View Poll Results: What's your Favorite Tungsten Electrode Alloy?

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  • Thoriated

    6 23.08%
  • Ceriated

    1 3.85%
  • Zirconiated

    1 3.85%
  • Lanthanated

    19 73.08%
  • Rare Earth

    0 0%
  • Pure Tungsten

    0 0%
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Thread: Alternative Tungsten Alloys (Ceriated, Zirconiated, Lanthanated, Rare Earth, etc.)

  1. #1

    Question Alternative Tungsten Alloys (Ceriated, Zirconiated, Lanthanated, Rare Earth, etc.)

    I want to know your guys' input on your actual experience with using some of the newer/alternative tungsten electrode alloys.
    and i do mean ACTUAL experience... not just a sales pitch you've heard or what a website tells you.

    I'm curious as to the performance of these in AC and DC, and on various metals (steel, stainless, aluminum, copper, titanium, etc.) as compared to their traditional Thoriated and Pure Tungsten counterparts.

    I've been welding for many moons, and I learned using thoriated tungsten for DC and pure tungsten for AC applications... This week i finally made a jump and i've got some boxes of lanthanated electrodes on order and will have them by the end of the week. I'm doing a lot of aluminum fabrication these days, and the final point that got me to order them was not having to switch out my electrode to switch back and forth from AC to DC, and (supposedly) lanthanated electrodes can hold half over again the current of their thoriated counterpart... meaning i won't have to pull apart my torch to switch between 1/16" and 3/32" electrodes as often.
    And, of course the salesman gave me other 'selling points' for holding it's tip longer, no need to use a dull point on aluminum, doesn't deposit in the weld as much, last longer, re-starts quicker, blah, blah, blah... and i halfway expected the salesman to say it would make the metal bond itself together magically just by pointing at it. lol.

    We'll see how well the claims hold up. I'll keep you posted.

    But seriously, I do want to hear about what experiences you have had.
    Last edited by Spike; 02-01-2012 at 04:51 AM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    I voted Lanthanated. 2% to be exact. In my scratch start setup, it held a point better than the Thoriated, and had easier starting, esp. at lower amperage. I'm sure these properties carry over to a Lift or HF start on a real TIG welder as well. Also as a note, I've only ever TIGed in DC. I have no AC experience with this electrode.
    Brad George
    George's Welding & Repair
    Amateur at TIG, MIG, and General Fabrication.
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  3. #3

    Default

    2%thoriated for dc and zirconated for ac
    Journeyman welder
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    Miller digital elite 'wicked' lid

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jerky View Post
    2%thoriated for dc and zirconated for ac
    Hey jerky, how does the zirconiated stand up vs. pure tungsten when you're welding?
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  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default

    I've tried 1.5% lanthanated, 2% lanthanated, 2% ceriated, and zirconiated.

    The most "different" out of all those options, was the zirconiated. Balls quite readily, (distributing the arc out wide), but I don't like its hard arc starts. And, I came up with ways to duplicate the spread out arc effect (for those rare cases where you may desire it's effect, I suppose) with a sharp/solid tip. (By essentially reducing the stick-out, and increasing the arc length. By quite a bit.)

    Out of 2% ceriated, 1.5% lanthanated, and 2% lanthanated, it does seem like 2% lanthanated has the slight edge with being able to get away using a smaller tungsten diameter for a given current, thereby giving a wider "range" (like you said Spike, not needing to switch the tungstens/collets/collet bodies as often over various projects.)

    I haven't experimented much (nor do I see a need) with pure or thoriated.
    '13 Everlast 255EXT
    '07 Everlast Super200P

  6. #6

    Default

    Never used pure, my welding instructors said not to even bother with it
    Journeyman welder
    250EX
    Power plasma 60
    horizontal band saw
    Miller digital elite 'wicked' lid

  7. #7

    Default

    I vote for lanthanated. I use a lift-start tig setup and the lanthanated based electrodes always seem to hold up better and stay sharp longer compared to ceriated and throiated. I cant say anything about them on AC because I dont have an AC machine.
    Everlast lx225
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  8. #8

    Default

    I have been useing 1.5% lanthanated for SS on DC and Aluminum on AC just fine. It doesn't ball up quickly at the amps I was using. I was looking to get the 2% but the place I ordered only had 1.5..
    Jason
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  9. #9

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    I got my order of new lanthanated tungsten today. Ground a point on the end and went to testing it straight away on some 6061 aluminum tubing. Saying that I am pleased with my purchase would be an understatement!
    Even when welding aluminum at 160 amps AC, the point of the tungsten doesn't ball up. Arc start is almost instantaneous, and re-starting only occasionally sputters before starting the arc.
    The weld puddle control seems effortless compared to the pure tungsten electrode, and my welds are coming out absolutely perfect every time.
    I'll have to test it on steel a little later, and get some pictures going.
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  10. #10

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    sweet, 2% or 1.5%? I don't think I took mine up to 160A yet as I have only done SS and thin wall aluminum pipe.
    Jason
    Everlast 255EXT - Perfection
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  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    sweet, 2% or 1.5%? I don't think I took mine up to 160A yet as I have only done SS and thin wall aluminum pipe.
    1.5% Lanthanated. I was welding 6061 3/8" Aluminum Plate to .120 wall Aluminum Tubing for a bike that i'm putting together... so, lots of heat. and on the Super160P welder i have, that means lots of pre-heat, and then lots of sitting over the weld puddle at full tilt on each bead in order to make sure i get good penetration without multiple passes. The lanthanated never balled up... and didn't really loose it's point much. It dulled down a little by the end of the day, but it was still obviously ground to a point.
    Not even my thoriated tungsten holds up that well when i'm doing steel. I'm anxious to get to some steel welding and see what happens. I've got some tool holders i have to finish up that are mostly .120 wall and .250 wall tubing... then i'll attach some mounting points to one of my sheetmetal seat pans and see how the new alloy compares.
    So far it's looking like i'll be ditching all of my old thoriated and pure tungsten electrodes for the lanthanated.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Default Still stuck on Thoriated

    I just bought a 10 pak of 3/32" Lanthanated (2%) off the auction site. I was pleasantly surprised that they were Diamond Ground Products brand, which wasn't even specified in the listing. Anyway, I've only had the chance to run a few test beads, and I ended up going back to the Thoriated. I'll give it another chance, but I didn't like the way that it behaved, but that mat have been entirely me. I did notice that someone is offering 4% Thoriated, and I'm real curious just how that would hold up. I'm not all that concerned about the radioactivity of it, I just use a little common sense, but I don't go overboard. I got a free sample of "rare earth" tri-mix from diamond ground, and the tip actually crumbled under high amps. It was unlike anything I've ever seen.
    "It's not magic it's experimental, kind of like washing your hands after pooping used to be." -House

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  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hooda View Post
    I just bought a 10 pak of 3/32" Lanthanated (2%) off the auction site. I was pleasantly surprised that they were Diamond Ground Products brand, which wasn't even specified in the listing. Anyway, I've only had the chance to run a few test beads, and I ended up going back to the Thoriated. I'll give it another chance, but I didn't like the way that it behaved, but that mat have been entirely me.
    I still haven’t gotten into the shop to try the lanthanated on steel. i've only worked on the aluminum so far, but thought it was great for AC. I'm not looking for a thoriated replacement. I'm happy to have the improvement over the pure tungsten on aluminum.
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  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hooda View Post
    I just bought a 10 pak of 3/32" Lanthanated (2%) off the auction site. I was pleasantly surprised that they were Diamond Ground Products brand, which wasn't even specified in the listing. Anyway, I've only had the chance to run a few test beads, and I ended up going back to the Thoriated. I'll give it another chance, but I didn't like the way that it behaved, but that mat have been entirely me. I did notice that someone is offering 4% Thoriated, and I'm real curious just how that would hold up. I'm not all that concerned about the radioactivity of it, I just use a little common sense, but I don't go overboard. I got a free sample of "rare earth" tri-mix from diamond ground, and the tip actually crumbled under high amps. It was unlike anything I've ever seen.
    I run 1.5% lanth for everything and havnt had any problems. If you want to dispose of that 2% lanth let me know
    Jason
    Everlast 255EXT - Perfection
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  15. #15

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    Here's a quick picture of some weld with the lanthanated tungsten.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is the test weld i did as soon as i took the new tungsten out of the package.
    Great puddle control. It's quick and easy to control the heat of the weld puddle.
    Last edited by Spike; 02-07-2012 at 03:09 AM. Reason: incorrect picture
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  16. #16

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    I welded a little with the lanthanated tungsten on some steel today (100-120 amp range) straight DC. I had to put a tool stand together real quick.
    I wasn't overwhelmed with it being really great... Nothing as revolutionary as the AC welding over pure tungsten.
    The point seems to dull out faster than the thoriated at that amperage. It's obviously still got a point to it, but it's not sharp anymore after just a few minutes. The welds came out decent, no problems with actually using it... has comparable control and arc quality as thoriated.
    I'll try it out with pulsed settings and some lower amperage sheetmetal work soon on some seatpans and we'll see what it does then. Maybehaps it will work better with the pulsed DC settings over the straight DC.
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  17. #17

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    Got a photobucket account... now, hopefully i can post regular sized photos and not have to worry about all that attachment/management mess.

    Here's a picture of the first steel weld i did with the lanthanated tungsten... on the right is slower heat, on the left is faster heat. good definition all in all, as i was scooting pretty quickly all around the weld.

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  18. #18

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    Looks good,What settings do you usually use when you weld sheet metal? Also how long of a bead will you run at a time?
    Jason
    Everlast 255EXT - Perfection
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  19. #19
    Join Date
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    Default

    Your steel welds are looking real good there (and in your other threads), Spike. Nicely wetted in, quite consistent to boot!
    '13 Everlast 255EXT
    '07 Everlast Super200P

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jakeru View Post
    Your steel welds are looking real good there (and in your other threads), Spike. Nicely wetted in, quite consistent to boot!
    Thanks.
    I've worked very hard to get them that way. It's hard to convince customers to buy work without pretty welds. =)
    Last edited by Spike; 02-13-2012 at 05:11 AM.
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