In this article, we will introduce you to the basics of TIG welding for the production of high-quality and homogeneous weld seams.
Since we want to describe the basics first, we will first leave out some important chapters on TIG welding and welding in general, such as:
– Setting the welding machine
– Details on work preparation
– Welding safety and protective equipment
– Selection of the additional material according to the welding material
– Selection of the suitable protective gas and the required amount of gas
– Selection of tungsten electrodes, diameter, type, and grinding methods
– Details on preparing the TIG torch
– AC welding
We will add new articles on the above topics over time. We invite you to visit our blog from time to time and check out new content.
Beginners in TIG welding are recommended to use 2-3 mm thick steel. With such a thickness, it is easiest to control the melt and develop a welding technique.
In our case we used 2mm steel, the welder is set to 60A and the electrode and filler material are 1.6mm in diameter.
1. Preparation before starting work with the TIG welding machine
Mandatory steps before starting welding:
– Clean the workpiece from dirt, paint, rust, and other oxides as well as from galvanic coatings and degrease them.
– Make sure that the workpiece does not move during welding
– Select the appropriate filler material. It is recommended to wipe the additive material with a cloth and degrease it before welding.
– Adequate protection must be ensured before work. The use of a welding mask and gloves is mandatory, but we also recommend the use of suitable clothing or a leather apron.
2. Put yourself in a good position
When doing TIG welding, you need to be able to keep the distance between the tungsten electrode and the workpiece at around 2mm. This is only possible with a good position. Typically, for best results, sit down with your hands resting on the welding table. Since we know this isn’t always doable, try getting closer to it. Basically, a relieved upper body and forearms that rest on stable support are required.
The TIG torch cable should be loosely, preferably hung over the shoulder or partially wrapped around the forearm of the hand holding the TIG torch. Be relaxed while welding. If you weld after heavy physical activity, with a high heart rate, shortness of breath, overheating, or in the cold, your welds will be similar to your well-being.
3. Angular and TIG torch displacement or movement
In the following video we will show you the angles at which the TIG torch is held, moved and weld material is added. The torch is moved smoothly in a straight line and when the welding material is added the torch movement is briefly stopped and then continued.
Hold the TIG torch tilted about 20 degrees from the vertical position. The tungsten electrode should point in the direction of the weld. In this way, the melt is formed in front of the torch and the addition of welding material becomes easier.
The tip of the tungsten electrode should be kept away from the weld seam at all times by a factor of 1-1.5 of the electrode diameter. In our case we are using a 1.6mm diameter tungsten electrode and the tip offset is about 2mm. It is advisable to perform a test shift before welding, moving the torch, and making sure that the light angle and distance to the weld are maintained naturally and that nothing is obstructing movement.
4. Learn TIG welding
We recommend that you ignite the arc on the steel first, as this will quickly give you a feel for how the melt is forming and how the welding arc behaves.
Then try to weld steel sheet without using additional material. This will give you a feel for how the arc and melt move, while also allowing you to practice keeping the electrode tip spaced from the weld.
Once you get a feel for this, try adding welding material as described above and shown in the video below (same video as before):
The electrode is approx. 2 mm away from the weld seam. A brief advance of the shielding gas is stopped, and then the welding arc is ignited by high-frequency ignition. Hold the torch in the same place for a few seconds to allow the melt to form.
The size or diameter of the initial melt determines the width of the weld. The large melt diameter consequently has a wide weld seam and a high penetration, and the small melt diameter does the opposite, i. H. A tighter weld and less depth of penetration.
Add additional material to the front of the melt in front of the burner. The material is added slowly so that it doesn’t stick but melts instantly. In this way, we maintain the temperature of the melt and do not undercool the weld seam. The filling material must be protected by gas at all times. This ensures that the filler material is heated to the correct temperature at all times during welding, which makes melting easier and at the same time prevents oxidation.
At the end of the weld, switch off the torch – release the button on the torch. Hold the torch over the end of the weld for a while until the final gas flow stops. This ensures that the weld seam cools before it is exposed to air, thus preventing the weld seam from oxidizing.
Things are unlikely to go according to plan on the first try. At the same time, it is necessary to pay attention to many factors that, most likely, will be difficult to control in the beginning. We recommend learning step by step. Prepare several identical pieces of material and take your time. We also recommend that you focus here and think about what needs to be improved or changed after each weld. The main goal is to have a nice weld with the right spill and penetration that is also the right color.
The length of the arc controls the amount of heat added to the weld. TIG is a constant current process in which the set welding current is constantly applied to the weld seam regardless of the arc length. By changing the length of the arc, we change the voltage, which increases or decreases the heat added to the weld.
Beginners usually hold the electrode longer than the weld and accidentally give too much heat to the weld. To avoid this, the distance between the electrode and the weld seam must be kept between 1 and 1.5 times the electrode diameter. For a 1.6 mm electrode, this value is between 1.6 mm and 2.4 mm.
Excessive arc length makes the arc difficult to control and the electrode also becomes very hot. It often happens that the welder jerks his hand and touches the melt with the electrode. If the electrode is too hot, melt material will stick to it. The welding must be stopped and the electrode cleaned and sharpened again. However, if the length of the arc is correct, it will not adhere to the electrode even when touched.
Weld size and welding speed
The weld in the picture is about 4mm wide, straight and the top of the weld is about 0.5mm high. The welding was carried out at a speed of about 1 mm / s. It seems that the welding speed is very slow and that this way we need an infinite amount of time for just one small weld, but the result of this work is good and most of all encouraging. If you succeed in such a weld and you can repeat it several times at the same time, it is clear that you have mastered TIG welding.
Add additional material
For a beginner, adding welding wire is usually a big problem. Note that while maintaining electrode offset, maintaining speed, and constantly reviewing multiple parameters, it is necessary to add welding wire at the same time. The correct procedure is also required to add the wire. We recommend that you add the wire as described above. It is important to be careful how much wire is added, as too much-added material can cool down and welds accumulate at the same time.
It is recommended not to add any additional material in the first few seconds of welding. Once the melt has formed and we are moving the torch, add the wire drop by drop as needed. A lot of practice is required here. We recommend you watch one of the many videos on this topic on YouTube.
IPOTOOLS welding machines
We would also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our wide range of quality welding machines for the TIG process. You can see the main differences in the following table:
We hope that in these few sentences we have given you at least a brief insight into TIG welding. We understand that we have only provided basic information to answer your most frequently asked questions. TIG welding is a very extensive field.
The TIG welding process can be roughly divided into several segments:
– Through welding materials (steel, aluminum and aluminum alloys, titanium, copper …)
– According to the type of welds (surface, angle, inside, edge …)
– After using protective gases (argon, mixtures of argon with hydrogen, helium …)
The TIG process can also be used for TIG soldering. Soldering is a process in which only the extra material is melted and the weld is not melted. The filler material, therefore, has a lower melting point than the weld seam. But this is the next chapter that we will introduce to you in one of the blogs in the future …