Best welding guides: how to become a more skilled welder and how to choose the top welding equipment. Use the smallest tungsten that will get the job done. Use the smallest tungsten to get the job done. …within reason. Another way of saying this is don’t just use a 1/8” electrode for everything. There are jobs where a 1/8” electrode is great like for welding 3/16” thick aluminum. But what if you are welding on the edge of a .030” turbine blade? A .040” electrode will be plenty to handle the 15 amps and will give much better starts than even a 1/16” electrode. Too large an electrode can cause an erratic arc and contamination…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.
Tungsten size should be selected mainly according to amperage AND polarity: Tungsten size should be selected mainly according to amperage AND polarity and not always dependent upon metal thickness. When TIG welding aluminum, If your tungsten begins to ball up and quiver, this means your tungsten is getting near its capacity. This can be minimized by using the A/C balance dial and setting it for more penetration and less cleaning…or if you are using a TIG inverter like a miller dynasty, the a/c balance should probably be set to 65-70% EN. For transformer machines like the syncrowave, The a/c balance set to the cleaning side means more of the dcep side of the a/c wave which means more heat is on the tungsten tip = more wiggling. The more to the penetration side, the more the arc is on the negative side and the Less heat on tungsten tip and less cleaning action but the square wave usually provides enough cleaning anyway even in max penetration mode.
Just about everyone who tries TIG welding feels challenged at first. This is understandable, given all the things you have to watch for and think about, while simultaneously coordinating the motion of both hands. In most cases, a foot pedal or torch-mounted amperage control will be used — for starting, modulating and stopping the flow of current. I have coached many people as they learn these skills, and I have received my share of questions over the years. Here are a few frequently asked questions — and answers — that should be helpful, particularly for beginning and intermediate welders.
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Always know what gas your wire requires — whether it’s 100 percent CO2 or argon, or a mix of the two. \While CO2 is considerably cheaper than argon and good for penetrating welds on steel, it also tends to run cooler, making it usable for thinner materials. Use a 75 percent argon/25 percent CO2 gas mix for even greater penetration and a cleaner weld, since it generates less spatter than straight CO2. Here are some suggestions for shielding gases for common types of wire: Solid Carbon Steel Wire: Solid carbon steel wire must be used with CO2 shielding gas or a 75 percent CO2/25 percent argon mix, which is best used indoors with no wind for auto body, manufacturing and fabrication applications. Aluminum Wire: Argon shielding gas must be used with aluminum wire, which is ideal for stronger welds and easier feeding. Stainless Steel Wire: Stainless steel wire works well with a tri-mix of helium, argon and CO2.