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Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

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Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

Postby team_c0ulter » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:46 pm

Hey folks.

Why is it you can not tig Aluminum with an old transformer machine? I gave it a go with my Dads old Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC with a dry rig. It was a no go I found out. Any thoughts?

For the naysayers... I realize this is not a practical way of welding Aluminum. The Syncrowave at work takes care of the Aluminum process just fine for me.

Thank you for your time guys!
-Ben
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Re: Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

Postby MinnesotaDave » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:20 pm

You can if you use a high frequency box like a Miller HF-15-1 or the newer version HF-251.

These High Freq add-ons keep the arc going through the zero crossing point of the AC sine wave.

Without one, the arc generally just goes out.

Your Syncrowave uses a high freq unit for the same reason - and it is also a transformer machine if it's a regular sycro 250 and similar.
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Re: Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

Postby motox » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:45 pm

this was done with this transformer machine
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Re: Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

Postby Farmwelding » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:51 pm

motox wrote:this was done with this transformer machine
craig

Yes he uses one just like at work-maybe a different number but... More referring to an older transformer stick welder buzz box with a scratch rig
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Re: Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

Postby Arno » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:30 am

Arcpig (http://www.arcpig.com/) would help there to add external HF functionality to a basic AC/DC stick welder.

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Re: Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

Postby Otto Nobedder » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:14 pm

Arcpig does not do continuous HF. It will do HF start, and an HF restart at every zero-crossing, but is not practical for aluminum welding. That is how I've interpreted their specifications, anyway.

I've not tried it, so I could be wrong.

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Re: Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

Postby Arno » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:15 am

Otto Nobedder wrote:Arcpig does not do continuous HF.


Seems it can these days.. ;)

http://www.arcpig.com/faq.html#TIGalum

Q: Will the Pig let me TIG-weld aluminum with my stick welder?

A: Yes, customers do it all the time, but read this whole answer.

First, you need AC. You can't weld aluminum with DC, even with HF.

The Pig works with stick-welding machines, and will help you weld aluminum. Furthermore, HF ignition (like the Pig) is mandatory for some TIG (or heli-arc) jobs.

At the start of your weld, the Pig prevents tungsten contamination, by giving you no-touch strike. It also tames hot starts, and reduces strike marks, since your electrode stays farther away.

During the weld, the Pig prevents arc extinction, and can improve your bead by preventing rectification, which is just intermittent extinction. This is why you weld aluminum with continuous fire HF.

Unfortunately, the term High Frequency has multiple meanings, which can be confusing. The Pig gives you High-Frequency Ignition and Stabilization, similar to what you get by enabling Continuous Fire Ignition on a high-end TIG machine.

This can be confusing, because a high-end TIG machine can also do another kind of "high frequency," simply by cranking the Frequency knob past 60Hz, say 200Hz. This is not the kind of HF you get from the Pig.

Welding at 200Hz gives two main benefits. First, 200Hz helps prevent arc extinction and rectification. The Pig does the same thing, and probably cheaper.

Second, 200Hz gives a narrower weld channel. You cannot get this benefit from an Arc Pig.


Still perhaps a little 'hacky' solution, but could be useful in some conditions..

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Re: Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

Postby Louie1961 » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:15 am

But WHY?? There seems to be an endless supply of older transformer TIG welders on Craig's List for the same price as an Arc Pig. Why mess around with this if you can get a 330A/BP for the same money or less (same for old idealarcs, Hobart tigwaves, Dialarcs, etc.)

OR, sell the thunderbolt (ought to easily fetch $200-300), take the nearly $400 you were going to spend on the ARC pig, and get an AHP Alphatig.

There has to be lots of better options than the Arc Pig, for the price.
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Re: Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

Postby MinnesotaDave » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:24 am

Louie1961 wrote:But WHY?? There seems to be an endless supply of older transformer TIG welders on Craig's List for the same price as an Arc Pig. Why mess around with this if you can get a 330A/BP for the same money or less (same for old idealarcs, Hobart tigwaves, Dialarcs, etc.)


Yep - my Airco 300 (330A/BP) was $225.

Works so much better than my stick welder paired with high freq arc box.

It's a good high freq box too. Old miller HF-15-1. But still nothing compared to an actual tig with foot control.
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Re: Tig Welding Aluminum with an old transformer machine.

Postby Otto Nobedder » Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:07 pm

Louie1961 wrote:But WHY?? There seems to be an endless supply of older transformer TIG welders on Craig's List for the same price as an Arc Pig. Why mess around with this if you can get a 330A/BP for the same money or less (same for old idealarcs, Hobart tigwaves, Dialarcs, etc.)

OR, sell the thunderbolt (ought to easily fetch $200-300), take the nearly $400 you were going to spend on the ARC pig, and get an AHP Alphatig.

There has to be lots of better options than the Arc Pig, for the price.


Here's why. ArcPig gives you HF start on stick rod, in DC or AC mode. Ever have to scratch the glass off a 7018 to restart? Not with the ArcPig. Ever have arc strikes outside your weld zone? Not with the Arc Pig. This is where it shines. It's possible use in aluminum welding I find somewhat dubious, but, again, I've never tried it. Their claim that aluminum cannot be TIG welded DCEN shows a lack of knowledge that a welding product supplier should not have in their advertisement.

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