Best welding guides: how to become a more skilled welder and how to select the top welding equipment. How do I choose what size Tig Welding Rod should I use for the job? For sheet metal up to 1/8” thick, don’t use a welding rod that is bigger than the thickness of metal you are welding…at least not much bigger. A good example…is using a 3/32 rod for welding .040 metal. That will just give you a fit. The amperage is low and the weld puddle needs to be small in order to prevent blowing a hole…and then when you dip the rod into the puddle, the rod is a big heat sink and sucks the heat right out of the puddle making it hard to maintain a consistent size bead. But Beginners should probably not be practicing on really thin metal. If you are a beginner you should be practicing on around 1/8 ” thick metal, and the bigger the rod, the easier it is to feed. For 1/8 ” metal, Use larger diameter rods (3/32” to 1/8”) So here is the rule….thin metal, use a thin rod Thick metal, use a thicker rod. This might seem like a no brainer, but I have answered a lot of questions like this about the rod melting before it gets to the puddle. If torch angle and arc length are right, its usually the rod size.
For TIG welding, the metal needs to be clean; no rust, scale, paint, etc: TIG welding is not nearly as forgiving as Mig or stick when it comes to dirty metal. For TIG welding, the metal needs to be clean; no rust, scale, paint, etc. that means hot rolled steel needs to be ground to shiny bright metal…not just polished over. Welding hot rolled steel without grinding will make you look bad. Don’t do it if there is a chance someone might see it. Windy conditions or drafts in the welding area and you will lose shielding coverage and get pinholes/porosity in the weld . If you have to TIG weld in windy conditions, you are going to have to spend some time making wind breaks out of cardboard, plastic, or whatever you can get. TIG welding will just not tolerate much of a breeze much less a gust of wind. And please don’t try to TIG weld with a coat hanger or gas welding rod. They will bubble and hiss.
Should the electrode accidentally touch the metal or the filler, the electrode often becomes contaminated — meaning some of the rod or base metal gets stuck to it. Once the electrode is contaminated, the arc cone becomes misshapen, making it difficult or impossible to aim the arc with precision, and the boiling contaminants on the electrode may spit out impurities, further compounding your problems. The angle between the torch and the base metal is important, too. You need to angle the torch slightly to see the puddle, and provide access for the filler rod. A 15-degree angle is a good starting place, although some welders prefer a bit more or less. If you hold the torch at 45 degrees (or more), you’re losing a lot of the coverage from shielding gas, and the flatter angle will make the puddle longer than it is wide. For the record, the torch is tipped with the electrode pointing forward, in the direction of motion.
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Improper drive roll selection and tension setting can lead to poor wire feeding. Consider the size and type of wire being used and match it to the correct drive roll. Since flux-cored wire is softer, due to the flux inside and the tubular design, it requires a knurled drive roll that has teeth to grab the wire and to help push it through. However, knurled drive rolls should not be used with solid wire because the teeth will cause shavings to break off the wire, leading to clogs in the liner that create resistance as the wire feeds. In this case, use V-grove or U-groove drive rolls instead. Set the proper drive roll tension by releasing the drive rolls. Then increase the tension while feeding the wire into your gloved hand until the tension is one half-turn past wire slippage. Always keep the gun as straight as possible to avoid kinking in the cable that could lead to poor wire feeding.