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7 hours ago, AKwelder said:

Save up, shop used, and wait. There might be quite a few really nice machines for sale when all the COVID checks quit coming. 

Or if your welds look like mine, moved rod too slow, too fast, amperage too low or too high, hire it done! I am fortunate to have a self employed pipeline welder as a customer and whenever I need something I telephone him directions to the equipment or shop, leave a very cold case of Budweiser, and leave him alone.  He informs me of the price and always pay cash.

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Biggest issue you are going to have is that your budget is nowhere near close enough to buy a good quality brand new tig that can do all processes.   If you are primarily going to weld stainless pipe and ferrous materials,  you can get by with a dc tig.  For your budget you are probably going to need to look at a used Miller Maxstar 150.  Good little machine. But when getting a used one, find out why they are getting rid of it.  Lots of MRO and maintenance contractors loved them due to portability.  with portability comes being dropped, banged around, and above average wear and tear. 

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5 hours ago, RichardDSalyer said:

Or if your welds look like mine, moved rod too slow, too fast, amperage too low or too high, hire it done! I am fortunate to have a self employed pipeline welder as a customer and whenever I need something I telephone him directions to the equipment or shop, leave a very cold case of Budweiser, and leave him alone.  He informs me of the price and always pay cash.

I have a few customers like this to this day. 😏 and they still get the spot at the front of the line.  

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Or, there are older transformer welders that'll do steel very well, and a skilled weldor can weld aluminum. They are power hungry, be sure to have plenty of power available. Be careful not to buy a three phase machine if you don't have three phase.

Keep your eye open for a Miller Dialarc 250HF, or a Lincoln Idealarc 250 HF? You want a water cooled torch.

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9 hours ago, AKwelder said:

I have a few customers like this to this day. 😏 and they still get the spot at the front of the line.  

Yup, 

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I use a Miller Syncrowave 250, its a mid 80's model. About 10-12 the adult vo tech school upgraded their welders and I bought the ones they were replacing. I think I got 9 of them. I sold all but 2. I had a Lincoln Square Wave at the time that I could not get along with so it disappeared. 

The only thing I have had to do to the Syncrowave is clean and replace the high freq points. 

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I was going to say that I am open to suggestions for used units. 

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