How to TIG Weld Like a Pro

The most beautiful welds are produced by TIG welders. TIG welding is a precise welding process that allows you to weld metals of various thickness, from razor blades to thick plates.

TIG welding makes use of a foot pedal that controls the heat of the torch. Because TIG welders can generate a lot of heat at the torch, they usually come with cooling systems.

Let’s get welding!

  1. Select the right electrode. If you’re going to weld aluminum, use a pure tungsten rod. There are a number of tungsten alloys available, so choose what’s best for your welding job.

  2. Grind the electrode’s tip to a point! Make sure the tungsten rod has a pointed tip. This is a significant step especially if your rod is a fresh cylinder that has no rounded or pointed tip yet. For your information, a rounded tip is best for AC welding while a pointed tip is great for DC welding. For TIG welding, which is a precise welding process as mentioned earlier, you’ll need a pointed tip because it’ll produce a smaller and more directed arc.

  3. IF YOUR ELECTRODE IS READY, SKIP THIS STEP. Place the rod into the collet. To do this, the back of the electrode holder must be unscrewed first. After which, you’ll need to place the electrode and return the back of the electrode holder. Note: The electrode’s tip must be approximately ¼” away from the protective sheath but not farther.

  4. Select the right settings. A usual TIG welder will have AC, DCEP, and DCEN as its electricity options. AC is for aluminum. DCEP, which means “DC, Electrode Positive”, is for rounding the tungsten rod’s tip or for stick welding. And DCEN, which means “DC, Electrode Negative”, is for steel welding.

  5. Turn the gas on. Why do you need gas in TIG welding? Because it prevents the weld from corroding. Remember that metals rust rapidly.

  6. Get the welding table and the metal ready. You can make use of a flat, huge metal sheet or a welding table. Just make sure that it’s large enough to allow the electricity to flow through the metal.

  7. Check the electrode. With your dominant hand, check whether the electrode can freely move.

  8. Begin welding. Grip the electrode about one inch away from the metal. Do not touch the metal with the electrode, or else the molten aluminum will jump over the electrode. Make the welds even by changing sides. Ensure that not one side of the metal will get too hot, otherwise, that side will get warped.

  9. Make a bead. You would want to make a weld pool using the foot pedal with power. Once you’ve formed a weld pool, control the current by lightly pedaling. You’ll have to adjust depending on what’s happening to the metal. If it’s melting, stop pedaling. That means you’re putting too much current. If it’s flaky and doesn’t look like liquid, pedal harder.

  10. Lastly, know the types of weld. The fillet is the easiest one. It’s the fusing together of two metals at right angles. The lap weld is the resting of two metals against each other. The butt weld is where two metals touch along the edges. Know that there are cosmetic welds and strength welds. The former is used on visible joints like on bicycles, while the latter is used for joints that aren’t meant to be visible and metals that could handle heavy load like propane tanks.