Top 10 tips for better TIG welding.

  • Both hands are required for TIG welding, so ensure the glove on the hand guiding the wire is flexible and thin enough for you to feel the filler rod, but thick enough to protect your hand from the heat.

    Woven cotton, goatskin or soft mechanics gloves are some options to try.

  • For the best weld, clean the material of any rust, paint, oil, scale or other substances; try using a stainless-steel brush to scrub it clean.

  • Use extreme care when grinding your tungsten. Grind it lengthwise and as evenly as possible to keep your arc from wandering. To avoid contamination, many professionals recommend bench grinders.

  • If you touch the Tungsten tip into the puddle, you must regrind it, otherwise the arc will be affected. Continuing to weld without regrinding, the results of the weld won’t be as nice and smooth as it should be.

  • When grinding, wear a respirator; 2º Tungsten electrodes are mildly radioactive.

  • Set the foot pedal – which controls the amperage – at about ¾ of the way. You’re saving that last bit for more control to power up or down.

  • Choose an appropriate size tungsten rod; welding thick aluminium differs from welding the thin material of a turbine blade. An oversized rod can also cause an erratic arc and contamination.

  • The most commonly suggested angle to hold the torch is at 1/8 to ¼ inch distance from the material, and approximately a 70-90-degree angle. Rod angle and torch angle shouldn’t be the same; heat will deflect and prematurely melt the rod, resulting in balls/blobs that contaminate the puddle.

  • Try to keep a consistent weld pool, about ¼ inch wide. If you’re completely sealing something, consider making a vent hole to keep hot air from blowing away your shielding gas.

  • If a ball forms on the end of the rod when welding, something isn’t quite right. The problem may be incorrect rod to torch angle. When feeding rod, make sure you push the rod into the welding pool.

For tips on welding aluminium see: Top 10 tips for better aluminium welding.