Achieving Precision Control When TIG Welding Aluminum

With stainless steel, you can make great TIG welds with a scratch start. But when you’re working around aluminum, there’s really no proper substitute for the control of a foot pedal.  Because effective foot control lets you make changes on the fly.

Many welders consider pedals to be the easiest way to make those changes, especially when working on thinner materials that require more finesse. They can be great for tapering amperage towards the end of a weld. But picking one can be tricky, especially if you’re trying to replace a simple stock pedal.

SSC Controls C910-0725 TIG Welding Foot Pedal

Using a proprietary 7-pin connection, this pedal was made specifically for AHP TIG welders. It’s compatible with nearly all newer AHP welders, especially the Alpha series, but also including nearly any model made in the past five years.

With compatibility out of the way, installation is basically plug and play. The C910-0725 includes a 25ft cable, which dwarfs the capacity of stock pedals. But it’s only when you turn to the sensitivity of the pedal that you really get a full appreciation of the differences involved.

Build & Design

In terms of its appearance, the body of this pedal is pretty unremarkable. It measures 8.8 x 5.5 x 3.7-inches and weighs just over five pounds. Its black casing provides a gentle incline for the user’s foot, while also remaining generally low profile, ensuring it can be used in tighter spaces.

Additionally, the topside provides a wide range of traction area for your foot, the result of a whole-surface texture that’s nearly as gripping as 100-grit sandpaper. Pretty good for holding a work boot in place, though it actually might be able to tear up a soft-soled running shoe.

Other Considerations

Not many people run a foot pedal to the end of its operation cycle. The C910-0725 TIG Welding Foot Pedal is rated for a million cycles. Even for someone who’s doing TIG welding on aluminum every day of the week, you can expect at least a decade of performance from this pedal.

To ensure the equipment lasts that long, it includes an America made drawn steel case. The pedal itself is also American made, and includes a one-year warranty from SSC Controls.

Who Should Choose the SSC Controls C910-0725 TIG Welding Foot Pedal?

Poor pedals can be a serious impediment to control. Comfort has an impact on maneuverability, productivity, and eventually even the quality of your weld. A good foot control should feel natural to use, and that’s essentially what these controls provide.

You probably don’t need a pedal this for stainless steel welding. But for working with aluminum, the C910-0725 TIG Welding Foot Pedal might be considered perfect. After you’ve become used to working with responsiveness like this, you really can’t go back to cheap stock pedals.

Its only deficiencies are limited compatibility and restrictive cost. If you’re ready to get exactly what you pay for, then the C910-0725 simple enough to be approachable for beginners, yet powerful enough to be one of the best accessories any experienced individual might add to an AHP welder.

Arc Welding Sleeves That Don’t Cost an Arm

Gloves do a good job of protecting your hands and wrists. But what about a couple inches past that? Is the rest of your arm immune to sparks, splatter, and heat? Probably not. Sometimes a welding jacket can help. But are you always working in jacket weather? It’s problems like that which drive many to consider welding sleeves.

Lincoln Electric Black One Size Flame-Resistant Welding Sleeves

Similar to a pair of inexpensive welding gloves, Lincoln Electric’s sleeves are something you should consider a consumable. Sooner or later these sleeves will need to be replaced. The only question is what kind of protection they can provide while they’re around, and how long they’re able to serve.

Aesthetically speaking, these sleeves are professional looking, if a bit bland. The Lincoln Electric logo is written across the top of the shoulder cuff, but the otherwise vacantly black material makes no effort to stand out. Using black material also helps keep the sleeves looking about the same, even after they’ve been showered with sparks.

Protection Provided

Each sleeve is made from nine ounces of fire-resistant material. The general idea is clearly to help protect your arms from the heat and splatter associated with welding, though these sleeves are actually dynamic enough to be used outside of MIG welding and TIG welding with only a little imagination.

The material they’ve used is pretty well suited for its job, with one caveat. These sleeves are not especially effective at protecting your arms from UV. For some types of jobs, that can clearly be a problem. You don’t want to come home with sunburn, after all. This problem can be partially offset, but it’s worth considering.

Worn Comfort

The sleeves are designed to be close to a universal fit, stretching 21” in length. The end of each cuff is built from elastic materials which are used to help keep each sleeve in position. The material is basically a coarse nylon; it’s stiffness is similar to burlap.

And there’s a couple of advantages here. Because the material puffs out rather than hugs the skin, it doesn’t let sweat soak and absorb into the material as easily. It also makes it easy to place these sleeves over other materials, and makes them have an almost universal fit.

However, the only way to keep sleeves from moving around is squeezing your arm firmly with the fabric. Instead of squeezing your entire arm with tight-fitting fabric, Lincoln Electric’s sleeves only provide squeeze at the top and bottom of each cuff. Consequently, these sleeves tend to slide up and down while you’re using them. That means if you plan on using them for a couple of hours, you’re going to end up making adjustments half a dozen different times.

Who Should Choose LE’s Black One Size Flame-Resistant Welding Sleeves?

Choosing clothing is a personal decision, even when it comes to one-size fits-all sleeves.  Aesthetic aside, people who are particularly tall may find the 21” length to be a little limiting. As long as you don’t think they’re too short or too hideous to wear, you should find these sleeves are cost effective protection.

Even when you’re wearing short TIG gloves, they cover you from wrist to armpit. Because of the elastic design, you could even pull them over a jacket for a little extra protection. That kind of adaptability is what makes it pretty easy to recommend Lincoln Electric Black One Size Flame-Resistant Welding Sleeves to people who are interested in value and comfort first, even if they’re not ideal for all types of lengthy tasks.

Spot Welding Eye Safety Without Slowing Down

When you’re working with an enormously hot and bright flame, it makes sense to want adequate protection. Protecting yourself from getting burned is a good start, but there’s more to it than that.

You don’t want your protection to get in the way of your work. Neither do you want to come home with your eyes feeling dead tired. In other words, you want protection that’s scalable to different tasks, whether you’re doing flux core welding, TIG welding, or anything between.

3M Speedglas Welding Helmet 9100

When you’re doing amateur work for a couple of minutes at a time, you probably don’t need anything more than an old-school, standard welding helmet. But for people working professionally and welding constantly throughout the day, it’s more important that your equipment can help you without hindrance.

It would be an exaggeration to say the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet makes it feel like you’re not wearing a welding helmet at all. But that’s the general idea.  The headband is made to fit heads 19.5” to 25.5” in diameter.

Once you’ve got it on, it moves up and down with a pretty smooth pivot action, and allows you to lock the front shield in the upper position. Moreover, 3M uses some smartly placed exhaust vents that help reduce humidity and heat, and fogging of the filter.

Build & Design

As far as appearances go, the 3M Speedlas is fairly non-distinct. The plain gray and black body looks neat and professional. Generic looking equipment is exactly what many people are looking for, though there’s something to be said for customizing your gear.

The 9100 Series was made with a 1.8 x 3.7-inch display, which provides a viewing area of about six square inches. It’s a fairly wide field of view intended to provide maximum protection with minimal obstruction to your vision.

The screen is built around a pair of three sensors, which are used to activate an auto-darkening filter in response to bright light. That automatic filtration supports variable lens control between 5-13, which helps you maintain almost perfect clarity without having to swap your helmet. 

The lens can switch from light to dark in a tenth of a millisecond, which is 1/10,000th of a second. The filter will return to light in about a quarter of a second, an almost unnoticeable response time. That also ensures the helmet can respond to flares in an instant.

Battery Performance

The included battery is supposed to operate for 2,800 hours. That translates into more than an entire year of 40-hour workweeks spent with a welding torch in your hand.

If that sounds longer than you’d otherwise expect, it’s because the helmet operates with a pair of CR2030 batteries instead of using a single battery cell.  When it does run out, it’s worth noting these batteries are relatively inexpensive and easy to find.

Other Considerations

This helmet does not include side windows. Though you can get a magnifying lens, a lens is not included.  You do, however, receive a helmet bag, and the clips necessary to attach your own magnifier lens.

Who Should Choose the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet?

As long as you end up with a properly sized helmet, this is the kind of equipment that could easily convert someone into becoming a lifelong fan. It reduces tunnel vision, and the venting ensures you don’t feel like you’re stuffed inside of oven.

It’s got switching speeds sufficient for protecting your eyes from fatigue and safety hazards. From spot welding on through, the filtration is intended to be suitable for almost anything you could throw at it.

Though it’s not the prettiest welding helmet on the market, it can take some strain off your neck without interfering with the quality of your work. And that’s easy to fall in love with.

Portable MIG Welder Without Wasting Time

On occasion, you might need a MIG welder kit with enough raw power to carve through the bulkhead of a ship. But when you’re working on a smaller scale, for the sake of efficiency, you generally want the most lightweight and portable equipment that’s still appropriate to the task at hand.

Oddly enough, it can actually be more difficult to choose a great MIG welder with introductory or mid-range pricing. Because you’re at much greater risk of encountering poorly made imitations and knock-offs. When that happens, you don’t just waste money, you waste time.

Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V

Among the numerous Hobart wire-feed welders on the market currently, the Handler 140 is easily their most popular model. Because it’s a completely independent kit that’s still MIG ready. Equally important, it has a highly portable design which makes it easy to move the Handler 140 from one location to the next.

MIG Welding Power

The Handler 140 is driven by 115-volts of current, so it only needs a 20-amp circuit to perform well. On the front side of the Handler 140, a five-position voltage control selector lets you alter the arc, allowing you to keep it smooth and stable as you move between materials of different thickness.

Additionally, the Handler 140 was constructed with an industrial cast aluminum drive system, alongside a heavy-duty work clamp. On its upper settings, it welds mild steel and stainless steel with confidence. You can actually work through about a quarter inch of thickness when welding stainless steel. Not bad.


Design of the Kit

From a superficial point of view, the Handler 140 looks like a fairly ordinary corded-electric MIG welder. It measures about 19 x 11 x 13-inches, and weighs about 57lbs. Relative to its capabilities, that’s certainly quite portable. The only thing really limiting this instrument is the duty cycle, which is 20% at 90A.

The Handler 140 includes basically everything you would need to get started with a new MIG welder. That includes a MIG gun, gas hose, dual gauge regulator, 10ft power cord, and cable clamp. It also includes an eight-inch spool adapter and pair of extra 0.03 contact tips and 0.03 sample spool of flux-cored wire. None of these pieces seem particularly cheap, either.

Other Considerations

Another thing that makes the Handler 140 popular is it’s terribly welcoming to inexperienced users. Even for someone who’s not familiar with MIG welding, the cover includes a setup guide that ensures the process is about as simple as possible.

But you don’t have to be a novice to appreciate intuitive design. It’s frustrating when things are more difficult than they need to be. Preventing that kind of needless frustration is what Hobart’s design is really all about. Finally, it may be worth noting, the Hobart Handler 140 is manufactured in the United States, and is supported by their industrial 5-year warranty.

Who Should Choose the Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V?

Hobart stands out in this price range because of the quality of the equipment. Most MIG welding units in this price range are cheap junk because there are plenty of places to cut corners on a unit like this. The other shell could be made of mostly plastic components, or you could end up with a substandard regulator.

The Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder is basically the antithesis of cheap junk. It doesn’t have TIG welding capabilities, but that’s something you’ll have to forgive, given its price. Though the power of this welder is more suitable to hobbyists than professionals, it does provide a kind of site-to-site portability that almost anyone should be able to appreciate.

In conclusion, Hobart is a highly respecting and recommended welding brand for beginners – to learn more how to weld, and understand MIG welding processes, you can claim a FREE MIG Welding Download Here

Protecting Your Hands for TIG Welding

TIG Welding Glove Review

Moving from one welding job to another, you might need different tools for different tasks. And that includes your protective equipment. Depending on the job at hand, you might need a little extra protection from heat and splatter, or you might need a lighter glove with greater dexterity.

When you can make those trade-offs without sacrificing lasting power or comfort, that’s when you know you’ve found the right pair of TIG welding gloves.


Caiman White Goatskin Long Cuff TIG Welding Gloves

True to their name, Caiman’s white goatskin gloves are constructed from highly resilient goat grain leather. Or rather, the fingers and palm of the gloves use that material. From the wrist onward, these gloves are constructed with a 4” cuff made from a separate hide of long split leather.

It’s a fairly strong combination of sturdy material and protection along the wrist. But internally, these gloves essentially have no fuzzy lining. It’s not really that bad for comfort because goatskin is fairly smooth.

It also means your hands don’t end up with that new-glove white-fluff all over them. More importantly, it helps keep the gloves from being stiff, and allow you to maintain a greater degree of dexterity.

If you’re seeking comfort above all else, top-grain leather is really your best choice. White goatskin leather like used by these gloves is filled with minor imperfections, and isn’t quite as durable.

But at the same time, leather is leather. As long as its construction isn’t totally butchered, you end up with performance that’s close-enough to the best materials on the market. That certainly seems to be the case here.

Value Oriented Materials

When you’re mostly doing one type of welding, and you can mostly use one pair of gloves, it’s often worth investing in an excellent pair. It’s a real pleasure to work with premium leather material. A well-worn pair can feel about as cozy as wearing a couch made for your hands.

The problem is you have to be willing and able to take incredibly good care of them. Not all people work in environments where that’s possible, or would want to undertake the effort to begin with. It’s why so many welders turn to gloves like these, which provide rugged construction paired with an excellent price to performance ratio.

Other Considerations

Caiman’s goatskin TIG welding gloves are not intended to help you hold hot objects. It should be clear from seeing them, these gloves provide very little insulation to protect you from holding hot objects, they primarily serve to protect from splatter.

For people with smaller hands, it can be tough to find welding gloves that don’t feel like giant gauntlets. Caiman’s goatskin gloves are available in three sizes: medium, large, and extra-large. The medium size in particular is noteworthy for people with smaller hands.

Who Should Choose Caiman Goatskin TIG Welding Gloves?

When you need your full range of dexterity, you need a pair of gloves like these. The high cuff is great for protecting your forearm, and their price is hard to argue with.

You can buy two or three pairs of Caiman White Goatskin Long Cuff Gloves for about the same price as one pair of gloves from their nearest serious competitor. Consequently, if you can get these gloves to last for any reasonable amount of time, they can quickly become an insanely good value.

Keeping Your Hands Safe with MIG Welding Gloves

Choosing the right pair of welding gloves is about comfort, dexterity, safety, and lasting power. Depending on the project you’re working on, you may find you need different gloves for different tasks. But for MIG welding, sometimes the simplest solutions are your best option.

Revco Industries BM88L BSX BM88 Pig Skin MIG Welding Gloves

The Revco BSX BM88 are an attempt to strike a balance between value-oriented pricing and above-average material construction. The majority of these gloves is composed of soft grain pigskin. Though preferable to cheap synthetics, soft grain leather is inherently imperfect.

In addition to its pigskin body, the palm and outer-cuff of each glove is composed from a durable split cowhide. The extra material padding the palm is quite useful for generating grip strength, as well as good for the endurance of the glove.

Comfort and Durability

Revco gave some fancy names to their reinforced design, like Rest Patch technology. It really just means the pinky-side and wrist portion of the glove are intended to take more wear-and-tear. More relevant to comfort is the fleece-like lining inside the glove. The lining is somewhat thin, which is good because it helps you maintain your dexterity.

Perhaps most importantly of all, these hides are stitched together with the assistance of flame-resistant Kevlar fiber. It’s this stitching that ensures Revco’s Pig Skin MIG Welding Gloves can endure splatter and burns without breaking a sweat, or without falling apart on you.

MIG Welding Gloves vs. Alternatives

MIG welding doesn’t create as much heat as using a stick, so welders tend to prefer a pliable glove, typically using a thinner lining to facilitate that purpose.

While top grain leather is your best choice for comfort because it will gradually mold to your hand with regular use, it’s typically not an economical choice. Soft grain pigskin doesn’t have the same smooth flawless surface; neither is it quite as durable as more expensive alternatives.

But at the end of the day, it’s still leather, and it still performs as well as any well-made leather product. Additionally, of all your material options, pigskin gloves are the most resistant to chemicals, oils, and weather.

Other Considerations

You have to keep in mind these are welding gloves, they’re not insulated to the point you want to hold hot objects for lengthy periods of time. With that limitation in mind, it’s fair to say these gloves are pretty versatile.

They even make pretty good motorcycle gloves because they’re comfortable, and fundamentally protective, and they don’t get in the way of your dexterity. Gloves made specifically for MIG welding often don’t allow the flexibility to swap to other welding projects, let alone take them out for a ride.

Who Should Choose Revco Industries Extreme Pig Skin MIG Welding Gloves?

Revco Industries BM88L BSX BM88 Extreme Pig Skin MIG Welding Gloves are available in four sizes, ranging between extra small and extra-large. They’re windproof, generally warm, and they don’t get in the way of your dexterity.

For MIG welding, you’ll probably find these gloves quite versatile. They’re not going to provide enough heat protection for sensationally hot projects, but kept inside their wheelhouse, it’s hard to conclude the BM88 Pig Skin MIG Welding Gloves are anything but a bargain.

MIG Welding Jacket That Won’t Sweat or Freeze You

Anyone involved in hazardous work should be concerned with safety. And it shouldn’t be surprising that welding can place plenty of hazards in your way. Operating instruments lit by sparks, and holding flames capable of chewing through metal, it’s generally a good idea to keep flammable things away from an active welder.

That’s precisely why a good welding jacket is one of the most important pieces of protective equipment any welder can own. But it can be tough to spot a good welding jacket until you’ve got it in your hands.

Hobart 770568 Flame Retardant Cotton Welding Jacket

Jackets like the 770568 are made to protect from heat, splatter, and similar exposures to the byproducts of flame which you might encounter during welding. If its name didn’t give it away, this jacket is also flame resistant.

Choosing protective clothing has always been tough. Often times, it feels like protection precedes comfort a big way. Given the heated environments that welders often find themselves inside, it’s not too surprising that these jackets tend to create their own heat issues.

Build & Design

The Hobart 770568 is constructed from cowhide split leather lined with cotton. It’s a construction aimed at helping this jacket work as a compromise between indoor and outdoor use. The general idea is to help the jacket breathable enough to be used in warmer environments, the sort of environments you might find yourself in while an intensely hot flame.

But the full-sleeve coverage of this jacket doesn’t only protect from injury, it serves to make the 770568 reasonably warm for working in colder environments. That allows you to take the 770568 between indoor and outdoor jobs without breaking a sweat, literally.

Aesthetics & Quality

Aesthetically speaking, the 770568 is dark gray, and looks look a fairly ordinary work shirt. If you were looking to criticize this jacket, just about the worst thing you could say is it lacks any distinctive style.

It’s really only distinguished by the Hobart logo on its front side. Though this could put you at risk of strangers believing your name is Hobart, it doesn’t do much to detract from the appearance of the jacket, nor its fireproof protection.

Until you have it in your hands, it’s tough to gauge the density of the fabric. Its thickness feels almost like canvas, though the Hobart 770568 still weighs only about one pound. That’s relatively lightweight for a welding jacket, and having a slightly lighter jacket is the kind of difference you can easily come to appreciate over the course of a day.

Who Should Choose the Hobart 770568?

For welders searching for an XXL jacket, the Hobart 770568 Flame Retardant Cotton Welding Jacket is arguably the best value on the market right now. It’s provides the kind of adaptable protection that most people need in most circumstances, and with a price that’s surprisingly less expensive than a regular jacket.

Establishing Your Own Welding Spot

A well-trained and experienced welder can do much worse than moving out of the shadow of their employer. Setting up your own business is a sound financial choice – business mag Forbes notes that self-employed people earning over $100,000 rose 4.9% in the last two years. Once you have the network to work with and the skills to match, it makes sense to go it alone.

A premises will be absolutely necessary for a welder. It is not feasible, nor safe, to do it from the confines of your own home – with the exception of a fully insulated and well ventilated garage. Preparing your environment for your business will put you in a great starting place; from there, you can look at managing your business.

Preparing the environment

Your welding shop needs to be fit for purpose. This means outfitting it in such a way that risks can be minimized, and in the event of an accident, mitigated. Using fireproof and durable containment mats is a great first start, as they can be laid easily to the floor, usually the first location for bouncing sparks. Concrete ceilings and walls, or those with flame retardant paint, are a necessity. Ensure you have excellent ventilation, as welding will give off noxious fumes in some cases. Insulation is important, too: in the worst case scenario of a fire starting, you should be able to slam the fire door shut to prevent the fire getting out of control.

Another important aspect is inventory management. Apart from being conducive to good business practice, keeping inventory well-measured is a matter of safety. In Milwaukee, unlabeled chemical waste caused a welding accident that nearly cost a life.

Managing a business

With premises in place and your business ready to go, you should look to management. There are lots of caveats with business that depend on shifting factors, such as revenue, your host state, and federal law. It’s not a bad idea to hire a business adviser, or at least speak to a legal professional. Making sure you’re insured is absolutely crucial, both in case of accident or spurious claims from clients; NBC have produced a list of common oversights to be adhered to. If you take on staff, ensure that you are fulfilling your obligations as an employer. Ensure your business runs smoothly by being diligent in all matters.

Growing your brand

Depending on your area of work and quality of contacts, there’s a chance your business can get off to a flying start and you’ll be running out of time. Turning down jobs never seems like a good idea, and you’ll soon be rushed off your feet. Don’t feel pressured – if your work is good, the orders will come. Grow your business slowly, and don’t neglect your own health. It can seem exciting, when the cash rolls in, to bring in staff, grow the business, and get a bigger base. This may well be the next course, but just be careful. Again, practice patience and due diligence.

Breaking out into your own business can be a great idea for experienced and ambitious welders. Don’t let yourself get dragged down by poor safety or business practice. Take it easy, take it slow, and have patience. You’ll soon have a business legacy of your own.

Welding Helmet: A Sight for Sore Eyes

When you understand the amount of raw power a welder works with, it only makes sense to want protection. But protection is a matter of degrees. It’s one thing to protect your skin from becoming singed, it’s another to protect your eyes from feeling dead-tired when you come home after a long day of welding.

And protection is just one of a dozen things a good welding helmet can bring to the table. As with almost any tool, both your productivity and the quality of your work can be improved when you’re properly equipped for the tasks at hand.


Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 Series

If you’re only doing a small amount of amateur welding, then it’s alright to use basic equipment, and to suffer through all its various limitations. But when you’re doing more, you want to make sure your gear gets in your way as little as possible. It seems Lincoln Electric constructed the 3350 Series for exactly that purpose.

Compared to less impressive helmets, the VIKING 3350 and its 3lbs weight does feel fairly weighty in your hands. But its pivot-style design helps to evenly distribute that weight across your head, which allows for comfort that lasts throughout the day. And an extra swivel on its backside makes this headgear easy to throw on, even one-handed.


Welding with Clear Vision for the First Time

The 3350 is built to provide a fairly impressive 3.74″ x 3.34” viewing area. When you’re welding a larger project, the more you can see, the better off you’ll be. But you don’t just see more, you see clearer as well. That’s because the VIKING 3350 is one of a handful of Lincoln Electric helmets built with 4C lens technology.

Translated into real-world terms, this technology provides several things. It offers a real-color view of the world. It includes automatic darkening filtration to help protect from flashes and flares, with variable lens shade control between 5-13.

That’s considerably better than the standard grinding modes many welders have become accustomed to using. And maintaining those levels of clarity in both active states and inactive states means you never have to swap off your helmet while working.

Eye Fatigue & Switching Speeds

Last but not least, protection from eye strain is another big selling point. Slow switching can contribute to eye fatigue, especially over the course of a full day of welding. The more rapidly your eyes can be protected from high intensity, the less tired they’ll feel at the end of the day. Supporting a switching speed of 1/25,000 sec, the Viking 3350 is capable of reacting to flares almost instantaneously.

Battery Performance

The 3350 is powered by CR-2450 solar cell batteries, quarter-sized batteries which are fairly easy to find and cheap to replace. It’s worth noticing the 3350 has made enhancements to its ADF circuits, allowing for considerably improved battery performance. You might expect about six months of daily use before having to think about changing batteries.

Other Considerations

Aesthetics and style is a matter of taste, and often a personal decision. You might be the type of person who wants their helmet to have a flaming skull-and-crossbones placed over the backdrop of an American flag. While many VIKING Series helmets do indeed have interesting designs, the 3350 series is built with a plain black chassis, nothing short of professional.

For all its strengths, the VIKING 3350 has at least one significant limitation. Its electronics are not waterproofed. You might not want to gamble with this helmet in wet conditions. Beyond that, the VIKING 3350 includes two extra lenses, a bag, bandana, and a 3-year warranty.

Who Should Choose the VIKING 3350?

The Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 brings three important things to the table. It allows no-flickering operation while you’re doing low-amp TIG welds. It provides a large, colorful view-screen. And it’s got enormously fast switching speeds that doesn’t leave your eyes tired at the end of the day. These factors combined, the Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 is ideal for a huge variety of industrial applications with stick, TIG, and MIG welding.

Having the right equipment for the task in front of you can make you more productive, and the 3350 series is adaptable enough to handle almost anything. It’s not the right gear to use outdoors in Seattle during the rainiest parts of the year. But from shipbuilding to pipeline construction, there are otherwise few limits to what the 3350 can help you accomplish.

Amico Power – 200 Amp TIG Torch/Arc/Stick DC Inverter Welder

When compared to the point-and-shoot simplicity of MIG welding, it’s true TIG welding is somewhat specialized. But integrating a solid TIG platform into your toolkit has considerable benefits, helping you perform beautiful work with minimal spatter and cleanup.

Unfortunately, cheaper TIG welding equipment tends to suffer arc stability issues. And they can have a dire impact on the overall look of your weld. The shortcomings of more affordable equipment have even kept some people away from using a TIG torch. But there are some noteworthy exceptions to the rule.

Amico Power – 200 Amp TIG Torch/Arc/Stick DC Inverter Welder

Amico Power is an American based company, specializing in engines, generators, and a variety of service-oriented tools. Arguably one of the more formidable instruments in their lineup, this 2-in-1 style TIG Stick Arc machine delivers a multi-purpose design with very few drawbacks. It’s adaptable enough to slash through thick steel, then turn around and almost immediately be applied to gentler tasks.

Dynamic Build

One of the first things you might notice about this machine is its generally small size. The inverter’s chassis is composed of a mixture of lightweight aluminum and ABS plastic, measuring 16.6 x 11.8 x 7.5-inches. Compared to similar equipment, that’s actually quite compact and portable. Even with respect to its seemingly bulky 25lb weight, portable TIG welders are often twice as heavy.

The 200 Amp TIG Stick/Arc machine includes just about everything you need to start welding out of the box. Its scratch-start system centers around the included TIG torch, with the included cabling providing you a maximum range of 13 feet.

Among its long series of included extras, there’s a pair of 1/8 and 3/32” electrodes, as well as and a pair of tungsten measuring 5/64”. The electrode holder, work clamp, and transfer plug cabling runs marginally shorter than the torch itself, reaching to 10 feet.

Performance Capabilities

Conveniently placed along the front face of the machine, you’ll find every control necessary for operation. That includes supporting 110/230V dual voltage inputs, enabling you to connect through any ordinary power supply, and giving this platform full range of control options.

Using a red analogue dial on its front, you can modulate the system between 20-200 amperage, granting both precision and power. It’s enough raw force to carve through ½” copper, alloy steel, stainless steel, chrome, and cast iron. Equally important, the equipment has a modestly heavy duty cycle of 60%, helping to deliver on its promises of time efficiency.


Other Considerations

Hypothetically speaking, you could splice the wire running from the machine to the torch, and run a foot pedal through the splice. But ignoring that extreme possibility, this TIG Stock/Arc machine does not allow you to attach a foot pedal.

Instead the torch makes use of a readily-accessible button on its handle. It’s great for welding within tight spaces, many of these being spaces where a foot pedal wouldn’t help you to begin with. In any case, it’s hard to hold this against the torch because it was always intended to be more of a compact and portable instrument.

The 200 Amp TIG Torch/Arc/Stick DC Inverter Welder was constructed in China. Before reaching market, each unit is tested in the United States. Amico Power also includes a 1-year warranty with all their equipment.

Who Should Choose the Amico Power 200 Amp TIG Torch?

After a few minutes of handling, it’s easy to see why people like this torch. The equipment is made to deliver a near-flawless weld, leaving you with very little post-weld cleanup. Its multi-purpose design, letting you toggle between stick and plasma cutting with the flip of a switch, can be a huge time-saver.

With a close examination, you find a standardized design from top to bottom. From the standard threaded fitting used to connect the gas, to the commonality of its replacement consumables, there are no secrets or surprises waiting for here. And there’s no proprietary design that locks you within the Amico Power ecosystem.

Every tool has its limits. This torch isn’t appropriate for working with aluminum, and it has all the previously mentioned limitations with respect to remote pedal control.

But if you can put those restrictions aside, you’ll find the Amico Power 200 Amp TIG Torch/Arc/Stick DC Inverter Welder is a fairly impressive instrument.  Between the ability to dynamically adapt to new conditions as they come along, and its exceptionally strong price to power ratio, it’s not hard to find reasons to look past its shortcomings.