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Thread: Calling all Tig experts

  1. #1

    Default Calling all Tig experts

    Ok so I'm a total noob to welding in general complete self/net taught. That being said I do okay. Most of my welds come out acceptable. This is not my work but my hobby. I've been mig for a year and a half and tigging for 2 weeks. I have a powerpro 205.

    I've been practicing on mild steel and Al. Everybody says that Al is harder that steel but it seems to be the contrary for me. The beads I lay on aluminum look very good. On steel they seem on the crappy side.

    When doing steel I seem to have more problems using a 1/16 tung. 3/32 work better. I also seem to have problems with filler sorta sticking. What mean is feeding the rod is not smooth i sort get a little resistance as I'm going in the puddle. If I increase amperage the my weld penetrates too much. I've tried slowing down my travel speed but that looks horrible. Maybe somebody would have a few tips.

    Again AL seems easy and the rod goes in like butter. I always seem to get somekind of sticking feeding mild steel

    Thanks in advance for your input


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012


    Some pictures might help. Just a guess, but you might need to increase your travel speed and current. N00bs tend to go pretty slow as a rule. Aluminum is different, but a lot of the same things apply, so your practice in aluminum will help you in steel, too. You just will need to adjust to the different temperatures and the look of the puddle. What you are welding and your settings could help point out issues, too. Adding filler will cool off the puddle, so you usually just dip for brief moment, if you are adding that way. The other way is to lay the wire in the joint and just move along it. Lay-wire takes a little more power but it's a good way to be very consistent in the amount of filler added. Dipping will usually give you more control of penetration, and is better for poor fitups, or doing buildups. Your filler size is based off the thickness of the material you are welding, so if you are way out there you will have problems. There is quite a bit of latitude in tungsten size, but again if you are pushing 1/6" to weld 1/4" plate or thicker, you will have a hard time getting enough current through it.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Whine Country, California


    Okay, first off, I'm no expert. Second of all, I concour (pics would help). The hardest part when welding aluminum for me is keeping rod and base material clean (clean, clean!) and not contaminating the tungsten since it is just SO attracted to that aluminum weld puddle (much more so than when welding steels).

    Assuming your rod size and base metal thickness are correctly matched, I would first try more or less torch angle to see if that helps. Too much angle, and the rod will begin melting before you can dip it where you want it. Too large of filler rod can certainly make things "sticky" like you're describing too. Also, you'll want to keep your rod close to the puddle as you weld (but not to the point where it melts, when using the dipping method).

    Tungsten stick out is important, and with steel I keep it 1/4" to 3/8" past the ceramic cup (typically), depending on the joint I'm welding. Sometimes you need more. For aluminum I keep the ball of the tungsten just past the cup, and I only extend it further when welding in tight areas (like corners). Otherwise I spend half my time at the grinder! You'll learn to spot how much is the right amount just by doing a "dry run" with the torch and filler rod while checking the distance between the tungsten and the work piece.

    Regardless of what material you're welding, mastering the "in's and out's" of TIG welding will be your biggest challenge. I used to count "1,2,3", "1,2,3" and each number meant that I dipped filler rod (so that I wouldn't have such inconsistent ripples when I was first learning). It takes synchronizing both of your hands forward at the same pace, so if you find that you have to speed up your dipping hand, you might have to slow down on the torch travel speed. Same is true for the opposite problem.

    What type and thickness material are you welding? Flat plate, angle, tubing? Keep the 3/32" tungsten and forget the smaller 1/16" ones. I've welded as thin as 22 gauge with a 3/32" tungsten, and I can't see needing anything else for "normal" welding projects. The length of the tapered point is what's really important for welding thin material with the 3/32", not the diameter of the tungsten.

    It sounds like you have the basics down at least! Show us some pics now and tell us about any upcoming projects you plan to use your new skill on!
    New Everlast PowerTig 250EX that is begging for me to come up with a few welding projects so it can stretch it's legs. Did someone say aluminum???

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  4. #4


    Definitely need some pictures to help out. Diagnosing weld problems isn't possible without a picture. what you may think is an acceptable weld could be entirely off the mark.
    When your filler material sticks in the weld puddle that usually means you are not hot enough, or adding to much filler to the puddle. On aluminum you might not notice this because you're just welding on the surface of the metal and you're not getting any penetration.
    Pictures pictures pictures, then we'll be able to help you out some. Also, take some of your welded pieces you've done and cut then in half (across the weld, not along it) and take some pictures of that too.
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