Tag Archives: how to TIG weld

  • TIG Welding Custom Air Ride Struts With TIG 200

    I've gotten into the mindset where I like to try and custom build or DIY as much as possible when building a car. While more and more small niche companies are making specialized parts to "bolt-on" your project, it's easier than ever to build a "custom" vehicle. Nothing beats being able to show off your ride at a show and have people notice all of the one-off modifications and parts. In the end I spend less money, and I don't need to wait for "custom" parts to show up in the mail. It's one of my secrets to completing project cars so quickly.

    This weekend I started tackling a project that is a perfect example of this topic. Currently I'm fitting one of my project vehicles with air ride suspension. A few sites offer high-priced, "bolt-on" kits, but they still aren't a true bolt-on affair. These kits also are way out of budget for this particular build. The first big piece of the puzzle are the rear air shocks. Since this is a small vehicle, I'm tight on space and opted to go with Air Lift Chapman style air struts. These are close to the same dimensions of the original rear suspension, but they need a mount solution where they meet the rear axle beam. Niche companies do sell accessories that allow you to bolt the struts on with out breaking out the welder. But the cost to buy them, and wait for them to be made, and arrive to me; I could've saved time and $150-$200.

    I decided to take a pair of worn out, original rear shocks and cut the bottoms off with the end links and use my Eastwood TIG 200 to mate them together. Luckily the Air Lift rear air struts came beveled at the bottoms to make a nice valley to lay the filler rod in. I also ground a small bevel on the original shock bottoms.

    I then set my TIG 200 up on a 110V outlet and set the output at the pedal to be a max of 120 Amps. I decided to use an .030 filler rod to produce a small, tight puddle that wouldn't protrude from the joint too much. I found myself hovering the pedal around 75% which was about 100-110 Amps. The results were pretty good given that I am definitely still a beginner to TIG welding.

    In the end I spent about an hour total modifying these air struts, and saved myself a significant amount of money and wait time. If you do this a few times even on one project, you can see how you've quickly paid for your welder, and have the satisfaction of having parts you made yourself!

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  • TIG Welding Cast Aluminum Elbows- A Beginners Journey.

    TIG Welding Training

    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.

    Learning how to TIG Weld on Steel

    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.

    Learning to TIG weld aluminum

    Practing TIG Welding Aluminum

    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!

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  • Practicing TIG Welding.

    This is a lead in from some of our other "beginners TIG welding" articles. Once you have started getting your technique and hand positions down on a piece of flat metal. Then make sure your beads are looking satisfactory (and uniform) and then you can move to laying some welds on a simple butt joint. The key when learning, is to make sure you have the two pieces clamped together tightly before welding. The larger the gap in your butt joint, the harder it will be for a beginner to fill the joint, and make a nice weld. I like to clamp the piece at both ends, then put small tack welds on each end before running your beads. Make sure you watch your puddle as you weld the joint, and be sure it doesn't get too large and start blowing the gap apart. First try running beads on these joints in between practice runs on flat metal. Eventually you will start to mimic your better weld beads from your flat stock to your butt joints.

    Remember Practice Makes Perfect!

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