Choosing a TIG welder

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Looking for a TIG welding machine, but not sure which one to buy? In this article, we make the decision making process a little easier...

What is TIG welding?

TIG welding, formally known as Tungsten Inert Gas welding, or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, uses a non consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. This fabrication method compels an arc between the base metal and the electrode, producing a high quality weld. It is used to join two materials together, like stainless steel or aluminium and melt them together.

Tig welding 1

Key considerations when buying a TIG welder

  • What are your budget constraints?
  • Do you require portability?
  • What is the thickness of the material you are welding?
  • What type of material are you welding? It’s DC for mild steel & stainless and AC for aluminium.
  • What power input do you have available?
  • Does the machine have a Pulse facility?
  • Has the welder got an easy to use interface?
  • Does the machine have lift TIG or HF starting?
  • Do you need a footswitch?

Single Phase DC & AC/DC options

  • The entry level DC machine is the Miller STH 160 TIG inverter. A single-phase welder with a pulse TIG feature, facilitating the welding of stainless steel 25% quicker than normal. If you wanted a DC set with more power & the added bonus of multi-voltage input, you’d move up to the ever-green Maxstar 210DX.
  • The latest single phase kiddy on the block though is the EWM Tetrix XQ 230 DC TIG. It’s LED status bar, heavy duty click wheel and choice of comfort & expert panels make it the leading set in it’s field. It’s currently the go to machine for industry professionals. You can add modular cooling & trolley to this platform, everything goes together beautifully.
  • When it comes to AC/DC, you’d be tempted to stick with Tetrix XQ platform. The Tetrix XQ 230 AC/DC offering a choice of comfort & expert panels. Just dial in the type & thickness of material and away you go. The ease of use, arc condition & reliability are second to none.

3 phase TIG options

When we look at 3 phase AC/DC models, a good starting point would be the Miller Syncrowave 300 AC/DC TIG Runner. An all-in-one water-cooled plug and play package, incorporating AC balance control providing oxide removal, creating high quality welds. The sets DC TIG feature can increase travel speeds and sits alongside fan on demand, and wind tunnel technology. This robust welding machine is slightly higher on the pricing spectrum, which is justifiable through the long array of features.

Material choice

The material that you are welding will play a factor in the choice of TIG welders available. If you are welding aluminium you would need to purchase an AC/DC TIG machine, as DC only TIG welders will not weld aluminium. AC/DC options, are slightly higher end on the pricing spectrum. You don’t want to rule out the choice to weld more materials, so purchasing a machine that can weld more materials may be a wise option.

Material Thickness

You need to consider the amperage you require from a machine, if you are welding thicker materials, you’ll obviously need a higher amperage machine. Work on 35 amps per mm to be welded & remember to consider the duty cycle of the machine, according to the amount of work you’re performing. Aluminium welding generates more heat & at high amperage, will definitely require water cooling.

Aluminum TIG Welding

Input voltage and electrical supply

One of the more important aspects to look at is the electrical supply you have available to you; this supply will determine the machine you purchase. If you are running 110volts, make sure you have enough power to translate into output. Inverter based three phase TIG machines will need 32 amps, make sure you have it.

Warranty features

As a standard most welding machines come with a warranty period, some maybe longer than others. We would consider a 3-year warranty as a minimum requirement & as an indication of build quality.

Welding Gas

Unsure on which gas to use for TIG welding? For TIG, only inert gases are allowed, as reactive gases will ruin your work piece. The preferred shielding gases are dependent on the material and intended use. Pure Argon is the desirable choice as it can be applied to various material types, it is generally more affordable and helps provide a consistent arc. Pure helium, allows TIG welding at higher voltage settings, reducing welding time, but this is generally more expensive. You can have a mix of both shielding gases, producing higher heat inputs, whilst maintaining a consistent arc. Hydrogen can also be used, but primarily when TIG welding stainless steel.

Untitled design 2

Why buy your TIG from Foster Industrial ?

  • We are an experienced technical organisation with an engineering team invested in supporting all plant sales.
  • We stock an array of TIG welding supplies. From TIG welding wires, torches, accessories/consumables, weld cleaning products and PPE, we offer quality TIG welding supplies to compliment your machine.
  • Deciding on the right TIG welder, can be overwhelming, especially with the realm of choices on the market. Call us for more information or to arrange an onsite equipment demonstration.


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