TIG or Tungsten Inert Gas welding is a popular choice among welders. Although it is pretty common, achieving clean, accurate, and tidy welding using the TIG process isn’t so easy. You have to know the art of heat control, torch angle measurement, and TIG welding setup, above all.
Thus, for newbies knowing how to use a TIG welder is a must to get the most accurate welding results. So, here we will present you the best techniques to setup, use, and welding process of the TIG welder along with its safety tips.
Furthermore, we will inform you of the proven TIG welding tricks to achieve the welding result you want shortly.
So, let’s jump into it.
What Is A TIG Welding?
As we described TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas. The TIG will generate heat using the electric arc. It comes from the metal tungsten electrode and jumps to the metal surface where you plan to weld. It is used to weld copper, aluminum, titanium, etc. metals.
The best benefit of TIG welding is its ability to weld two dissimilar metals at the same point. Thus, it enhances your versatility in welding jobs.
As an inert gas, the welding machine uses Argon or Argon mixture gas mostly.
Setup Process For TIG Welding
Although most TIG welding devices will come with the user manual, many welders may not understand it. Also, most welders don’t even give it a damn.
We feel their urgencies to get onto the welding job ASAP. Hence, here we will shortly describe the way to prepare your welding machine to initiate the welding job.
- You will be using an air-cooled torch with the TIG welding. When you mount it make sure you use the adapter provided within your package. Using a company-manufactured adapter is always better than using aftermarket ones. Using the adapter plug the torch. Then attach the regulator and welding hose.
- Place the welding device on a stable surface. Carefully connect the remote control. These are the fingertip control or the foot pedal. The connection should be tight and snug.
- Next, you will need to attach the ground clamp with the machine. It is sometimes called the work clamp and it holds the working material safely. Its other end will connect with the metal you want to weld.
- Next, you have to select the right polarity for welding. It refers to the amperage setting and it varies according to the welding material. For aluminum, set it at AC on the front panel of the device. You have to fix the amperage or polarity setting as DCEN for welding steel and steel alloy. The DCEP amperage setting is workable with stick welding.
- Before you can begin your TIG welding, you have to prepare the tungsten as it works as the electrode for welding. You will have to grind the tungsten (the detailed process is described in the next section). You will need 200grit papers to grind the tungsten.
- Next, you have to assemble the torch. You have to remove the tungsten attached to the torch first by loosening its cap. Next, remove the attached copper collet and nozzle from it. Then, connect the copper collet and its body into the torch. Finally, reconnect the nozzle with the tungsten torch.
How to Use A TIG Welder:
In the previous section, we have shortly described the process of setting up the TIG welder to weld your wished material. But how do you perform all these critical steps sharply and perfectly?
Our next instructions will elaborate on the essential steps to use a TIG welder with perfection for the most accurate welding job ever.
Step 1: Choosing the Right Electrode
Chances are pretty high that your welding TIG already equips with the right electrode. Yet, it’s always a good idea to know what to pick as an electrode for metal welding.
Choose the tungsten rod for welding aluminum.
You may choose the tungsten alloy to weld alloy metals. You also can choose the radioactive and thoriated tungsten for this purpose.
Step 2: Grinding the Picked Electrode
You have to continue grinding the electrode until a point where it is ready for use. It is particularly important if you have picked a rod from the new cylinder. These rods are flat and don’t contain the pointed tip needed for welding.
Here’s a little suggestion for the electrode grinding process-
- For AC welding the electrode should feature a balled tip.
- For DC welding, make the tip more pointed than rounded.
You will need 200 grit papers to grind the electrode. The harsher the sandpaper is the quicker the grinding will be.
Also, a pointed electrode tip delivers a smaller arc and it is more directed towards the welding metal as well. And with the rounded tip, you may expect to see a dancing arc.
Step 3: Connecting Collets with the Molded Electrode
Find the screws at the back of the collet electrode holder. Remove the screws to insert the molded rod and then screw the back tightly with the rod.
Check the protective sheath on the collet. Make sure the mounted rod is ¼” away from the sheath but not more than that. Otherwise, you run the risk of ruining the entire welding job. The good thing is that in many TIG welds the electrode comes built-in and ready for use.
Thus, you can skip the step.
Step 4: Choosing the Right Settings
The standard TIG machine comes with three different settings for amperage or polarity. These are AC, DCEP, and DCEN. You have to pick the right setting depending on the type of welding you will perform on the metal surface.
- Set the device at AC amperage for welding aluminum.
- DCEP stands for ‘DC, Electric Positive.’ Choose it to perform stick welding
- DCEN stands for, ‘DC, Electric Negative.’ You will need it for welding steel and alloy steel.
Next, look at the penetrating or cleaning setting of the device. It is marked on a scale of 1-10. You should set it around 7 for more penetrating performance. Some models will come with the option to adjust the air on the setting. If your welding device has it, set it at 5 seconds.
The air on settings refers to the exact time for the gas to stay after putting of the arc. It allows you to prevent the weld from further oxidation and rust.
Finally, you have to pick the right AMP setting. Ideally, put it as high as possible or at least at 250AMP for the best TIG welding results.
Step 5: Choosing and Switching on the Inert Gas
The selection of the right inert gas is important for the accuracy and safety of the TIG welding process. If you mistakenly use inappropriate gas, the TIG welder will be damaged or cause a misfire.
- Pure argon is used for aluminum.
- A mixture of carbon dioxide and argon isused for steel.
The gas keeps the welding material safe from corrosion since in high-temperature meals starts corroding rather too fast. Thus, the right inert gas selection will stop the heated metal from corrosion.
After you have chosen the right inert gas, turn it on for welding later.
Step 6: Preparing the Welding Material and Working Table
As you weld, you need to allow the electricity to flow through the welding metal. Thus, you will need a large flat surface for it. We recommend you usea professional welding table. These tables are sturdy and allow you to set up the welding material meticulously.
If you don’t have the working table, any piece of the large and flat metal sheet will still do the job. Also, before you start welding the metal, scrub off the surface with an aluminum-wired brush. Also, if you are using the metal surface for multiple welding, use acetone to remove the remaining debris and welded particles from it.
A cleaner metal surface yields more accurate and stronger welding.
Next, use the clamps to securely hold the welding material to the surface. You can purchase the clamps aftermarket or build them with a simple DIY project.
Step 7: Proper Dress up and Final Inspections
When you weld you must wear proper dresses for it. It is suggested that you avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing as it often runs the risk of catching fire. Thus, you must wear tight-fitted clothes when you will perform the welding job.
You should choose welding pants and welding jackets. These are made of cotton and are less likely to get fire. Also, some welding pants and jackets have fire retardant ability.
Next, use welding goggles and safety helmets too.
Finally, wear special welding boots, if possible to avoid any accidents.
Last but not least, inspect the entire electrode setup, AC/DC settings, amperage, and the welding machine connection to the power outlet. Once you are satisfied with the settings and connection, you can begin the welding process.
Step 8: Start the TIG welding
The electrode should be in your dominant hand for easy movement and 1-inch away from the welding material. It is crucial to ensure that the electrode never touches the welding material. If it accidentally touches the surface, the molten metal will stick to the electrode and make it unusable.
If it happens you have to grind the electrode to remove the metal from its tip. Make sure the electrode is cooled off properly before you try grinding it.
Put pressure on the foot pedal connected with the welding device. It will transmit the heat quickly to the metal using electricity. It will create a weld pool with a short burst of heat. When you see the weld pool has been created, touch the electrode rod into the metal.
Use the pedal foot to control the amount of electricity and the heat generation on the metal. You can do this by releasing and putting pressure on the foot pedal.
You should weld either side of the metal once in a while. It allows you to get smooth and even welding.
Step 9: Finish off the Welding Job
In the previous step, you have learned how to create the weld pool to begin the actual welding process. It is also called the ‘tack weld.’
For aluminum, the electrode should go towards the rod as it feeds the pool. The rod will be placed sideways to the electrode and it is referred to as the ‘leading electrode.’ For steel welding, the technique is somewhat different.
The electrode of the welding device will run directly down to the planned weld line. The rod will follow the heat to chase the electrode.
This way you can quickly finish off the welding job.
Tips to Increase TIG Welding Accuracy and Smoothness For Beginners
If you are in the welding industry for some time, you may already know how to improve accuracy in welding jobs. But, many beginners would rather find it difficult to make their welding smooth, accurate, and functioning. It happens mostly with TIG welding because of its difficulty level.
Hence, we put down some easy-to-follow tips and tricks for beginners in welding jobs.
- While using the power setting at maximum level is tempting, it also runs the risk of burning down your welding material. Hence, it is better to start the welding at minimum power and then, increase it if the project needs it.
- The angle of the arc torch is pretty important too. You should hold it around a 15° to 20° angle with the welding material. Thus, it will have easy access to the welding surface. Also, it will increase your visibility of the welded material.
- A cleaner surface will always yield improved welding results. Thus, you must keep the welding material and surface clean. You will get a specific brush to clean the aluminum and steel surface before welding.
- TIG welding works differently from MIG and sticks welding. In this process, the 1st melting happens in the brass section with the help of the torch. The molten puddle will then melt the filler material. Thus, you should never melt the filler rod of the TIG welding directly.
- Using the current tungsten for various welding materials is important too. You should use green tungsten for aluminum as it is the purest of all tungsten. Red tungsten is used for steel and steel alloys.
TIG welding is a pretty difficult task to accomplish smoothly and without any inaccurate impressions on the welding material. We have accumulated all the possible ways of how to use a TIG welder with greater accuracy in this post. It should come helpful for both intermediate and beginners with little knowledge in welding.
The key is to setup the TIG well machine properly and choosing the right set of electrodes and amperage setting. Also, you should keep the power setting ata minimum level and use the connected foot pedal to control the heat on the welded material. This way you can use a TIG welder for the best welding results in all projects.
Finally, wear protective gears and weld in a well-ventilated area for safety purposes.
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