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Thread: Buzz box used for TIG welding?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master danski26's Avatar
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    Buzz box used for TIG welding?

    Redneckdan mentioned in another thread that a stick welder can be set up for TIG welding. I'm wondering, from Dan or any other welder, if my old Lincoln buzz box could be set up to TIG weld. If so would it only do steel or could I do aluminium with it? How would I go about converting it? What is "scratch starting?" What about cooling?

    I'm not a welder, obviously, my father-in-law is letting me use his fathers Lincoln. I believe it is a 1950's vintage. I replaced a few worn items and it works perfect for stick welding. I need to get into welding aluminium and doing "delicate" welding and carbon and ss though I can''t spend $$$$$$$ on a TIG welder. I have seen some used ones on E-BAY for around $500 but I havn't had the time to research these used models to see which one will fit my needs. But if I could retro-fit my buzz box, that could be all good.
    Semper Fi

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Afternoon Danski26,

    Will be interested in the answers you come up with.

    TIG stands for Tungston Inert Gas ( sorry for the spelling) and from what I have seen, I am doubtfull the conversion can be made.

    Hope I am wrong.

    A TIG machine normally has a foot control and of course it needs to be set up for the inert gas.

    My 255amp wire welder can be set up to run a spool gun for about an additional $1000 plus the cost of a additional gas cylinder and probably a second gas regulater.

    This would allow me to weld aluminum and possibly some other metals.

    Currently I use CO2 and/or a CO2-Argon mix for my cover gas, and would need Argon for welding Aluminum. I would need to double check, but I think the Argon is also usable for Stainless.

    Your best bet for the needed info is probably found at a GOOD welding supply shop, but time spent on the net can help us sound less like dummies when asking questions.

    A TIG machine would be handy for some applications, but the spool gun would be the fastest for most of my needs.

    Looking forward to any additional info that comes your way.

    Keep em coming!

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    A few things, You can convert arc welders to tig, Ive only heard of it on DC machines but I would think AC "might" work, but as far as I know you can only weld Aluminum with AC/Tig.

    Scratch starting is where you actually strike an arc with the tig torch, Most normal tig machines have a high freq start that gets the arc to jump, if you dont have that feature you need to strike the arc.

    You can get add on high freq boxes, they can also have the valving for gas and cooling water.

    There are also air cooled tig torches (no water needed)

    Im not sure if you would be happy with a converted buzz box.

    To me tig welding is about as sweet as it gets welding, If the metal is clean there are no smoke, no sparks, no slag.

    Ive seen some bargains on craigslist, Miller and lincoln both make a very nice smaller (175 amp I think) Tig/arc welder. I have one , I love it

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    http://www.earlycj5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62250

    danski, this should answer some questions for you. No aluminum by this method. The problem with scratch start is that it contaminates the tungsten, and a contaminated tungstens weld terrible. Aluminum is particularly finicky with any contamination present.

    I'm trying to force myself to learn aluminum welding. I've been welding 32 years, learning to forge weld first. I don't work with aluminum so I never learned to weld it properly. I don't like aluminum as a material and don't work with it, but occasionally something needs repair.

    An air cooled torch will get you to 200 amps, enough for steel and stainless except for thick stuff and then TIG isn't the best method to use. Aluminum will often require more amps per thickness because it sucks the heat out of the weld zone. For thinner work the air cooled torch will get by unless your welding for extended periods, then water cooled is nice...Ray
    I've got the itch, but don't got the scratch.

    Democrats, uninsuring the insured.



  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    The only thing you need is a DC power source. The Negative side goes to the torch. The positive goes to the work. The torch lead will have a connection for the argon.

    That will most things other than Al. Al needs high freq start.

    To scratch start don't touch the tungsten to the work piece. Get it in position to weld, drop your hood, then scratch the filler wire across the gap between the tungsten and the work piece. Do this quickly like your striking a match. Start walking the cup, put the wire in puddle and you're welding.

    I weld for a living at a nuclear facility all the fancy stuff is just for the shop. You don't need it till you know you need it. Then you'll know what you want.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master danski26's Avatar
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    Ray, thats a great link. Even if I can't weld aluminium, it looks like I can get into TIG welding and that is good news. I think there are seperate mods you can buy to get the high freq for AL welding. One step at a time I guess.
    Semper Fi

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Russel Nash's Avatar
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    at work, the pipefitters I have seen have cobbled something with their tungsten "torch" leads...where they run the argon hose in with ...I guess...what would normally be the lead for the stick welder's "stinger". I think I have seen both leather gloves and empty water or soda bottles used to splice the argon hose in... now whether that was still in DC mode or if they flipped it to AC....I have no idea.

    there was one pipefitter they flew in from north carolina for some welding on some stainless steel pipe. he asked if I wanted to try as he held up the tungsten lead and the filler rod. I said no because I didn't want to booger it up. when he got done it sure looked pretty.

    the new auto darkening or speedglass hoods or inserts sure do make it nice.

    like the others have said ....there is a foot pedal involved...once pressed I will staRt to hear that high ptiched whine....then the glowing starts and then the noise finally goes away.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    One more thing, for welding thin steel, up to 1/8 or so a Oxy/Acet torch works great. Its basicly like tig except youre using the flame to start your puddle instead of an arc

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Yep, first learned to weld with a gas torch. Easy way to learn control. Still has it's place in the shop!

    Lots of good info on this thread. Figured that would happen.

    Keep em coming!

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    The plastic bottle is to cover the end of the tig torch lead. This is where you connect the argon hose. It has a brass eye that you connect the negitive lead from your power supply. The bottle or old glove... is to keep the brass connection from arcing on any metal, like grating. Most big industrial jobs the other lead is connect to the structure.

  11. #11
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    Probalby ought to just save your money and buy a Miller 180 or the newer 200 syncrowave. It comes with everything you need to TIG weld as well as SMAW. Only thing you would need to get is a bottle of pure argon. You will need a large breaker in the 60 amp range to run it full tilt for mag and alum.
    The miller dynasty welders are real sweet but pricey.
    One of the reasons I say this is I would doubt that even if you got the buzz box to work with continious HF- AC through an amptrol it would have a smooth controlable arc in the low range area.
    Last edited by Marvin S; 06-05-2010 at 02:57 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master JIMinPHX's Avatar
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    To Tig steel, aluminum or stainless, you use argon. To mig steel, you use C25 mix. To mig aluminum you use argon. To mig stainless you use Argon98%/oxygen2% or an expensive tri mix.

    Tig & stick machines are constant current machines. Mig machines are constant voltage machines. They are two different types of power supplies. If you have a machine that does tig & mig, then it has two different machines inside of 1 box.

    Tig can be run straight polarity DC, reverse polarity DC or AC. The one that you want depends on the material that you want to weld. Aluminum uses AC. You really want hi freq to do aluminum because, as has been said, scratch starting causes tungsten contamination & aluminum is super fussy about that. On aluminum, you also want AC balance control, & you ain't going to get that on a buzz box. For most metals, you grind your tungsten to a point. For aluminum, you melt the tip of your tungsten into a ball. For most materials, you use 2% thoriated tungsten (red stripe). For Aluminum, you use pure tungsten (green stripe). Aluminum needs about twice as much current to weld as a piece of steel the same size.

    As has been said, a peddle is really helpful on a tig.

    It is probably better to stick weld the aluminum, after painstaking cleaning & preheating with a torch than to try to set up a buzz box as a tig machine. Neither is a good option though.

    I could go on for about another 6 or 8 pages, but instead, I think that I'll just recommend that you find a good local welding shop & see of you can get a part time job as an apprentice. Just about anyone can glue two pieces of mild steel to each other with a Mig gun, or a 6011 rod, but after that, you need to learn more than a few little things & a couple of paragraphs on an internet site isn't likely to cover enough.

    You can electrocute yourself or burn down the house with a buzz box too. Please be careful with that thing, especially if you don't know what you are doing.
    “an armed society is a polite society.”
    Robert A. Heinlein

    "Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset."
    Publius Tacitus

  13. #13
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    Jim, I only had mediocre results with pure tungsten on aluminum. I've had good luck with the thoriated on aluminum.
    ...
    Other tungstens for you to look up, ceriated, lanthanated and zirconiated. They sound like better replacements for pure and thoriated ...Ray
    I've got the itch, but don't got the scratch.

    Democrats, uninsuring the insured.



  14. #14
    Boolit Master danski26's Avatar
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    You speak some words of wisdom there Jim. I think some formal training might be in order before I go much farther.
    Semper Fi

  15. #15
    Boolit Master JIMinPHX's Avatar
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    By the way, most of the stuff for use with aluminum has a green mark of some kind on it. Tungsten for aluminum usually has a green stripe. Grinding wheels for aluminum usually have a green label, etc. At least that's how it works at my local suppliers. I assume that it's universal in the industry.
    “an armed society is a polite society.”
    Robert A. Heinlein

    "Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset."
    Publius Tacitus

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I use the adapted buzz box for welding thin mild and stainless steels, mainly snowmobile tunnels and control panels for snowguns. For aluminum you really need to use a 'real' TIG set up to get worth while results.
    Some where between here and there.....

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