1. The Invertig-160 DC is small in size but big in output. Since it can operate on either 110 or 220 volts it is a perfect setup for home use or to take from job to job. The power cord is 15 feet long and needs an end cap depending on your setup (you pick the power outlet 20-30 amp). The foot pedal and the torch each come with 25 foot long leads. Also the Invertig-160 DC comes with the Flowmeter with a 6-foot hose for the shield gas (Argon). Also you can get the starter kit that includes Tungsten, collets, collet bodies and alumina cups for the torch in four different sizes for around $50.
2. On the back of the Invertig-160 DC there is the cooling fan and the voltage switch (110 or 220V), along with the port for the shield gas.
3. To get started we first needed to connect the shield gas (Argon) hose from the bottle to the back of the Invertig-160.
4. Included with the hose is a flow meter. A flow meter gives you more precise gas metering than traditional gas regulators. Once connected to the bottle, a flow rate of 15-20 cubic feet per hour (CFH) of Argon is all that is needed. Adjustments are made here (arrow). (Do not use tape - the threads don't do the sealing - the fitting does)
5. On the front of the Invertig-160 DC we needed to connect the torch with the gas line, the foot control pedal, along with the ground cable. The torch and the ground have twist locks at the end of the cables. You can see (arrows) that you need to line up the tab to fit into the unit then twist the cable to lock it in place.
6. (#1) This post is the negative output receptacle for the TIG torch. On the Invertig-160 DC all TIG work is done in straight polarity with the torch in negative and working positive to ground. If stick welding then this would be set up differently, we can get into this later, for now we are setting up for TIG welding.
(#2) This is the pin trigger connection for the TIG torches with built-in on/off switch function, we are using the foot pedal as the on/off switch so this is not used at this time.
(#3) This is where the gas (Argon) line from the torch mounts and is controlled by the solenoid valve inside the welder.(#4) Here is where the foot pedal (amperage control) mounts, this is also a push and twist lock mount.
(#5) This is the positive output receptacle. When TIG welding this is where the ground cable connects. Once more, all TIG work is done in straight polarity with the torch in negative and working positive to ground.
7. Here is a shot of the control panel starting with the three indicator lamps, power, welding current, and the Thermo switch (A). This is the slope down or spot time (B). This is the final current knob that can be adjusted from 10 to 90 percent of the base current (C). This is the post gas flow adjustment (D). This is the welding mode switch; with five settings four for TIG (based on materials) and one for stick welding (E). This is the amperage adjustment knob (F). Here is the remote/local switch this is to work the foot pedal or the torch to control amperage (G). Here is the Lift Arc/HF switch, this lets you choose between bringing the Tungsten in contact with the weld Arc or trigger start the arc with the pedal (H). If you chose to you can use and adjust the pulse TIG welding by turning this knob, or in the off position this can be done with the foot pedal (I).
8. This is the 17 series torch. It's an air-cooled torch and is set up with the alumina nozzle (A), gas lens collet body (B), collet (C), and a stick of tungsten (D).
9&10. Select the tungsten diameter based on the thickness of the material you will be welding. A 1/16-inch tungsten is good for sheet metal up to about 1/8 inch. Then select a matching 1/16-inch collet and 1/16-inch collet body. Then install the correct size alumina cup, which directs the argon shield gas around the weld. If you were going to weld material that is 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch you would want to use the 3/32-inch tungsten. The type of tungsten is designated by the color of the tip. We got 2 percent thoriated tungsten which has a red tip for welding steel and green tip for aluminum.
11. Once we were set up and ready to weld, the Invertig-160 DC was easy to use and make adjustments as we went along. The torch was a nice fit in our hand and to control the Arc with the foot pedal was easy to pick up and get the flow down.
12. Also if you need it HTP offers a DVD ($60) with over 70 minutes of info on how-to TIG weld along with setting up your welder, different arc starting, tungsten types, machine controls, and most important welding mistakes.
13. Here's the HTP Micro Cut 301 Plasma cutter. We all know how hard it is to cut a clean line on a thick fender or sheetmetal with a grinder, so if you are a fabricator, this compact unit is a great addition to your garage. The unit requires 220-volt power and compressed air.
14. To get started we needed to install the bracket for the pressure gauge with regulator, there are two small Phillips head screws for the bracket on the back of the cutter. Then we connected the air hose to the quick connect (arrow) on the regulator.
15. Here is how the regulator looks with the air fitting in place mounted to the cutter, also on the back you will find the power switch.
16. On the front of the plasma cutter you will find the indicator lights and the cutting power adjustment knob.
17. The cutting torch has a safety trigger switch cover and a 13 foot long power cord, and a 9 foot long ground cable (not shown).
18. Here is the torch parts breakdown, starting with the handle then there's the Swirl ring (A), then the electrode (B), the cutting tip (C), and last the gas diffuser (D). Also, you can get extended electrode and cutting tips for different styles of cutting.
19. Once we were plugged into power and connected to our air compressor we set the cutting power to the size of sheetmetal we were working on. Then we flipped the switch and hit the trigger and we were cutting smooth and fast. Whether we were cutting flat or curved sheetmetal it was easy to get used to how to move the torch over the cutting area. The 301 cuts easily through steel, stainless steel, aluminum or any other material that conducts electricity.
Everyone is looking for ways to save a little money these days by working on their bikes themselves from oil changes to small repairs. The one thing that seems to also be on the rise is more guys are doing their own fab work. However, this can get expensive if you have to find a shop to do all your welding for you. So if you are looking for a home TIG welding setup but don't want to take out a second mortgage on the house to do it, then we have found what you are looking for. HTP America Inc. has a full line of welder and plasma cutters just right for the homebuilder as well as the full-service shop.
After talking with the HTP team and letting them know what were wanted from a home welder they pointed us to the Invertig 160DC ($1,299, check your local dealer), a full featured DC TIG welder for welding steel. With a DC TIG machine, you can weld steel, stainless steel, 4130 tubing, basically all weldable metals except aluminum and magnesium. If you want to weld aluminum and magnesium, you will need an AC/DC TIG welder. The 160DC has high frequency arc starting, so you don't have to touch the tungsten to the work to get the arc going. It also has remote amperage control by either foot pedal or torch mounted finger tip control, which allows you to vary the amperage while you are welding, giving you complete control over the weld puddle. And it also has a pulse feature to minimize heat input in thin material.
This compact unit weighs 32 pounds, and measures just 16 inches long x 12 1/2 inches high x 8 inches wide. It can plug in anywhere since it operates on 110 or 220 volts. The Invertig 160DC also has the capability for you to use it as a stick welder if you chose with the addition of the optional electrode holder (accessory required).
Also if you are doing your own fab work, you may find yourself looking at a way to cut the sheetmetal before you weld. And so we were also looking at the MicroCut 301 plasma cutter. The MicroCut 301 cuts 5/16 inch steel at 12 inches/min, and can sever 3/8 inch steel. It requires a 16-amp 220-volt circuit and a cutting amperage setting from 5 to 25 amps to be energy efficient. The MicroCut 301 unit tips the scales at 14 lbs, so it is lightweight and can be moved anywhere you need it. The MicroCut 301 comes with a 90-day money back guarantee and a full one-year warranty and retails for $799.