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Basics of TIG Welding Steel

TIG, or tungsten inert gas welding, requires the use of an electrical arc with electrodes made from tungsten.  This welding process is commonly used to join stainless steel with other metals such as copper or titanium.  Welding using the TIG method exposes the welder to high levels of heat and extremely bright UV light.  But with the proper knowledge, skill and safety equipment, TIG  welding is not any more dangerous than other welding techniques.

Before you begin to weld, the electrodes you’re going to use should be ground to a sharp point.  The pointier the tip is the more control you will have over the electrical arc when you are welding.  Whenever you are required to grind electrodes, it is very important that you wear your safety glasses and a respirator to avoid any safety issues.  Once you have successfully ground your electrodes to the point you are happy with, you should then insert them into the electrode holder.

Making sure that the power to the welding machine is off, your next step should be to adjust the settings on the power supply to correspond to the type of welding you will be performing.  If you are going to perform welds on aluminum, you should choose the AC option.  When welding steel your power supply should be set on DCEN, and if you will be performing stick welding you should use the DCEP setting.  Once you have set your power supply settings, you should also check the settings for amperage levels, arc depth and air.  If you are unsure of the proper settings to use, you can find all of the necessary information in your instruction manual.

Once you have your settings right for the type of work you will be doing, your next step is to make sure that all of the proper parts are connected through the power supply and to the welding torch.  Now is the time that you should connect the welding torch and the remote pedal power lines to the power supply.  Also, you should clip the grounding clamp located on the power supply to your work area.  This will properly ground your welding machine.  You should also ensure that the cooling gas line is connected to the welding torch in the proper manner.  Once all of these steps have been completed you are ready to turn on the gas.

Now that you have turned on the gas, you are ready to place the two pieces of metal you will be welding into position.  Once you have the pieces secure, you are ready to turn on your welding torch and aim it at a corner where the two pieces touch.  To perform a weld you should leave the torch in place until it begins to melt the metal a little and a pool develops.  Place the electrode as close to the area you are welding without actually touching the torch to it, or you run the risk of melting the metal onto the electrode.  If you should happen to do this, you will need to stop welding and grind down the metal before attempting the weld again.  Once you notice a small bead joining the two pieces of metal, you should stop and do the same process in the opposite corner.

Once the two corners have been joined, you should aim the arc at the crease starting where you placed the first bead.  Your welding torch should be held in such a way that the electrode is above the crease and approximately 1 cm away.  Next, apply the arc to the electrode and move your welding torch towards the other bead as the electrode melts and fills the crease creating a sound and significant weld.  After you have traveled from one bead to the other, you should see a weld that looks solid.  When done properly, the weld that was created will be strong and last for years to come.

Ed

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