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How to Build a TIG welder

Creating a homemade TIG welder

For those on a budget, or who are just creative and interested in building their own equipment, making a TIG welder is a fun project. A lot of people want to do fabrication and the price of a good Tig Welder can run from about $2,000 to $5,000.

Many people want to know how to build a tig welder. Here's how:

How to make a TIG welder

You can mount a regular Ford 130 amp 3G style alternator on to your air compressor (or similar motor) so that you can use the belt drive off of the compressor to turn the alternator. Using a battery jumpstart box to give the field its current, then regulate the current through a headlight dimmer switch. Then hook your Tig torch up to the case of the alternator and run the ground clamp to the output stud.

The homemade TIG welder Solution

Basically the motor from the compressor will be able to spin the alternator fast enough (approximately 6000-7000 RPM's) to generate the necessary power. You will probably have to put a v-style pulley on the alternator for sufficient tension to power your homemade TIG welder. The green wire on the alternator is connected to the case as is the torch and the negative side of the jumpstart box. The blue wire is the field current, which runs to the dimmer switch so that the current from the jumper box can be varied to the desired output for the alternator, and then it goes to the positive side of the jumpstart box. Then the grounding clamp is connected off of the positive stud on the alternator.

The role of the alternator in building  your own TIG welder

Fortunately alternators are rated for 100% duty cycle so once you get it started (you have to scratch start it) it can keep going. At the full 130 amps you limited to about 3/16 maybe 1/4 inch metal. If you really want to get fancy you can run a wire from the negative side of the jumper box to a micro switch on the handle of the torch and tie it to a relay between the dimmer switch and the battery so that you can stop the arc and continue to hold the torch in place to cool the weld with the shielding gas. Other than that the only other things you would need would be an accessory kit for tig welding and a gas bottle with argon.

So, if there was a way to get those results for about $300.

Please be cautious when you built a TIG welder. This article is for informational purposes only and cannot be taken as precise instructions. If you aren't sure about your homemade TIG welder, it's best to purchase one.

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