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Thread: Learning to TIG

  1. #1
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    Learning to TIG

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    Spent several days lurking the site to setup for a small boat patch and repair job. Looks good and holds back the tide (now that it is flap disced and painted ), won't be posting any of that here.
    I would greatly appreciate some feedback so I ran a few feet of sample on base metal 5052, .050 thick. Only a few inches worth of that practice is something I consider welded. Clearly more time under the hood is required before hand/eye coordination settles down.

    Here are my settings;
    Argon (SG?) set to 15 (CFH?) postflow 5
    1/16 electrode, 2% thoriated
    Amps 140, Arc Control 40%, AC balance 8, High Freq on.

    I hot-tacked the lap joint and welded one side autogenous, the other with 4043 filler. Sheetmetal just potato chipped around and I figured it would be good training for holding consistent electrode gap. Going to setup a better table top, any downside to using aluminum plate? I found some in pretty good shape but have only ever welded on steel tables.

    Anyway, have a look, interested in any advice to help me improve my welding. It is only perfect practice that makes perfect.
    Last edited by _Dom; 05-18-2016 at 01:04 PM. Reason: photos
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Definately looks better with the filler. You will find that adding filler cools the weld a bit as well. I like a close arc myself.

    As far as table top, steel would be better. Alum on alum will gall and not last, but can work in a pinch.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    ... I like a close arc myself.

    As far as table top, steel would be better. Alum on alum will gall and not last, but can work in a pinch.
    Thanks Shovelon, I am thinking that a thick tabletop will help control the heat, had trouble finding the patience to wait for thin stuff to cool. Read on another thread the arc length should be equal to the electrode diameter but I can't seem to keep the tungsten clean that close.

    Agreed steel top would be best, found some 5/16 Al that will work on my existing table but don't want to waste this material if it is not going to work. 6061-T6, precision flat, been sitting on original pallett for years so I know it is not planned for anything specific.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by _Dom View Post
    Thanks Shovelon, I am thinking that a thick tabletop will help control the heat, had trouble finding the patience to wait for thin stuff to cool. Read on another thread the arc length should be equal to the electrode diameter but I can't seem to keep the tungsten clean that close.

    Agreed steel top would be best, found some 5/16 Al that will work on my existing table but don't want to waste this material if it is not going to work. 6061-T6, precision flat, been sitting on original pallet for years so I know it is not planned for anything specific.
    That is thin stuff you are welding. Some people would choose a smaller tungsten and use the corresponding arc length. I weld soda cans with a 3/32 tungsten and have an arc length of about 1/64" but grind the tungsten needle sharp with a taper at least 4 times the diameter.

    Unless you are restraining your weldment I don't where you are going with heat control from the table top. I would never use an alum backer on an alum weld. However I do use alum fixtures. All my tables are 1/2" to 1 1/2" steel, some blanchard ground, some not. I weld steel or stainless steel with alum backers though. Either should do the job at hand.

    Where in SoCal are you?
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    Unless you are restraining your weldment I don't where you are going with heat control from the table top. I would never use an alum backer on an alum weld. However I do use alum fixtures.
    Where in SoCal are you?
    Thin is an understatement, some spots on the boat hull were corroded to dust.
    Restraining to aluminum table is exactly the question I was trying to ask, sounds like I should be OK to clamp to it for steel, stainless and aluminum. I have no experience with backing plates. I find myself blowing out the bottom of this thin stuff but expect to improve with practice. Would be a bummer to weld some part I was trying to "repair" down onto the tabletop. Will ask the boss about repurposing the plate I found.
    I am working in Long Beach, out on Terminal Island.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    1/64 arc length sounds like a good challenge for me, seems like my hands shake with greater magnitude. Gotta stop hitting the electrode with filler rod as well. Good news is I have been getting better at sharpening tungsten. Can't seem to find the collets for 3/32, off to LWS...
    Next practice will be stick welding, haven't run 7018 in many years. Planning to attempt a root pass with TIG and fill/cap 7018. Thought a J groove would be interesting, I am building a hitch for the back of a golf cart we run around the site.
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    Will be lurking the safety threads as I try to figure out which respirator to use. Safety told me awhile back I didn't need one for TIG but stick welding fumes are another story.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Better start with a standard disclaimer, no innocent bystanders, children or puppies are at risk with this little hitch.
    Will be mounted to an electric golf cart we use onsite, occasionally tow a small cart on four casters, commonly known as a mercury flat. Picked up a Miller respirator which fits nicely under the Speedglas AD hood I am using. Ready to start practicing the 7018, found some old 1/8" in a conditioning oven, didn't look too bad, also 3/32" NOS, still in the box. Plugged in the oven, man that thing really cooks, 1/8" powdered up after a few days in the oven so it is headed for the scrap bin. 3/32" runs fairly smooth, might get a bead worthy of posting.

    Settings for the root pass;
    3/32" electrode, 2% thoriated
    Amps at 250, DCEN
    AC balance 3
    Crater, Arc Control, High Freq OFF
    Argon flowing 15 CFH

    Started off thinking the J-groove is a little shallow, hot tacks went in OK so I made a pass, flipped it over and welded in the corner

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    So far so good, decided to open up the groove a little on the next piece, turns out I should have kept grinding...

    Didn't feel right and visual inspection after welding indicates a void right down to middle
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Last edited by _Dom; 05-26-2016 at 05:11 PM. Reason: Tried to delete duplicate image
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Inside corner of that piece was the first pass, pictures are a little out of sequence. Gotta get better at the image processing.

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    Clear void between passes when viewed from the edge, thought I had a good picture but no, off to the bandsaw!

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    Call this DPA, destructive physical analysis. Thinking to dial in amps and skip the pedal. Have been touch starting, trying to get a feel for whipping the filler, still needs practice. I may pad a few before I attempt re-welding this root.

    Used a 1/16" filler rod to set the gap as seen above, do I need more gap between parts as well as deeper "J" groove?

    Anybody think the first piece needs more chamfer before 7018 top pass?

    All comments welcome, just trying to improve my understanding of this process. Would never have gotten this far without all your help.
    Last edited by _Dom; 05-26-2016 at 05:29 PM.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Measured the remaining groove on the first piece, 5/32" deep x 7/32" wide. (todays first picture)
    Running 3/8" stickout on the electrode inside those corners, maybe a little less on the outside.
    3/32" filler rod, start with electrode gap to match tungsten and filler, hard for me to see the puddle and gap until it is too late! May bring a gold lens from home(?)
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    That seems a weird design to me. You're trying to fill in a huge gap with lots of weld. Why not a straight outside corner joint?

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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Basically I wanted to practice laying a TIG root pass. Never had access to TIG when I was welding pipe years ago. I am thinking about what a properly prepared joint looks like. I have been reading about different processes on this site and thought this outside corner would benefit from a heavy chamfer to allow full penetration. Previously I might have just cranked up the heat and run that 1/8" 7018 with minimal prep. Trying to improve my technique.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    As the last guy left onsite with any welding experience I have an agreement with my boss. I don't practice welding just to be burning rod but most any job I take on these days has me "brushing up" my skills before attempting the repair. This little hitch is basically practice with a (hopefully) practical purpose, built with pieces found laying around. If it doesn't look right when I am finished I will simply discard it.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by _Dom View Post
    As the last guy left onsite with any welding experience I have an agreement with my boss. I don't practice welding just to be burning rod but most any job I take on these days has me "brushing up" my skills before attempting the repair. This little hitch is basically practice with a (hopefully) practical purpose, built with pieces found laying around. If it doesn't look right when I am finished I will simply discard it.
    Any chance of getting a tig machine for home? I can plug a couple of mine into housecurrent for AC and DC tig.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    That is a long term goal. As it stands I downsized from airplane hanger last summer, all my tools and equipment now share space in a two car garage. Have a small subpanel installed, since moving I have limited myself to 1/16" 6011 on the 220V buzzbox. I barely have enough room to swing a wrench let alone strike an arc.
    Was reading about converting that AC only machine to DC and thinking about an attempt. Checks a few boxes for me since electronics is another skillset atrophied by two years of no new contracts at work. Definitely will not be welding thicker steel or any aluminum without a panel upgrade. Hand-eye coordination has come along nicely since first attempts at TIG here at work which has been mostly light gauge carbon steel.
    As for the hitch, I might pick up some more 3/32" filler and lay in the multiple passes with TIG. Will cut that J groove into a more standard chamfer for better torch access. I need to find some dimensioned sketches for full pen welding on thickish outside corner joints.
    Last edited by _Dom; 05-31-2016 at 02:54 PM. Reason: clarity
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Back on this little hitch yesterday. Reshaped the "J" groove to standard chamfer, used the last of my 3/32" filler making multiple TIG passes. Backed off on the heat to 180 which helped quite a bit. Still a bit of undercut, could maybe use one more pass? I consider this good training and thank you all for your guidance.
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    Made one fillet with 3/32" 7018 inside the corner of the heavier bottom piece

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    Thinking about TIG brazing the hitch pin, have read a few tips here and there on various threads.

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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Looking good!

    Yes I think it could use another pass for strength. Should weld a little easier as the tig filler is now the base metal.

    Your hitch pin would take silicon bronze very nicely. Same as welding with steel filler but less heat and not really melting the base metal. Just let it flow to the root.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    I will probably cap it with 7018, it has been running real smooth on the syncrowave. I have been reading about silicon bronze, sounds like the right answer. I found some white flux coated rod from years back, no idea the alloy, should be fine for practice.
    Next up on my home projects list will be replacing the brass burners on my grill, most likely handle this with OA depending on how the silicon bronze works for me. Have to check available welding tips for the Victor, strictly cutting and/or blowing heat with the rosebud since it was new. Should restore a little aircraft style torch I got from my grandfather years back, he gave me a good selection of tips in that box-o-parts. Clearly I spend way too much time on this site and not enough time doing stuff.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Quote Originally Posted by _Dom View Post
    I will probably cap it with 7018, it has been running real smooth on the syncrowave. I have been reading about silicon bronze, sounds like the right answer. I found some white flux coated rod from years back, no idea the alloy, should be fine for practice.
    Next up on my home projects list will be replacing the brass burners on my grill, most likely handle this with OA depending on how the silicon bronze works for me. Have to check available welding tips for the Victor, strictly cutting and/or blowing heat with the rosebud since it was new. Should restore a little aircraft style torch I got from my grandfather years back, he gave me a good selection of tips in that box-o-parts. Clearly I spend way too much time on this site and not enough time doing stuff.
    You buy the silicon bronze in small lots for tig braze. You have a tig so use it. Another nice addition is ER312 small diameter. It welds steels like a champ.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    The more TIG practice I get the better I like it. 312 seems familiar, must be some laying around here. Will be trying my hand at some stainless next so I might as well pick up a pound or two. Thanks for the encouragement.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Long time no post, been busy with other stuff. Might be time to start a new thread but thought I would add to this one first. Gearing up for a new boat repair task, pictures to follow. Zap has a thread about building a pontoon boat where I asked a question about aluminum alloy selection for the marine environment, based on input from that I am leaning towards 6061 for the structural elements and 5052 plate for the hull repairs. Pictures and additional FNG questions to follow...
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Practicing a little thread necromancy...
    Things have changed for me, no longer working so I have time to upgrade my home shop. Had been attempting to troubleshoot an 18 yr old inverter when the latest site crashed, never really got anywhere with that. Machine was a freebie so no harm except some lost time. Multi-process machine purchased and starting to fiddle with it some. Attempted stainless TIG and ran a few inches of stick just to check the function. Will be hitting up the LWS for a bottle of 75/25% AR/Co2. Pictures to follow (I hope and will update my sig with the new equipment.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

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    Out of practice feeding the filler wire those giant holes in the edge almost got cut off before posting. Switched to autogenous which worked better. Still a little torch crazy and dipped the tungsten as I was finishing the last back step on the lap joint. Coupons are unknown alloy stainless, 20 gauge, wire brushed and alcohol wiped.
    Settings: 40 amps DCEN
    3/32" tungsten 2% ceriated
    316L filler 1/16"
    12-15 cfh Argon

    Worried that autoset feature will make me lazy. Thinking to buy a spool of MIG .030 wire to try as filler. Will be attempting some MIG after getting mixed gas cylinder.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    or just order 030 or 035 TIG filler rod. Much easier than trying to straighten it from a MIG spool.
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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Thanks Oscar, you are right of course. Just trying to limit my consumables, actual project I will be welding is thicker. This thin stuff was some repurposed material I had laying around. Thinking the MIG process for stainless will be more trouble than itís worth but I want to try it. Will have a look at thread with multiple flow meter/mixer data if it turns into a process I use often
    Last edited by _Dom; 04-03-2020 at 03:19 PM.

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    Re: Learning to TIG

    Yah, I use mig wire for a lot of thin stuff so I don't have to have so many filler sizes on hand. Sucks to deal with a curly-Q though. You can make a straightening gig with some dowels or rods placed like pickets, draw the wire through and it bends the wire straight. Google "wire straightener" if you want to see what I mean. You never really want your filler much thicker than the parent material anyway.
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