does any one have experience with multi process welders??
TIG and MIG??
looking to get into tig for frames and want mig for more a repair building/ modifying fat bike trail groomers
I see the ESAB Rebel is that decent or a Can weld ( don’t remember the model) any way could I be happy with a multi purpose??
I currently braze, and I have mig welded to repair Junk…
does any one have experience with multi process welders??
I am not familiar with those machines but my mig is a multiprocess BOC. Have not used it for tig because it only has lift arc start not high frequency start.
If it has HF start and a pedal I imagine any good quality unit will be fine, might be worth checking if it’s easy to change from mig to Tig. I think on my machine you need to get a binzel style adapter to fit the tig torch which would be a deal breaker for me because you would need to re thread your mig wire every time you swap over.
Generally the multi process welders will exclude noncritical features that you may want for bike building. Things like pre flow, and pulse are generally the first things to go when a company looks to make a cheaper TIG capable machine.
I personally wouldn’t spend the money on a multi-function constant-voltage/constant-current (TIG-MIG combo) machine. In my experience as a tool/machine/system becomes more complicated it introduces the potential for more problems. To fit all of the functions into one machine at a reasonable price point, the manufacturer usually has to cut corners or cut out functionality that would be considered normal on a dedicated machine.
A few things to think about:
A TIG/MIG combo will require two tanks of gas ($$$). MIG hoses are usually short and require you to bring the machine to your work (moving the machine around the shop). When you TIG weld you usually bring your torch to your work (leaving the machine stationary). The cooling fans on these machines are usually strong enough to disrupt the shielding gas while TIG welding so keeping the machine as far away as possible is best. Do you have an extension cord heavy duty enough to move a machine around the shop ($$$)? Is your welding cart strong/big enough to hold both gas tanks, machine and cables that a combo machine requires?
DC TIG welding is quiet and clean and requires a draft free work area. MIG welding is smokey, dirty, and a much greater fire hazard (MIG splatter is a bastard). How does this fit into your shop layout?
Do you think you might want to TIG weld aluminum? That’s not going to happen with a budget TIG-MIG combo machine.
A dedicated multi-voltage (110-220v) AC/DC TIG setup would let you do all the TIG you ever wanted -PLUS- you can arc/stick weld with this same setup. Arc/stick welding in my opinion is far more versatile than a MIG setup for repair/fab work, but I’m speaking as a son of a welding instructor so YMMV.
I have a Prime Weld TIG 225X in my home shop. For the price, features, and accessories you get, I think it’s a great machine. It’s DC TIG characteristics are on par with every other inverter on the market (DC TIG is hard to screw up in a machine). AC TIG on the Prime Weld is acceptable (AC is much harder to get right in a machine).
My main welder at the fab. shop (work) is Miller Dynasty 280DX, but that’s probably not practical for you right now. “It’s so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”
Back in the day I purchase and quickly sold an Everlast machine (model number is irrelevant). Read into that what you will.
If you know you want/need to MIG, I would get a dedicated Lincoln 220v machine. Stay away from the 110v flux core machines regardless of the manufacturer.
ESAB makes a good machine, but I question the swiss-army knife approach to welding processes.
Hope this helps.
We have the ESAB Rebel multi process machine and it is AMAZING. All the gas flow, pulse, freq, slope, cleaning adjustability of most standalone inverter AC TIG welders, plus smart MIG for tacking and shop welding. We have a two-cyl cart and keep argon and C25 on it. We switch between stainless, cast alum, and MIG mild steel multiple times per week and it’s been great.
I’m thinking about getting a new TIG welder. Is a low amperage start a feature that’s worth seeking out? Obviously, I’m mostly wanting to do TIG for thin metals such as bike frames. The TIG welder I am looking at has a 5 Amp DC/20 Amp AC start. What should I be looking for in a starting Amp for DC or AC?
I have a multiprocess, I find it perfect for my needs.
Would I buy it again? Probably not.
My welder only missing feature is the Tig pulsing, and it’s only DC.
Something to look for: look if there is a dual gas port on the back, you need different gasses for MIG and TIG (unless you use flux core), if you only have a single port, like myself, I resolved it by having quick disconnect terminals on the gas lines, so I can switch between the two tanks easily.
There are a lot of things to say, at the end it’s a valuable tool if you don’t have a lot of space for multiple machines, that said, I built a sturdy cart for it so it takes quite a bit of space now.
As extras, I built the cart, I had to buy an expensive power cord (I am using it at 240v) and the quick disconnect terminals are not cheap either (~80$).
If you already have a MIG, why do you want a multi?
Just for context: I paid $1200 for mine, it’s an Everlast 210Si (don’t quote me on the model, Everlast is here in SF, made sense for me as they are local) and it came with everything included (torches, pedals, cables, etc). Be mindful that some kit don’t include the pedal or are missing some other details that you need to consider, price-wise.
Stay on a well known brand, it will be easy to resell if you need to, that includes:
Esab, Miller, Everlast, Lincoln, Ahp to name a few. Lately I was impressed by YesWelder, ugly name but it seems they have a valid product.
Now I use the MIG much less as I am focusing on TIG, I don’t need a TIG@200amps (that said, it saved my butt a couple of times on the trailer build) I could have been happy with a tig-only machine for 160A that supports pulsing.
Overall I am happy.
The Esab multi was out of my budget but it was on the top of my want-list.
lots of good info now i just need to figure out what to get… and find the $$ to get it ha
Maybe I can “put more meat on the fire”
With what I know now about my needs and wants, if I had to go back, I would go for two separate machines (I use the MIG mostly outside while the Tig is mostly inside so the Tig could be on my bench instead of in a roller cart)
If you don’t need to upgrade your Mig machine, just get a dedicated tig one, that would be my suggestion.
Have you considered HF machines as well, I have heard good things and their extended warranty is nice.
Whatever you end up doing, I highly suggest getting a 120/240v machine, I have used mine on 120v in a pinch when needed but using it on 240 makes it much better in terms of power and duty cycle (talking about mig here in particular).
Brochures will put any little detail about a machine, mostly they just confuse the novice, the only features that I considered when shopping where:
- AC/DC vs DC - if you need/want to weld on aluminum then you need AC (maybe even for Ti? Not sure)
- Duty Cycle - aka how long can you weld before the machine needs to cool, it’s in 10 minutes slots, a 30% duty cycle means you can weld for 3 minutes straight out of a 10 minute session, anything over 25% is ok for the garage builder. Power, Voltage and input all have an effect on this value, alongside ventilation and outside temperature as well. If a machine shuts down on you, you have reached the limit go get a drink and let it cool.
- Start - when talking tig, High Frequency or Lift start are preferable, most modern machine have both, it’s kind of rare nowadays to not have this feature even in cheaper inverter machines.
- Pulse - if it’s something you want, not all cheaper machines have this feature, mine doesn’t for example, would I wanted if I knew? Yes.That said, the machines that had it back when I bought mine were all more expensive so, it wasn’t an option even if I had known.
- Standard Connectors - some cheaper machines have not-standard connectors for their guns or hoses, I don’t think this applies to you but keep an eye out for it.
- Double Gas intake port - if you get a multi, it’s nice to have, not a deal breaker.
- Liquid cooling - again, you may not need it - you may never need it - but if it comes “free” …
- Pre Flow / Post Flow - this means how long the gas will flow before and after you stop welding, it’s a must have for me and it must be configurable
Did I help or made it worse?
Right now the only welding equipment I have is oxy/ acetylene. I have had access sometimes to to a mig in a large shop at my old work which was set up for me so I was just pulling the trigger and gluing thing together… soooo ya I will starting from the ground up… Tig sounds like it will fit in my current shop by the sounds of it with gasses and where it will be. MIG I would need to move shit outside. I do have fans but don’t want to burn/ smoke out the house. Thanks @Matt for the have and not haves that is helpful. It will be a learning curve for sure… I wont be laying dimes out of the gate yet
I have the AlphaTIG 203xi linked above. I’ve been pretty impressed by it, though I should note I don’t have any experience with the big name machines so I can’t really compare them. It’s setup in my garage running off of 120v. It’s starts smooth at low amps and i’ve never hit the duty cycle limit even when cranking out practice welds. It can go up to 150amps when on 120V power, plenty for bike tubing. Digital controls for pre/post flow and pulse have been nice.
It comes with everything you need except gas, tungsten, and helmet/gloves/respirator. It comes with a modular torch with both 9 and 17 heads, that was a nice surprise. I did upgrade to a gas lens and Furick cups, but you don’t need that to get started welding right away. Overall, it has to be one of the best value for the $ kits out there.
Good to know, that AHP is really tempting!
I wonder if AHP and Everlast have a connection somehow, they are both in South SF and are both in the same price range
I had a Miller Multimatic 215, lift start DC only no pulse etc. It was a decent machine for what it was but definitely stripped down in terms of tig options. I probably could have gotten by if I spent enough time with it. However, I sold that and bought a Primeweld Tig 225x and so far have been very happy with it. I think the two machine plan may be a good option or for heavy dirty stuff (not sure what you are planning to use mig for) is stick an option? That’s my current untested plan as I haven’t really spent any time with stick but it seems like a lot of what I would use mig for could be done with stick as well.
I have an Alpha TIG 201XD. The one thing that bugs me is the pulse really only works when the pedal is nearly maxed out. This means if I set the amps higher to have some extra power if needed, then I don’t get good pulse running with the pedal at +-75%. Is that a thing on the better machines too?
AHP and Everlast are very much connected - different companies but the same family owns them.
Lower is always better, but it comes at a cost ($$$$).
5 amp DC would be great if you can afford it. I would worry about the AC side unless you are trying to weld tin foil for an aerospace project
Manufacturers also “massage” that low end number, so 5 amps may not really be 5 amps as the arc is establishing itself.
Practice, experience, and sharp tungsten help greatly in keeping the ears and edges on thin parts.
https://www.canaweld.com/product/tig-ac-dc-201-pulse-d/ for just tig
or this for multi purpose
That multipurpose doesn’t include the tig pedal that you may want (you definitely do want it eventually).
I own an ESAB Rebel 205 and it is a fantastic multiprocess machine. You’ll never need anything else.
so tig only scheming