TIG Welding 101 : Everything You Need To Know About TIG Welding

With today’s advancement in machinery, various type of welding processes was also developed to introduce certain variations depending on preference and usage. One of these methods is TIG welding, which presents a variety of weld that requires skill, patience, and perseverance to ensure an excellent output. Though, even with the hefty dedication in your line of work, it provides the most precise and easily controlled welds than any other processes.

To lend a helping hand regarding your latest handy work, this text will provide you the guidelines and information that needs to be acquired before getting the wanted TIG welding on your local hardware store!

All about TIG welding: How does it function?

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding can also be classified with the term of Gas Tungsten Arc welding (GTAW) and is mostly used for stainless steel, copper, or aluminum metal connections. To do its wanted function, it uses an electric torch that contains an electrode made up of tungsten, which transfers the current into the welding pool or arc that binds the two metals together.

Correctly, a rod is used to produce a weld pool at one hand while the torch is being held on the other hand. Though, some welds do not require the tungsten electrode rod on the process, such as those that are classified to be autogenous. Also, the puddle is being protected by using an inert argon gas that prevents any oxidation or atmospheric debris possibilities. The heat can also be controlled on the process of welding by using a pedal, or a remote located on the torch.

It is most commonly known in terms of welding thin materials or sections of non-ferrous materials. Furthermore, the complexity of the process is seen throughout the procedure, but its output guarantees the preciseness and accuracy for it is within these factors that the strength of the joint can be ensured.

Preparing to weld with TIG

The proper preparation before conducting the process reflects on the output, as the poor introduction of the process and materials can negatively reflect the procedure. This may cause mishaps on the output that leads to porosity or lose connection. To prevent this, it is better to ensure that the main equipment of the welding is acquired appropriately. Being in control is key, not only on the progress in welding but also on the overall preparation required.

First, you need to ensure that the surface is clean and free from any oil, rust, or debris. If it is hard to remove, consider using a grind or a wire brush. Also, apply acetone by using a clean cloth to remove any shavings or oil that may be left unto the metal.

Keep in mind that even though the skills in TIG welding is above excellency, the appearance and strength still depends on the process of preparation. It is a type of weld that introduces a complex procedure and is less forgiving than any other types of welding, which is why ensuring that the initial movements are met before starting with the welding capabilities.

TIG Welding Materials

A part of the preparation procedure also includes the assurance of proper equipment at hand. Some of the equipment depends on the material and output needed, which is why it varies depending on these factors. To provide insight regarding the things that are needed, here are the following information that corresponds to their function and types—

  • TIG torch

At high temperatures, it is preferable to use a torch that is water cooled to address faster relief in terms of heat. Though, TIG torches often come with those that have air cooling capabilities. The torches are often addressed with having greater control on the handle, which allows better accuracy in terms of welding. The setting can significantly help you in controlling the heat needed, as one hand is the only accessible form of adjustment since the other is used to stabilize the filler material.

  • Choosing the right TIG welding electrode

The electrodes are classified to be non-consumable, but it can burn over time. There are different types of electrode depending on the needed material that depends on the metal to be welded and power since it will determine the end of the electrode that is either balled, pointed, or truncated. Specifically, these are the following options :

Pure tungsten:

these are the most popular since it is affordable. It can be used on aluminum and magnesium and provides a stable arc that works well with AC output. Though, if you prefer DC output, created and thoriated electrodes are preferred.

Created:

It is recommended for welding with delicate and small parts. It requires DC output and is best suited for low amperage. The metals associated with it includes steel, nickel, titanium, and stainless steel.

Thoriated:

They are the most commonly used for it provides a durable tip that stays sharp longer which implies that it lasts a more significant amount of time than that of pure tungsten. Though, a slight limitation can be seen as it is somehow radioactive, which means that it is crucial to comply with safety precautions. It prefers DC output for carbon steel, titanium, and nickel.

Lanthanated:

They are known to be versatile, which means that it can be done on either AC or DC outputs. It offers stability in terms of arcs and can work with low currents. It is often used with steel.

Zirconiated:

It is preferred with AC output and is also known to be resistant to contamination. One of its capabilities is the ability to carry a high current capacity, which is why DC output is not ideal.

Rare earth:

It can be used for both AC or DC outputs. It also tends to last longer and can produce a stabilized arc no matter which current to choose from. It can also be used for small metals as it can offer small diameters.

Check out this video related to the topic of choosing the right TIG Welding Electrode

  • Grinding wheel

The grinding wheel should always be constantly cleaned to prevent any debris or residue that can be in contact with your welding. It is essential for its sole purpose is to ground the electrode into a tip.

  • Shielding gas

The sustainability of shielding gas is essential to protect the weld from other extraneous variables in the atmosphere. Also, the type of gas depends on the needed heat transfer for the work that needs to be applied. Specifically, Helium is used for thick metals because it transfers more heat. A helium and argon mixture can also be used for thin metals, which prevents the rising of temperature than what is needed.

Pros and Cons of TIG welding

To assess if TIG welding is the one that you need, the benefits and limitations should always be considered in the process of evaluation. Specifically, these are the following function and occurrence:

The Advantages

  • It provides a smooth finish since it is with this that the strength of the weld is addressed and assessed.
  • It introduces the most precise and control than any other type
  • It can be used to weld various metals, even non-ferrous metals such as aluminum and copper.

The disadvantages

  • The process is known to be complicated, for the ability to control is crucial to maintaining the arc at the correct distance needed.
  • Some distinct safety procedures should always be compiled, for safety concerns may occur such as ultraviolet rays from some electrodes.
  • It is relatively a slow process.

Step-by-Step procedure to use TIG welding

To operate your TIG welder, here are the following steps:

  1. Choose and grind the electrode.

The choosing of an electrode depends on the mode of power and the metal to be welded. Assess the different types carefully, and pick the most suitable one.

In terms of grinding, grind it into a point or a ball. It should be done especially if the electrode is a cylinder and does not have any tip. A ballet tip is needed for AC welding, and pointed tip is recommended for DC welding.

  1. Insert the rod into the collet

Insert the rod inside the electrode holder. The tip should be at most one-fourth away from the sheath that serves as protection.

  1. Set-up the setting preference

The setting depends on the job that needs to be done, but in terms of generalization, choose the current that is required. Set the cleaning or penetrating environment on the penetrating side. It is also preferred to set the function of keeping the air on for five seconds.

  1. Turn on the gas that should be used

It is needed to prevent rust, as it mostly occurs at high temperatures. For aluminum metals, it is recommended to use pure argon, but for steel, argon and carbon dioxide mixture is most preferred.

  1. Prepare the welding station

A metallic area is needed to keep the current to flow through the metal that should be weld. A welding table or a sheet of metal can be used in the process. Clean the metals, and clamp them to stabilize. Lastly, if available, it is recommended to spray the table or surface with anti-spatter to clean the station easier later on.

  1. Weld the metal

Before welding, test the electrode in terms of your ability to move freely. The electrode should be at least an inch away while on the process of welding, to prevent molten debris to seep into the electrode.

Quickly heat the metal to form a weld pool, and that is by jamming down your foot unto the pedal. Place it on edge and if the puddle is formed, touch the rod in. Once you notice the weld pool, ease the pedal and control the amount of heat throughout the process. Keep in mind that weld shrinks as they cool, which is why it is crucial to alternate the sides to keep it even. This can also prevent warp.

  1. Apply the beads

After the process of tacking, remove the clamps. Introduce quick heat and control it as puddle starts to form. To achieve the bead in aluminum, move the rod to the side of the electrode wherein the weld will form and “lead” the electrode by moving the electrode towards the rod.

For steel, the electrode leads down the welding line, and the rod chases the travel.

  1. Different types of weld

Fillet- two metals that are joined with right angles.

Butt- two metals touch along the edges which requires the electrode to travel in a straight line.. Addressed as the most difficult in progress.

Lap-two metals against each other, resting on a flat surface.

Cosmetic- Tends to be more even compared to long lengths of the weld. It can be done by dipping the rod in a weld pool and then moves to the next point of location and commonly used for visible joints.

Strength welds- Known as stronger over appearance. It is done by drawing the weld pool continuously while feeding the rod.

Final words

TIG welding is a complex process, which requires dedication to ensure the strength of the weld. The preciseness is also crucial as well as the initial preparations, as these variables significantly affect the overall output. Each type of metal and work required different technique and some specific equipment, such as gas and electrode, which is why it is essential to know the scale of your heavy duty works and the type of metal that needs to be weld.

Now that you know the key points of TIG welding think of the latest imagery of your masterpiece and work your way through it!

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