To Read The Full Article, Go To www.cyclesource.com
Article And Photos By: RJ Powell
Originally Published In The May 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
I have a pretty good idea that if you are reading this rag then than likely you are building your own two-wheeled fun machines, have already built one or have had one built. Many of you are comfortable working on your own projects and have the tools and knowledge to get the job done. Hopefully, even more of you are familiar with Eastwood and possibly have used some of their equipment on your builds. For those of you that aren’t, Eastwood has been around since 1978. As a kid, I remember my father talking about Eastwood being the go-to place to get auto body tools that you couldn’t find locally. As I started working on my own projects, of course, that’s where I turned to as well. To this day, they have all the cool stuff that you may not find in your local auto body store including metal flake, striping paint, body filler, powder coating equipment, all the way to the tools to do every job, including welders…the reason for the following article. While in Cleveland for the IMS show we met Tom Rose, who happens to teach the welding classes at the Eastwood store in Parma.
Tom kindly invited us invited us by to check out everything Eastwood has to offer. The next morning, Duke and I hauled ass over there to browse “fab guys heaven.” The main reason for our visit was to test some of the new welding equipment. Tom took us back to the shop area where they teach several different classes including welding, powder coating, and pinstriping. He sat us down with the Tig 200 Digital, which is the higher end Tig unit from Eastwood. It is an AC/DC unit, so it can handle pretty much any weldable material. It comes in at $999.00, so it’s a relatively affordable machine. As Tom went over the specifics of the machine I was anxious to give it a go. I tend to be highly suspect of lowerpriced equipment, especially welders because of past experiences with lesser known brands. The Tig 200 Digital has pulse technology on both AC and DC. You can also control the AC frequency, which is helpful when welding aluminum. The unit is also programmable so that you can save your settings. I like that that it comes with a foot pedal and a finger control for the torch head. Enough with the specs, for now, let’s get to the important stuff. How does it weld? Tom had set up some 6061 aluminum. I was excited, I’ve welded a lot of aluminum in my time, but Duke had only ever used a Mig welder before. Normally, most folks first experience using a Tig be on steel but not today. With some words of advice and a couple of adjustments to the machine from Tom, Duke went at it first. As Duke started the puddle, I noticed with the pulse setting on it took away the need to pump the foot pedal to adjust your voltage. It’s just basically an on an off switch, so it was easier to focus on the weld in front of you. As Duke dabbed away, he was making a nice weld, plenty of penetration and an overall good-looking weld on the 1/8 thick material. Amazing weld for a first time Tig welder, especially on aluminum. Duke welded for a few more minutes each time laying down better and better beads.
It was my turn, I dropped my shield and went at it on pulse mode which I really have no experience with. The machine in my shop has pulse settings, but I’ve never used them. When I was first taught to Tig weld pulse settings didn’t exist yet. So, into the unknown, I went. I’m always open to learn something new. For the first few minutes, I found myself working the peddle out of habit thankfully Tom kept reminding me not to. I quickly realized how well the pulse settings work in your favor whether you are a new welder or an experienced one. I welded some flats, a butt weld and jigged two pieces of 1/8 together to form a joint to try out a corner weld. In the end, the Tig 200 digital exceeded my expectation. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get an affordable, good quality Tig welder. Eastwood has several welders and plasma cutters in their lineup, and I would have loved to demo them all, but we didn’t have the time that day but maybe next time. As I said before if you’re building something cool that might need bodywork I suggest you stop into an Eastwood store or check them out at www.eastwood.com