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"I really love that amazing Hands On sculpture. I feel very lucky to have had the chance seeing the early stage of making it in Kevin's studio. I hope to see it being displayed in that perfect spot some day when I come back to Arizona!"
--Lan Griffin, artist, Boston, Massachusetts

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Cool Improvements to AHP's TIG Welder

Kevin shows AHP's new AlphaTIG 201XD TIG welder. AHP has made some great upgrades to this TIG welder, which has become a favorite of welders because of its quality and price.

A few of the changes you can notice right away are a real improvement to the clear shield that protects the control panel. The old panel tended to snap off at the hinge. That has been redesigned so it's much stronger. That's nice, especially when you make dirt for a living.

Another change: a super flex TIG torch cable.

A really great change is the new torch head, which now has a variable swivel, allowing you to weld at pretty much any angle you want. It comes in handy when welding behind something, overhead, etc. It's easy to reposition using the knob on it. The TIG torch head has O rings to help seal and keep the gas going where it's supposed to.

Next Kevin shows the foot pedal from the previous version of this TIG welder. To say it has issues would be putting it kindly. Every time you push your foot down on it and let it back up again the TIG foot pedal wants to move across the floor. The AlphaTIG 201XD has a new Nova foot pedal standard on all of these machines. The new pedal has a nice wide pad for your foot and rocks the other way - you know, the way it's supposed to. The new pedal also has maybe 1 pound of foot spring pressure, while the old one had what felt like 5 pounds. That's a big, big improvement. The new foot pedal also has a nonskid surface that helps keep it in place.

There have been internal changes, too. AHP has used bigger, heavier components to increase the durability of the machine, beefing up things like resistors and capacitors that are now stronger. There have been some software changes, too, making a great machine that much better.

How does AHP know what needs to be improved? In addition to customer feedback, the owner of the company is an electrical engineer and also a welder. He designs these machines and then goes to China 2 weeks a month and literally stands on the assembly line. He watches the welders being built and taked machines off the assembly line and goes in the corner where he has his own workbench set up. He'll weld with it and make sure the welders are working correctly right there in the factory.

But Kevin is ready to quit talking and make some sparks!

He first tacks each end of two pieces of aluminum, then runs some beads. Kevin shows where the metal was a little cold when he tacked it, and shows a little bobble that was his fault. Once the metal warmed up and his foot got used to doing what it was supposed to be doing, the weld looked good.

Kevin really liked the adjustable torch head. Instead of having to be in front of the metal, he was able to weld from behind to avoid some of the heat from welding. You do have to remember, though, not to adjust the torch head WHILE you are welding. To protect the electrical connection as well as the gas, don't move the head while welding or leave it so loose that you could bump it. That'll keep the welding torch working for a long time.

So that's a quick little look at the new HP AlphaTIG 201XD. It's very affordable at about $1000.

Kevin's ready to go back to work, but you might want to stick around for another moment to see him forget his place ....

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