Common Problems encountered with TIG - Part 2

“My tungsten is sparking while I weld. I see bubbles forming while I am TIG welding”. This is another common issue that is reported that often gets blamed on the welding machine rather than the person doing the welding or some other cause in the environment. But actually it is rare that this problem is caused by the TIG welder itself. The most common and usual suspected cause in my book should be the presence of a draft or some sort of convection current that is created. As simple as this cause seems to be able to be identified, it really isn’t that easy. One scenario I’ve heard several times is that the welder works fine at the shop, but when it is brought home the TIG machine turns into a different beast and won’t weld. This is usually a dead giveway, but for guys welding in one place, it can be harder to isolate. A small candle flame near the area being welded is the quickest way to determine if there is a draft. Open doors or windows, even air conditioning will usually guarantee some sort of draft is being created. One very common source of a draft is the TIG unit itself. The fan can generate enough of an air current to blow the shielding gas off the weld. To remedy this, always mount the TIG welder somewhere other than the welding table top. Either put it on a cart or create a shelf below the welding surface to store it on. As indicated previously, a candle flame can help confirm the draft that is created by the welder has been eliminated or if it is still present.