Tungsten for TIG aluminum?
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  1. #1
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    Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Is there a good tungsten for aluminum that is best?

    I just tried on my new square wave 175 with 2% thoriated and it basically immediately balled up my sharp point and then melted it back into the cup.....

    I can do steel just fine on DCEN but when I flip to AC for aluminum everything went straight to hell......

    Any ideas?
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  2. #2
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    Is that an inverter ? My guess is yes because it balls up. If its not an inverter try green (pure) but it will still ball up on a transformer machine and from what I have read its normal. Green isn't recommended on an inverter, not sure why but that is what the manual says on mine.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    I know nothing about welding..so just ignore what I am about to say...
    but the 30 minutes of instruction I got with my Miller Heliarc machine from the seller... in 1972 ....
    indicated that for aluminum I would WANT a ball on the end... (???)
    which may be reinforced by some of this search...

    https://www.google.com/search?q=ball...=hp&channel=np

    and I might have missed the question... so I am covered in all directions... I have told you I know nothing...and have admitted I might not even have understood the question...
    LOL
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  4. #4
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Ceriated ( orange band ) sharpened to a point with small flat on the end.

  5. #5
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    I use a only green tungsten at my PrecisionTig 275, transformer based machine.

    But in my Invertec V205 I can change the frequency, and working at high frequency, more than 100 Hz, works better 2% thoriated, to focus the arc, and maintain the tungsten sharp with a small ball at the end
    Mauricio

  6. #6
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Maybe my Tungsten is just to small...... 1/16th is what I have..... Maybe it won't take the amps....

    I'll still get some Ceriated though and try again.....
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  7. #7
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Fexal,

    Not trying to sound like an azz, but have you even done a search on tungsten selection.

    Just a couple threads down from your's is a poster complaining about his thoriated tungsten and aluminum.

    It's been stated/discussed many times that thoriated is probably NOT the best tungsten for welding in AC. For the transformer based machines (like your's) many swear by the older pure which forms a ball. If you prefer the ball, the zirconated tungsten will handle the heat a little better than the pure, but will still form the ball.

    On both my transformer and inverter, I've gone exclusively to the 2% Lanthanated for AC welding.

    For me, the thoriated tends to split and form small balls around the perimeter of the tungsten when welding in AC. I do use it for DC welding.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Nope I didn't search..... Just fired off a question......

    I'll do that search tonight after my one garage welding day per week is over.....
    Never weld more in the morning than you can grind off in the afternoon.....
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  9. #9
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    I tried the 2% lanthanated on Sundown's advise and found it to be very good. Takes a while to land the ball after pointing, but hold's well without spitting.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Hello Fexal, here is a link to some very good information on tungsten selection. Take a look and do a bit of reading. You'll get a lot of explanation for specific uses. Best regards, Allan

    http://www.weldcraft.com/parts-acces...en-electrodes/
    aevald

  11. #11
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    33 years in this business and all I've ever used is 2% thoriated tungsten. Haven't had a problem that wasn't my own fault yet.
    Two turn tables and a microphone.

  12. #12
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Fexal,

    In reality, you didn't really need to reply.

    It was obvious that you hadn't done a search as many of our newer posters don't seem to want to put forth any effort. Why would you be any different.

    If new guys did a little research on their own, there would be little need for the same dang basic questions being asked time and time again. Do they really think that "their question" is so unique that something similar hasn't come up in the past.

    It's amazing how much information is out there if you just do a little work.

    This particular question was expecially glaring since there had just been 2+ pages of comments/recommendations that would have provided the OP information if he had just looked for it, all on the front page of the forum.

    A little work by a new poster will go a long ways. Some of us get a little tired of "spoon feeding" the new guys.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Pangea,

    LMAO

    33 years ago they didn't even make Lanthanated tungsten.

    Are you still driving a 1980 Ford F100 pickup, with no power and getting 12 MPG?

    "That's the way we've ALWAYS done it." Sound familar?

    Wonder why there are some "rather informed people", to include the tungsten manufacturers and builders of welding machines (Miller, Lincoln, etc) that tend to disagree with you.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Here is a good video on tungsten selection for an inverter:

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O07lSG5_hg[/ame]
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  15. #15
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Pangea has done enough aerospace work he could probably get decent results with a sharpened (thoriated) dog turd.
    Last edited by farmall; 04-14-2012 at 09:37 PM.

  16. #16
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    SundownIII, you cranky old phart! Just because they invent some new whizbang doodad that they claim does better than the old stuff, I aint falling for it! Humph, next thing you know they will be selling pre-sliced bread! And why did they get rid of the hand crank on the front of the automobile?
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  17. #17
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fexal View Post
    Is there a good tungsten for aluminum that is best?

    I just tried on my new square wave 175 with 2% thoriated and it basically immediately balled up my sharp point and then melted it back into the cup.....

    I can do steel just fine on DCEN but when I flip to AC for aluminum everything went straight to hell......

    Any ideas?
    Might be because you didn't give it some time to purge all the air out of the line, first.
    Last edited by Joshfromsaltlake; 04-15-2012 at 12:25 AM.

  18. #18
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Thoriated tungsten works very well on AC. Believe it or not the problem is something you're doing (or not doing).
    The more positive you set your wave balance, the more heat the tungsten has to deal with.
    If you are using a 1-1/6" tungsten, it will only handle something like 80-100amps (less than the DC rating when running AC). If you're trying to blast limitless current through it and wondering why it's melting then all I can say is RTFM.
    Last edited by MikeGyver; 04-15-2012 at 05:39 AM.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Fexal,

    As Mike said above, the wave balance is gonna have something to do with it. Watch Jodi's video from Welding Tips and Tricks.com on tungsten selection also. He does a quick blast at 200 amps with various types of tungstens. Lanthanated holds up the best.

    As most said above, get some 2% Lanthanated and don't look back. It even holds up better than Ceriated on AC, at least for me. Works great in DC too. I recently welded aluminum from .060 up to 3/16" with a 3/32" Lanthanted and it kept a tiny ball on the end of a sharp point the whole time, even with full pedal at 200 amps.
    Last edited by Drf255; 04-15-2012 at 05:59 AM.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Thanks for the advise Drf....

    This machine doesn't have any controls other than TIG/STICK, amp dial and pedal, and AC....... I don't get to set anything else.........

    I also downloaded the manual from the Lincoln site....... will try again tomorrow and Wednesday........ I hope to report back that i got it figured out.......
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  21. #21
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    On a transformerb I typically use 2% thoriated, some times pure, but not typical, because I have a boat load of 2% (rEd band) on an inverter, I use 2% thoriated and 2% ceriated. I do find though with the. Thoriated if you go a little to far with the amperage it will spit and contaminate the puddle. I have yet to try pure but I doubt it will hold up.

  22. #22
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Jodie shows that 2% Lanthanated holds up to amps on AC really well...... which is what others here have said too......

    I'll be getting some of that this week........
    Never weld more in the morning than you can grind off in the afternoon.....
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  23. #23
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    The synchro and square wave machines, unless you have a ex model with all the little knobs, are typically set at a wave balance of 60. So your tungsten is gonna see a good deal of heat from the dcep side of the ac waveform. Step up your tungsten, 16th is too small. I typically like to run 1/8 and 5/32 for aluminum unless it something really thin.

  24. #24
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    Try 3/32, seems to be an all around good size. I only use thoritated or lanthanated. I tried ceriated and didn't like it.
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  25. #25
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    Re: Tungsten for TIG aluminum?

    I have an SW175 and it welds steel with nearly "anything" I stick in the torch (don't use pure) and any issues are caused by me (operator error). For aluminum I've run pure, lanthanated, and ceriated and had good results with all of them. I didn't have much luck running thoriated on aluminum. I find that the end splits and causes me issues. I found that it would weld aluminum, but the others did it much better in my hands. Honestly I find that I can use ceriated or lanthanated for everything and it works great. I used to switch between thoriated and pure (steel and aluminum) when I got the machine, but not anymore.

    Also, I run 3/32 on almost everything. If it's particularly thin stuff I'll go back to 1/16 or .040, but those times are really rare.
    Kevin

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