Now that we’ve finally graduated from our short courses on MIG welding, we can move onto the next overview series: TIG welding. Otherwise known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), this type of arc welding has a wider spread of material applications and user advantages than any other type, theoretically making it the perfect choice for both professional and hobbyist welders alike. But in reality, that doesn’t always seem to be the case.

A MIG welder is almost too easy to use. With a fairly modest equipment investment (and less supplies) as well as the ability to weld a decent range of material thicknesses, you can see why many chose to go this route—and more often than not, stick with it. (And it’s very common for MIG users to have a difficult time learning the process and becoming proficient at TIG welding.) A TIG welder, on the other hand, requires a bit more skill, good hand/eye coordination, and up until recently, cost substantially more than your typical MIG welding setup (additionally, more consumables—such as tungsten, filler rod, collets, etc.—are, well, consumed). Again, it’s no surprise that MIG welding is more popular among hobbyists. But that may become a thing of the past, thanks to Miller Electric Mfg. Co.’s Diversion series TIG welders.

Available in two output sizes, 165 and 180 amp, Miller’s Diversion inverter-based TIGs take all the guesswork out and minimize initial operator input with modern, state-of-the-art interfaces. Just select material type (AC for aluminum, DC for stainless/mild steel) and thickness, then you’re ready to weld. Until now, TIG welding has never been easier. And to simplify matters even more, Miller makes the transition from MIG less daunting by integrating the amperage adjustment controls directly into the torch on both Diversion models—the 180, which we’ve elected to work with, comes equipped with an optional foot control pedal (special order only for the 165). Another standard feature unique to the Diversion 180 is Miller’s proprietary Multi-Voltage Plug (MVP), allowing 115V or 230V power input (the 165 is 230 V only). Also, both machines have automatic pre- and post-flow shielding gas settings and high frequency non-liftoff arc starts, ultimately minimizing waste while making the most efficient use of gas and tungsten. Two additional features that are only available with the Diversion 180 are its digital interface and Auto-Line power management, which, simply put, regulates and stabilizes voltage, automatically adjusting for random power surges or drops and guaranteeing a continuous, steady arc.

The Diversion 180 is a great all-around TIG welder, perfectly suited for light fabrication/chassis work, building exhaust, and sheetmetal repair. It’s also compact enough for mobile use. Best of all, it’s very affordable.