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View Full Version : Tig electrode sharpener? any recommendations?



Ducman82
09-06-2011, 12:09 PM
Hey fellas.

Im in the market for a good sharpener thats not a thousand dollars, but good for the at home/ small shop work environment. what do you use? pros cons?

thanks alot!

Donoharm
09-06-2011, 12:46 PM
so you're doing some orbital welding?

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 01:17 PM
A very simple, cheap and easy to use sharpener can be bought from..............I hate to say it...................Harbor Freight! http://www.harborfreight.com/catalog...lade+sharpener

Remove one guard that encloses the diamond wheel, chuck your tungsten in a drill and have at it. You can put any angle you want on very easily and can blunt the points if you want and use it to cut your tungsten to length.

I've used one for about 2 years now and love it. Be sure to use a 20% off coupon!

shovelon
09-06-2011, 01:29 PM
If you want something multipurpose. This is it. I have 2 of them. When the belt gets dull, flip it over and use it some more. I use this sander not only for sharpening my tungstens, I grind, radius, chamfer, and deburr parts with it also.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/212%2BxrcQbFL._SL500_SL160_.jpg The cost about $400 bucks. Bought mine about 20 years ago and other than having to reskin the backing plate they are holding up like a champ. I still believe they are made in USA.

Ducman82
09-06-2011, 01:56 PM
If you want something multipurpose. This is it. I have 2 of them. When the belt gets dull, flip it over and use it some more. I use this sander not only for sharpening my tungstens, I grind, radius, chamfer, and deburr parts with it also.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/212%2BxrcQbFL._SL500_SL160_.jpg The cost about $400 bucks. Bought mine about 20 years ago and other than having to reskin the backing plate they are holding up like a champ. I still believe they are made in USA.



thats not a bad idea....

fdcmiami
09-06-2011, 02:02 PM
this is not a home item but i guess it could be; i keep it in my gang box on the truck. you can rest it on a flat surface upside down and lock the trigger to the on position and grind away. it's a little expensive but i see them on CL sometimes. beats the 7 in milwaukee grinder.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000223HB/ref=asc_df_B0000223HB1691782?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=pg-900-95-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395097&creativeASIN=B0000223HB

fdcmiami
09-06-2011, 02:05 PM
Bosch 1274DVS 3 x 21 in. Variable Speed Belt Sander ; amazon links verboten it would seem.

this is the unit.

skelley521
09-06-2011, 02:22 PM
I am getting ready to test the 2% lanthanated.
I have free samples coming from various vendors. They are pre-ground with different tapered angles. Some fine point and some are blunt.
I requested the standard 20RA smooth ground finish over the 10RA mirror polish.
Can't wait to test out the different included angle per taper to find out how they hold up to the different amperage.

Edit: I just use a 6" sanding pad on a grinder, 80 grit on it at the moment. Also have a StiloTig enroute also.

welds4d
09-06-2011, 02:50 PM
I normally just use a belt sander as well. You can chuck your tungsten in a drill if desired. I have a little home-made gizmo that another welder turned me onto years ago, made out of a piece of small SS tubing and a bent piece of TIG wire...looks like a slide whistle....the tungsten rotates from the friction of the sander or grinder...

skelley521
09-06-2011, 02:50 PM
Hey Bob, I've been eyeballin' the blade sharpener out for some time now.
How much of the wheel face has a diamond surface and how many time can you sharpen before replacing?

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 03:13 PM
Mine has a band of fine diamond coating that is 9/16" wide on a 4" diameter wheel. I bought an extra wheel with mine (about $10 IIRCC) but have not had to replace mine yet. I have turned it around and have started using the other side.

If you touch up your tungsten before it gets all messed up it will last quite a long time. It does just as good as our $1000 dollar sharpener at the union hall and way better than using a sanding belt or a tiger paw on an angle grinder. Plus it's pretty darn quite. I've been using mine for a couple of years (not that much welding at home but I do sharpen my tungsten for work a lot of the time). Can't hardly go wrong for around $50-$60. Overall, I'm VERY happy with mine.

skelley521
09-06-2011, 03:21 PM
Nice, Thanks Bob. Gonna pick one up this weekend.

GBM
09-06-2011, 03:31 PM
Bob, that link does not work for me... can you list the SKU numbers on what you are referring to ? I tried entering my own search but several things might qualify for what you were referring to... Thanks...
Or skelly ...can you point me in the right direction ?

skelley521
09-06-2011, 03:37 PM
Here (http://www.harborfreight.com/120-volt-circular-saw-blade-sharpener-96687.html)

shovelon
09-06-2011, 08:37 PM
Are you talking about this?
http://www.harborfreight.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/370x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/image_11980.jpg

I see the black blade cover. Is this what you remove?

skelley521
09-06-2011, 08:49 PM
Yeah, cover/guard, if it's in you way and small children don't have access to the switch.

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 09:04 PM
This cover.

72382

GBM
09-06-2011, 09:05 PM
Thanks, looks very nice...
Might could make another cover with proper size and direction holes in it .... perhaps even clear so you could see the progress....

zapster
09-06-2011, 09:09 PM
Regular 'ol bench grinder on a pedstal base with the guard removed is what I use..

Stand behind it and use the top of the wheel..

Cordless drill works great as a spinner..

...zap!

CEP
09-06-2011, 09:22 PM
Regular 'ol bench grinder on a pedstal base with the guard removed is what I use..

Stand behind it and use the top of the wheel..

Cordless drill works great as a spinner..

...zap!

Like so?:laugh:

zapster
09-06-2011, 09:25 PM
Like so?:laugh:

Sorta..
Lose the guard and stand behind it..
Sparks go away from you..

...zap!

CEP
09-06-2011, 09:34 PM
How do you get around OSHA with the guard removed? I've been nailed by OSHA for having the rest more than an 1/8-inch from the wheel!:rolleyes:

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 09:36 PM
Won't give near as nice a finish as the saw sharpener. Can't blunt the points very well with a grinder. Does work OK though.

zapster
09-06-2011, 09:39 PM
Won't give near as nice a finish as the saw sharpener. Can't blunt the points very well with a grinder. Does work OK though.

I never blunt a point.

...zap!

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 09:40 PM
By CEP;


How do you get around OSHA with the guard removed?

At home use. A lot better than holding a 4 1/2" grinder with one hand while sharpening your tungsten with the other. But then again, I've never seen an OSHA inspector in a boiler.

zapster
09-06-2011, 09:41 PM
How do you get around OSHA with the guard removed? I've been nailed by OSHA for having the rest more than an 1/8-inch from the wheel!:rolleyes:

They don't bother us..

...zap!

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 09:41 PM
I usually don't blunt a point either. Some do though.

soutthpaw
09-06-2011, 09:42 PM
This is what I use. http://www.harborfreight.com/bench-grinder-with-flex-shaft-43533.html

zapster
09-06-2011, 09:43 PM
I usually don't blunt a point either. Some do though.

Yeah I know but I still have not figgered out why...

..zap!

skelley521
09-06-2011, 09:44 PM
So what does everyone grind their tungsten at:
Angle; Tip Dia. and amps, etc?

I usually go for 3/32 & 1/8 with 35 & 45 deg angle for high amps.
tip: 3/32 = .005 -.030 & 1/8= .010 - .040 depending on amps also

Edit: I don't grind with anything under 80 grit.

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 09:49 PM
By southpaw;


This is what I use.

Try the saw sharpener and you'll throw that in the trash. Real nice finish from the fine diamond wheel, plus your grind on your tungsten will be straight because of the flat grinding surface.

CEP
09-06-2011, 09:49 PM
So what does everyone grind their tungsten at:
Angle; Tip Dia. and amps, etc?

I sharpen them differently, depends on what I'm doing.

skelley521
09-06-2011, 09:54 PM
Nice CEP, looks like you got the temp good judging buy the straw & peacock colors.

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 09:59 PM
Usually sharpen to about 2 or 2 1/2 times the diameter. My TIG welding is at about 70 to 100 amps. Mostly at about 85.

skelley521
09-06-2011, 10:08 PM
Bob, do you flatten the tip any?
I've prepped a few dutchman in my day as a permit hand.
I'm still amazed watching you guys tig that tight circle and pass arc between the membrane.

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 10:13 PM
Seldom blunt a tungsten at home, never on the job. Not real hard if you can get comfortable. That seldom happens though! Definitely takes practice!:gunsfirin Some guys make it look sooooooooo easy!!!:p

skelley521
09-06-2011, 10:27 PM
Some guys make it look sooooooooo easy!!!:p

Yeah, for sure!
Practice is what I'm doing, Got that 6G common arc test coming up soon.
Just got called for a 3 day job tomorrow, oh well, looks like vacation is over for the moment anyways.

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 10:40 PM
Yeah, I'm leaving tomorrow to work refuel at a nuke up north. Good luck on your test!

SR20steve
09-06-2011, 10:45 PM
I usually don't blunt a point either. Some do though.

I always do just because I've heard of folks melting the fine tip off during welding and it becoming tungsten inclusion on a x-ray, and that's allot harder to notice than if you stuck your tungsten and the sort...probably wouldnt even notice.

gordfraser
09-06-2011, 11:09 PM
I flatten the tip ever so slightly unless Im doing real thin stuff at low amps

I used to use an old wheel in my skate sharpener ( most important tool in the shop) I'd wait till
I had lots to sharpen then put on a worn wheel and chuck Em in my cordless.

Now I have a triad. ( thanks josey) and use that. Down side is the the wheels are $60 each and don't last forever, but it does save humping the skate sharpener in the truck. Lol

Bob the Welder
09-06-2011, 11:20 PM
In a boiler you usually only have an angle grinder to dress your tungsten. One of those fancy little Dremel type grinders don't sound very good banging off the tubes on the way to the ash hopper 200 feet below!

bboyd
09-07-2011, 12:19 AM
How bout this idea guys? I have just been tinkering with the idea and i would like to have some support around the diamond wheel, but im not sure about the ring. Just a single piece of flatbar horizontally in front of the wheel, notched for different angles may be a better solution. Open to any and all criticism/suggestions.

Cost, not including scrap steel for the box:
12V generic AC fan blower: $17
Diamond faced cutting wheel: $7 (harbor freight)

I know 12V is not ideal, but I have a 20A bench power supply in the garage. The motor will be switched, so i suppose a small car battery would last for quite a while on a charge as well.

Brad

Tool Maker
09-07-2011, 12:20 AM
Wow this tungsten sharpening thing sounds strange to me. After grinding my tungston on almost anything that grinds for 40 years and shaping it for the job I haven't even thought about it for ages. I think right now I like using my belt grinder best. I just hold it in my hands and spin it with my fingers and it comes out fine. I will say you have better control if your grinding scratches run the length of the tungsten and not around it. And if you sharpen it very sharp you can always ball the tip at any time that you want to while welding. Mac

shovelon
09-07-2011, 02:20 AM
Wow this tungsten sharpening thing sounds strange to me. After grinding my tungston on almost anything that grinds for 40 years and shaping it for the job I haven't even thought about it for ages. I think right now I like using my belt grinder best. I just hold it in my hands and spin it with my fingers and it comes out fine. I will say you have better control if your grinding scratches run the length of the tungsten and not around it. And if you sharpen it very sharp you can always ball the tip at any time that you want to while welding. Mac

Shame on you!:laugh:

How dare you use a multi-use tool to sharpen your tungsten. I will bet you can even use different grit belts on your belt grinder. That is cheating.:cool2::cool2:

shovelon
09-07-2011, 02:29 AM
In a boiler you usually only have an angle grinder to dress your tungsten.

I am surprised they don't give you a box of presharpened tungstens to hang off your belt. If you blow thru them, you can grind them on that nifty blade sharpener on your break. THEY DO GIVE YOU A BREAK I HOPE!

skelley521
09-07-2011, 04:56 AM
It will be interesting to see what these pre-ground tungsten's will do.
Especially since they will be ground to specs w/ the flat tip dia. put on each for a specific amperage.
They say with the mirror polish finished ones that you can't see a arc?
Who watches the arc?
We all know that tungsten is very forgiving, I just wanted to see what they do when done to a certain spec. and since they were free, what the hell ;)
Now I may call them back and get some of the mirror finish, I wanna see this Houdini arc....lol

skelley521
09-07-2011, 05:11 AM
Here is some info they sent me via email:

Electrode Tip/Flat: The shape of the tungsten electrode tip is an important process
variable in precision arc welding. A good selection of tip/flat size will balance the need
for several advantages. The bigger the flat, the more likely arc wander will occur and the
more difficult it will be to arc start. However, increasing the flat to the maximum level
that still allows arc start and eliminates arc wonder will improve the weld penetration
and increase the electrode life. Some welders still grind electrodes to a sharp point,
which makes arc starting easier. However, they risk decreased welding performance
from melting at the tip and the possibility of the point falling off in the weld pool. In
situations where very low amperage is used or short weld cycles are used (i.e., one
second or less), a pointed electrode is desirable; however, for other situations it would
be beneficial to prepare a flat at the end of the electrode.
Guidelines for testing can be found in Table 6; also refer to the welding equipment
manufacturer’s recommendations. During the welding operation, the accurately ground
tip of a tungsten electrode is at a temperature in excess of 3000° C (5500° F). Incorrect
or inconsistent diameter flat at the tip of the tungsten electrode can lead to the following
problems:
• Pointed electrode tip drops into weld pool creating weld defect
• Reduction in electrode life
• Arc instability
• Change in arc voltage from one electrode to another due to inconsistent tip shape
In AC welding, pure or zirconiated tungsten electrodes melt to form a hemispherical
balled end. For DC welding, thoriated, ceriated, or lanthanated tungsten electrodes are
usually used. For the latter, the end is typically ground to a specific included angle, often
with a truncated end. Various electrode tip geometries affect the weld bead shape and
size. In general, as the included angle increases, the weld penetration increases and
the width of the weld bead decreases. Although small diameter electrodes may be used
with a square end preparation for DCEN (Direct Current Electrode Negative) welding,
conical tips provide improved welding performance.

It's too early for me to read it, gotta sheet; shower & shave then I'm out the door,
Laters

Welding_Swede
09-07-2011, 08:08 AM
A very simple, cheap and easy to use sharpener can be bought from..............I hate to say it...................Harbor Freight! http://www.harborfreight.com/catalog...lade+sharpener

Remove one guard that encloses the diamond wheel, chuck your tungsten in a drill and have at it. You can put any angle you want on very easily and can blunt the points if you want and use it to cut your tungsten to length.

I've used one for about 2 years now and love it. Be sure to use a 20% off coupon!

So, it looks to me like you would be grinding the tungsten laterally with striations at a right angle to the electrode. Does that work alright? Everything I've been taught about grinding tungsten stresses grinding longitudinally or it will affect the arc stability. Just asking.

I use the bench grinder with a dedicated wheel but the HF solution has some potential (yeah, and I hate to say it too).

Eric

Bob the Welder
09-07-2011, 09:04 AM
By shovelon;


I am surprised they don't give you a box of presharpened tungstens to hang off your belt. If you blow thru them, you can grind them on that nifty blade sharpener on your break. THEY DO GIVE YOU A BREAK I HOPE!

Got a small round tube of tungsten that I have sharpened at home and is ready to go. One 6" piece of tungsten will make 3 pieces for welding, that makes 6 good points. You can go through a lot of tungsten in a longgggggg shift. It's usually hot, dark, dirty, very cramped, and generally a very nasty place to be. If you are hanging from the roof tubes in a buggy you better hope that you have everything you need with you when you go up.

Not very often that the tube you are welding is right in front of you. It may be 6 tubes deep in a panel and you will have to weld the backside with a mirror. Better have a steady hand! If you're lucky you can spread the panels with come-alongs and get a little room so you can buddy weld. Or you could be on the outside of the boiler but the weld might be behind one of the buckstays and very hard to reach.

But if you fumble and drop your supply of tungsten you will never see it again. Sometimes they have a tungsten grinder on the job but it's usually a mechanic outside the boiler sharpening with an angle grinder. It gets you by.

Breaks on an emergency outage are a luxury. You do get some but they are usually few and far between. After all, you've got a steam machine to get back on line!

Bob the Welder
09-07-2011, 09:14 AM
By Welding_Swede;


So, it looks to me like you would be grinding the tungsten laterally with striations at a right angle to the electrode.

I chuck my tungsten in a cordless drill (I cut a new piece in three sections and sharpen both ends) and hold it so the grind marks are in line with the length of the tungsten. Very easy to do. It leaves a very nice finish, the diamond coating is a fine "dust" not coarse and lumpy.

soutthpaw
09-09-2011, 03:43 AM
Here is my cheap tungsten grinder. Harbor Freight 3 1/2 inch bench grinder with the buffer side wheel modded to take the HF diamond 4" saw sharpener wheel (about $10) a piece of 1/4" scratch resistant plexiglass added so you all don't give me :angry: for no guard...
this is nice for cutting off contaminated tungsten too. and it does not need to be bolted down to use it..
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j61/soutthpaw/misc/2011-09-08162324.jpg
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j61/soutthpaw/misc/2011-09-08162337.jpg

I posted this in another thread but made more sense here

skelley521
09-09-2011, 07:26 AM
That wheel needs dressed....lol
I'm going this weekend to pick mine up. Still waiting on those pre-grounds.
The Stilo tig holder arrived, ready to try it out also.

soutthpaw
09-09-2011, 09:07 AM
That wheel needs dressed....lol
I'm going this weekend to pick mine up. Still waiting on those pre-grounds.
The Stilo tig holder arrived, ready to try it out also.
That's a special pre grooved tungsten wheel:laugh:

skelley521
09-09-2011, 09:08 AM
Nice, I like it :)

papaharley03
09-09-2011, 11:36 AM
Southpaw, that's the same unit I was considering. I guess it has enough cajones to grind the tungsten ok. I want something small that I can locate close to the welding table.

Could you possibly share your method for modding the buffer side to accept the diamond blade?

Thanks,

Papa

soutthpaw
09-09-2011, 12:21 PM
here is the blade I used http://www.harborfreight.com/replacement-wheels-for-the-120-volt-circular-saw-blade-sharpener-98862.html i just had to get a spacer I think 10mm ID and a couple of washers inside the ones that hold the buffer. Also got a washer that fit snug over the shaft and then just ran the OD on a grinder till it filled the ID hole in the grinder wheel... It is a fairly fine grit diamond too. similar to the grit on the little dremel type diamond blades. Oh you have to cut the housing off from the buffer side as its too small to fit the diamond wheel. I just used a sawzall and cut it in place

papaharley03
09-09-2011, 03:28 PM
here is the blade I used http://www.harborfreight.com/replacement-wheels-for-the-120-volt-circular-saw-blade-sharpener-98862.html i just had to get a spacer I think 10mm ID and a couple of washers inside the ones that hold the buffer. Also got a washer that fit snug over the shaft and then just ran the OD on a grinder till it filled the ID hole in the grinder wheel... It is a fairly fine grit diamond too. similar to the grit on the little dremel type diamond blades. Oh you have to cut the housing off from the buffer side as its too small to fit the diamond wheel. I just used a sawzall and cut it in place

Thanks! I think I will go this route.

skelley521
09-09-2011, 03:45 PM
Is that a 10k max rpm grinder?
Just make sure you don't exceed the wheel's max rpm's.
"6600 RPM maximum speed"

kidtigger24
09-09-2011, 05:13 PM
The Stilo tig holder arrived, ready to try it out also.

Good luck getting that thing to work. If you figure it out, please post how to make it work. I have one, and the tungsten doesn't rotate and it just leaves a big flat. :gunsfirin Completely forgot about it, so now I'm stuck with it. Maybe you will have better luck.

kidtigger24

sqznby
09-30-2011, 05:00 PM
The Stilo tig holder arrived, ready to try it out also.


I am very curious about the Stilo Tig to. I have been debating on getting one for quite some time and cant really find any decent reviews on them. Please post a review when you get it and put some tungsten through it.

Thanks