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  1. #1
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    Default Call all TIG guys / girls (Ya know pc these days)

    I am able to weld okay stick and mig. I'm know set venture into TIG. Good WP20 torch, Miller syncrowave 250 DX shield 100% Argon.

    I am older and not as coordinated as 30 years ago and my main problem or two +/- one are as follows:

    1)Was told to start with Al I don't know but in my mind it sucks heat to fast for a beginner.

    2)Have trouble feeding filler, again back to AL poor choice. Having to feed fast.

    I can control my arc okay and tungsten to work distance okay but when I add in filler things start to go sideways.

    What would you advise besides lots of torch time (well aware of that)?

    Has anyone used the "TigPen" allows you feed only using your index finger to role a wheel advancing the filler, kind like mechanical pencil principal. My thinking remove one variable till I have committed the others to muscle memory.

    Thanks

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    if you have the patience to watch a few youtube videos, these helped me greatly with learning tig. aluminum will build into mounds quickly right under the torch as you dab your rod in, one trick is to lift slightly as you're adding filler and follow the pile back down as it flows out. I'm sure much more and likely better info will follow my comments. good luck and happy welding!

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    Welding Tips and Tricks - TIG, MIG, Stick and a pantload of other info

    Jody knows his stuff and is a really good teacher.

    Edit: name wrong

    Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk

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    don't know who suggested starting with Al, in my opinion it is harder for a beginner to get the hang of, puddle looks quite different than mild or stainless, have to deal with oxidation, AC balance (easy once you understand and know what to look for), feeding rod fast enough, which could be partially solved by taking bigger diameter filler rod, keep taking larger filler till it starts to "freeze" the puddle by taking too much heat out (you'll see when that starts to happen), then back down to smaller diameter

    if someone asked me - I'd suggest starting with stainless, around 3mm (1/8") thick samples (thicker - easier to manage heat), and quite easy to see if you're doing something wrong from the oxide colors forming on/next to your welds, once you get the hang of that, mild steel will cause zero problems, then I'd go to aluminum

    edit: oops, took too long to write the post, mTeryk already suggested this - check "weldingtipsandtricks" channel on YT, Jody there has tonnes of videos about TIG, even starter level, he explains usual problems, had a video about getting rod feed technique right and so on

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    Doug,

    There seems to be no consensus on whether its best to begin with steel or aluminum. I teach TIG welding to about a dozen people a year and in my experience it's easier to start with steel because as you noted, things happen a lot slower. You can also see the puddle a lot easier as you are starting out. I also use stainless filler wire (316L) because it helps you see the peak color temperature of the weld and whether you overheated the joint. Once the basics are learned in steel, we transition to aluminum where we can pay more attention to the other challenges it presents, especially on thinner sheet.

    Jody's channel linked above is a truly excellent resource. One tip is to slightly retract the tungsten as you are adding your filler, if the problem is contaminating the tungsten as you are learning to add filler.

    And I haven't used the TigPen, but it if it helps you focus on the other aspects of TIG welding, for what it costs, I would definitely give it a try.

    I hope this helps.

    Mike

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    I have watched many of Jody's vids, very helpful. I am going to stainless and try that (cause I have lots of pieces laying around.). I did neglect to mention I am using 2% thoriated, it seems most of info I read suggested it as versatile. In the opinion of ya'all holding the torch rather than writing about it what are your thoughts?

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    I don’t use thoriated. There is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope of thorium. It is only present as a small percentage, so the risk is small but there is simply no reason to use it when good alternatives exist. I use “tri-mix” and have no problems with that.
    By the way, it’s the dust from grinding thoriated that can wind up in your lungs, and then release radiation causing cell damage. Same as the colbalt in cutting tools), so if you do use them, use dust control.

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    One thing that really helped me was taking two plates 1/8" thick mild steel. 2"x6" or there abouts and tack them together parallel (each plate standing on edge) with a 3/16" gap between them. Now weld them together(edge to edge) using the arc and filler metal to keep a nice steady flow of the puddle. Really teaches how to work the puddle with the filler rod, foot pedal, torch angle and arc length.

    As for feeding rod just sit and watch tv with a 36" piece of filler rod. Start from one end and feed it the whole length and repeat. Before long you won't even have to think about it and it will just become automatic.

    Aluminum can be a pain with corrosion to start learning how to weld. You can spend a lot of time chasing your tail trying to figure out what you are doing wrong welding but its just the corrosion/impurities giving you fits.

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    I use 2% lanthanated (blue) for AC, 2% ceriated (gray) for DC, as suggested by Jody from weldingtipsandtricks, my experience mirrored what he explained in one of his videos as well

    reasons:
    DC - gray one seems to light up more reliably at low amps and the tip remains clean under high amps, blue one doesn't light up as good and at high amps seems to develop some nodules/whiskers on the tip
    AC - blue one keeps the shape better, doesn't ball up, just seems to overall work better than the gray one

    my welder is not a Lincoln or a Miller, so those might be peculiarities of that particular inverter machine

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    Great, thanks too all so far.

    I am going to try Tir-mix

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    OOps my mistake I am using Blue 2% Lanth.
    But still thank you for your ideas to date, I will report back on the TigPen.

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    Patience and practice
    I think feeding the rod without thinking about is a big factor
    2nd Jody's video and the thing he markets for keeping your finger cool

    Also from my own mistakes. Make sure your work is not over your lap or body parts.
    First time an al part I was welding decided to turn into a large puddle, the drips dropped on my shoe.

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    Wow I got a lotta homework, I read through the replies take notes and finally read one more time.
    Not to pat myself on the back but this IS tribal information and we are loosing it, your tips and tricks, tool and die guys are part of a collapsing sphere.
    sorry went off into the rhubarb their.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doug8cat View Post
    What would you advise besides lots of torch time (well aware of that)?

    Has anyone used the "TigPen" allows you feed only using your index finger to role a wheel advancing the filler, kind like mechanical pencil principal. My thinking remove one variable till I have committed the others to muscle memory.

    Thanks
    If you want to go in a straight line then use a straight edge as a guide for your torch hand.

    Use a auto-darkening helmet.

    The TigPen will make it necessary to learn another movement on top of what you already are trying to do. Not sure if it's worth it.

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    Go buy some gardening gauntlets (goatskin gloves that are elbow length and are cheap and readily available at your local fru-fru garden store to keep the country club set safe from stickers and poison ivy)
    Practice feeding filler rod with your non-dominant hand while your’re Watching TV.
    When you’re confident, try it on some metal. (I agree that stainless is the easiest to start with. Preheated aluminum is ultimately cheaper, but an order of magnitude more difficult, because everything looks great right up until the point where everything turns sort of silvery-grey and suddenly liquifies and falls in on itself.) Learning heat control is a bitch, and having a lot more amps to get a puddle started on Al, and then Keeping Moving(!!!) is critical. Knowing how to keep up with yourself with filler goes a long way, and dipping and feeding is absolutely key. You aren’t going to get there with a gadget...

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    I get your point Jonok and it is a good one along with everyone else's. I have a good pair of nice snug leather gloves like you mentioned not too thick so I still have good sense of feel. Also a box of material very similar to what the TIG finger is made of (used to be in the furnace business) and use it try to mitigate heat transfer into me + allow me brace and slide my torch hand easily a long the joint.
    I should get the Pen today I bought it like training wheels if it does what it claims it might help me. I do use a piece of filler bent over at both ends to practice on, problem is the cats think it is a great new toy, hard to feed with consistency as it is, let alone do it with someone slapping the end of the rod!

    Thanks again for all the help, much appreciated, I will let you know how things go with the Pen.

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    I started practicing TIG welding with pretty much aluminium only.
    I never had any problems seeing the puddle but maybe that's because I wasn't used to TIG welding steel first.

    Alu is pretty easy to weld if its at least 2mm thick but trying to get full penetration without "butt crack" on the underside is whole different matter...

    Good automatic mask also helps, some of the older or cheaper ones are really crappy. Enough light shade in off-state also helps with manipulating everything in place. I can easily read newspaper with the mask in front of me.

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    The procedure for TIG is really quite similar to Oxy-Acetylene gas welding. I learned to gas weld long before I ever got a TIG machine and it helped me quite a bit.

    A good place to watch TIG and other welding procedures is Welding Tips and Tricks with Jody.

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    [QUOTE

    I also use stainless filler wire (316L) because it helps you see the peak color temperature of the weld and whether you overheated the joint.

    Mike[/QUOTE]

    Have to disagree there. The color isn't from peak temp during welding but peak temp from when the other gases in the air besides 100% argon it the weld. Small point I know but well worth knowing starting out welding. You can run a mechanical seamer so all things are equal(amps, travel speed, arc length ect)once with a small cup and collect body and once with a gas lens and large cup. The difference in color may surprise you even though the same amps/heat were put into the metal. A difference in color from one weld to the next if you are welding by hand on the same kind of part can give you some information like you changed your travel speed or torch angle but I disagree that straight up color determines if you got it too hot. Just my opinion.

    Have a feeling Mbrad already knows this but wanted to point it out to anyone starting out welding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman109 View Post
    The procedure for TIG is really quite similar to Oxy-Acetylene gas welding. ...
    I'd have to agree here and say that steel is much easier than Aluminum, I'd never suggest starting with Al.
    Play with lots of differing thickness, 1/8 to start. Up and down in size from .010 to .375 as there is a real difference.
    There is also material build up with TIG as used in repair work. Weld a 1 by 1 by 1/2 inch mound on a piece of scrap using many build passes and then mill into it looking for pinholes and voids with your magnifier or microscope.
    It is a bit different than welding but boat prop and holder repair wiz guys make it look easy.
    Unlike gas welding you can not direct the heat with torch angle but you'll get this lesson real fast.
    I do not know any way to learn or teach it other than lots of playing around and practice.

    Oh yea, on steel get used to grinding that piece of tungsten pencil point often. Once touched...stop, resharp, and get back into good stock.
    I have a bench grinder on the welding table so that you don't have to step away to do it. Otherwise you get tempted to push it further than you should.
    Grinding the tip back into good is a ways, more than you would think, when learning you will eat that tungsten up like candy. When things seem not to go good take a 1/2 inch off the end.

    Good work in aluminum is a whole different animal than TIG welding steels. The settings are different, the tip is different, the look and feel in process is different.

    It seems to be an art and I wish I was good with a TIG after many years. If I don't do it daily and then take a year or three break I really suck for a bit.
    Bob

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