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What Is The Best TIG Welder For Your Shop Or Garage?
TIG welding is an essential process for auto restorers and fabricators who do a lot of work with thinner gauge metals, especially aluminum or chrome-moly steel. If you're considering purchasing a TIG welder, but you're not sure what exactly you need, we're here to help you select the right machine for your job. Eastwood offers the TIG 200 DC, the TIG 200 AC/DC and the Digital TIG 200 AC/DC welder for mechanics and bodyworkers. Each unit will weld steel up to ¼-inch thick and all come with a 3-year warranty from Eastwood against defects. Both AC/DC machines will also weld aluminum up to ¼-inch, which is seen much more on modern vehicles.
The TIG 200 DC and TIG 200 AC/DC machines will handle most of the work you'll be doing on a restoration and are great for most people. Many professionals even use these machines in their shops. If you're looking for a more advanced unit, or if you're considering getting into welding as a profession, the Digital TIG has some additional features that will help you get the best welds.
The TIG 200 DC and TIG 200 AC/DC welders are basically the same in how they're constructed and how they work. Both have a duty cycle of 60 percent and are built with stick welding capabilities if you ever need to use this more traditional method. Their high-frequency start gives you more precise arc control. They also include a variable foot pedal for hands-free adjustment of amperage and power.
The main difference between these units is that the DC TIG will only weld steel and stainless while the AC/DC TIG will also weld aluminum. Remember, when it comes to welding, DC and AC don't just refer to the type of power current. In this case, DC is synonymous with steel welding and AC stands for aluminum. In other words, a DC machine will only weld steel while an AC/DC machine will weld both steel and aluminum. If you're only going to be welding steel, the DC TIG should be fine. If you want the option to weld aluminum, you should get the TIG 200 AC/DC. Both will weld steel up to ¼-inch thick and the AC/DC machine will also weld aluminum up to ¼-inch thick.
Advantages of a Digital TIG Welder
The Digital TIG has more features than our traditional analog welder. These include pulse, 2T and 4T controls; a spot weld timer, mix welding; and programmable presets. Plus it comes with a rocker style foot pedal and flex head torch, which many users really want in a machine.
But what do all those features mean for you? Let us explain. The pulse feature on the Digital TIG allows you to program the machine to pulse over a specific amperage range. If you've ever watched someone TIG weld and they're methodically pushing the pedal up and down, they're basically doing their own pulse. Since you can program this Digital TIG, you get the exact precision only a machine can give you. This unit also gives you 2T and 4T modes for the torch to provide more control if you're using the torch rather than the foot pedal. The AC/Mix feature means you can get better penetration on thick aluminum and maintain a more stable arc on thinner material. The spot weld timer and the ability to program settings make it quick and easy to begin welding the next time you're working on the same material.
Which One is Right for You?
If you're just doing basic welding and auto restoration, any of these units would be fine and give you the quality welds you expect. In that case, choose the unit that best matches your material and budget needs. If you plan on pushing your skills or going beyond typical auto restoration and metal fab, you should consider the Digital TIG.
And remember if you're just learning how to TIG weld, Eastwood has a lot of videos that show how to setup your welder and begin welding. We also have videos on troubleshooting as well as tips and tricks to improve your skills and even videos to fully explain the features of the Digital TIG. Visit the Eastwood Garage or call us toll-free for expert advice from our mechanics.