Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

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epanzella
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Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by epanzella » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:16 pm

I have a 250 amp Miller AC/DC machine. I can get a scratch start TIG setup for a few hundred bucks to work with my machine which could weld steel. I would like to also weld aluminum. Is there a hi-frequency attachment that would work with my machine for aluminum? I assume a transformer type machine like mine puts out 60 cycle AC. Will that work with aluminum?
Ed P
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choprboy
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by choprboy » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:47 pm

Miller (and other manufacturers) made and still make arc starters/arc stabilizers for running AC TIG on 60Hz stick machines. The current model is the HF-251 for over $1000, but you can often find older models, like the Miller HF-15/HF-20 or Lincoln HI-FREQ, for cheap on Craigslist. There are even old Dayton/Sears branded ones. You can also frequently find Dialarcs with the optional high frequency arc starters still attached.

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warmstrong1955
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by warmstrong1955 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:51 am

My first TIG, was a hi-freq unit on a regular old heavy duty AC/DC Idealarc machine. It was a Linde, less than $100 bucks. Not made anymore.
We built a foot pedal for it, so the the arc and the gas were more easily controllable, but it had no rheostat. You had to set the dial on the front of the welder.
As it was, you had to flip a toggle switch to turn on the arc, and when you opened the flow regulator, the gas was on. A couple relays and a solenoid and the custom pedal & microswitch made life a lot easier.

Haven't seen one in a while, and I don't know if anyone still builds them. I did a lot of welding with mine.
Maybe something on fleaBay?

Bill
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warmstrong1955
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by warmstrong1955 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:56 am

Here we go....this is what mine looked like.
Price seems kind of steep. I remember driving to Tucson and paying $99.99 for mine, when the distributer put them on sale.
Couldn't pass up a sale!
Late 70's, sometime...I forget.

They do work pretty well, with an easy mod or two.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/high-frequency- ... Sw4CFYr6Ix

Bill
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Russ Hanscom
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by Russ Hanscom » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:00 pm

Likewise; I had an old Craftsman unit, added a box with a couple of relays for the HF, gas, and water, and built up a foot pedal. Only problem was that the HF unit seemed to reduce the duty cycle. or increase the amp draw, on the welder, Linde, because it would trip the supply breaker, which it never did on normal stick welding.

epanzella
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by epanzella » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:02 pm

I've followed up on the leads presented here and it seems that between buying a scratch start TIG torch and buying a Hi-Frequency unit I'll be at at least $600 with no foot pedal. Eastwood sells an ac/dc TIG for $700 that has gotten good reviews. It looks like my choices are the Eastwood machine for steel and aluminum or a scratch start TIG for steel only. Thanks all for the help.
Ed P
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warmstrong1955
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by warmstrong1955 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:16 pm

I have no experience with Eastwood welders. I have bought some bending equipment from them and some other hand tools. Not the best, but plenty good enough for the home shop.
Back when I bought my Linde hi-freq unit, it was a bargain. I had an AC/DC machine, and a TIG at the time was $3K, for a small one. Times have changed!
If you buy it, I hope you let us all know how it works!

:)
Bill
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steamin10
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by steamin10 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:54 am

IMHO you pay for the amp capacity to get out of the 20% duty cycle of small machines. That being said I have an Older lincoln 'robot' with the set wheel on front that is a transformer machine starving on single phase. It has ac/dc rev polarity, and is split at the lead connection for a 150 amp water cooled TIG torch mated with a Bernard cooler. It runs steel vvery nice with touch lift and gas, but no freq, mens no AL or stainless. They both require freq to get good cleaning of the puddle and nice layout.

Please dont talk to me about stick for aluminum or stainless, as they are different animals, and only for heavy weight welds. Tig will allow you to weld pop cans together with practice. (I have seen it done and lost a bet).

Small wire machines are a waste as they are too finnicky to be practical, as they run out of power very quickly to do real work in heavy aluminum or stainless. I can make some pretty good tack welds on my aluminum truck castings, But I am using a slightly heavier machine that is 220 feed and dedicated to aluminum wire, so the gun liner stays iron free. Any rust or dust from the steel wire will kill aluminum welding dead.

Mostly a peddle is best for any tig welding to get short arcs after start-up. And, NO, 60 cycle is NOT freq, and wont work well that way. Special rods (if you can find them) help to make up for limited machines, and is the biggest difference between home and industrial machines. Home guys have trouble getting the raw power to the machine in the first place, often having to be spendy for new circuits.

So, we land someplace in the middle with light to medium capacity, and dusty welding machines, that wont do what we need very often. So it depends on your use. If you dont use it weekly, consider the costs for dead money.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by spro » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:09 pm

I will interject in saying the stabilizer that WS1955 mentioned, comes in many flavors which are identical. I picked up a M. Wards PowerKraft TTZ-5969A but had no manual. Since this subject, I see it is identical to the linked " Universal" the "Century 115-4" and the older "Sears".

b4autodark
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by b4autodark » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:13 pm

I have to disagree with steamin 10 's statement that you need H F to weld stainless . After 45 years in the pipe welding trade I do know what I'm talking about. Always scratch start as foot pedals aren't to handy when you're on a ladder, never used them even when fabbing on a bench. Mostly high purity gas work, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, etc for semiconductor mfg. Sanitary work for food production and brewery work, and high purity steam and water for the medical industry.

Just my 2 cents.

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steamin10
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by steamin10 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:18 pm

Generalized statements always causes the openings for misunderstanding. So to clarify, yes, on heavy piping and fittings, stainless does not need freq, it needs a good hand to put it where it goes, as it does not flow like steel. Freq will help it lay down in TIG. Most of my stainless experience is with lifting eyes and attachments on M-60 tank hulls with stick. Only a few welders had the hand for that operation, and I was barely adequate. With the aging of my eyes, I am using 3.0 cheaters to get a good picture. My Horror Fright helm has failed in the battery department, and does not work well, so I am into bright spot lights to light up the weld area, and gold shield lenses to get good, and I still miss the seams at times. The next batch of projects are probably going to be done by a boiler maker friend of 30, who has passed his tickets quiz.

When working thin sheet with TIG I have no success without freq, as Tig allows you to back up and even out a seam. Somthing that cant be done with wire or small stick other than small spot welds or plug welds.

I hope that I am clear on the caviats and pitfalls of the differnt kinds of work. I seem to run into more needs, the more I try to do, not to argue your personal expertise.

While I am at it, I claim expertise in industrial mechanics, (millwright) electrician, machinist, woodcraft and cabinetmaking, and heavy auto repair, as in engine rebuild and replacement, all ahead of my welding skills. Fact is, I dont put nough time in on the welding to maintain that eye hand skill, and struggle at times. I worked at Union Tank Car and know a good welder when I see one, and I aint it, even if the metal does stick together. Laters.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

b4autodark
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Re: Hi-Freq & AC stick & TIG Torch for aluminum?

Post by b4autodark » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:33 pm

Big Dave,

You are very clear, I didn't mean to start an arguement, just to clarify that freq is not needed for ss when tig welding.

I am in the same camp as you when it comes to "old eyes syndrome". Plus 2.50 bifocals and +3.00 cheaters in the hood and lots of light.

The piping I worked with over the years in stainless steel ranged from .035 to schedule # 160 in wall thickness and 1/4" to 36" in diameter. Also did work in chrome moly, silicon bronze, aluminum, and of course mild steel.

I had a very good career in the pipe trades, worked pretty steady for my entire career and taught pipe welding to apprentices at night school for 22 years.

I am now retired and happily putzin in the shop most days.

Take care, be well, stay busy.

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