Over the 20 years or more during which I've been learning how to tig weld, I've experimented with various methods of getting cooling water through my water-cooled torch. On my first effort I made some connectors to run tap water from a garden hose through polyethylene tubing to my torch's water inlet. That worked well for a while until I tired of the puddles of discharged water outside of my workshop. Then a service station friend gave me an old 15 gallon oil drum. I converted that into a cold water reservoir, put a 1/5 hp submersible sump pump into it, connected the poly tubing to torch's inlet and drained the discharged water back into the oil drum. It also worked fine, but well, my setup just didn't look like a professional one! :eek. I remedied that a couple of years later by purchasing a Lincoln water cooler.
Over the years, however, my ears have gotten tired of the din caused by the whirring of two fans - the cooler's and the welder's. I long to revert to the peace and quiet of earlier days when the intermittently running, relatively quiet welder's fan and the soft murmuring of the sump pump generated a somewhat soothing noise. I've even started collecting the first component of my next quiet-running cooler: a carbonator pump purchased on eBay. Now if I could only locate an inexpensive used 15 gallon, stainless steel beer keg, I should be able to fabricate a cooler with more pleasing lines than that fashioned from my previous steel oil drum.
A 55 gallon steel drum filled with cold water will provide a sufficiently large reservoir of cooling water to permit you to weld for many minutes. If the water gets warm, let it cool down or throw some ice in it if you can't wait. Since most tig welding seems to consist of short periods of laying down beads interrupted by longer periods of layup, your tankful of water may never get too warm. Just try it. It's a cheap solution to your needs and you'll lusually learn something by experimenting. When you begin to make your living from welding, it will be time for you to buy a commercial water cooler!
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