Common TIG Welding Issues, Hard Starting - Back To Welding Basics | Part 4

Common welding issues Part 4. TIG Welder: Hard StartingOnce work clamp connection and polarity issues have been examined and remedied, it is time to focus on the tungsten type, size and condition. Type is pretty easy to correct as tungsten is color coded. But for inverter machines, pure tungsten and zirconiated tungsten should never be used. Both can cause issues with arc starting. Always use Lanthanated, Thoriated, or Ceriated tungsten if possible for both AC and DC TIG welding work. I’ll never forget the call from an anonymous customer one day who told me his unit wouldn’t start an arc and after some intense hair pulling over the case on both our parts, I asked him which type and size of tungsten he was using, he said “What’s tungsten?”. Yep, you guessed it, no tungsten! Fortunately, I haven’t had a call like this since, but it is a reminder not to assume anything in giving out tech support advice. But seriously, tungsten is so very important to a Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG for short) welder. Which one works best for you is ultimately a matter of personal taste and style outside of the “banned” tungsten types for inverters. There are conflicting remarks and advice out there which are the best, but I’d have to guess that a lot of it depends upon Tungsten quality, Tungsten size and to a greater extent, the personal welding style of the tester. If one type of tungsten is giving problems, try another, but definitely it has to be there, to get any arc. A piece of tungsten can be defective even with quality name brands as well and quality can vary widely through a single 10 pack of tungsten. Don’t rule it out. It’s simple enough to check. And in shops where transformer welders are used, or multiple types of tungsten are used, it can get mixed up as well and it’s easy to be in a hurry to stick a piece in without taking a serious look at what color it is. When ground on both ends, as is common practice to reduce trips to the sharpener, it’s impossible to tell what type of tungsten it is as the identifying paint color is gone. Start over with a fresh piece anytime arc starting difficulty is consistently experienced.Everlast Power Equipment, your TIG welding experts.Learn more on our welding forum


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