a one of the few cons with this machine, as it may blow through thin sheet metal. Has this been a real problem with 16ga-18ga panels?

My other option is the AlphaTIG at half the price, but by the time I get better quality peripherals for that unit, there won't be much difference.

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Old 04-23-2018, 09:34 AM
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I have the Vulcan pro-tig from harbor freight which seems to be working for me. Do not buy any of the accessories until you get a machine home and try it. The torch and pedal that comes with the unit may be just fine for you. Welders are funny that way about pedals and torches as someone may tell you this or that is better when actually it is a personal thing. Do look for a machine that will crank down until it does well with sheet metal if tha tis your primary use.

Try WeldingWeb™ - Welding forum for pros and enthusiasts and peruse the forums to see what others have used and recommend..

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Old 04-23-2018, 08:18 PM
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I've got a Syncrowave 180 by Miller, which is pretty much in the same class of machine. For 16-18ga it will be fine, you just aren't going to be welding soda cans.

Keith
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:41 AM
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Thanks for the input. My concern is that I've read a number of posts about the SW200 where users have complained about the arc start current above 10A - actually closer to 15-20A. Granted, often these are guys showing attempts to weld razor blades together. Is the Miller or Vulcan start current comparable? Frankly, I'm not sure there even is another option in this price range that can go lower.
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Old 04-24-2018, 08:26 PM
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I also have the Syncrowave 180 by Miller, I weld 18 ga without a problem. I don't think your going to burn up anything at 15 amps. I used to use a Dailarc 250 converted to tig and never had a problem, But with a Tig you get what you pay for.
Don
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:03 AM
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It's a shame that Lincoln no longer offers the Precision Tig 185, as it goes down to 5 Amps-I have one, and really like it-sometimes newer isn't really better -
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Old 04-25-2018, 10:13 AM
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I TIGed for 30 years before I got a sq wave, what a differents.
Don
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Old 04-27-2018, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
I'm about to pull the trigger on a Lincoln Square Wave 200 TIG, but I have one question for anyone with experience on this machine. My primary use will be butt welding patch panels. Apparently the arc start current is 10A or higher and not adjustable. Some on-line reviews list this a one of the few cons with this machine, as it may blow through thin sheet metal. Has this been a real problem with 16ga-18ga panels?

My other option is the AlphaTIG at half the price, but by the time I get better quality peripherals for that unit, there won't be much difference.
I just bought this exact welder (Lincoln Squarewave 200) about 2 weeks ago.
I love it.
I've very successfully welded as thin as 22ga sheet with the 1/16 tungsten that came with it (purple I think?). But the .040 (grey) tungsten from HF in their multi-pack made it a little easier to control the arc at the low currents.


The initial current during start-up is a little big. But for 22ga, it is easily manageable. Just expect that the arc will melt a little crater in the edge of one piece just a little bit. I don't have any problem fixing that without using filler rod.


I did try welding the sharp side of razor blades (not utility blades, single edge razor blades) with the 1/16 tungsten, and I was almost always blowing through at arc-start. They were cheap blades, so maybe they were a little thinner than the more expensive ones.
But once the arc was started, I could juuuuuuust barely get them welded before they burned through. That's a skill I just haven't mastered. But then again, I don't see the need to weld razor blades very often. Something that thin I think I would solder or braze, not weld.


On something as 'heavy' as 16ga, I found the pulse setting very nice. On the 22ga, I had to do it by hand (foot?) or else I would burn through.


I tried the 1/8 filler rod, but for this practice work it was too big. So taking a lesson from this forum, I used some of my .024 MIG wire, and that was FANTASTIC.
I think I'm gonna get a roll each of .024 & .030 wire just to use as filler on the TIG.


I'm running mine strictly on 110V right now. The only 220 circuit available in the garage is taken up by the compressor.


I welded some ~3/16" spacers onto 1/2" plate the other day. It was a combination of fillet & edge weld. I had it cranked up all the way, and it did it. Had to run with the pedal mashed at the start, but ended up probably 50% at the end (~1" each). I used the 1/8" filler for that one.


I'm not anything near a professional welder.
The last time I did anything more than a couple spot welds with TIG was in college, and that was over 11 years ago.
I learned TIG in college on 6061-T6 aluminum just by trial & error. Nothing like trying to weld 1/4" plate to 1/16" square tubing to make you learn.
And that was with a gigantic old TIG welder that was probably built before WW2. I do know it was military surplus. But it was a pretty reliable welder.
So after >11 years of not doing any TIG at all, I was able to pick it back up with this little welder and make some pretty decent welds in about 5 minutes.


Would I buy it again? In a heartbeat.

Last edited by cowboy_dan; 04-27-2018 at 09:55 AM. Reason: clarify welder purchased
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Old 04-27-2018, 09:44 PM
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I had a Lincoln SW 175 and it handles the thin stuff very well. It’s more a matter of how steady your hands are. Don’t work in unstable conditions. Always get comfortable. I was going to recommend welding web too but the link is already above. I also use .035 wire welder wire. If you clamp a piece in the vice and twist it with an electric drill you can straighten it pretty well. Use a large gas cup with gas lens. I like ceriated electrodes, usually 1/16 or .040 . You need to have them well pointed. I have a dedicated bench grinder and use an electric dril,on low speed to spin the electrodes. Clean all weld areas with acetone and stainless brush. I find that if you click the pedal to get gas flowing before you start works to get rid of the starting mess .

Byron
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