TIG welding is a specialized welding process that provides extraordinary precision, versatility, and control. It is capable of creating top-notch welds on a wide range of materials. This is the reason that it has become popular in high-capital industries such as automotive, aerospace, and fabrication industry. It is an incredible welding process that is challenging at the same time.
So, are you a welding enthusiast and want to know what is TIG welding and how to TIG weld? In this article, we will deep dive into the intricacies of TIG welding. No matter if you are a beginner seeking basic knowledge about GTAW Welding or a professional who wants to expand your welding knowledge, this article is the ultimate pack of information.
What is TIG Welding: Definition and Principles
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or TIG welding is a process in which a non-consumable tungsten electrode is used to weld for current delivery to the welding arc. During the TIG welding process, an electric arc is developed between a tungsten electrode and a workpiece. This combination generates heat that is important for melting the metals and for creating a fusion.
During this process, the electrode is not used which makes it different from stick and MIG welders. The excessive heat produced during TIG welding for metal fusion is dangerous for welding machines as it can decrease their efficiency. Here is the need for a cooler and a cleaner to maintain the efficiency. A shielding gas that is mostly inert gas is used for cooling the tungsten and for protecting the weld puddle.
Mostly used shielding gas in TIG welding is argon. This gas ensures cleanliness and a contamination-free environment. Thus, there is no need for a filler material or flux to join the workpiece, unlike the other welding processes that require fillers. TIG welding is the most favorable for welding thin metal pieces and for metal alloys. It ensures clean and aesthetic welding.
Process of TIG welding: How to TIG weld?
At this point, you have gained the basic information about TIG welding. You might be now more interested in learning TIG welding as it is the finest and cleanest welding process. So, let’s begin with the processes of TIG welding.
First of all, you need to have a TIG welding machine of high quality and a suitable power source. You also need a tungsten electrode, shielding gas, and a workpiece that you want to weld. After grabbing these necessary things, you need to follow a step-by-step guide on how to TIG weld steel. Here are the steps:
Setup and Preparation
Make sure that your workspace is clean and well-ventilated. There shouldn’t be any flammable materials in your workspace. Now follow the instructions of the manufacturer and set up your TIG welding machine. It is necessary to provide appropriate welding settings and gas flow rates.
Now, select the correct tungsten electrode based on the type of material being welded. Clean your workspace and make sure to remove all the contaminants. After this step, you are ready to take a ride for TIG welding.
Tungsten Electrode and Shielding Gas
Insert the tungsten electrode into the TIG torch and tighten it securely. After this, choose the appropriate shielding gas based on the material that you want to weld. Argon is commonly used for most applications. On the other hand, helium is suitable for certain metals like aluminum.
It’s time for arc creation. For this, touch the tungsten electrode to the workpiece and then lift it slightly to create an arc. Maintain the correct arc length between 1/8 to 1/4 inch. This step ensures optimal heat control.
Adding Filler Material (if required)
Usually, TIG welding doesn’t require any filler material or flux for joining the workpieces. But if you want to make your weld stronger by filling the gaps then you can use an additional material too. Keep in mind the material that you are going to weld and then select the appropriate filler according to this. Dip the filler rod into the molten puddle, controlling the rate at which it melts into the weld.
Maintain the desired travel speed and arc length while moving the torch smoothly and steadily along the joint. To achieve desired weld pool shape and weld penetration, use proper hand and torch positioning. Control the heat input to prevent overheating and distortion.
Applications of TIG Welding
TIG welding plays a vital role in the automotive industry. We explained above that this is the most accurate welding process therefore it is used for the manufacturing and repair of car frames, exhaust systems, engine components, and other critical parts.
TIG welding provides strong and aesthetically pleasing welds that contribute to the structural integrity and longevity of vehicles. Whether you want to weld a broken part of your motorbike or you are a professional working with heavy truck repairs, TIG welding is the most favorable option for such kind of applications.
TIG welding is the most appropriate option when we need to join lightweight materials such as aluminum and titanium. Both these materials are important components of the aerospace industry. Therefore, TIG welding is indispensable for this industry.
TIG welding ensures high-quality and reliable welds that can withstand extreme conditions. The precise control offered by this welding process makes it ideal for intricate and critical aerospace components.
Pipelines and Oil Refineries
TIG welding finds its extensive use in the construction and maintenance of pipelines and oil refineries. This creates durable and leak-free welding joints that can withstand high-pressure and corrosive environments.
TIG welding produces clean welds that are important for ensuring the integrity and safety of these essential infrastructure elements. Let me tell you that SWAT is a great company in terms of welding of pipelines and oil refineries
Food and Beverage Industry
The food and beverage industry often requires stainless steel equipment with hygienic and contaminant-free welds. TIG welding is the preferred choice for fabricating stainless-steel tanks, pipes, and other equipment used in food processing, brewing, and dairy industries. The clean welds produced by TIG welding help maintain the purity and quality of the products.
The pharmaceutical industry requires high-quality welds for its equipment that is used in drug manufacturing and research laboratories. Therefore, TIG welding seems the only appropriate option for this. This welding process ensures the production of clean and sterile welds on stainless steel and other required materials for pharmaceutical applications.
Artistic and Decorative Welding
TIG welding is not limited to industrial applications. It is also widely used in artistic and decorative welding projects. If you are an artist and want to create intricate designs, sculptures, furniture, and other aesthetic pieces, you can use TIG welding for this purpose. The precise control and clean welds produced by TIG welding enable artists to bring their creative visions to life.
The nuclear industry requires precise and reliable welds to ensure the safety and integrity of nuclear power plants and research facilities. TIG welding is commonly used in the construction and maintenance of nuclear reactors, fuel rods, and other critical components. The ability to control heat input and produce clean welds is crucial in this highly sensitive industry.
Electronics and Semiconductor Industry
TIG welding is also employed in the electronics and semiconductor industry for welding delicate and heat-sensitive components. The precise control and minimal heat input of TIG welding make it suitable for joining fine wires, connectors, and microelectronic devices without causing damage or distortion.
Advantages of TIG Welding
As we have discussed the applications of TIG welding, you must be more enthusiastic about knowing the pros and cons of this welding process. Since this is a comprehensive guide for you to understand TIG welding, we will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this welding. Following are some benefits that you can get by TIG welding:
Superior Quality Welds
TIG welding produces high-quality welds with excellent aesthetics and minimal spatter. So, if your target is to get the best quality welds whether used for professional or commercial applications, nothing is best than TIG welding. You can get precise control over heat input, arc length, and weld pool through this process. Thus, you can make your welds more clean, strong, and visually appealing.
TIG welding can be used on a wide range of materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, copper, titanium, and other non-ferrous metals. This is the reason that this welding process is useful for industrial as well as small-scale project usage.
Thin Material Welding
Thin materials are more delicate and tough to weld neatly. TIG welding is particularly well-suited for the welding of these materials. The precise heat control and low heat input minimize distortion, ensuring that delicate materials retain their structural integrity.
No Flux or Filler Metal Contamination
TIG welding doesn’t require filler materials that eliminate the risk of contamination. In this process, an inert shielding gas is used to provide a clean and stable welding environment. It results in high-purity welds.
Welding in All Positions
TIG welding allows for welding in all positions, including flat, horizontal, vertical, and overhead. This flexibility makes it suitable for complex welding tasks and ensures consistent weld quality regardless of the orientation.
Disadvantages of TIG Welding
Types of TIG Welding
TIG welding can be of different types based on the techniques that are used in each type. All of these types have different characteristics and advantages. Let’s explore some of the notable types of TIG welding:
DC TIG Welding
It is the most commonly used type of TIG welding and is suitable for welding stainless steel, copper, and other non-ferrous metals. In this, the direct current method is used in which the electrode used to be connected to the negative terminal, and the workpiece is connected to the positive terminal of the power source. This welding gives precise control over the weld pool that results in clean welds because of the use of DC.
AC TIG Welding
For welding different metal alloys like aluminum and magnesium, AC TIG welding is most suitable. These alloys usually form a thin oxide layer to hinder the welding process. For this, you can use the best TIG welders for aluminum. The use of AC in TIG welding work as a cleaning action and removes the oxides during welding. AC TIG welding breaks the oxide layer which leads to better penetration. It also reduces the risk of porosity.
Pulsed TIG Welding
Pulsed TIG welding is a technique that combines both DC and AC currents and thus creates intermittent pulses of current during the welding process. This type of TIG welding is commonly employed when working with thin materials or when precise control over heat input is required. The intermittent pulses allow for better control of the weld pool. It thus reduces the risk of overheating and distortion. Pulsed TIG welding is often used in applications where a high-quality finish and minimal heat-affected zone (HAZ) are desired.
Orbital TIG Welding
This welding process utilizes a mechanized system to produce consistent and repeatable welds. In this welding process, the TIG torch is revolved around the workpiece in a controlled manner. As a result, a more precise and continuous weld is obtained. Orbital TIG welding is useful in applications that require high-quality welds with minimal human error such as in the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries.
Thin Sheet TIG Welding
Thin sheet TIG welding is used for welding thin materials that range from 0.1mm to 3mm in thickness. This method requires precise control over heat input to prevent burn-through or distortion. Welders often use a lower amperage setting, a smaller tungsten electrode, and a slower travel speed for getting a stable arc. It minimizes heat transfer to the thin material.
Safety Tips for TIG Welding
TIG welding needs careful attention and safety measures. This welding process involves intense heat, bright arcs, and hazardous radiations. So, you must protect yourself during this welding process. Let’s see what measures you can take for your safety.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
First of all, use welding safety equipment. Make sure to wear the best welding helmet during work. The helmet should have a proper shade lens (typically shades 10-13) so that it can protect your eyes and face from the intense arc light. The helmet should be ANSI Z87.1 compliant.
Use flame-resistant welding gloves made of leather or other suitable materials for the protection of your hands. To protect your body from flames and burns, wear a flame-resistant and non-synthetic welding jacket or apron. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes that could catch fire easily.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover exposed skin and prevent UV radiation burns. To protect your feet from hazardous material, use safety boots or shoes with steel toes.
Ventilation is important during TIG welding. Therefore, it is advised to perform this welding in a well-ventilated area preferably outdoors. If working indoors, ensure there is adequate local exhaust ventilation for removing welding fumes and gases. You can also use a respirator with suitable filters to protect yourself from fume inhalation.
Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby to extinguish the fire. Make sure to remove flammable materials such as paper, cloth, solvents, etc. Inspect the welding cables, connections, and equipment regularly for any signs of damage that could lead to electrical or fire hazards.
Welding Area Safety
Ensure the safety of the welding area by removing clutter and using welding curtains to prevent UV radiation from affecting the workers. To prevent electrical shock hazards, make sure to properly ground the workpieces. Always keep a first-aid kit available for injuries that may occur during the welding process.
Read the instructions of the manufacturer properly and ground the welding machine accordingly. Before starting work, inspect the power cables and connection to prevent any electrical loss. Don’t weld in on wet surfaces as it can cause electrical shock. Never touch the electrode or workpiece with bare skin while welding or immediately after welding, as they may still be hot.
Training and Knowledge
Welding is not the thing that you can do by yourself without any help. Therefore, it is advised you acquire proper training and certification in TIG welding techniques. Make yourself familiar with the safety guidelines that are provided by the welding equipment manufacturer.
TIG welding is recognized as one of the best welding processes that ensure precision and clean welds. This is the best welding technique for turning corded metal pieces into art. TIG welding is being used in various industries for getting stronger and more reliable welds. We discussed this welding process in detail and also there are safety tips for you that you should follow while welding.
So, are you now familiar with what TIG welding is and how you can TIG weld? We are hopeful that you have read the complete article and now are ready to weld.
But wait and listen. Welding isn’t a process that you can learn just by reading an article. It needs proper guidance and training that you can get by joining the best welding institute. This article is not meant to make you proficient in welding but it mainly aims to make you understand TIG welding. You can become proficient too by practicing it daily and by keeping yourself in touch with our blog.
How?? Well, there are many useful articles on our website about welding and the best welding machines. Once you read all of them, you will be more knowledgeable, and then welding wouldn’t be tough for you. So, if you are an enthusiast and want to learn more about welding then get up and take your first step. We wish you all the best wishes in this journey!