Hi there, welding enthusiast. Welcome to the tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding simulator.
So you are about to begin your new project. To start your mission, choose the kind of project you want to build. Is it a bike frame, a door handle, or a lawnmower? Confirm your selection.
Next, choose which material you’d like to weld. Will it be stainless steel, aluminum, or something else? Once you've confirmed your selection, you may proceed to your welding workspace.
But wait—your workplace is as empty as a drum. So how are you going to weld? Unless you have the right equipment and proper clothing, you can't. Otherwise, you won't accomplish anything decent and might even injure yourself in the process.
Don't worry. We will walk you through the entire TIG welding business to help you familiarize yourself with it. So whether you are considering welding as a career or just looking for the right TIG welding tools to help you with your current projects, this article is for you.
Before we proceed to your wardrobe, let's define this type of welding first.
TIG is a process where you use an electric arc (TIG electrode) made of tungsten to heat metals without using a welding flux. It's also known as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW).
How does it work? Here's a simple step-by-step procedure.
GTAW started in the 1930s to 1940s. People from the aircraft industry developed a way to weld magnesium. Today, many industries rely on TIG because it's more flexible to use in various metals than the other processes.
Now that you know a thing or two about GTAW, it's time to get dressed for the occasion.
Welding is a messy and risky job, so you must wear protective clothing from top to bottom. Don't take this lightly—your safety depends on how much care you put into protecting yourself from hazards.
Head protection varies depending on the welding helmet you choose. You have two types of helmets to choose from.
Would you like to wear a passive welding hood? This simple helmet comes with a few parts and pre-assembled settings. You'll find inbuilt lenses, a fixed #10 shade, and a standard glass on the lens for anti-UV emissions and infrared. Additionally, it's more affordable than the second type of helmet.
This helmet contains an auto-darkening lens with multiple arc sensors. These sensors detect light and automatically adjust the filter shade. Unlike a passive hood, you don't have to adjust this manually. However, it's more costly than a passive helmet because of the advanced features.
Tip: You might be tempted to use TIG goggles, but helmets are a better investment offering better protection.
The workplace can get pretty hot and surrounded by dangerous elements, which is why you need to wear the right clothes. Whether you work on a construction site or have your own workspace for GTAW, protective clothing keeps you safe from falling debris and fire hazards.
Wear a welding jacket, a long-sleeved shirt under it, and welding pants. Doing this will secure your protection against welding hazards. Some types of welding jackets include cowhide, flame-resistant, and goatskin.
Tip: Welding jackets, pants, and underlayers shouldn't have holes or cuffs on them; these will catch sparks and splatter. Think function first before fashion!
Don't forget accessories that add solid protection to important parts of your body. First in line are TIG gloves. They have heat-resistant features to prevent direct heat contact with your skin. Choose among Kevlar, leather, or fiberglass materials.
Additionally, you can wear welding knee pads and an apron. Welding knee pads are multi-layered, water-repellent padding, providing support and comfort as you weld for long periods. Meanwhile, a welding apron shields your abdomen, chest, and upper legs from heat and splatter. These two are optional, but gloves are a must!
Last but not least on our welding wardrobe: welding shoes. Wearing them will protect your feet from heat and particles that may fly off. Also, TIG torches emit a lot of UV light that can cause burns on exposed skin, so safety shoes are important.
Always wear safety boots when welding. They're designed to protect you from any workplace hazard and are tested to ensure usability. Moreover, they're heat-resistant and compliant with the F2413-05 and F2413 ASTM standards.
You may choose between leather and rubber boots, as long as they incorporate the properties mentioned above.
TIG tools help you produce better results and make your welding job easier and safer. TIG tools come in various types, but not everything is necessary. Let's discuss each tool's function and importance in your GTAW project.
Your TIG machine is one of the most important tools in your arsenal. This device converts electrical energy into heat for you to melt metal and make welds. Welders have different types, and choosing the right one will depend on your budget and welding plans.
If you are welding for TIG alone, get a TIG welder for sale. But if you want to try different welding methods and projects, go for the multiprocess welding machines. Some of the most preferred welder brands are Miller, Hobart, ESAB, and Lincoln. Still, it is best to do your research to ensure a worthy investment.
The TIG torch is where the electrode is placed. It helps create the weld pool and heats the filler metal to complete your weld. Your dexterity in handling this tool will determine your welding skills and the quality of the results.
To choose the right torch for your welding needs, consider these factors: voltage, torch size, air- or water-cooling properties, arc technology, and duty cycle. These factors will depend on the material you'll work on, preference, and other needs. If you get a torch with uncomfortable heat and time-consuming maintenance, replace it immediately.
A welding shielding gas is nonflammable, prevents oxidation, and shields the weld from air contamination. Welding gasses have many types, but among them, argon and helium are the most commonly used for TIG. Here are their differences.
Tip: If you want to spend less on filling the gas tank, look for bigger tank sizes.
The tungsten electrode or rod is placed inside the torch to make a weld pool, heat the metal workpieces, and complete your weld. They vary in material and finish: there's pure tungsten, pure tungsten with thoria, and pure tungsten with zirconia. There's also a clean finish and a centerless ground finish.
To choose your tungsten rods, consider the electrode diameter, amperage, type of shielding gas, type of current, and frequency balance.
Your list of welding wardrobes and basic TIG welding supplies is now complete! Now that you have the right equipment, it's time to learn how to use them.
TIG is a welding process that takes some practice to master, but with these tips, you'll be on your way.
Your TIG torch angle should be at least 15 to 20 degrees away from the surface material. This angle will allow you easy access to the filler material and increase the overall visibility of the welding workpiece.
Look into the power settings of your TIG machine and set it to the minimum, something you can sustain as you familiarize your way around it. Doing this will help you slowly but surely develop a solid and sturdy weld and avoid burn-throughs.
Cleanliness contributes to the strength of a welding arc. Hence, you have to ensure that the metals you're working on are clean before starting. We recommend getting a delicate brush to sweep off any visible dirt, dust, or stain.
The filler material is thin, so you should only melt it through the molten puddle. Do not heat it directly from the torch to avoid low-quality results. Additionally, place the filler material on a low angle to prevent contact with the tungsten electrode, as it can cause contamination.
We hope this tutorial has helped you complete your first welding mission. Compared to other welding processes, TIG can be more difficult to learn. However, you can master it and make art using the right tools and techniques. Good luck with your welding journey!
Meanwhile, if you want to read more information before proceeding to weld, feel free to browse our blog. We got you covered with our guides on MIG, stick, and TIG welding tools and equipment; TIG welding for aluminum; and TIG welding tools for steel and other materials. We also have brand reviews for Lincoln, PrimeWeld, Miller, or Northern Tool TIG welders.