By: William Walley
Since TIG(GTAW) welding can be difficult there is all kinds of information that will help you understand it better and how to do it more effectively. In order to do the most effective welding using TIG you will need to prepare several things before you start.
What to prepare
The first thing you want to do is prepare the area where you are going to do your welding because you want it to be kept free of contamination. This means that you will have to really clean the area to make sure you have no grease, moisture or dust. You will also want to make sure there are no air drafts in this area because this could bring more problems.
The next thing to prepare is the metal that you are going to use for welding. You will need to make sure that the joints are as clean as you can make them and you do this by using a stainless steel wire brush. Many welders will dedicate one brush to whatever metal they have so they don’t have to worry about cross contamination.
If have slag on any of the metal you can remove it with a file. Next, you will want to clean the base metal. The reason you want everything to be so clean is that if contaminated, the metal can either break down or make a bad connection. Of course, it depends on the metal which it will do, so cleaning everything can stop this from happening.
Beginning to weld
Many things can happen to contaminate your weld so you want to make sure that you have a shield gar to stop this from happening. Most welders will use Argon because it seems to work best with TIG(GTAW) welding. By using this gas, you are protecting the area from oxygen which can contaminate what you are doing.
If you are using thicker aluminum, you can also add helium to the Argon because it ionizes hotter than Argon and you will need the hotter temperature in these types of welds. If you need helium you can get these already premixed, this is available with your gas supplier.
A note about suppliers: they are not the same so you will want to make sure you use someone who is reputable. You will also want to make sure you have all the seals checked for leaks before you buy.
When you are checking for leaks as you weld the best way is to use water and soap and a small acid type brush. These together will produce bubbles if there are any gas leaks. All you do is apply this solution of water and soap on the joint to and if you see air bubbles, you know you have a leak.
You will want to check all your supply hoses and gas connections to make sure there are no leaks before you get started. Make sure the torch insulators and your o-rights are fitting properly and that the seals are intact.
It’s also a good idea to use a gas lens on your torch because it makes the job easier to see and you have fewer problems.