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Old 04-20-2006, 09:18 AM
tonydacrow tonydacrow is offline
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Default Thermal Arc Pro-Wave 185TSW

Hi, guys.

I'm new to this great forum (although I've been reading it for awhile now). I'd like to introduce myself and ask a few questions about a pending purchase.

I'm just a homeshop hack who likes to work on cars, machinery, firearms, or pretty much anything metal. Right now I'm restoring a 1959 Ford Galaxie that requires alot of sheet metal work and some frame/other machining work. Most of my other projects are in steel but some involve aluminum.

Now to the questions. I need a TIG (OK, I WANT a TIG) welder and have decided on the Thermal Arc Pro-Wave 185TSW.

First, for those of you who have used this unit, how do you like it?

Second, is it worth the $1,700 price?

Third, how is the customer service with Thermal Arc?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, can I get by with hooking this thing up to a generator that puts out less than the rated imput amperage if I keep the tig welding down in the lower ranges? Its going to take me a while to rewire my garage and I'd like to use this thing before that's finished.

Any and all comments are welcome. THANKS!
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Old 04-20-2006, 09:44 AM
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Shade Tree Welder Shade Tree Welder is offline
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For automotive work I would point you toward a MIG Machine vs. a Tig. I also would point you at a blue machine but that is my predjudice.

As far as the power requirements, you should be fine, what is the generator output rated at in amps?
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:27 AM
tonydacrow tonydacrow is offline
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Hi, Shade.

Thanks for the quick reply. I actually have a MIG machine for the auto body work (which I use badly but am improving -- thank God for angle grinders!) but want a TIG for other things including critical frame welds. The generator makes 6000 watts continuous which I calculate as 25 amps @ 240 volts. The Pro-Wave 185 wants a 29 amp circuit.
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:08 AM
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The Thermal-arc 185 is the best deal going if you do not need 120 volt input.
Remember the Sanrex makes the machine and even Miller buys parts from them. Thermal holds some patents that nobody else can use, and it shows up in how quiet the machines run on ac. It's realy noticable on the 300 machines. The
185 is a harsher but that is comparing it to the 300 Thermal's and not the
Dynasty series. It's been one of the most reliable machines out and even Miller
can't match that!!!
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonydacrow
Hi, Shade.

Thanks for the quick reply. I actually have a MIG machine for the auto body work (which I use badly but am improving -- thank God for angle grinders!) but want a TIG for other things including critical frame welds. The generator makes 6000 watts continuous which I calculate as 25 amps @ 240 volts. The Pro-Wave 185 wants a 29 amp circuit.
I calculate 26 amps at 230 volts, so you should be fine. Scott really likes the pro wave, I have never run one so I cannot comment.
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:51 PM
tonydacrow tonydacrow is offline
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Thanks for all the help, guys. Looks like this purchase is a go...
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Old 04-20-2006, 02:05 PM
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Thermal is having a show in May at Airgas and the Ta-185 is $1,685.00
I am going to weld with one again and see how the newest version
is working. They have a older real purple unit in that I never have seen
before. It's that real ugly Thermal color. I only welded with the
TA-185 for about ten minutes but it will do the job in it's amp range.

I have used the 200 dynasty and a older version of the 300
dynasty. I do think the dynasty series is good but a little more finicky
on the Tungsten type/shape you can use.
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:29 PM
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LW Hiway LW Hiway is offline
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Welcome Tony, TDC if you will allow as I'm lazy.

Please understand that some of what I am saying in the text of this post, I will assume you know already, or you would not be restoring or taking on a project of that size. With the initial postings of a thread, it is more of a feeling out of ones abilities and not just assuming that there is no knowledge base. Not everyone is as long-winded or willing to see so many words typed to say so little as I. lol

As the Ford you have in work is a little newer than anything I would personally restore, sounds like your having a handful of work. I would also assume that you have or have access to an English Wheel, bead rollers and pneumatic planishers etc. as they make the restoration world soooooo much easier when fabricating your own overnight panel repairs etc.

One thing, if your not already aware of, less heat applied to the panel means less work to keep it straight for body contour flow when body finishing. That is one reason I mainly use mig for panel work, with small wire and low amps for stitching panels in liew of bead running.

Now that said, my preferences for mig and tig machines have been on the blue side as well. Not that there are no comparable machines available for me to purchase, it's just that the Millers have always been predominant in the shops and field setups I've had to work with and around. So, my personal purchases just sort of gravitated in that direction. Plus it keeps my LWS happy and I'm assuming that he might now and again use me as one of his "all blue" customers when selling a new machine to another customer as I do now and again get asked to offer my personal reasons for a particular purchase.

Now, when do we get to see pictures of that Ford? Remember and learn this fact well, this site thrives and applauds pictures of works in progress. In fact, I find pictures of anothers projects to be the drug that sooths my addiction for home/shop/commercial fabrication.

Now, get a camera and enable my addiction.

LW
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Old 04-21-2006, 09:06 AM
tonydacrow tonydacrow is offline
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Thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome and providing such good info. I went ahead and bought the unit yesterday. Now I just have to clean the garage and figure-out how to eat and pay the mortgage this month.

Progress on all of my projects is rather sporadic due to the amount of time the job and family requires. However, I will indeed post pics of the car soon and try to show some progress periodically as I work from rough pebble to (hopefully) shinny gem.
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Old 04-21-2006, 11:14 AM
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Default Welcome Tony!

Alright! Another SoCal dude! Thanks for joining us here. As soon as another 900 of us register, we will match the Tejano's in number!

You don't have to wait. You can start posting photos of your new welder right away! Let's see the torch it comes with too!
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