As I've mentioned in other posts, I am a beginner in the world of TIG welding. I really began tackling TIG welding about a year ago after we offered a crash-course internally here at Eastwood. With the launch of our Eastwood TIG 200 it made it easier than ever for me to finally start learning.
I soon caught the TIG welding bug, and I found myself spending lunch breaks and free time trying to pick up the basics of TIG welding. I started with steel since it was less intimidating than learning to TIG weld aluminum. Above is a picture of my progress, and although my pace and steady hand hasn't fully developed yet, I was starting to get the hang of it. Ultimately I wanted to be able to weld thin gauge aluminum tubing for a custom intake project I had in the works. As soon as I started to feel comfortable welding steel I jumped right into learning to TIG weld aluminum (albeit too quickly). It was frustrating at first, but as they say "practice makes perfect"... or at least practice makes "better" in this case. Below you can see me practicing on some plate aluminum by welding bead after bead.
Fast forward to January, and I am ready to begin my custom intake project. I ordered up some 6061 .065 tubing and a pair of cast tight radius 90's. The first job in this process is to cut and weld the 90's together to create as tight of a 180 degree radius as possible. This was a bit daunting since 3" cast 90's aren't very cheap if I messed it up!
After I cut the pieces down and beveled the edges, I cleaned the weld area with a stainless brush, and Pre. I dropped the helmet down, took a deep breath, and began welding. Above you can see the results. I am satisfied with how it came out, I just need to keep practicing to get that consistent "stack of dimes" look. As I was welding, I did notice that the bevel I made was a bit wide at some points and made it difficult to keep the puddle consistent. I was also getting a lot of contaminants coming to the surface as I was welding, and I couldn't figure out why. After some thought today, it hit me that I prepped the immediate area around the joint, but I probably didn't clean a large enough area. That probably caused all of the contaminants I saw popping up in the leading edge of the puddle. Since I have to weld aother piece to this elbow, I decided to media blast the entire elbow and follow it up with our After Weld to get the surface etched clean. Now that I've taken those extra steps, I really can see how much cleaner the metal is. I'm pretty confident that's where the contaminants were coming from. Next time I can hit the joint with the stainless brush to remove any minuscule corrosion and enjoy a clean weld puddle!
With anything like this, I'll always be perfecting my skills. I have a long way to go, but I can assure you, that I am hooked on the art of TIG welding!