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Tips on How to use a TIG Welder Effectively

TIG, MIG, stick welding, gas welding, etc. are some of the welding techniques commonly used in various industries. These techniques work well with different kinds of metals as well as different types of current.

Let’s focus on TIG welding:

TIG – tungsten inert gas welding, is a type of welding that uses tungsten electrodes to a weld. The electrode is not consumed during this process.

Sounds smart?

During welding, the electrode and the area welded are protected by an inert gas usually helium or argon and filler metal. The gas provides shielding. In essence, TIG generates heat through an arc of electricity jumping from tungsten electrode to the metal surface you are welding.

The name of this welder, i.e., tungsten inert gas welding, originates from tungsten, which is the electrode and the inert gas that is used to shield the welds and electrodes from oxidation and contamination. Technically, TIG is also called gas tungsten arc welding.

The method is excellent for material such as steel, aluminum, copper, titanium, etc.

The strong points of this type of welding are that it can be used to join two dissimilar metals as well as weld tricky designs such as s-curves or making welds on rounded objects.

That is not all,

You can start the heat soft and stop it softly again.  Again, with the accelerator pedal, you can easily control the heat, especially if youare working on a bench. Also, you can use the fingertip remotes on the torch if you are working in areas considered out of poison. The remote adjust the heat while you are welding.

Before learning how to use a TIG welder, you need to understand its parts and their specific functions.

  • The ground cable with a clamp (work lead) must always be attached to the workpiece or the metal surface on which that the workpiece is on. The welding lead has an electric TIG torch at the end. Along the cable is a small line that carries argon gas.
  • The inert gas i.e. performs like the flux coating on a stick electrode to protect the weld from contaminants in the air. Also, you will need a gas bottle and a regular. But do not use the type of gas used for MIG welding.

The torch is made up of several parts:

  1. Tungsten rod, which is found in various sizes, makes the electrode. This electrode I non-consumable.You can shape the tungsten ball into either a point or a ball. However, this wills significantly depend on what you want to weld.
  2. Copper collet is a part that holds the tungsten and is used to adjust the length of the tungsten protruding from the cup.
  3. Ceramic cup – holds the gas that surrounds the tungsten.

Of great importance is to understand that these machines use a foot-operated variable amperage control. You can pre-set a maximum amperage you desire which allows you to vary the amperage, especially when welding alloys.

The advantage of the foot control is that it allows you to initiate the heat slowly, and when you are done welding you can gradually reduce the heat, a feature that prevents the temperature from shocking the metal.

TIG welder has numerous controls. For instance, balance. This is a vital control in case of welding aluminium. It maintains, cleaning versus penetration levels. A higher balance gives higher penetration.

How to Use a TIG Welder

  1. Electrode selection

When you buy a TIG welder, it might come with the right electrode. Much as this is a very versatile welder, it is best known for aluminum welding. In such a case, the best electrode is pure tungsten rod. However, some tungsten rods exist. These alloys are uniquely suited for welding alloys of metal.

2. Grinding the electrode

You can shape the electrode depending on the metal to weld. However, if the electrodes are brand-new, you’ll have to sharpen it into a point. With time the tip will get rounded because of the heat.

Experts say if you are on AC, make your tip into a ball, but if you are on DC, a pointed tip will do better.

Pointe tips usually result in a smaller and more direct arc while a rounded tip results in an arc that dances around.

3. Insert the electrode into a collet

Unscrew the back of the electrode holder and insert the rod, and then replace the end. The tip of the electrode should be about a quarter of an inch away from the protective sheath.

4. Configure the settings

On a standard TIG welder, you’ll get three electricity options – AC, DCEN, and DCEP. Each of these options works well for different metals. For instance, Ac is great with aluminum.

DCEP stands for DC electrode positive a setting used for balling the tip of the tungsten or stick weld while the DCEN stands for DCelectrodenegative used for welding steel.

The difference between the two settings is the direction in which the current flows either to the metal from the electrode or the electrode to the metal.

Other settings include penetrating/cleaning. Incline this setting towards the penetrating side, giving it a value of about. This setting is a modification of the +/- ratio of the AC that changes the depth of the weld.

Air on give it 5 seconds if the settings allow you. This is the amount of time the gas says on after arc stops. It prevents the weld from oxidizing.

Lastly, set the amperage to the maximum.

5. Turning on the gas

For aluminium, use argon while for steel use a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide.

Prepare the metal and weld table.

Use a large piece of metal sheet or a welding table if you have one. This kinds of material allow efficient flow of electricity.

For excellent looking welds scrub the surface of the metal using awire brush.

Always clamp metal to avoid unnecessary movements.

6. Start to weld

A point of precaution: never touch the metal with an electrode. Always hold it about an inch away. Doing so will make molten aluminium leap onto the: electrode. In case of such an encounter, remove the tungsten and grind it again.

Start on the edge and when the pool is formed, touch the rod in. Remember,  heating the metal for too long; will cause warping. Heating the metal for longer will make it bend.

Once you have a weld pool started, you can ease off the pedal a little to control the amount of heat and current being applied on the metal

Welds will shirk as they cool. The best way is to alternate the sides to keep the welds even and to keep one side of the metal from getting too hot and warping.

With this few tips, you’ll surely know how to use a TIG welder.

Conclusion

Before you start welding, it is essential to ensure that the welder works well. Ensure that the electrode moves freely, i.e., it should be untangled and the cord unhampered. This way, you’ll work without hindrances.

Also, wear protective clothing. Protect your eyes lest you’ll go blind. Wear a helmet with protective eye cover.

To prevent injuries and burns on your arm, wear welding apron and thick leather welding gloves and closed shoes.

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