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Tig torch upgrades?


The dude abides
Jun 8, 2020
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I picked up a tig welder about a year ago and have not had time to really play with it until recently. Its a miller econotig, figure its 15 yrs old but in good shape. Multiprocess, does stick and tig, it does AC, DC -, DC+, and adjustable amperage.

I only have the torch it came with and just the cup thats on it. Torch has #17 stamped on it. I can already see the need for smaller and larger diameter gas cups. I 'walked the cup' on 1 bead and that cup was glowing red, I can see this cup breaking very quick if I keep doing that or drop it. Then I ran a couple fillet welds about 10" long and this torch got so hot I almost didnt want to hold it anymore. I dont think I want to drop serious coin on a water cooled torch set up, are there grips I can slip over the handle of this thing? Then I saw the other thread about the pyrex gas lens and that blew my mind.

What do I need? Where do I get parts?
Just start look at the CK Worldwide site. Tons of options and technology has improved greatly. Once you find what you want search the PN on google, everyone sells them, just find the cheapest.

A flex head #17 with a stubby gas lens is a solid fab setup for most work, can handle about 130-140 amps for longer than you want to weld, up to 170 for short bursts.

I almost never swap cups. I have a whole drawer full of sizes, but in general I either run a 17 with a gas saver and pyrex cup or swap the whole torch to a #9 with some random lens. If I need smaller I need the whole thing smaller. The gas saver does a good enought job of directing gas flow to allow a longer stickout when I need to get into a corner
You might want to spend some time Googling for welding sites, but weldingtipsandtricks.com is pretty good, or maybe millerwelds.com. It sounds like you were running near maximum Amps for a decently long bead, so the cup apparently will start to glow. You could try a higher amperage air cooled torch like a 200A 17H, or better insulated gloves. I actually have a pair of ove-gloves in the shop I sometimes use, usually when things get too hot to prop when welding freehand. You're not going to want a Pyrex cup for that sort of work, I believe it will melt. I'm normally welding 1/8", so I just have a #17 torch, and pretty much always a #8 gas lens ceramic cup. I may be buying a CK flex-loc torch soon to try out.
I bought a 20 sized water torch and hoses from welding city.com. After a year the water cooler hoses blew a few times... but I turned down the water pressure on the pump and it’s working way better.

for water tank/water pump I found a carbonator pump off eBay. It is the same procon pump that most of the pro Tig coolers run.

i also have a Ck superflex torch new in box as a spare... for when my welding city torch dies. It probably never will now that I have a spare.
Man I was up late last night geeking out on youtube. One guy had a channel to support his store, I ended up buying a kit he put together with a bunch of gas lenses, cups, collets, back caps etc. I like those flex head torches from ck but I am gonna hold off and just use the torch I got for a while. I have some leftover fiberglass exhaust wrap that I may try wrappimg the toech and see if that helps out.

But just out of curiosity, this thing is multiprocess... could you add another process... could you get a spool gun to run off this thing? It has dinse connector, It would just need a switch on the spool gun that works with the connector on the welder, right? Or am I missing something
Is your machine constant current, constant voltage, or will it do both?

If I'm not mistaken, most spool guns run off CV.
Pretty sure CC on the manual means constant current, right?

Ok so going back to the tig torch. I watched this video where this guy had a water cooled torch and for the water supply he rigged up an aquarium pump dropped in a 5 gal bucket of water. It did not produce a lot of pressure but it moved enough volume to keep the torch at 100 degrees after 12 straight minutes of welding.

So I was kicking around the idea of getting a water cooled torch and setting it up line that. But then I really got thinking, what if I made my air cooled torch into water cooled. Hear me out.. I know the torch wont be cooled all the way up to the collet, just the entire length of the handle....

So my idea is to take some brake line tubing and wrap 6 or 7 coils around the shaft, and flare the ends of the tube for some fittings and then thread on a nipple to connect the water lines. There is a decent amount of room inside the handle to work with so I think it may be possible.
The real question is... will it be safe? I can keep the lines from leaking but I wonder if putting lines up there will act as a conductor and short to the power on the hose connection.
The power lead is water cooled to keep the size of the conductor down. It also keeps the collet cooled that holds the tungsten. If you just cool the handle you will be finding next weak spot.
Yeah I gave up on the idea. I was pretty hammered that day and thought it was the best idea ever.

I figure a real water cooled torch runs under $100 so I should just do that if I really need water cooled
I bought a amazon gas lens kit for my 17 torch. I feel like I am missing something. Are these o-rings really the one thing to hold the cup on?
Yeah thats all it is for the glass cups. But i am not sure if you can use just any old rubber o ring for that due to the heat so use the supplied ones in the kit. You may need to swap the heat shield where the glass cup meets the torch so it sits on there correctly. I think that one you got on there is correct. I welded for so many years using the alumina cups and finally got a glass cup... holy shit they are awesome!
I bought a amazon gas lens kit for my 17 torch. I feel like I am missing something. Are these o-rings really the one thing to hold the cup on?

I bought a similar kit on amazon and it came with red and green o rings. The green is high temp and goes in front with a red behind it. I have a few hours on it and haven't had any issues.
you can connect the water line to a garden hose and let the return drain into the driveway/yard for occasional welding jobs.

You don't need full pressure from your garden hose. Crack it open enough to get a little water flowing.
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CK worldwide has the best customer service of any welding part company along with Miller customer service.
we have a Flex Loc torch at work and it’s nice but definitely NOT cheap as a water cooled one.
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