Many professional welders across Australia favour the use of Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding primarily because of its ability to produce top-quality metal welds. But the quality of weld produced is only as good as the welder's ability to perform the welding job skillfully. Here are some top tips you can practice to ensure you achieve the highest quality of welds possible with your TIG welding.
Be sure to first clean the metal being welded
The first and most important step towards achieving a high-quality weld is to make sure the workpiece is thoroughly cleaned. Use a stiff-bristled wire brush to scrub the metal on the areas you intend to weld so you can remove any surface impurities, especially when working with aluminium or aluminium alloys, which tend to easily react with oxygen in the air to form a layer of oxidation on the surface. Removing the layer of oxidation from the surface of the base metal is very important because the coating melts at a much higher temperature compared to the underlying metal. This means the underlying metal will melt long before the oxide coating. That can be a source of major quality control problems, as the final weld may be tarnished due to the formation of holes, pits and other blemishes.
Use the right electrode
TIG welding process requires the use of a tungsten electrode or rod in the torch. It is the electrode that provides a smooth, stable arc, but you will need to choose the correct type and size/diameter of electrode for your amperage, which will depend on the type of metal you are working on. Tungsten electrodes are of different types: pure, ceriated, thoriated and lanthanated. Select a rod that suits your particular welding application. If you are welding aluminium with argon or helium as the shielding gas, pure tungsten will provide a stable arc needed to ensure high-quality of welds, for example. Choose electrode diameters based upon the shielding gas and type of equipment used. If the diameter is too large or small, tungsten can contaminate the weld.
Choose the right torch
Using a good TIG torch for your job can also help make the welding process more efficient. In determining whether to use an air- or water-cooled torch, know the amperage required for your application. Generally speaking, air-cooled torches are used on low amperage applications while water-cooled models are used where greater amperage is required. If you expect to perform the welding job in awkward positions or tight joints, you might want to get yourself a torch that has a flexible nozzle. This will allow you better torch control.
For more information on welding, contact a local professional.