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For those that TIG weld...

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  • For those that TIG weld...

    For those that TIG weld with somewhat limited trunk function and pretty good hands, have you found a better way to control amperage other than using a torch dial? I have to brace myself with my elbows to stabilize my trunk and have pretty decent dexterity in my hands but using a torch dial is somewhat of a pain. Obviously using a foot pedal isn't going to work. I can sew with a foot pedal under my elbow to control power but it's easier than using the foot pedal to TIG because I need my elbows for puddle control to travel. Just wondering if anyone out there has found a better torch dial or modified a foot pedal. I'm using a Weldcraft LS17 torch with a Miller Diversion 180. I'm also an electrical engineer so I'm thinking about taking the foot pedal apart and using the rheostat in another manner, like a squeeze control on the torch. Sort of like a squeeze/pressure sensor mounted on an AR-15 (or the like) that controls lights/lasers. Probably the main problem with this torch dial is that you also have to keep the button pressed simultaneously. So holding down the button and adjusting the dial with my thumb is taking a bit of work. I've tried several finger/hand positions but my torch wonders quite a bit when I'm working both buttons and traveling. Or maybe controlling amperage with the filler rod hand in some manner? Any advice would be much appreciated. I'm really only doing aluminum so I need to back down on the amperage a good bit after I get my puddle started.
    Last edited by Tman9513; 03-29-2013, 10:31 PM.

  • #2
    If you got some trunk, try putting the foot control between you and the chair. Lean on it and pull back if you can. Good luck to ya, love to melt iron.


    • #3
      I usually sit on the floor w/ the foot control on my thigh and use elbow pressure -- was just thinking yesterday I need to invest in a hand dial torch...


      • #4
        often times it seems we need 3 arms since we have no leg function. Bite switches would be so handy in many situations.


        • #5
          I want to learn to weld. Kind of like learning to build guitars as part of learning how to play them, that same bug inside me screams: LEARN HOW TO CUT, BEND, AND WELD tube!!

          Any sage advice?
          "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

          "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty


          • #6
            Ok after a good bit more torch time and almost an empty 60 of Argon, I've changed my opinion on the LS17 torch. 5th wheel, I think it might be worth the investment, just get the right pinout for your machine. Originally, probably because I was fat fingering my thumb, I thought the arc had to be maintained with the button continually pressed. This is not the case. As soon as you hit the button and get an arc, and as long as you don't touch it again, it will keep an arc. So I've changed my hand positioning so that my thumb initiates the arc and then my point finger dials the amperage. I still wish that the button wasn't so close to the dial, but it does work pretty well once you get used to it. You just have to make sure you keep the dial finger away from the button. You can see in the picture how close it is. Wish they had put it on the side. Once you have gloves on it's a bit tricky but I'm getting better.

            DaleB - pretty much my mentality. Bending aluminum tubes that are fairly thin is my next goal. I've messed around with it a bit and what I've learned so far is to go slow and make small adjustments so you don't crimp the tube. Probably going to invest in a good bender though. This is my first welder and all I really wanted to do was aluminum so I could do chair and handcycle work. The Miller Diversion 180 that I bought is a nice rig. It's entry level plus a small step up as far as TIG welders go because it will run off 115V. It will only do up to a certain thickness on 115V but I've had no problems getting enough juice for 1/8 thick aluminum. It come with both the torch and foot control. I'm glad I waited just a little while to purchase it because Miller has a rebate offer right now. If you buy a helmet and some extras the rebate goes up to 15%. I needed everything so I bought online from and with free shipping and the extra gear, plus Tungsten and filler rods, it came to about $2300, before the rebate. So for about 2 grand you can get set up. TIG isn't as messy as MIG or stick and there is a ton of great YouTube videos for learning. I watched a lot of Mr.Tig at TIG Time and then Found a local supplier and basically told him if he can match all of the online prices I would buy everything from him. The Argon you can either do a lease or buy a bottle and have them fill. I chose a 60 cubic ft bottle because it's small enough for me to lift on and off my welder cart. For aluminum you're running 17-20 cubic ft per hour so that size tank is about 3hrs of torch time. Little less because of postflow. Definitely going to take some time to get really good. I enjoy the learning curve though.


            • #7
              Our welder will do all 3 (MIG/TIG/Arc), but we have never used anything but MIG or Arc. When I was working as a pipefitter, our welders only did TIG, they never had to adjust anything on the fly. But we were welding stainless schedule 40 pipe only.
              T8/9 (2-24-06)


              • #8
                I sling the foot pedal under my arm pit. Same for the sewing machine pedal. Put sand in the tubing, old school to keep it from collapsing. Steal the white stuff out of ash trays. Make a plywood jig to bend it around.