The Ultimate Guide on How to TIG Weld

October 1, 2021


I am a professional welder with over 10 years of experience. Welding is my first love and writing is my second. I enjoy writing on welding topics.

TIG is one of the most common welding processes. It is used to permanently join two or more metal parts. They are joined by melting both materials and subsequently cooling quickly, which will make the metals permanently bonded.

  • TIG is the short form of Tungsten Insert Gas welding. It is also called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW.)
  • The weld is produced by a non-consumable tungsten electrode. An insert shielding gas such as helium or argon is used to protect the electrode and the weld area from environmental factors such as atmospheric contamination and oxidation.

Argon is the best insert shielding gas because it has a higher arc voltage, which makes it easy to start the welding process. Argon is used to weld mild titanium, aluminum, and steel.

Using helium as a shielding gas will increase heat input leading to increased weld penetration and weld speed. Helium is ideal for high-speed welding of titanium and steel.

Characteristics of the TIG Welding Process

TIG welding is much slower than MIG. However, it creates a more precise weld. TIG can work at lower amperages, making it useful for welding exotic metals and thinner metals. TIG is commonly used for high-quality welding. For processes that need precise and high-quality welding, TIG is normally a popular choice.

Characteristics of TIG include:

  • It uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode.
  • It uses several shielding gases including argon and helium.
  • It can easily be used on thin materials.
  • It produces superior, precise, and high-quality welds.
  • Leaves no splatter or slag.
  • Yields low distortion.
  • Filler metal is not needed.
  • Welding variables such as heat are precisely controlled.

What is TIG Welding Best Used For?

TIG can be used to weld copper, aluminum, stainless steel, steel, nickel, brass, magnesium, and even gold. Thus, it is a useful process for welding fenders, door handles, bike frames, and wagons, among other items.

  • TIG can be used for automotive work, creating art, and in the building industry. It is perfect for welding thin stainless steel sections and non-ferrous metals such as magnesium, aluminum, and copper alloys.
  • The most common TIG weld joints include fillet joint, T-joint, lap joint, and butt joint.

Equipment Needed for TIG Welding

The equipment required includes a non-consumable tungsten electrode, filler metals, shielding gas source, a constant power source, and a welding torch.

  • Electrode

The electrode used for TIG welding should be made of tungsten or a tungsten alloy. Tungsten is the preferred choice because of its high melting temperature. Thus, it will not be consumed during the welding process. The electrode selected should have a ground or clean finish.

  • Filler Metals

Filler metals are used in most TIG welding processes except those that involve thin metals. Filler metals come in different materials and diameters. The most common filler metal comes in the form of a rod. It has to be manually added to the weld pool.

  • Power Supply

There must be a constant and current power supply for successful TIG welding. This is vital because most TIG applications are either semiautomatic or manual which requires the welder to hold the torch.

  • Welding Torch

TIG welding torches are made for either manual or automatic usage. Their cooling systems use water or air. The internal components of the torch are made using hard alloys of brass or copper. That makes them effectively transmit heat and current.

  • Shielding Gas

Shielding gases are an important part of all welding processes including TIG. They protect the welding surface from atmospheric gases that can cause porosity and fusion defects.

How to tig weld

Steps of TIG Welding

1.Select The Electrode

If you are going to weld aluminum, a pure tungsten rod will be the best choice. For some applications, tungsten alloys will do fine.

2.Grind the Electrode

The electrode should be ground to a point. That is especially important if you are using a brand new electrode that doesn’t have a rounded tip or pointed tip. For DC welding, you need an electrode with a pointed tip. For AC welding, you require one with a balled tip.

  • With a pointed tip electrode, you will have a more directed and smaller arc. A rounded tip can make the arc dance around.

3.Insert Your Electrode Into the Collect

The back of your electrode holder should be unscrewed. After the electrode has been inserted, it should be replaced.

4. Choose the Right Settings

The electricity option of a TIG rig can either be DCEN, DCEP, or AC. If you are welding aluminum, choose AC.

Adjust the “Cleaning/Penetrating” setting to favor the “Penetrating” side- on a scale of 1 to 10 that is around 7.

If it is possible to adjust the “Air on” option, set it to about 5 seconds. This determines the time for the gas to remain after the arc stops, to prevent your weld from rusting or oxidizing.

“Max Amps” should be set very high, around 250.

5. Turn on The Gas

Pure argon should be used for aluminum. Steel requires a mixture of carbon dioxide and argon. The gas will help to prevent the corrosion of the weld. At higher temperatures, metals melt very quickly.

6. Prepare Your Welding Table and Get Dressed Up

You need a large welding table made of metal; this will make it easy for electricity to flow through the metal. You can use a large piece of sheet metal as your welding table. Spray your table with an anti-spatter and firmly clamp your metals.

TIG welding can burn your skin, eyes, and hands. For your safety, dress up with a welding coat, a long-sleeved shirt, closed-toe shoes, a welding helmet, and welding gloves.

Clean your helmet before use for better vision during welding. You can opt for an auto-darkening welding helmet. If you want to see what you are doing without having to lift your helmet, you can decide to use a bright flashlight during welding.

7. Final Step: Weld!

The Bottom-Line

If you need beautiful welds, TIG welding should be the ultimate choice. TIG is known for its versatility, strength, precision, and cleanliness. However, it is a complex process; therefore, it has a steeper learning curve.

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