Thursday, November 26, 2015

21 Tig Welding Tips That You Need to Keep in Mind

There are many ways to control the arc, puddle, final outcome of your weld. Here are 21 Tig welding tips that are essential to keep in mind. 

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More than Mig and arc welding, Tig welding asks for lots of more practice to be proficient in. Patience is a must. Each time you pick up a torch, are you excited? It is a challenge and really gratifying when everything is fine. 

There are many ways to control the arc, puddle, final outcome of your weld. Here are 21 Tig welding tips that are essential to keep in mind. 

1. Always Tig weld using the minimum power - When you start practising welding on thin sheet metal, say 1.5 mm thick. Without any other information on the metals, their thickness and others, the minimum current that will just sustain a melt pool is a good starting point. Tig welding is penetrative – getting that penetration is much in the technique and just secondarily on the power input.   

2. Cleanliness is a must - Unlike other types of welding, Tig welding requires a very clean surface to create a clean arc and nice welds. Make sure you clean the work surface really well before you weld. For aluminum and stainless, you are recommended to use a dedicated stainless brush for each type of metal you are welding on. You will find the more time you spend cleaning your work area before welding, the better final outcomes will be. 

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3. Choose the correct Tungsten - Depending on the surface you’re working on, you may need change out your Tungsten. Conventionally, green Tungstens are applied for aluminum and red for steels, but some people favor the red Tungstens across the board. You are suggested to try the ‘conventional’ use of each before making a decision. Also, make sure you use the right thickness of Tungsten. If it is too large, you will have to use too much heat to strike an arc and could risk burning or warping through the work-piece. Using too small of a Tungsten, you can damage it from being overheated. 

4. Touch the Tungsten tip, regrind - If you touch the tip into the puddle, you must regrind it. Otherwise, the arc will wander off course and the weld won’t be as nice and smooth as it should be. 

5. Keep up productivity - Make sure you avoid being distracted and interrupted. Keep spare, ready-ground Tungstens. Have all the pieces you plan to weld cleaned and ready. Also, keep lots of extra filler rod within arm’s reach. 

6. Grind your Tungsten correctly - Make sure you are grinding the tungsten correctly. Many beginners don’t do it right and have to accept the unpleasant results. Make sure you grind the tungsten length-wise and as even as possible. If you are not using a Tungsten sharpener, use a dedicated bench grinder to grind Tungstens on. If you use an all-purpose grinder, your Tungstens can be contaminated.

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7. 2º Tungsten electrodes are mildly radioactive. When grinding, wear a respirator.

8. Shielding gases for Tig are:
100% Argon – the most common gas
75% Argon/25% Helium – the next hottest gas
75% Helium/25% Argon – the hot gas. Higher percentage of helium in the gas can result in arc starting problems.
100% Helium – the real hot gas. Difficult to start arc. 

9. Your gas should be argon (not mixed) for aluminum and steel, and should be set between 15-20 cfh. If you set it too high, it will blow away from the weld. 

10. The bigger the rod is, the easier it is to feed. Use larger diameter rods (from 3/32” to 1/8”) when learning Tig if possible. 

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11. Rod angle and torch angle shouldn’t be the same. It’s because the heat will bounce off of your 
part and melt your rod before you want it to. 

12. If a ball forms on the end of the rod when welding, you are doing something wrong. The problem can be improper rod to torch angle or not being aggressive enough. When feeding rod, make sure you push the rod into the welding pool.

13. Mig and Tig wire are the same. That is, one can use Mig wire to Tig weld just in case.

14. Aluminum takes plenty of heat to weld. Don’t be afraid to raise the welding current. Welding with a ‘hot’ machine will allow you to raise welding speed. The ‘hot’ machine cum fast travel speed means less input of heat into the part and reduces the possibility of distortion and/ or burn-through. 

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15. Be at the welding temperature with foot pedal depressed ¾ of the way. The ¼ pedal you have left is in reverse. That technique enables you to gently trail off the arc at the end of your weld. Indeed, ending the arc suddenly can make the weld crack.

16. Weld stainless steel using gas lenses. The screen in the lenses allows much better gas coverage of welds. You can use gas lens to weld all materials. They also enable you to stick your Tungstens up to 1” out of the cup by increasing the gas flow. The typical gas flow rates are about 15 to 20 cfh.

17. Torch angle impacts penetration. The more vertical the torch is, the more arcs are directed into the part. 

18. Wear thin gloves on your rod feeding hand. You need maximum feel to properly feed the rod. Learn to feed rod out with your ‘pencil’ fingers and thumb.

19. Get filler metal charts that will let you select correct rods for whatever materials you’re welding.

20. Let the Tungsten stick out of cup 1/4” to 5/16” when you weld high-amp aluminum. Otherwise, heat will radiate from the cup to the Tungsten and lower output, especially if the orifice is too small. 

21. Put a glove, wood, or something non-conducting on your welding table to protect your arms from shocking hazard. Sweat can worsen this problem. Rest your torch holding hand on a steady object for better results.  

Helpful information that you may like reading:

Those are some basic tips for Tig welding. If you have any tips to share, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment. 


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