The Best Tungsten for TIG Welding Aluminum — Baker's Gas & Welding Supplies, Inc. Skip to content

The Best Tungsten for TIG Welding Aluminum

With all of the different TIG machines around, with some offering inverter technology and all offering varying degrees of power, it can be tough to figure out the best tungsten for TIG welding aluminum. Many welders have shared stories of 2% thoriated electrodes balling up and pure tungsten welds leaving a mess of metal to grind down for the rest of the afternoon. With that in mind, what is the best tungsten electrode for TIG welding aluminum?

tungsten

The Tungsten you choose will depend on a few factors. They include your particular machine, the thickness of the metal you’re welding, and the settings you have available. So here are a few tips and general rules that will help you start. Keep in mind that some of these tips may change based on your particular machine.

Learn About Tungsten for TIG Welding Aluminum

The following electrodes can be used for TIG welding aluminum, but there are a few rules and caveats that will need to be discussed below:

  • 2% ceriated (on AC)
  • 2% lanthanated (AC and DC)
  • 1.5 lanthanated (AC and DC)
  • 2% thoriated (DC only)
  • Green: pure tungsten (DC only)

Don’t use green on the AC side since pure tungsten will ball up, especially if you’re using an inverter. Some welders have a particular favorite kind of tungsten. They may swear by thoriated or pure tungsten. The truth is that each kind of tungsten listed above can work if you have the right settings and the right application.

It’s easy to mess up when TIG welding aluminum, so there are plenty of other things to consider. If you are AC TIG welding aluminum for the first time we would suggest using a 2% ceriated in 3/32. Two solid options include Blue Demon or Weldcraft. Ceriated is the most popular choice due to the easy arc start at low amperages. 

The Electrode Size for TIG Welding Aluminum

One of the most common mistakes for welders working with aluminum is they choose an electrode that is too small. You often need to consider a 1/8” electrode for welding aluminum in order to get enough heat and to create a stable arc. Too small an electrode will create a sloppy weld.

If you’re working on AC with a lanthanated electrode, you may be able to use a 3/16” or 3/32” electrode. So the key is to match your electrode choice and size with the settings and the project.

For more tips subscribe to our YouTube channel or contact us and we can make a recommendation. 

Check out our Tungsten collection! We carry the top brands and offer premium and economical options. 

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Comments

Gaurav Kumbhare - October 8, 2020

Very Useful information, Thanks for Sharing !!!

Kevin Brown - September 15, 2020

It’s great that you put out this information to help people. Im a pipefitter local 598, it was such a hassle just trying to figure some of stuff out by trial and error before the internet. Well done, thanks for sharing.

Tony Ferrer - June 30, 2020

Thank you guys for the info on what tungsten to use, I have a HYL TIG250PAC/DC had issues on setting it but finally got it to weld 🙏

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