Aluminum Tig welding is a great way to truly complete a project that will look spectacular. Continue through this instructable to learn the fundamentals and get started with your tig welded workpiece today.
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Step 1: Setting Up the Welder
Setting up the welder is the first step that will need to be done. Take the ground cable and attach it to your workpiece. If applicable, plug in the foot control pedal and place in the workspace. Other methods can be used to control amperage but the foot pedal is my preferred method. Turn on the machine and ensure the setting is on AC current and have the amperage roughly around 190 amps, which can be adjusted based on the material. Also, a shielding gas will need to be provided and for most uses with aluminum, it should be 100% argon. Take the choice of tungsten, sharpen the tip and tighten into the collet with 1/8" to 3/16" sticking out from the edge of the torch cup; in most aluminum scenarios, I prefer to use a 3/32" 1.5% lanthanated tungsten.
Step 2: Readying the Workpiece
After having the machine set up, the material or workpiece will need to be prepper. Take the materials and them in a clamped or fixed state however the will be after being welded. The material will need to be cleaned before welding so it will not become contaminated. Take a wire brush and go one direction down the material to remove any contaminants and oxide coatings.
Step 3: Safety and Other Necessities
Other requirements for Tig welding include safety measures and filler rod.Be sure to wear gloves and welding sleeves if desires because the bright rays can burn your skin and most importantly a welding helmet to protect your eyes. Filler rod is also needed when Tig welding. The sizes vary but I would recommend starting with a 3/32" aluminum filler rod and using larger or smaller rods when necessary.
Step 4: Executing the Weld
Beginning the weld requires holding the torch in one hand and the filler rod in the other. The tungsten tip can never touch the material but needs to be very close to keep a good, focused arc. With a welding helmet on, begin stepping down slowly on the foot pedal until the aluminum starts to melt. When it looks like wet foil, it should be ready to add filler rod. Stay steady on the foot pedal and dab the rod into the melted material and it will pool together and remove the rod again. Slowly move the torch down the weld location and repeating the dabbing process at a consistent rate. As the torch gets closer to the end of the weld, the material will be very hot and will start melting quickly. The amperage must be lowered accordingly otherwise the material will burn through the back. At the end of the weld, slowly let off the foot pedal until the arc is stopped. The weld is now finished and the exquisite Tig weld can be admired by anyone who sees the workpiece.