If you’re a new hobbyist and you stumbled upon welding, you probably came across the term “TIG welder.” Short for Tungsten Inert Gas welding, TIG is a popular type of welding process that joins different types of materials. There are so many different TIG machines out there, but a 110/115V/120 TIG welder might be the most convenient choice for casual operators and newbies.
What is TIG Welding?
The basic principle of welding is letting electricity flow through a conductor and heat metal for it to be fused. In a TIG welding process, tungsten electrodes heat the metal to melt it, forming a weld pool. This type of welding is very suitable for delicate projects that use thin materials.
Another critical feature of TIG welding is the specific shielding gas you need to use. A shielding gas ensures the purity of the material as you weld. Usually, welding projects are done in open spaces, and the atmospheric components can contaminate the material. Having nitrogen, hydrogen, or oxygen mixed into the air will affect its quality, hence the need to shield gas.
In other types of welding processes, carbon dioxide is commonly used because it is readily available. In TIG welding, however, pure argon gas is recommended most of the time. A few specific materials might need a mixture of helium and argon gas as shielding gas. For the most part, though, argon will suffice.
Similarities and Differences Between a TIG and MIG Welder
You might have heard of TIG welders being compared to MIG welders often. This is because the two types of machines have quite a handful of similarities. However, they also have stark differences.
TIG and MIG welding processes share the same basic principles. They both create an electrical arc that melts the metal into liquid form to weld the material. Both processes also need a shielding gas to preserve the purity of the material. However, that is about the end of their main similarities.
The difference between TIG and MIG welding starts with the material that conducts electricity into the metal. Tungsten is used for TIG welding, while a metal wire fed through the welding rod creates heat for MIG welding. This means that filler material is always present in MIG welding because it serves as the heat medium and the additional substance to strengthen the weld. In TIG welding, however, a filler material is optional.
It is also a little trickier to use a filler material in TIG welding because of the complexities in technique when using the machine. TIG welding has two main components that need to be controlled: the welder would hold the rod in his hand and use a foot pedal that controls the electricity flowing through the rod. If a filler material is to be used, the welder’s hands would be packed with the welding rod in one and the filler substance in the other.
A second difference between TIG and MIG welding is the kind of shielding gas used. For MIG welding, carbon dioxide is used, while for TIG welding, argon is applied.
Pros and Cons of a TIG Welder
There are many advantages to using a TIG welder instead of other types of machines. This portion will discuss the pros and cons of TIG welding.
First of all, TIG welders are known for their ability to have clean welds. The main advantage of TIG welding is that you could use it in fusing thin materials together. It is also very versatile. You can use it on typical metals, alloys, and even jewelry substances like bronze or gold.
Unlike other welders, TIG doesn’t create a splash or excess metal outside the welding point, and this is because of how controlled this type of welding is. You can control the heat, and excess filler material is not necessary. Another characteristic of this clean welding process is that it doesn’t produce fumes or smoke. There is also no barrier that hides your view of the weld puddle.
Despite all the advantages of using a TIG welder, you must also be aware of its cons. The TIG welding process is a little more meticulous than other processes. This means more time is needed to finish a project. If you’re just a hobbyist or part-time welder, you might be hard-pressed to complete great welds on a deadline. It would be best if you took the time that TIG welding consumes into consideration.
Another notable disadvantage of TIG welding is that it would require a learning curve to master. There is an art in welding with the TIG that one needs to experience and eventually get the hang of painstakingly. It is understandable given the fact that you can use this welding process in jewelry making and art. If you have perseverance and grit, you, too, can be a master of TIG welding.
Why a 110V TIG Welder?
Now that we have talked about the TIG welding process, it’s time to decide what type of TIG machine to get.
There are many varieties out there in the market of TIG welders. If you’re looking for a machine because of its convenience, we highly recommend the 110V welder TIG type. This might be the most compatible machine with what you have in mind.
For DIY projects or more thought-out art structures, a 110V TIG would be significant. The main advantage of the TIG welder with this specific voltage threshold is that you can use it at home. Most outlets in residential houses only conduct 110V, so using a higher voltage machine in your own house will likely damage it.
TIG welders are good to use with the typical house receptacles because of the delicate nature of the objects. Unlike other industrial welding techniques, TIG welding wouldn’t need high voltage inputs to power the machine continuously.
Long welding sessions on thick materials aren’t what TIG welding is for. Sure, you can have long TIG welding works too, but that will most likely be because of the need for precision and seamless work output.
However, people are often confused when they try to look for a 110V TIG welding machine on the market and don’t find any. There are many 115V or 120V available, though. What most people fail to realize is, 110V and 115V power supply are totally the same thing.
Usually, welding machines are considered heavy-duty compared to other household appliances. They typically require an input voltage of around 230V. However, some TIG welders have a lower input voltage needed to operate. These machines often need only 120V of power which is what the standard household outlets supply.
120V or 110V TIG Welder To Check Out
In the interest of helping amateur or professional welders having their own home-friendly TIG welders, we have researched some products that may appeal to you. These machines work with 115V to 120V input power. Most households in North America have 110V outlets or 120V outlets. With these machines, you won’t need a transformer to do your welding projects unlike, if you were to use a higher-voltage industrial welding machine.
Currently, this Wisconsin-based welding company sells a low voltage 115V TIG welder. This is why Miller is included in this list.
The company is currently marketing five TIG welding machines. These are the Diversion 180, Dynasty 210, Maxstar 161, Syncrowave 210, and the Maxstar 210. Out of all these five machines, only the Diversion 180 has the lowest voltage input of 115V.
The Diversion 180 TIG Welder is tailored for personal use more than the other machines. Small-scale repairs can be done using this welder. You can accomplish common household problems, such as creating metal frames, fixing aluminum pans, exhaust systems, or even art structures, with the Diversion 180. This handy welding machine is also applicable for vocational courses because it is effortless to use.
Its key features are easy 3-step instructions; portability because it only weighs 50 pounds, and it comes with a multi-voltage plug of 120V and 240V receptacles, so you won’t need additional adapters. The Diversion 180 is an excellent machine for budding welding enthusiasts.
The EZ-TIG 165i—one of the lowest voltage input machines—has unfortunately been discontinued. However, we highly recommend excellent-quality Hobart machines, especially their new Multi-Handler 200 Multiprocess Welder instead, which needs 120V input.
The main attraction of the Multi-Handler 200 is its compatibility not only with the TIG torch but also with MIG and Stick welding. It is even lighter than the Diversion 180 from Miller at only 39 pounds. It also offers an interface that is easy to understand and navigate. This welder also has a multi-voltage technology that makes it compatible with both 120V and 240V outlets. Versatility is the selling point of the Multi-Handler 200. If you’re looking to venture into other types of welding in the future, you might want to consider this product.
One of the low voltage input machines that Lincoln Electric sells is the Square Wave TIG 200 TIG Welder. And like the machines already mentioned before, this Lincoln machine works on 110V or 120V outlets which means, it’s great to work with on your own home.
Whether you do welding projects in a shed or your garage, at 46 pounds, this welding machine is definitely portable and suitable for outdoor work. It is also a little versatile because it can be used in TIG and Stick welding projects. The Square Wave TIG 200 can accommodate the systems for both TIG and Stick welding in case you would want to learn about the latter in the future.
Additionally, the main feature that sets this machine apart from others is that it can take TIG welding of thicker materials. Usually, TIG is done on thinner or more delicate pieces like metal sculptures, but with the Square Wave TIG 200, thicker substances can be welded with strength, precision, and a clean finish. You can use this welder on car repairs or other repairs around the house.
This machine is also marketed with excellent AC welding for aluminum and DC welding for stainless steel. One of its features is AC Balance that you can control to enable better aluminum penetration. The Square Wave TIG 200 is an excellent tool for a little heavy-duty welding. If that’s what you need from a TIG welder, then this machine is worth checking out.
TIG welding is a little more specific and geared towards seamless or clean-looking welding projects. Its identifying feature is the use of tungsten electrodes in melting the metal to be welded. The filler material can be optional in this type of welding. The shielding gas commonly used is argon, unlike the usual carbon dioxide shielding gas.
The critical characteristics of TIG welding are clean weld beads with no splash or sputter, no fumes or smoke produced, and the project has a clean look. A professional welder can do amazing things with the right TIG welding machine. Beginners shouldn’t be afraid of TIG welders, however. These machines will help hone your welding skills for even more advanced projects.
These are what makes TIG welding worth it, even if it is a little bit more time-consuming than other welding methods. There is also a learning curve in using TIG welders because the setup of the components is a little different.
Although there are many types of TIG welding machines in the market, the most compatible for home use would be the ones with the lowest voltage input needed. 115V to 120V are good enough usually for the work on delicate pieces that TIG is applicable on.
There are three good TIG welders worth looking at if your consideration is personal use. The Diversion 180 TIG Welder by the company Miller is an excellent welding machine for repairing common household mishaps. From minor works to planned-out metal art projects, this is a trusty machine.
Another TIG welder to check out is Hobart’s Multi-Handler 200, Multiprocess Welder. This machine boasts versatility. If you’re interested in learning other welding methods, this machine can be your friend. It is compatible with MIG and Sticks welding too.
The last machine to consider for TIG work is the Lincoln Electric’s Square Wave TIG 200 TIG Welder. The selling point of this welder is its ability to withstand thicker materials to fuse. The company markets this machine as a great tool if you want clean welds on more vital metals like aluminum or stainless steel, among others. It is also great if you want to work outdoors. Among the three machines compared in the article, the Square Wave TIG 200 is probably the most heavy-duty of all.
Regardless of what you need it for, investing in a TIG welding machine is excellent. If you’re looking for a new hobby and you’re checking out which machine and method to settle down and learn, we hope you got an idea from reading this article. Having a new hobby that teaches you skills is worth spending time and resources on. It’s never too late to indulge yourself in the things you are passionate about. If it’s welding that you deeply care about, talk to us, your welding buddies!