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How to Weld - TIG Welding

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TIG Welding is one type of welding amongst a few choices you have - MIG, Stick, Oxyacetylene, etc.

TIG can be used to weld copper, titanium, even two dissimilar metals, and is handy for making tricky welds (e.g. s-curves, or welds on round things)..

TIG generates heat via an arc of electricity jumping from a (tungsten metal) electrode to the metal surfaces you intend to weld - usually aluminum or steel.

TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas, after the tungsten electrode, and the sheath of inert gas (argon or an argon mixture) surrounding it.

Big thanks to Mose O'Griffin, who narrated, taught, and demonstrated.

Also, If you're interested in MIG welding, see this instructable:
 
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Step 1: Choose the Electrode

Your TIG is likely to have the right electrode in it already.

For aluminum, the best choice is a pure tungsten rod.

You can alternately choose from any number of tungsten alloys (including thoriated tungsten - which is radioactive!) which are uniquely suited to welding particular alloys of metal.

For reference, this example uses the specific alloy 6061 Aluminum (the "steak and potatoes" or "normal" type of aluminum)

Step 2: Grind the Electrode

Picture of Grind the Electrode
Grind the tungsten rod to a point.

Do this, especially if the rod is a brand-new cylinder and doesn't have a pointed or rounded tip yet.

The tip will become rounded due to heat as you weld.

Lincoln recommends a balled tip for AC welding, and a pointed tip for DC welding.

The pointed tip will give a smaller, more directed arc. The arc will tend to dance around, when from a rounded tip.


monty3246 hours ago

One inch arc length is mental. I use about one milimeter.

Mig Welder3 years ago
You don't necessarily have to invest a lot for a good fast AD helmet. I got mine for around $45 and it's great. It has infinite shade adjustment (9-14(or 13?)). You can also change the sensitivity so it doesn't turn on when you look at lights. Finally, you can also change the reaction time (in milliseconds I think) which is nice. . .
good auto dark tig helmets cost more than mig/mag/mma ones, most cheap helmets won't go to below 20amps many tigs do 5amps a lot of older ones do 10amps mine goes to 3 amps, not many if any cheap masks are suitable for the whole range of a tig welders amps, even a lot of more expensive ones will only go down to 5amp.
my harbor frieght auto dark darkens at the flick of a lighter, if i welded for a living though id probably invest in a nicer helmet
some helmets react to all sorts of things, doesn't mean it's changing light to dark fast enough, if you are using it for tig welding and it isn't rated for it, expect sore eyes and headaches or worse, good tig helmets detect the light as well as the HF start of the welder, tig welding isn't cheap, always use a helmet rated for the job you are doing, if there is one type of kit you don't want to skimp on it's safety gear especially eye protection.
Is the arc really that incredibly bright at such low amperage?
its not that bright, its the u.v. radiation it put off when welding with t.i.g.. you should always use a welding helmet even with such low amperage
i think it relies on voltage as well, power in wattage is a product of both amps and voltage.
no the oposite, it's that it's not very bright compared to higher amps the mask doesn't detect the arc and so the mask stays in the light mode does not darken to the proper welding shade, you will see a spec called "minimum tig detection" on some helmets, so for low amps you need one that detects low amps, and they cost a lot more than masks with a higher minimum amp detection that work fine with mig and arc but not the bottom of tig.
i have the flip type for stick welding at home ( its fitted with a shade 11) and my welder is a 70 amp cheap is the shade enough i dont know btw is there gasless tig like gasless mig
look on craigslist before going to a store like harborfreight. I got a miller digital elite for $150 dollars on craigslist.
Spudmuffon1 year ago
I would not say that either of those welds are good the cosmetic weld even if that is what you are doing the puddles are too far apart the weld will break. The strength weld has so many things going on I am not sure what to talk about first off the right side of the weld there was not enough fill at the beginning. Then there was too much heat evidenced by smooth MIG looking weld.Then too much separation between puddles as well as being to cold if it looks like you can pick it with your fingernail or a piece of wire then it is too cold
Spudmuffon1 year ago
Honestly this gloves and welding leathers are not required a long sleeve non polyester shirt i.e. something that doesnt just melt if caught on fire is just fine. Gloves if I am going to wear a thick glove it is only on the filler rod hand gun control is all with a nice light glove for better feel and control.
Spudmuffon1 year ago
Aluminum always ALWAYS should be thoroughly cleaned. the wire brush is fine no problem but it needs to be done BEFORE you weld. Aluminum can oxidize very fast and will contaminate the strength and integrity of the weld. Welding aluminum clean just before welding if possible.
Spudmuffon1 year ago
Ok on the grinding wheel please make sure to 'sweep' across the face of the wheel grooving the wheel not only shortens the life span of your tool but it can be dangerous those wheels spin at a good clip and can shatter if grooved excessively
Spudmuffon1 year ago
To be fair a "red" tungsten or Thoriated the amount of radioactivity will not harm you in the least you get more radiation smoking a package of cigarets than if you ate the whole pack of tungstens
ratz22 years ago
If you want to see some excellent instructional videos on TIG and other welding check out (search for) wlediingtipsandtricks on YouTube! He also has a weldingtipsandtricks.com website.
those gloves must be imposable to feed the filler accurately in, get some proper thin tig gloves you don't need those huge things for tig.
Agree!
You don't want/need stick Arc welding gloves for TIG.
Some people don't even wear gloves if welding for small things, NOT that I would recommend that!
Get gloves that are made for TIG welding.
ratz22 years ago
I don't know if I would wear thick stick welding gloves for TIG.
They make thinner but still protective TIG welding gloves that allow you to feel more as you weld which can be helpful for TIG especially for feeding the rod.
CHEVY69986 years ago
I would strongly suggest a dedicated stainless brush for aluminum. Also one should always care about the way a weld looks and functions. A proper weld will look good by nature. A weak weld is a dangerous one.
stasterisk (author)  CHEVY69986 years ago
did you read the instructable? I only recommend seperate brushes.
Not only a dedicated brush for aluminum but a dedicated Stainless Steel brush. Other metal brushes could contaminate the weld.
CHEVY69986 years ago
ANY process ofTIG whether it be DC or AC, Steel/Stainless/ or Aluminum should all use only 99.9% purified Argon. 75/25 is not inert and contaminate your welds. This exceptions to this rule and exotic alloys such as Titanium. Ti requires the introduction of Helium and controlled chambering.
I second Chevy6998 I TIG weld for a living, and know for a fact that you only use purified argon for the most common types of welding (Aluminum, Carbon steel, Stainless steel). With the exception of the introduction of helium, hence the reason some people refer to TIG as "heli-arc" (pronounced Heely-ark) If you use an argon/CO2 mixture, you will realize it RIGHT AWAY. Why? Your tungsten will start burning up, turning black, throwing sparks, and "hissing." In other words, you will ruin your Tungsten tip. Also, you need psi to be set at 15-20 psi. 15 will do just fine in most conditions, preventing the waste of gas.
Thirded. The only gases used in TIG processes are Argon, Helium, and rarely Nitrogen. Argon provides a more stable arc, whereas Helium produces a "hotter" arc. Nitrogen is occasionally used to weld deoxidized copper. Very few TIG processes use C02 as a stabilizing agent, and usually in low ratios (90/10) for exotic metals.
Agree with all above. Never heard of using CO2, except from Joshua above for exotic metals.
is it possible to TIG weld w/o the gas? because i know in MIG welding you can use a flux core, and i wanted to know if the same applied here....
I've been wondering this too, but I dont think you can because the tungsten electrode needs a shielding gas to prevent it from being contaminated, and thre wouldn't be enogh shielding without gas.
You are absoluutely correct, you must have a shielding media (gas in this case) for any welding.... Arc welding uses the flux on the rod. The exception goes to oxy-acetylene welding which many people call brazing, but a powdered flux is certainly an advantage then but not absolutely required to do the job.
the flame also acts as shield from atmosphere.
the electrode in those already has flux inside it where a tig electrode does not hence shielding gas is used, you cannot use a fluxed filler rod and tungsten with no shielding cause it will damage tungsten as well as give erratic arcs.
you need pure argon or argon helium mix to tig weld the tungsten needs shielding as well as the weld pool.
Tungsten angle is an important thing to pay attention to, sharper tungstens are less penetrating and produce a wider, more shallow weld than a Tungsten with a more obtuse bevel.
right again, i had to once tig weld 20 gauge and I used an angle of about 45 deg or less and trimed the tip, this gave me a more focused arc and I got perfect weld size and penetration, the first pic shows the thickness, 2nd shows weld and 3rd shows penetration, sorry for the bad quality of the pics i took these with my microsoft pc cam i tought it was a good cam i payed 70 bucks for it lol or maybe i dont know about focusing?.
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CHEVY69986 years ago
Dcep is for stick welding, yes you can use it to ball the tip. Always use the maximum cleaning setting for aluminum, since you will constantly fight the onset of Aluminum oxide (natural occurrence of heating Aluminum). Use the amperage to penetrate.
Incorrect sir, you want a setting of about 60/40 % DCEN/DCEP time. this gives you solid penetration and effective cleaning, If you are having issues with re-oxidation than your gas settings are incorrect and you have not properly cleaned your metal before welding.
also this setting helps in the constant balance of on/off , otherwise if its 50/50 or 40/60 then you will have trouble keeping the arc lit, but there are so many new features with welding machine these days to help offset these problems if you really need to use 40/60.
Derin CHEVY69985 years ago
my stick welder only has a 5 level power switch,it is AC only
stasterisk (author)  CHEVY69986 years ago
intriguing! I've added it to the instructable.
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