13 December, 2015

New Toys Inbound

I received a more generous than normal Christmas bonus from work, so I decided to splurge a bit and bought a few new tools.  The biggest of the which is a new AHP AlphaTIG 200x Tig welding machine.  I love my Hobart Handler Mig machine, but I have been wanting to weld aluminum for a while now, and I've discovered a lot of the steel welding I do on my little bike projects is just a bit too small and delicate for best results using the Hobart.

Entry level TIG machines have been around a few years, and there are really three options to go with.  I did some research, including watching this video, which compares the three items:

The Alpha seemed to have the longest list of "pros" and the shortest list of "cons."  The biggest specs I needed were 115v capable, AC/DC (AC for aluminum) and something that uses standard parts.  The Alpha has a few nice features as standard, including a flexible torch head, better foot control, and adjustable pulse control.

The nicest part of the Alpha?  I purchased it off Amazon, along with about half a dozen tools and accessories.  I grabbed some tungsten electrodes in various sizes for both AL and steel, some steel and AL filler rod, a new solar lens for my welding helmet, and a magnifying lens for the helmet too.  I'm also going to pick up a few more welding magnets, and a special vise for clamping tubing together for welding.

Tig looks like a lot of fun, sort of a mixture of mig and oxy welding.  I always enjoyed oxy welding, as it felt more like "art" to me, in terms of moving the puddle around, being able to adjust how much filler rod you used etc.  So I'm sure I will have a LOT to learn, and will be spending a few hours in the garage over the xmas break practicing on scrap pieces.  I'll also need to pick up a new bottle for the AL gas.

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