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TIG Welding Basics

Learn the basics of the hardest type of welding: TIG welding.

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, also known as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), is a welding method used in a number of industries. As one of the hardest types of welding to learn, it requires a lot of practice and patience. It’s typically used to weld thin pieces of stainless steel, and other metals such as aluminum and copper alloys. The aerospace and bike manufacturing industries are the primary users of TIG welding.

TIG welds are usually stronger than MIG welds or stick welds because you have more control over the weld. However, the complexity of TIG welding means it takes longer to complete the weld. Although it’s the hardest to learn, it’s also the most versatile. With Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can learn the basics of TIG welding.

TIG Welding Basics
TIG welding is considered the most complex welding method out there. Learn the basics of TIG welding with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Pieces of TIG Welding Equipment

TIG Welding Torch

The welding torch can be either automatic or manual. The welding torch is plugged into a welding machine and gas supply. The electrode is held inside the torch by a tight collar called a collet. Collets come in various sizes, depending on the size of the electrode. The torch’s nozzle can also be adjusted to change the output of shielding gas.

Electrode

A tungsten electrode is installed in the welding torch. The electrode and the shielding gas are both supplied from the torch. Tungsten is used because it has the highest melting point of the pure metals. The electrode does get consumed while TIG welding, but heats up the metal being worked on. It also melts the filler rod. A variety of metals can be used for a filler rod.

Shielding Gas

Shielding gas is used to protect the weld pool from gases in the atmosphere, such as nitrogen and oxygen. These gases can cause porosity and weak welds. The shielding gas also helps transfer heat from the electrode to the work piece. Argon gas is the most commonly used gas in TIG welding. However, other gases can be used, depending on what you’re welding.

How TIG Welding Works

TIG welding is considered to be one of, if not the most, difficult welding methods to learn. It requires you to use two hands: one holds the welding torch while the other manually feeds the filler rod. You also have to keep a short arc length while making sure the tungsten electrode doesn’t touch the work piece.

When the arc is struck, you move the welding torch in a small circle to make a weld pool. As the metal is heated up, you add the filler rod to the weld pool and join the two work pieces together. You have to keep the electrode close to the weld pool to protect it with shielding gas. You also have to keep the filler rod within the shielding gas.

TIG Welding Safety

TIG welding requires proper safety, just like any other kind of welding. You need to wear welding gloves, a welding helmet and eye protection. It’s also important to wear the right clothing while welding. Keeping your skin covered while TIG welding will help protect you from arc flash. Due to the lack of smoke and fumes in TIG welding, the UV light is more intense when compared to other welding methods. You’re also closer to the arc. Proper clothing and ventilation are a must while welding.

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