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TIGWELD 160SX initial review



SteveRWhite
12-12-2012, 07:51 AM
I'm new here so I'm probably missing something but I'm not seeing any reviews of the TIGWELD 160SX for Aluminum. So, at the risk of repeating something, I'm going to go ahead and post my initial impressions in case it will help someone.

I am a home hobby welder and just got a TIGWELD 160SX and have about 1 hour of time on it welding aluminum and I'm VERY impressed. My only other TIG aluminum experience was on a Miller Dynasty 200 at the local community college for the last 3 months.

My initial impression (AGAIN, AS A HOBBYIST WELDING SMALL STUFF IN MY HOME SHOP): The Longevity TIGWELD is easily as good as the Miller at about 1/4 the cost. At this point, I can tell no difference in the quality of the welds, ease of use, etc. and I see no reason, as a hobbyist, to buy a MUCH more expensive unit unless you just want to throw money away. Even if the Longevity only lasts 1/4 as long as the Miller, you might as well just buy the Longevity and get a new one every couple of years. At least that way, you'll have the benefit of the latest technology.

I'm using it on 110 volt power supply in my heated shop and it performs perfectly well with the 0.100" aluminum I've been practicing on. It's not convenient for me to set up near the 220V supply out in my cold garage but I will do so when the weather warms up a bit and I'll post an update here if there's any point to it.

For anyone who is new to the TIGWELD 160SX and/or new to aluminum welding who cares, after doing some tests, here's what I ended up doing to get strong, beautiful looking butt welds on 6061 T6 0.100":

110V adapter plugged in
#7 cup (Larger cup = larger shield area)
3/32 2% Lan tungsten - blue tip (look closely at collets and collet body parts to get the right set up in the torch)
CLEAN aluminum 0.100" thick and clean filler rod
Foot pedal control
Amps on foot pedal dial set to approx. 100 amps
Argon shielding gas at 12 CFH (the regulator is not stable so I've had to play with this a lot and I may have to get a new regulator)
3/32 4043 filler rod
0.1 pre flow (no need to waste gas on practice pieces)
2 second post flow (it's only practice so no need to waste gas)
0 clearance effect (don't really know what that does and can't find it in manual)
amps on panel doesn't matter since you're using foot pedal
Set panel for AC TIG and Foot Pedal
very short electrode stick out of about 1/8"

Start the arc with full pedal, let a decent-size puddle form (maybe about the size of your little fingernail or a little bit less) and move the puddle forward about 1/8" and then pull back the torch just a little to give you room to dab in the filler rod at the front edge of the weld pool and keep repeating the process. Keep torch angle about 10 degrees and the filler rod in the shield gas and near the heat. Back off the pedal a bit as the work piece starts to heat up and near an edge or the end of the weld.

I hope this helps some other noob get started with this FINE machine! I'm happy to answer any questions.

Gadget
12-12-2012, 08:04 AM
Nice post and helpful review, thanks.

Cope
12-12-2012, 08:26 AM
Steve, I've had my 160SX since 1/27, and I agree, it is a nice machine for the money. I haven't tried aluminum yet, I never tig welded before I got the machine. The only thing I have done is put a longer cable on the stick electrode holder ad updated the ground clamp to a 200 amp Tweco.