Top welding tips: how to become a better welder and how to pick the top welding equipment. Use the smallest tungsten that will get the job done. Use the smallest tungsten to get the job done. â€¦within reason. Another way of saying this is donâ€™t just use a 1/8â€ electrode for everything. There are jobs where a 1/8â€ electrode is great like for welding 3/16â€ thick aluminum. But what if you are welding on the edge of a .030â€ turbine blade? A .040â€ electrode will be plenty to handle the 15 amps and will give much better starts than even a 1/16â€ electrode. Too large an electrode can cause an erratic arc and contaminationâ€¦and A bad start where the high frequency tries to arc up inside the cup and off the side of the tungsten can easily melt off a thin edge and scrap an expensive part. 2% thoriated or lanthanated tungsten electrodes hold up at high amperage better than most all other electrodes. When welding at higher amperages, often times you can use one size smaller electrode by using 2% thoriated or lanthanated. And that is a good thing.
Argon is not the only shielding gas used for TIG welding: Shielding gasses for TIG welding Argon is not the only shielding gas used for TIG weldingâ€¦just the most common and versatile. Argon will usually get the job done. But there are times when some helium mixed with argon makes a world of difference. Especially if you are using a small inverter TIG welder that is limited to around 200 amps. 100% Argon â€“ is the most often used and coolest gas ..the best all around gas. 75% Argon/25% Helium â€“ even 25% helium will make a big difference when welding aluminum that is thicker than .063″. Anything under .063″ thick and helium is unnecessary. 50/50 argon/heliumâ€”awesome for thick aluminum and magnesium 75% Helium/25% Argon â€“ Awesome for thick aluminum castingsâ€¦ puddles really quick and welds cleaner than 100% argon. Also good for welding bronze and pure copper on DCEN.
The arc is shaped like a cone, with the tip at the electrode and the base on the metal being welded. The closer the electrode is held to the metal, the smaller the base of the cone â€” but as you pull the electrode farther away, the base (and puddle) gets larger. If the puddle gets too large, gravity will simply pull it away from the base metal, leaving a hole. This is why thin-gauge metals are especially challenging for beginners. Perhaps the most important skill needed for TIG welding is moving the torch in a controlled manner, with steady forward movement, while keeping the gap between the tip of the electrode and the base metal consistently small â€” usually in the range of 1/8 inch to 3/16 inch. It requires a lot of practice to precisely control the arc length, keeping it as short as you can without allowing the electrode to touch the base metal or filler rod.
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Before you get started, conduct online research to see what the best practices are for the specific wire you have or contact a trusted filler metal manufacturer. Doing so not only tells you what the manufacturerâ€™s recommended parameters are for your diameter wire, but also what the proper wire feed speed, amperage and voltage is, along with the most compatible shielding gas. The manufacturer will even tell you what electrode extension or contact-to-work distance (CTWD) is best suited for the particular wire. Keep in mind that if you get too long of a stickout, your weld will be cold, which will drop your amperage and with it the joint penetration. As a general rule of thumb, since less wire stickout typically results in a more stable arc and better low-voltage penetration, the best wire stickout length is generally the shortest one allowable for the application.