The versatile arc welding process known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding or gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) produces strong, high quality welds by utilizing tungsten electrodes. TIG welding requires an experienced and patient hand to effectively weld the thin sections of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, such as steel, aluminum, copper and magnesium. If you are running into difficulties and need assistance in troubleshooting your TIG welding, here are 4 culprits that may be causing your TIG welding headaches:
- Shoddy choice of tungsten electrodes: You must choose the proper electrode type and size for your application. If you are uncertain which electrode to choose, lanthanated tungsten electrodes are good choice for a variety of DC and AC applications to avoid puddle contamination. Yet, for specialty AC welding, you should employ thoriated tungsten electrodes. If you use the wrong electrode for a particular process, such as mistakenly using zirconiated electrodes for DC welding, you will undoubtedly experience problems, such as arc wandering, tungsten melting into weld puddle, high rate of tungsten consumption or failure to start an arc.
- Incorrect tungsten preparations: Based on the current and material, you will need to adequately prepare the tungsten or you risk a wandering or unstable arc. Effective grinding for successful TIG welding means that you must understand whether to create a point, ball or truncated end and how to best achieve the optimum end shape.
- Loose fittings and/or connections: Be certain you properly tighten all fittings and connections or your welds may be porous and beads of a poor quality or your arc may not start at all.
- Inadequate gas flow: If your gas flow is not set between 15 to 20 cfh or your tank is not filled, you will rate of tungsten consumption will be elevated, welds will be porous and beads will be of a poor quality.
In addition to the aforementioned reasons for common TIG welding problems, you may also be using the wrong shielding gas or incorrect torch, have your AC frequency set too low or have not properly prepared the base metal.
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