For many years I welded my projects with a Clarke MIG welder. While it was a great budget piece of equipment, when I started making the furniture for which blok&takl has become known I realised I needed something better. After much research I decided to step up to a TIG welder, and chose the Thermal Arc 175. I thought I’d write a review, as information about this model seemed pretty scarce, short of the manufacturers spec. First, a few points of note that may be dealbreakers for you if you’re looking to buy a welder and are considering the 175.
It’s DC – You Can’t Weld Aluminium With It
The Thermal Arc 175 TE is a DC TIG welder. Being DC, the main point to note is that you can’t weld aluminium or magnesium with it. For that, you’ll need a welder with AC capability. Do you need to weld aluminium for sure? If so, the 175 TE is not for you. I personally prefer stainless steel to aluminium, so I was able to save a lot of money and still get a great welder that does what I need.
No Foot Control – Set & Forget
Some TIG welders have a foot pedal to control the power. The TE 175 does not have this feature. You set the power on the front panel and away you go. If you’re used to welding with the additional control that a foot pedal gives, you might miss it on the TE 175. That said, I’ve been told that foot pedals are only really essential when welding aluminium, so maybe it’s not such a bad thing in this case. I’ve never welded aluminium, so i can’t say for certain.
PRESET PRE/POST GAS FLOW
When you click the trigger, Argon shielding gas comes out of the torch for a set amount of time before the arc is initiated. There’s no reason in many cases why this should be a problem, but more advanced machines have a dedicated knob for this feature. On the 175 TE it seems to be a couple of seconds. You may need more if you’re running a lot of tungsten stickout or you’re struggling with a windy situation, but you can get round that by just upping the gas flow on your regulator.
Similarly, the post flow is synchronised to the amount of power you’re using to weld and can’t be adjusted independently. The higher the amperage, the more post flow of gas. I have to say, it’s a system that seems to work well, but it’s not infinitely variable like the dedicated controls found on more sophisticated welders.
Features of the Thermal Arc TE 175 DC HF TIG
That’s about it for the potential downsides and deal breakers of the Thermal Arc TE 175. Now let’s move onto the benefits and features that it offers, in no particular order. I’m assuming that you’ve bought the very popular package which includes:
- 5m Earth lead & clamp
- 5m Electrode holder and lead (for stick welding)
- 3m TIG torch
- Assorted cups, collet body, collets and tungstens
- Tough carrying case
MORE TO FOLLOW SOON 🙂