5 Beginners TIG Welding Tips

More so than MIG and ARC welding, TIG welding requires a lot more practice to be proficient in. There are a lot more ways to control the arc, puddle, and final outcome of your weld than with a MIG welder. Here are 5 tips that are essential to keep in mind when learning the basics of TIG welding.

1. Cleanliness- TIG welding unlike other types of welding requires a very clean surface to produce a clean arc and nice welds. Make sure you are cleaning the work surface extremely well before you weld. For aluminum and stainless we like to use a dedicated stainless brush for each type of metal we are welding on. DO NOT use the same wire brush you use to clean rust and scale off of your chassis! You will find the more time you take cleaning your work area before welding, the better your final results will be.

2. Choose the correct Tungsten- Depending on the surface you are working on, you may need to change out your Tungsten. Traditionally green tungstens are used for aluminum and red for steels, but some people prefer the red tungstens across the board. We suggest trying the "traditional" use of each before making a decision. Believe it or not, it's possible to use too small or too large of a tungsten for the thickness material you are welding. By using too large of a tungsten you will have to turn the heat up far too much to strike an arc and could risk warping or burning through the workpiece. On the other side, using too small of a tungsten can cause damage to the tungsten from being overheated. Below you can see an overheated 1/16 tungsten.

3. Touch the Tip, Regrind- This is one of the most frustrating parts of learning to TIG weld, as well as one of the hardest to obey. If you happen to touch your tungsten tip into the puddle, even for a split second, you have contaminated it and you MUST regrind the tungsten. You will know if you have done this because the arc will start to wander badly, as well as a it will be difficult to keep a focused arc on the metal. Below is a picture of a tip that was just touched for a split second, notice the sharp tip now has "splits" in it.

4. Keep up productivity- There are a few things you can do to keep you welding longer, and without interruption. Distractions and interruptions will make a beginner easily forget what they have just learned and will make it more difficult where they left off. A few things can be done to optimize your time learning to TIG. A big one is to keep extra Tungstens ground, and ready in case you contaminate one. Also keep any pieces you plan to weld cleaned and in arms reach. Lastly, keep plenty of extra filler rod in a close arms reach (it goes quick!).

5.Grind your Tungstens Correctly- A common first-time error beginners make is to not correctly grind their tungstens. Make sure you are grinding the tungsten length-wise, and as even as possible. Grinding the opposite way will make for an unpredictable arc that tends to wander on the workpiece. If you aren't using a tungsten sharpener, we suggest using a dedicated bench grinder to only grind tungstens on, otherwise your tungstens can be contaminated if using an all purpose grinder.

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10 thoughts on “5 Beginners TIG Welding Tips”

  • Mikieboy

    Thanks! Great info..

    Reply
  • [...] and teach the rest of us those skills.  We learned some watercolor techniques, as well as an introduction to welding, which both those experiences then fed back into work created later.  The best companies know that [...]

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  • Welding Austin TX

    Amazing tips!!! Welding requires proper attention otherwise it can be dangerous for the welder. Ensure that there is nothing distracting around you before starting welding process.

    Reply
  • Ray

    Just getting started with tig . Need more info

    Reply
  • Damian R Anderson
    Damian R Anderson March 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Can you tig weld galvanized sheet metal with silicone brazing rods?

    Reply
    • MattM

      You can weld it, but you would need to remove any and all coatings to TIG weld the metal so the galvanized coating would be gone.

      Reply
      • Dave B.

        Welding on zinc/galvanized metals produces toxic fumes. Very toxic, with adverse affects possibly years later.
        Like MattM says remove it ALL.
        There are zinc heavy spray coatings available to reseal the worked area.
        TIG requires the inert gas shield for a good weld. Keeping this in mind, also have sufficient fresh breathing air for you. I like to turn up the gas pressure a bit, and weld outside when possible.
        Welding tubing? A separate gas hose taped to one end of the tubing, while taping the other end shut produces a superior weld with best possible penetration...
        A fume sucker would be helpful, as would be a fan to get you some healthy breathing air. Doing this for a lifetime??? I would invest in a fresh air supply like a car painter. "IF you can smell it, you are getting it."

        Reply
  • Duane Liddle

    A tig arc is brighter then a mig or arc welding arc Make sure your welding helment has enough darkening to the glass to prevent injure to your eyes

    Reply
  • Dave B.

    Once you master Tig Welding, when you walk past a bike, you will always look at 'the stack of dimes' welding to see how proficient that welder was. You will also have a target to strive for.
    At my work, there was a large Sheet Metal Shop and a large Millwright Shop. After working there for a long time, I could recognize different welding styles and came to recognize which welder did that particular job.
    Tig came easy for me because I was old school, learning to gas weld with oxy acetylene in tenth grade in 1964. Try it if you have access to a rig. Left hand and right hand will soon work together seamlessly.
    Spend some time viewing the tutorials and get your nose in a book or two on the subject. Once you get confident and proficient, it is in your noggin. It comes as second nature.
    Take some time to 'pick the brains' of some of the "Old Timers." You will get into overdrive with your progress.
    If you have access to a high end welder, especially with hi-frequency, ask for some time to learn on it. I used to stay after work to use a new Miller Syncrowave with all the bells and whistles. When your left hand and right hand seem coordinated, then add a foot pedal. Magic happens!
    You will soon be able to weld up a torn beer can.
    Have Fun and Be Safe!

    Reply
  • jon dunham

    I have been TIG welding for many years and the five tips you have listed are great for beginners. Don't forget about having a CLEAN ground surface to facilitate a good weld and I use only TIG rod especially formulated for mild steel.. When welding on old cars using the right rod is important.

    Reply

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