TIG Welding Equipment

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TIG Ceramic Cup 10N46
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TIG Welding Equipment

Get Your Shop Equipped: A Guide to TIG Welding Equipment

TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding remains a highly valued and versatile fabrication process for industries from motorsports to aerospace. Compared to stick or MIG welding, the TIG process enables superior precision and control for the cleanest welds on thin metals or delicate components.

However, proper TIG welding relies on having the right equipment available in your shop. As TIG specialists, we’ll walk through the essential TIG welding gear to get set up.

The TIG Welder Power Source

At the heart of your TIG setup is the welder power source. TIG welders operate at lower amperages than MIG or stick welders and use direct current for precision welding. Most also enable AC output for aluminum. Key factors to consider:

  • Power – Size your TIG welder appropriately for your expected materials and thicknesses. Light industrial machines range from 140-210 amps. Machines above 300 amps can handle heavier fabrication.
  • AC/DC Capability – DC is used on steel, stainless, etc. while AC is required for aluminum. Many TIG welders offer both.
  • Duty Cycle – Ensure the welder has enough cooling capacity for extended welding periods without overheating.
  • Pulse TIG – This option enables pulsing the amperage during welding for greater control. Ideal for thin material welding.
  • High Frequency Starting – Allows arc initiation without physically touching the tungsten to the metal. Helpful for precision welding.
  • Portability – Compact inverter-based welders are easier to move around the shop versus large transformer welders.

TIG Torches

The TIG torch channels current from the welder to the arc. Key considerations:

  • Air vs Water-Cooled – Air torches suffice for most applications under 150 amps. Water-cooling is required for high-amperage welding.
  • Torch Flexibility – A flexible torch neck allows for easier positioning for out-of-position welds.
  • Ergonomic Design – Choose a lightweight, ergonomic torch handle to reduce fatigue and promote precision.
  • Parts Availability – Opt for a standard torch design with widely available spare parts. Consumables require periodic replacement.

Welding Cables

Robust, properly-rated welding cables are required to transmit maximum current to your torch safely.

  • Amperage Rating – Size cables for at least 30% above your machine’s max amp capacity. Overheating and voltage drops can occur with undersized cables.
  • Insulation – Quality rubber insulation resists cuts, abrasion, oil, and molten metal splatter. Avoid PVC insulation as it can melt and adhere to hot surfaces.
  • Flexibility – Coiled torch cables offer greater mobility around your workspace.
  • Quick Connectors – Speed up torch replacement using dinse or cam-lock style cable connectors.
  • Ground Clamps – Securely bond the workpiece to complete the current path via a heavy-duty C-clamp ground.

TIG Filler Metals

The right filler rod makes a difference in your weld quality. Consider:

  • Match Alloy Composition – Select a filler rod that matches your base alloy (e.g. ER308L rod for stainless steel).
  • Rod Diameter – Thinner rods allow more precision on thin gauge metal. But require more repositioning versus thicker rods.
  • Rod Coating – Bare, copper coated, or flux coated variations exist for different applications.

Tungsten Electrodes

The tungsten electrode ionizes gas molecules to form the arc in TIG welding. Correct sizing and preparation is critical.

  • Diameter – Match tungsten diameter to base metal thickness. Larger tungsten requires higher amperage.
  • Tip Grinding – Grind the electrode tip for optimal current concentration and arc stability.
  • Materials – Pure tungsten or alloyed tungsten can be used depending on welding parameters.

Shielding Gas

Inert shielding gases like argon or helium protect the weld puddle from atmospheric contamination.

  • Single vs Mixed Gas – Argon, argon/helium mixes, or argon/hydrogen mixes are common choices. Argon is the most economical.
  • Flow Rate – Around 15-25 CFH is recommended, adjusted based on joint type and position. Too little/much gas can cause issues.
  • Gas Lens – Adding a gas lens helps focus and direct shielding gas coverage to the weld. Useful for open root welds.

Personal Protective Equipment

Don’t neglect proper PPE for safe TIG welding. At minimum you need:

With this outline of essential gear, you’re ready to start outfitting your shop for TIG welding success. As welding experts, we’re here to guide you through selecting the best TIG equipment for your needs and budget. Get in touch today to explore your options!

 

 

 

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