Tig Torch Selection

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Feb 26, 2019
After a quarter of a century mucking about on this earth I finally got a tig welder. Miller Maxstar 280, DC only, used. I've wanted an inverter tig machine for years, but the cost of any machine over 200amps was prohibitive, and I get nauseous at just the thought of buying chinese tools, especially amidst this economic catastrophe. And yes, I know Miller outsources; I did my best.

However, once I finally sacked up and bought the welder, I made the terrible discovery of the cost of a quality water cooler system.

I need to do some welding on 1/4" and 3/8" material for my truck, I suspect I will be using all 280 amps for at most, 2-3" at a time.

My first choice is picking up this Weldcraft 250amp air cooled behemoth. Simple, but apparently big torches suck. So I would also buy a 150amp air cooled unit down the road for tight stuff.

I like to keep my work area tidy, and I HATE clutter, and so aside from price, the simplicity of only two lines on the torch appeals to me.

But then again the ability to shoot all 280 amps into tight spots with room to move is probably a big plus.

I am hoping someone here can counter my theorizing with real practical experience. Is a water cooled set up easily justified in the hobbyists garage, or is a bigger air cooled torch like the one in question below good enough?


DR Maitre'D
Dec 12, 2008
If going air cooled ..Hit up your local airbgas, vern Lewis, cyberweld etc and just get a CK air-cooled setup with a couple gas lenses for 1/16, 3/32, and 1/8", and get wedge collets. Get a 250 amp torch. You can outfit the torch with the correct lens and cup size to suit whatever the application Getting fluent with an air-cooled machine will make for a better operator down the road.

I have also used a plumbing water solenoid from home depot, a Honda civic radiator and fan, makeshift reservoir, small inline pump or submersible, and a pressure regulator for a ghetto cooler and it worked great.

Bottom line is watercooled IS the way to go, generally speaking, unless you're doing field work. Absolutely worth the investment.

Also the torch you posted is setup with a standard collet body and cup. A gas lens and some stubby cups will get you in tight spots, much more compact that what is pictured.. The furick cups are nice but not necessary in many cases. Most everything can be done with #7 or #8 cup and gas lens.
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