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Old 11-01-2013, 08:46 PM   #81
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Help! (CN a little below if you don't want back story)

So I've been wanting to learn to TIG weld for a while, and this thread convinced me to buy the PowerPro205 and give it a shot. I got it tuesday, put everything together, lit up on some 1/4 aluminum and practiced running a bead with no filler. Everything was great, puddled pretty nice, etc. Then I tried adding some filler (even though i only had some 1/16" on hand, which I knew was too small...) and it worked ok for about an inch and gave me a nice stack of dimes, but it got too hot and started balling up the filler, which threw me off my rhythm and I lifted the torch a bit and it just left a messy black splotch at the end of my bead.

Today I got some 1/8" filler with the intent of trying again, and no matter what I did all I could do is make a big black mess on the aluminum, a lot of spatter, and it very quickly ate up the tungsten to boot.

C/N: was able to make a puddle on some aluminum easily enough, but now I'm just making a mess.
Setup:
Current: 200 Amps, foot pedal control
Tungsten: 1/8" blue (2% lanthanated) tungsten, pointed, then slightly blunted.
AC, 70% EN, 100 Hz
100% Argon, 25 cfh.
#8 cup

Stuff I changed:
The first try I ran the argon hose directly from the regulator to the back of the welder. Today I'd set up the filter (for the plasma cutter) and added a 1/4" air hose with standard air fittings so that I could leave the tank in the corner of the garage and have enough line to get to the welder. When I started having trouble, I reverted back to the direct connection, but maybe the air hose I used gave me some contamination? I tried purging for ~20 seconds at 25cfh after I reverted back, so hopefully that's not it.
After the first successful try I realized that I had pre-flow set to 5 seconds, and I backed it down to 1 second, but put it back to about 3 or 4 after I had trouble.
The only other thing I can think of is that the first time I had the aluminum sitting on top of a couple pieces of angle iron to keep it off the surface of my wood work bench, then today, I sat it on top of a couple other pieces of aluminum. Now that I think about it I can see that causing me trouble getting a puddle to form since it'd pull the heat away faster, but it wouldn't cause my tungsten to ball up into the cup immediately, would it?

I cleaned the tungsten several times, and tried it pointed, balled, etc. Changed cups, collets and collet body and nothing helped even a little. I'm just at a complete loss as to what I'm doing wrong.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:09 PM   #82
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Clean the aluminum. Clean it with a wire brush ONLY used for aluminum.

You should be able to weld just fine with that monkey fist. I do it all the time, it's how the old welders worked. You can weld with that ball (monkey fist) on the end of the tungsten just fine.

I have to be completely honest, i haven't dialed in my A/C balance, ac frequency, pulse, upslope, downslope for the machine yet and i weld aluminum with the ball. It works, but i'm not running any knife edges either. Don't use the water separator for the argon, it's not needed. Just for the air.

But like you, i've yet to master aluminum on this machine. I know it's more than capable, i'm just so used to using a 30 year old machine i'm overwhelmed with control.


Another thing i did was use some RTV on the little rubber gasket for the back cap. I feel mine was rolling over and not making a good seal.
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:21 PM   #83
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Quote:
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Clean the aluminum. Clean it with a wire brush ONLY used for aluminum.

You should be able to weld just fine with that monkey fist. I do it all the time, it's how the old welders worked. You can weld with that ball (monkey fist) on the end of the tungsten just fine.

I have to be completely honest, i haven't dialed in my A/C balance, ac frequency, pulse, upslope, downslope for the machine yet and i weld aluminum with the ball. It works, but i'm not running any knife edges either. Don't use the water separator for the argon, it's not needed. Just for the air.

But like you, i've yet to master aluminum on this machine. I know it's more than capable, i'm just so used to using a 30 year old machine i'm overwhelmed with control.


Another thing i did was use some RTV on the little rubber gasket for the back cap. I feel mine was rolling over and not making a good seal.
I assumed it went without saying, but the aluminum was indeed cleaned with a SS wire brush that I've only used for aluminum (and only once, before today, at that).

the o-ring on the back cap seems to be sealing fine so far as I can tell, but maybe I'll try adding some teflon tape to it. do you have trouble with with the RTV gluing the back cap in place?

Any other ideas? I'm hesitant to keep trying until I have a good idea what the problem is. as it is, I'm eating up about a half inch of tungsten within a second of lighting up on the aluminum. I guess tomorrow I'll try some mild steel to see if the same thing happens.
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:35 PM   #84
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Don't stick the tungsten so far out of the cup. Keep it right at the edge of the cup. That's how i do it when not trying to use the high frequency and all that.

I didn't RTV the back cap, just that O-ring in place. It was rolling out of the groove it is supposed to sit in when the back cap was screwed down.
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Old 11-02-2013, 12:09 AM   #85
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Quote:
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Don't stick the tungsten so far out of the cup. Keep it right at the edge of the cup. That's how i do it when not trying to use the high frequency and all that.

I didn't RTV the back cap, just that O-ring in place. It was rolling out of the groove it is supposed to sit in when the back cap was screwed down.
Oh OK. That makes sense about the o-ring. Mine doesn't seem to want to move, so I'll leave it for now.

Thanks for your quick replies BTW. Its much appreciated. As it turns out, though, it wasn't a contamination problem at all. It was apparently a misunderstanding on my part. I had the AC balance set to the wrong end of the scale. Apparently the - on the dial doesn't mean that the torch is spending more time at EN. I just started changing stuff and when I moved the AC balance to 70% from 30% everything started working perfectly. Now the real mystery is how I ever got it to work to begin with, because I swear I never touched the AC balance after I got it to work the first time. Oh well...

I'm super excited to be welding again. I did a little at a job while I was in college, but that was almost all mig, and 8 years ago. I have to say, though, this everlast box is way easier to use than the scratch start tig I used back then. No more sticking the electrode to the base metal 5 times before getting a good arc.
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Old 11-02-2013, 06:48 AM   #86
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Haha, high frequency start is such a luxury i don't even realize i have it and end up scratching when i don't need to. For me anyway.
Glad you got it figured out. Like i said, AC balance, frequency, upslope, downslope all of that i have not even mastered myself yet.

One thing i wish the machine did was show on the digital display what #'s you were at when turning the other dials. But i guess that's what separates it from a digital machine and an analog machine.
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:45 PM   #87
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Haha, high frequency start is such a luxury i don't even realize i have it and end up scratching when i don't need to. For me anyway.
Glad you got it figured out. Like i said, AC balance, frequency, upslope, downslope all of that i have not even mastered myself yet.

One thing i wish the machine did was show on the digital display what #'s you were at when turning the other dials. But i guess that's what separates it from a digital machine and an analog machine.
Well la-tee-da Mr. scratch-start over here.

Well I finally figured out what the real problem was. I was correct in assuming that turning the AC balance more towards the (-) end meant that the torch spent more time at negative polarity. What the problem was is I had stupidly assumed that the TIG torch should be plugged into the port next to the gas port. NOPE. I had the damn thing plugged in EP. I figured it out when I switched over to DC to weld some mild steel and it started acting up again. Ruined a piece of tungsten and 2 cups before I noticed the (+) next to the port the TIG torch was plugged in at Now I feel extra stupid, but hopefully someone will be able to learn from my idiocy.

More on topic of the thread, I'm loving the welder. Played around with the torch controls a bit today and did some mild steel. As long as I keep it set correctly, it's super easy to use. No complaints so far.

I've only had a little experience with everlast's customer service, but it's been good. When I got the unit out of the box, it was missing one of the colored finish pieces on one of the *****. I just took a picture and emailed it to everlast, and they shipped out a new ****, same day.
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:30 PM   #88
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So almost a year now and I still haven't pulled the trigger. Found an interesting one on craigslist, it's a bit more than I want to spend but it seems like a pretty solid machine: brand new lincoln precision tig 225 welder

The only question I have is about the power. From Lincoln's website, it seems that 460 is standard on this model. Will this be a problem if I want to wire it up in my garage? I don't want to have to spend $2,000 to upgrade my house's electrical system for a $1,500 welder.

There's also a Lincoln Idealarc 250 that I may look at, but something tells me it's one of the monster ones and with a single car garage I don't want to have to try to fit a huge welder in there.

Since I started this thread on 4/25/2013 I'll buy some sort of welder by 4/25/2014 whether it's a used miller/lincoln or an everlast. Besides I'll need it to make a downpipe/exhaust for my B series before then.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:30 PM   #89
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You also don't want to have to hardwire it in. Because then you'll need yet another box.

I don't think my house has a 440 service either. I can't imagine it's cheap to upgrade that either.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:13 PM   #90
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Yeah, you should look for an inverter machine that runs on 220V. I would not highly recommend Everlast based on my experience with customer service, but you could do a lot worse. I have had a great experience with HTP.

I am not an expert, just spent a lot of time researching.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:56 PM   #91
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I've owned an Eastwood Tig 200 for a couple of years now. It's done everything I've ask of it. Aluminum, stainless, carbon no problem. It has voltage sensing, so it can operate on 110 or 220. It was new for around $900.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:16 PM   #92
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I've owned an Eastwood Tig 200 for a couple of years now. It's done everything I've ask of it. Aluminum, stainless, carbon no problem. It has voltage sensing, so it can operate on 110 or 220. It was new for around $900.
Second this opinion. Had mine for about 2 years too. It's built an intercooler, turbo mani, exhaust, and tons of other random crap. The only problem I've had is that the argon hose around the main conductor split because I abused the ever living **** out of it. Wrapped that thing in electric tape and it's still going strong. Given the price and what I've needed it for, I'd definitely buy it again.
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:42 AM   #93
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Damn, now I'm back to indecision. I also found a Miller XMT 300cc on craigslist for $800, the problems being 1) it comes with no accessories and 2) no AC so no aluminum. That Eastwood Tig 200 looks good, I think it will probably come down to that vs the everlast multi-function machine (which is more like $1200 but does plasma cutting too).
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:44 AM   #94
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You don't want something without AC. What's the point?

Also, i've said this before. The plasma cuter is awesome. Changing it over is kinda a pain at first. I haven't had any issues other than the torch being kinda cheap and not sealing very well.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:40 AM   #95
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Is the plasma cutter worth $600 though? I'm looking at the Eastwood tig 200 for $1000, or the Everlast PowerPro 205 for $1600.

The Everlast definitely has LOTS more bells and whistles, but it's 220 only. I'm leaning towards the Eastwood because it can do both 110 or 220 which means I can use it outside of just my garage (not that it will be worth much on 110 but at least I can bring it to Concealer's garage and fix any sawzall damage he does).

Damn this is still not getting any easier.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:42 AM   #96
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Multi voltage is super nice. I just wanted one machine to do everything i need. Mainly because i don't have much room.

Go with the eastwood unit, i'm sure it will do you fine.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:06 PM   #97
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Is the plasma cutter worth $600 though? I'm looking at the Eastwood tig 200 for $1000, or the Everlast PowerPro 205 for $1600.

The Everlast definitely has LOTS more bells and whistles, but it's 220 only. I'm leaning towards the Eastwood because it can do both 110 or 220 which means I can use it outside of just my garage (not that it will be worth much on 110 but at least I can bring it to Concealer's garage and fix any sawzall damage he does).

Damn this is still not getting any easier.
Considering a separate comparable plasma cutter would cost you at least $600 (even a harbor freight one with the 20% coupon would be $520) I'd say it depends on whether or not you'd use it. If you're going to be welding, you'll probably be doing a fair bit of cutting too.

I went for the powerpro205, and it's so awesome to have the plasma cutter. Compared to an angle grinder it cuts about 10x faster, and all the sparks go away from you instead of directly into your face, as is invariably the case for me.

Sorry if I'm not making this easier.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:39 PM   #98
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Steve, what's your garage set up? Mine is attached and I didn't have 220 so I basically made an extension cord that ran from the air conditioning circuit (there's already a breaker for the ac) thru the ceiling of the basement out to the garage. Just to be safe I turn the ac off for a little while when welding so there's no extra current draw. Works awesome. If you can do something like this then the Everlast could be the way to go.
-JB
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:54 PM   #99
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The 110 option on the Eastwood is nice, but mostly useless. It has absolutely zero penetration power on 110. I've tried to use it half a dozen times and all I've been able to do successfully is tack something in place just enough to keep it in place in order to get home so I can weld it together on the 220.
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:59 PM   #100
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Thats lame. The 110v on the miller diversion can crank out 125 amps which is more than enough for most things I do on cars, besides welding the water pump inlet. The arc stability on A/C kind of blows on 110v though. I just bought a stubby gas lens for the WP17 torch, the stubby lens puts all the bits of the next size down torch into the bigger wp17 torch, so it drops the amp limit to 125, but makes it almost as small as the smaller torch. Its going to be real helpful when I go to make my control arms in a few months.
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