Master TIG Welding with the Basics – TIG Welding Tips
TIG welding is the most complicated and specialized welding process, but it also depends on some of the most basic welding tasks in order to be successful. In fact, TIG welding doesn’t have to be quite so complicated if you spend some time mastering the basics and setting up your TIG welder properly.
Here’s an overview of some basic welding supplies and tasks that will make it much easier to successfully TIG weld:
Choose the Right TIG Welder for the Job
Beginning with your TIG welder, you’ll want to consider whether your TIG welder has enough power to handle the work you’re doing. Is it portable? Is the pedal responsive when you need to change your amperage?
Most importantly, your TIG torch can make a big difference if you’re welding all day or at a higher amperage. An air-cooled torch is fairly standard among TIG welders, but it won’t cool off as fast as a water-cooled torch. Professional welders or serious hobby welders prefer water-cooled torches since they can match the output of a TIG welder with a higher duty cycle and amperage.
Clean Your Metal before TIG Welding
A clean work surface is important for MIG or TIG welding when you’re using bare wire and shielding gas, but in the case of TIG welding, you often don’t have any margin for error or impurities. Your best bet is to begin by cleaning your work piece with acetone so that your metal is as clean as possible before you begin welding.
Set Up Your TIG Welder Properly
Begin with your TIG welder itself, and test your amperage settings so that you have enough power to make your welds without burning a hole in your metal work piece. Perhaps run a test on some scrap metal. You can play with the pulse settings, gas flow, and electrode stick out.
If you are using a TIG cup, experiment with a couple different kinds of cups. Some may give a cleaner weld than others.
The metal work piece itself should be cleaned off by this point, but it also needs to be clamped down properly in order to eliminate all gaps. If the metal is thin, keep in mind that welding near a clamp could melt the metal. The clamp itself should be made of material that will not contaminate your finished weld.
Tack Your Metal Properly for TIG Welding
A good tack is the key to successful TIG welding. Since TIG welders are often working with thin metals and small gaps, you may need to use several clamps in order to keep the metal work pieces as close together as possible.
Once you start tacking, keep them small and relatively close together in order to minimize their visibility without leaving any gaps. In other words, it’s not unheard of to make a small tack weld every inch for a really thin piece of metal.
If you’re welding without filler metal, tacks will be especially important for holding the work pieces together.
Keep Moving Your TIG Torch
TIG welders don’t have time to watch metal melt. They need to get the puddle moving, especially if they’re pumping filler metal into their welds. TIG welding doesn’t use as much heat, but it certainly can build up a messy weld if your metal is thin and you aren’t moving fast enough.
Some types of metal, such as stainless steel, will build up heat especially fast. On the other hand carbon steel will need more amperage in order to get the job done. So your welding technique and settings need to change in order to match your materials.
Practice Feeding Your TIG Wire
Most of the time you’ll be moving your torch with one hand and feeding wire with the other. In order to get the best possible TIG weld, spending time feeding wire through your fingers with a TIG welding glove on. Make sure you can feed the wire at a steady rate without having to concentrate on it.
If you are trying to perfect your TIG skills and need the supplies to do it, check out what Bakers Gas has to offer here.
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