TIG Welding

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) – more commonly referred to as TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding – is an arc welding process that uses a nonconsumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. In TIG welding, a shielding gas is used to protect the weld area against atmospheric contamination.

Energy is supplied by a constant-current welding power supply, and the end result is a conduction of highly-ionized gas and metal vapors (also known as plasma) across the welding arc.

This energy is then transmitted over the arc, which forms a weld pool that connects the two metal workpieces together.

Although TIG welding can be used on all metals, it’s highly suited for welding thin sections of alumnium, stainless steel, and other light metals such as magnesium and copper alloys. One advantage to the TIG welding process is that it allows the welder a higher degree of control over the weld when compared to other processes such as MIG and stick welding. This control in turn allows for higher-quality, stronger welds in most cases.

Tig welding steel beams in an office buildingAnother advantage of TIG welding is that it used in tighter spots then other welding methods. It can also be used to weld small objects and thin metals, which is why this welding method is used in the electronics industry. TIG welding also offers very clean weld quality over other methods, with very little splatter or slag. And because it’s very versatile, this method can be used to weld almost any metal into almost any configuration.

It is the preferred method when high quality welds are extremely important, such as in the aircraft and naval industries. Plasma arc welding, which is a related process, still utilizes a tungsten electrode, but plasma gas is used to form the arc. Plasma is harder to control and is typically used in a automated or mechanized process.

TIG welding does have some drawbacks, however. It’s one of the more complicated and harder to learn welding techniques, and it’s relatively slow compared to other processes. This is another case of matching the welding process to the work that needs to be performed. If you need more welding speed, or you’re not working with light or thin metals, or you’re relatively new to welding, you might be better served using another technique.

Bear in mind that oxy-acetylene welding rods are compatible with TIG welding. You’ll want to use a small diameter tungsten rod. These rods are generally 36″ in length, and some common diameters are 1/16″, 3/32″ and 1/8″

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