Learning to TIG
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Thread: Learning to TIG

  1. #1
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    Learning to TIG

    So I finally have decided to learn how to TIG, only I'm trying to figure out how to go about it. A bit of background, I've always been interested really in TIG only, I know a little about the limitations and the possibilities related to TIG. I really like how TIG allows you to essentially weld anything, it's clean, no worries of much sparking, and you only really have to worry about argon for gas. The weirdest part is in truth I'm not sure I have much use for TIG other than just around the house and as a hobby. Years ago I did do a lot of work on our cars and that consisted of getting a lot of pieces welded, but in truth I'm not sure I'm going to be doing much of that now.

    The local colleges have some night courses that are avaliable, but they're going to be a bit out of the way. The college closest to me has welding courses but they are more geared towards getting a certification in welding which I have no interest in. The college farther away has a course that's just general welding that includes mig, tig, stick and arc.

    Of course there's also the part of me that figures I probably can just purchase an entry level TIG and teach myself.

    I don't think I'd have a problem teaching myself how to TIG, but I'm wondering if people who have taken some college courses feel that they got something invaluable for attending these courses? One thing I realize right away is I won't really know if what I'm putting together will hold since it'll just be trial and error most of the time.

    Thanks guys.

  2. #2
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Miller Diversion 180 + WeldingWeb = best chance to learn on your own.
    "Nothing welded, nothing gained."
    Miller Dynasty700DX, 3 ea. Dynasty350DX, Dynasty200DX, ThermalArc 400 GTSW, MillerMatic350P, MillerMatic200 with spoolgun, MKCobraMig260, Lincoln SP-170T,PlasmaCam/Hypertherm 1250, Hypertherm800

  3. #3
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    I started teaching myself Tig last year. I watched as many videos, particularly Jody's videos on www.welding-tv.com , and reading as much here as possible.

    I started on, and am still using, a scratch start Tig rig using my DialArc AC/DC machine, a tig torch with argon bottle and later added a high frequency start unit.

    I have found it an invaluable tool and is my favorite welding method.

    It took me a good three months of afternoons to kind of get the hang of it and I have just gotten better since. Still not near the level of some of the guys here such as Zapster, MinnesotaDave, SquirmyPug and others you will find here at WW.

    If you can afford it get a good machine by Miller or Lincoln. If not, get something used off Craigslist or eBay, such as an older Miller or Airco tig unit. They are a little crude by today's standards but you will get the basics out of them and a lot more. Only if you get heavy into aluminum tig will you need the latest and greatest.

    Also, if you do get into tig, don't go overboard buying consumables such as cups and tungsten. Just get setup for 1/16" Lanthanated tungsten and a medium gas lens set up with #7 cup. Also get setup for 3/32" Lanthanated tungsten with medium gas lens and #8 cup. Also keep a few standard collets and a few cups from #5 to #8 for simple steel tig. Get some ER70S-2 filler rod in 1/16" and 3/32" and maybe a little 1/16" 308L stainless filler.

    to me, the biggest challenge to learning tig was getting the heat set right for what I was welding and then getting the hang of the "puddle, dip, move" in the right order and speed of travel. Now, the biggest issue I have is I tend to dip my tungsten in the puddle too often and have to change the tungsten due to contamination.

    Lastly, if you cannot see your work you cannot tig weld. Make sure to have a well lit area with a good tig table setup with a good ground. If you have vision issues get a cheater lens that allows you to clearly see the puddle. I fought with seeing my puddle for weeks until I finally hung a parabolic reflector light above my work and added a 2.50 cheater lens to my welding helmet.
    Last edited by MWalden; 08-29-2013 at 02:05 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Going to class will help you learn faster because you have someone you can talk to and have inspect welds as you go. They also have metal and everything you need to weld so you don't have to find everything yourself. If you can't take classes getting help here is really a good way to learn. Be sure to have a good camera to post pictures.
    Airco Ac/Dc 300 Heliwelder
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  5. #5
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    If you are wanting to get into it as a hobby def. get your own rig and practice, but what you will pay for a class will be worth it after you factor materials gas and consumables as well as the instruction. As far as the class being geared for certification, go talk to the instructor. Tell him what you are wanting to accomplish and see if he will work with you.
    - Christian M.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by camjeep3 View Post
    If you are wanting to get into it as a hobby def. get your own rig and practice, but what you will pay for a class will be worth it after you factor materials gas and consumables as well as the instruction. As far as the class being geared for certification, go talk to the instructor. Tell him what you are wanting to accomplish and see if he will work with you.
    I spoke with the the instructor and essentially they told me no dice. Regardless if I only want to learn tig I have to take all the prereqs leading up to the class.

    There is another tech college that's quite a bit further from home, but they have an intro course to welding that introduces mig/tig/arc/stick that I am considering. On the other hand I'm just wondering if I get an entry level tig and just practice at home if that would work as well.

  7. #7
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyhead View Post
    I spoke with the the instructor and essentially they told me no dice. Regardless if I only want to learn tig I have to take all the prereqs leading up to the class.

    There is another tech college that's quite a bit further from home, but they have an intro course to welding that introduces mig/tig/arc/stick that I am considering. On the other hand I'm just wondering if I get an entry level tig and just practice at home if that would work as well.
    Where are you located?
    Lots of us here put on welding clinics and chances are you just may be near enough to one to attend..

    We do all this for FREE so if you can take advantage...


    ...zap!


    I am not completely insane..
    Some parts are missing

    Professional Driver on a closed course....
    Do not attempt.

  8. #8
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by zapster View Post
    Where are you located?
    Lots of us here put on welding clinics and chances are you just may be near enough to one to attend..

    We do all this for FREE so if you can take advantage...


    ...zap!
    Not.....entirely........free.

    MGDs required.

    If not MGDs, Keystones will do. Bring Fosters to degrease the parts.
    "Nothing welded, nothing gained."
    Miller Dynasty700DX, 3 ea. Dynasty350DX, Dynasty200DX, ThermalArc 400 GTSW, MillerMatic350P, MillerMatic200 with spoolgun, MKCobraMig260, Lincoln SP-170T,PlasmaCam/Hypertherm 1250, Hypertherm800

  9. #9
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    Not.....entirely........free.

    :
    Ahhhhhhhhhhh

    It is when me and Tozzi do it.

    ...zap!


    I am not completely insane..
    Some parts are missing

    Professional Driver on a closed course....
    Do not attempt.

  10. #10
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Hey Sleepy,

    Welcome to the forum. Like Zap said, post your location in case there are some forum members close by and/or we can be on the lookout for a good TIG welder for you.

    Like MWalden, I have been teaching myself TIG for a while. I started with scratch start and learned the basics until I finally found a good deal on an old syncrowave 250. But I can tell you it takes a LOT of practice. Videos, pictures, posting questions, etc. are all good, and I would encourage you to take a class (maybe a continuing ed class at the tech college?), but nothing will take the place of hood time.

    I go to the shop at 4:00 am and practice until about 5:45 am, and after about 3 months of that I can do "acceptable" most of the time, but certainly not where I want or need to be. Of course I may be a lot older than you and that could be part of it. But as a hobbiest, it is a blast and especially when you get in the groove and the bead looks like it is supposed to!

    I doubt I will ever recupe the cost of the machine, consumables, gas, metal, etc. but it is a great skill to have. I'm not in it for the money, but maybe after I retire in a few years I might pick up some extra income with it. Who knows?

    Find a good quality used TIG machine, there are some bargains if you look long enough. You will want AC if you plan to do aluminum. I agree on the 2% lanthanated, but I would stick with 3/32" tungstens and 3/32" filler until you get good enough that the size matters. Limiting the variables will help you learn each step sooner.
    Last edited by wb4rt; 08-29-2013 at 05:54 PM.
    Burt
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  11. #11
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by zapster View Post
    Ahhhhhhhhhhh

    It is when me and Tozzi do it.

    ...zap!
    In this heat it is either MGDs or the emergency room. But I hear Jonathan put in central air to the garage.
    "Nothing welded, nothing gained."
    Miller Dynasty700DX, 3 ea. Dynasty350DX, Dynasty200DX, ThermalArc 400 GTSW, MillerMatic350P, MillerMatic200 with spoolgun, MKCobraMig260, Lincoln SP-170T,PlasmaCam/Hypertherm 1250, Hypertherm800

  12. #12
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    I'm actually located out in Oklahoma.

  13. #13
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Margaritas are good......



    Miller Dynasty 350
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    Two English Springer Dogs
    Three Crow Bars


    Big Rock

  14. #14
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    I like that Street Outlaws show from Oklahoma, Murder Nova and the rest



    Miller Dynasty 350
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    Two English Springer Dogs
    Three Crow Bars


    Big Rock

  15. #15
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by B_C View Post
    I like that Street Outlaws show from Oklahoma, Murder Nova and the rest
    It's not on anymore..
    After Flip died everything went south...


    ...zap!


    I am not completely insane..
    Some parts are missing

    Professional Driver on a closed course....
    Do not attempt.

  16. #16
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by zapster View Post
    Where are you located?
    Lots of us here put on welding clinics and chances are you just may be near enough to one to attend..

    We do all this for FREE so if you can take advantage...


    ...zap!

    Hmmm... Any such clinics coming up in the SF Bay Area?

    To the OP, I got the Diversion 165 and have been learning on my own with feedback from here and --while I am still learning-- it does seem learnable. Much cleaner and more controllable than MIG welding. In the end the key seems to be all about practice and experience... And no better way to get practice than to have your own machine to work with.

  17. #17
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    Aug 2013
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    there are plenty of paperback tig learning manuals withphotos out there... i own two for years . i bet you can find them on Amazon or Ebay cheap!

  18. #18
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    [QUOTE=tom86951;3026081]Hmmm... Any such clinics coming up in the SF Bay Area?
    QUOTE]

    http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=269821&page=18

    This is about as close as it gets..

    ...zap!


    I am not completely insane..
    Some parts are missing

    Professional Driver on a closed course....
    Do not attempt.

  19. #19
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by tom86951 View Post
    Hmmm... Any such clinics coming up in the SF Bay Area?

    To the OP, I got the Diversion 165 and have been learning on my own with feedback from here and --while I am still learning-- it does seem learnable. Much cleaner and more controllable than MIG welding. In the end the key seems to be all about practice and experience... And no better way to get practice than to have your own machine to work with.
    That's a big reason I like the idea of tig, very controllable and very little if any splatter.

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