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Tips for TIG Welding

Tungsten Inert Gas welding is commonly called TIG welding. In this type of welding, the metal you are welding is heated by a tungsten electrode. Gas, usually argon, keeps airborne contaminants out of the weld puddle. This kind of welding is a popular choice because it produces precise and clean welds on any type of metal.

Tig-welding-pic
Picture Credit: thefabricator.com

There are many benefits of TIG welding that go beyond being able to weld more alloys and metals than any other process. TIG welding offers you superior control over the arc and the weld puddle. A foot pedal is often used to control the heat input and this makes it easy to keep control over the weld bead. Because of this, it is a favorite method for those who do automotive welds and sculptures. There are no sparks and no spatter. No flux has to be used and there is no slag to block your view, so you can easily see what you are doing. Another advantage is that there is no fumes or smoke produced with TIG welding.

Like any welding process, there are many tips that you can consider when you are using TIG welders. One good tip that applies to any welding process is that you have to have the proper safety equipment. Always wear the proper clothing for welding to protect yourself from injury. Safety glasses with side shields should be worn under an approved welding helmet that will shield your face and eyes. Don't forget to wear the proper shoes to protect your feet.

The placement of your welding torch is important if you want to make quality welds. Hold the torch at a 70 or 80 degree angle. The tungsten should be off the work piece no more than 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. You will have to regrind the tungsten if it touches the work piece because it will contaminate it.

Before you use the foot pedal, you need to practice. The foot pedal allows you to control how hot or cool the weld puddle is. You want the weld puddle to be around 1/4” wide. It is important to keep the puddle size the same so that the puddle will not shrink or grow on you while you are welding. You also do not want it to be too narrow. If you do not practice with the foot pedal, you could accidentally increase the heat too much or have the puddle too cool and make a critical mistake while you are welding.

The filler metal that is used in TIG welding is used only as needed and is added by hand. Hold it in your other hand so that it is at a 15 degree, horizontal angle from the piece that you are working on. Do not point it down because it will not work correctly. When filler is needed, heat the base metal then dab the filler into the puddle. You do not want large deposits of filler so make sure that you dab quickly.

Another tip that is very important to remember: clean, clean, and clean again. When you are preparing to weld, you have to make sure that the weld joint area as well as the filler metal are both clean. Paint, dirt, grease, and oil all have to be removed along with anything else that might compromise your weld. If you do not clean it properly, you could have a contaminated weld or you could have arc instability.

These basic tips will help you have successful TIG welds every time. Considering that many of the tips are easy to remember and follow, it is easy to see why the TIG welding process is so popular. Combine that with the versatility of this process and you have a successful welding process that you can use for just about everything.

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