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  #1  
Old 08-28-2022, 01:03 PM
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Post Micro TIG welders

Several of you guys appear to be using these kinds of "jewelry" welders. The results are fantastic. Looking for info and experiences. I had a little info exchange with a US brand, but our model making use is pretty niche. Production builders uses laser welders, but that's a bit extreme for hobby use.

I see a couple main brands:
Lampert PUK https://www.lampert.info/en/products
Sunstone Orion https://sunstonewelders.com/products/micro-tig-welders/
Import generic random Ali express example

Most of the German forums tout the Lampert which makes sense since it's a German brand, but there are very few distributors in the US. I'm unsure if support would be an issue. Results are amazing which could be due to the operator's skill, or perhaps the machine really is that easy to use.
The Sunstone is US based and parts/service are easy to get from vendors or direct from sunstone. On paper it's an equivalent machine to the PUK, but as far as I can tell the model making world doesn't really use it.
The imports are unknown to me, but I have spotted a couple positive statements on the German forums and also our own Pufferfish possibly uses one.

I'm looking for guidance on what's important and what's optional:

Microscope vs auto darkening lense vs traditional welding eye protection
In stainless steel the best to weld on?
How much power do we need for materials less than 1.5mm .060" thick?
How many user setting are really needed?
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2022, 12:28 AM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Pulled the trigger on a sunstone. The Lampert is too expensive and hard to acquire.

The reps there were responsive and future support should be good. They recommended the microscope system which surprised me, but after using it I completely agree. Reduces eye strain and the 5x isn't too bad on bigger parts. Has a shutter system built in.Hand-eye coordination is kinda weird.

Haven't messed with all the setting yet. Still getting the hang of it.

22ga 0.7mm carbon steel:


26ga, 0.5mm stainless steel:
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Old 09-08-2022, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

I know nothing about these, but that looks like a really awesome setup

How much did the Tig and support equipment cost?

Looks like great results already, you'll be stacking 1/14 dimes in no time
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Old 09-08-2022, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

I have an older version of the Orion pulse welder.
I like it so far. Just wish I had more time for the toys.

https://www.riogrande.com/product/or...P/?code=503107
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Old 09-08-2022, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Quote:
Originally Posted by frizzen View Post
I know nothing about these, but that looks like a really awesome setup

How much did the Tig and support equipment cost?

Looks like great results already, you'll be stacking 1/14 dimes in no time
They recently went up in price a bit so a system is 3-5k or so. Lampert is more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9W Monighan View Post
I have an older version of the Orion pulse welder.
I like it so far. Just wish I had more time for the toys.

https://www.riogrande.com/product/or...P/?code=503107
That's the model I was planning on. It was out of stock for most of the year. With the recent price increases I jumped up to a 150s because why not.

I need to start tracking the settings by material type and thickness. Would be nice to know what's actually needed.
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Old 10-19-2022, 12:22 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

I know the Orion and Sunstone welders are the best, but I'm NOT gonna spend that much on a welder for my hobby. I've seen TIG jewelry welders on Amazon and Ebay for a couple hundred bucks with the really impressive name of Sparkle. I've also seen some reviews on them, and I trust those reviews about as much as I trust most politicians. I know you get what you pay for, but I've got other things I can spend that much moolah on. Like trucks and radios and parts and stuff. Does anybody have any real world experience with these low buck welders?

Don
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  #7  
Old 10-19-2022, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blender View Post
They recently went up in price a bit so a system is 3-5k or so. Lampert is more.


That's the model I was planning on. It was out of stock for most of the year. With the recent price increases I jumped up to a 150s because why not.

I need to start tracking the settings by material type and thickness. Would be nice to know what's actually needed.
My model is the 150 S series. I found it on ebay for $1500 Seller boxed it bad and fedx smashed my touch screen. I was able to get a new screen for $150 I think but seller never reimbursed me like he said he was.
We were trying to use it the other day for a job but it was just a little too small for the task so went back to my Lincoln Square Wave 255 .
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Old 10-19-2022, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

I was looking at those generic import tig spot welders a while ago as well. In my research I found this topic on a german truck modeling forum http://www.modelltruckforum.de/forum...angt-unboxing/ it has some good information about them.

-Shawn-
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Old 10-21-2022, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Shawn:

Once I was finally able to convince Google Translate to actually TRANSLATE, I went through that thread. That welder appears to be much better than the Sparkle welder, but then it's almost twice the price. It appears to have a retractable electrode similar to the Orion and Sunstone. All of the electrodes seem to be touching the work when the pulse is fired, do all of them scratch start the arc?

Don
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Old 10-21-2022, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

I think so, from what I have seen Orion, Sunstone and Lampert welders all use the some process. Touch the tungsten to start the current flowing and then retract and quickly increase the current simultaneously to create arc, so maybe something like a lift arc or lift start welder. It may be better and cheaper just to get a small high frequency start tig machine and run at low amps and use the smallest tungstens you can get (I believe you can get 1/16" and 0.040") to keep the arc small and then just start and stop creating a chain tack welds without filler rod just like the "jewelry welders" do. it's looks like a cheap high frequency dc machine can be had for about $250 - $300. I however do not any tig welding experience so take what I just said for what it's worth.


-Shawn-
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  #11  
Old 10-23-2022, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddmckee54 View Post
Shawn:

Once I was finally able to convince Google Translate to actually TRANSLATE, I went through that thread. That welder appears to be much better than the Sparkle welder, but then it's almost twice the price. It appears to have a retractable electrode similar to the Orion and Sunstone. All of the electrodes seem to be touching the work when the pulse is fired, do all of them scratch start the arc?

Don
Sunstone says the default ignition retracts the electrode at the same time the arc fires. There is an option to have the arc fire after the electrode has retracted. The final setting is "pre heat" which sounds like a combination of the two with a smaller discharge when retraction starts, then the main discharge after retraction occurs.

Initiation can be automatic from workpiece contact or a manual foot pedal

No idea how critical any of this is.
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Old 10-23-2022, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Shawn:

After watching several of the videos for the Orion/Sunstone/Lampert type of welder, including a couple taken at ultra-high frame rates, the arc doesn't always occur. When it does occur, it's when the electrode is retracting. The high speed images show the metal heating and the puddle forming before the electrode retracts. I think these things are argon shielded resistance spot welders. They aren't using the heat of the arc to form the puddle, the puddle forms and then the arc sometimes occurs at the end of the cycle as the electrode is being retracted out of the puddle.

The "random Ali Express version" that Blender gave a link to appears to be the welder used in the German forum that Krewmember had a link to. That guy looks to be available for about $500 in the states and that just might be an option.

Don
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  #13  
Old 10-23-2022, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

As a side note:
carbon steel welds turn out great and are super easy. 18ga at 75 Watt-seconds is pretty strong and looks nice. A little bit more penetration would be nice.
Brass is very sooty/ugly which might be due to the chemistry. Best suited as a fixture before torch brazing.
6061 aluminum welds are too shallow or they blow through. Tried blunting the electrode which helped a little. Need to experiment with some filler.
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Old 10-24-2022, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Blender:

What gage aluminum were you trying to weld? Lack of penetration seems to be typical with these little welders, but then they are designed to weld REALLY itty-bitty stuff.

I watched a video of a guy repairing a ring that had either been broken or sawn off. He filed a vee in the break almost to the bottom, then started filling the gap with repeated passes using an Orion to weld in a REALLY fine gold wire as a filler. He had steadier hands than mine ever would be.

I'm guessing that because the weld cycle is so short, and you can only get about 1 weld per second, that the heat doesn't have a chance to build up in the part?

Don
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Old 10-24-2022, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddmckee54 View Post
Blender:

What gage aluminum were you trying to weld? Lack of penetration seems to be typical with these little welders, but then they are designed to weld REALLY itty-bitty stuff.

I watched a video of a guy repairing a ring that had either been broken or sawn off. He filed a vee in the break almost to the bottom, then started filling the gap with repeated passes using an Orion to weld in a REALLY fine gold wire as a filler. He had steadier hands than mine ever would be.

I'm guessing that because the weld cycle is so short, and you can only get about 1 weld per second, that the heat doesn't have a chance to build up in the part?

Don
1mm .040" 6061 aluminum. No filler since I cant find 6061 wire small enough. Tried Er4043 .030" MiG filler, but it's a bit too big to melt evenly. Best results have a crack across the weld which is super weak and is related to cooling. Been reading a bit and aluminum is one of the hardest materials to weld on these. Stainless is the easiest. I'm going to ask Sunstone if they have any tips for aluminum.

Machine will do up to 3 welds per second. Parts stay cool to the touch since the heat is so localized. Been welding all the parts barehanded while my fingers are within a half inch of the electrode.

1.2mm 18ga low carbon steel at 70J:

Super easy and look very tidy. Couldn't pull the pieces apart even with a partial bead
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Old 10-25-2022, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Welds look very nice.

How about drawing some 4043 wire down smaller in diameter yourself?
Or try to contact one of the wire manufacturers and see if they could run you some smaller. There's a place; Wisconsin Wire Works if my memory is correct. They had some different alloys available when I was looking for the correct Bronze wire I use for mig welding CDA385 architectural bronze.
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Old 10-25-2022, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Blender:

No doubt the welds look pretty, I doubt that they'd hold up to the typical clamp it in a vise and beat it back and forth with a hammer to see if the weld's stronger than the base metal test. But then again, we aren't trying to build anything that you'd really call structural are we?

The videos that I've seen using filler are using filler wire that's in the 0.005"-0.010" range. I'm guessing that with the bigger 0.030" wire you blow a chunk off of it and probably wind up with the rest welded to the part?

Don
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Old 10-26-2022, 06:05 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

I'm not sure, but this guy seems to be a pulsed TIG. (Sorry about the long URL)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/28416504580...Bk9SR-LslOGCYQ
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Old 10-26-2022, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9W Monighan View Post
Welds look very nice.

How about drawing some 4043 wire down smaller in diameter yourself?
Or try to contact one of the wire manufacturers and see if they could run you some smaller. There's a place; Wisconsin Wire Works if my memory is correct. They had some different alloys available when I was looking for the correct Bronze wire I use for mig welding CDA385 architectural bronze.
Drawing down what I have is interesting. Would at least let me see if I have a wire size issue or an alloy issue. I found some small wire from Gesswein in the diameters ddmckee mentioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddmckee54 View Post
Blender:

No doubt the welds look pretty, I doubt that they'd hold up to the typical clamp it in a vise and beat it back and forth with a hammer to see if the weld's stronger than the base metal test. But then again, we aren't trying to build anything that you'd really call structural are we?

The videos that I've seen using filler are using filler wire that's in the 0.005"-0.010" range. I'm guessing that with the bigger 0.030" wire you blow a chunk off of it and probably wind up with the rest welded to the part?

Don
I'm not expecting a strong joint, just something reasonable for model making. Everything else I've ever made was brazed with silver solder, or plain old electrical solder. On aluminum I could sometimes land a single spot of filler from the .030" wire with no crack. Next shot would just ball up the wire. I found some .010" filler wire and maybe that'll help. It's a different alloy, so not apples to apples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddmckee54 View Post
I'm not sure, but this guy seems to be a pulsed TIG. (Sorry about the long URL)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/28416504580...Bk9SR-LslOGCYQ
Interesting they use a traditional tig torch. Helpful for service and spare parts availability. Curious to see if their machine functions differently than a fullsize TIG.
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Old 10-27-2022, 03:10 PM
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Default Re: Micro TIG welders

I may be an idiot, but I pulled the trigger on an Andeli 250PL last night. I know it's way more than the other options I was looking at. But, if I'm right, it'll allow me to replace my full-sized DC only Eastwood TIG with an AC/DC unit that's even a little bigger. My DC is only good for 140A. When I got the Eastwood I didn't think I'd wanna weld aluminum, guess I wanna.

Plus, the Andeli is capable of "Cold" welding - which should really be called "Welding with a LOT less heat". I watched a couple of videos of a probably Chinese guy butt welding 0.4mm and 0.6mm stainless steel coupons. (Andeli is a Chinese company after all.) Couldn't understand a word he said, but I COULD read the closed captions and pretend it was a silent movie. He had set up the welder to give it a 100A pulse for I believe 0.2 seconds, but it could have been less. It didn't penetrate the 0.4mm coupon and the weld itself was not discolored by the heat.

In the "Cold" welding mode you can either set it for Spot welding or Auto welding. The Spot mode fires the welder once every time you pull the trigger, and the Auto mode really isn't what you'd consider Auto. It's more like a modified scratch start. You touch the torch to the surface, and it fires when the electrode is lifted from the surface. It almost looked like he was walking the cup when he demonstrated the Auto mode. Kind of a dip-weld-slide, dip-weld-slide type of motion.

And the Andeli uses a WP-26 torch. Welding City just happens to sell a kit to adapt 1mm & 1.6mm electrodes to a WP-26 torch for less than 15 bucks, with electrodes. If I look around, I can probably find a couple of those nifty gas lenses that the welder in my last link used.

I don't have any model projects in mind where I could use this yet, TOO many Bruder conversions lined up already. But this CAN replace my Eastwood DC TIG right now. And give me the capability to try welding aluminum too. I don't doubt that with a little experimentation TIG welding automotive sheet metal won't be so daunting either.

Don
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