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Thread: TIG Shocking

  1. #1
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    TIG Shocking

    I feel kinda silly asking this, but I figured I should ask before something bad happens.

    I am a pretty decent MIG welder and I have been trying to learn TIG. I took a short class at a maker space, so I have a VERY basic grasp of the process.

    One time when I was 'practicing', I touched my filler rod to the end of my TIG gun, and got a shock that not only hurt like hell, but has made me gun shy ever since.

    The other day when I was practicing on Aluminum, it felt like there was a current running through me. Not a strong one and no where near what I felt with the filler rod incident. I had my arms resting on the edges of the table when I used my foot pedal and felt the current.

    I have a Certiflat welding table and my grounding clamp was clipped to the side where I usually clamp for MIG. All of my leads are secure in the machine, and I didn't see any fraying or exposed wires on my leads. My parts were flat on the table.

    Do I just need to have my grounding clamp closer to my work piece or am I missing something?

    Thanks

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    Re: TIG Shocking

    Welding Aluminum, especially with HiFreq, you're going to be susceptible to getting shocked if you don't take basic precautions. You put your bare forearm on the table and hold the filler rod with your bare hand, then put the filler end into the plasma surrounding the arc, you're gonna feel it!

    I don't know if you're doing all that, but even having wet leather shoes on a damp floor can make you feel something sometimes...

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    Re: TIG Shocking

    I was at 120Hz, Wearing a welding shirt, and leather gloves. My boots were damp cause of the snow melt so I can see where I was completing the circut.

    What other precautions do you recommend?

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    Re: TIG Shocking

    I am not sure wet boots would do it on DC welding. You have to actually become part of the circuit between the TIG torch and the work clamp (commonly referred to as the ground clamp, but that is a misnomer). Most times, even with the work clamp on the table, the ground you are standing on does not normally become part of the actual DC welding circuit. When you dip the rod into the arc or the puddle, the rod becomes electrically hot, so you had to get shocked through the gloves. I would try a new pair of gloves and see of that solves the problem. You really shouldn't grind or do other metal work with your TIG gloves as you risk impregnating metal shavings/dust into the leather and thereby making them conductive. Another alternative is to wear rubber gloves under your leather gloves. That helps a lot too. Now on aluminum, because the HF is always running, anything is possible, but the HF shock generally is only felt as a tingle. In that case, in addition to good PPE, make sure your table is grounded to the earth, to help dissipate the HF better.
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    Re: TIG Shocking

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Elliott View Post
    I was at 120Hz, Wearing a welding shirt, and leather gloves. My boots were damp cause of the snow melt so I can see where I was completing the circut.

    What other precautions do you recommend?
    Lincoln Electric has a good article that talks about eliminating shock hazards, including from HF TIG. You'll probably want to look at your welder's manual as well since they might have specific guidance to help you eliminate the HF issue.

    https://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-u...ty-detail.aspx

    At the risk of starting another argument about terminology, this is why I don't call the clamp that goes on the work a "ground clamp"...it's a work clamp. I say that because in this case it sounds like your table isn't grounded, so you became the ground...ouch.

    Some crusty, old guys will come along and say "we've always called it a ground clamp" and while that's true, it can confuse things when you start talking about grounding machines and tables as opposed to completing the weld circuit.
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    Re: TIG Shocking

    Check for loose connections, and insulated cabling. But I think you mentioned wetness which will definitely send current through you. And yes if you shove the rod into the tungsten and become part of the circuit you will have a shocking experience.

    But I think you mentioned wetness which will definitely send current through you. Lately I have only gotten shocked when I am sweating like a madman and have wet gloves, shirt, pants, and socks on humid days.

    I keep the start current turned as low as possible so I don't spit tungsten. What model tig welder do you have?
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    Re: TIG Shocking

    If you are using hi freq and you lift your torch without lifting the pedal first and your arm or hand is touching the table you will be shocked every time.
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    Re: TIG Shocking

    "What model tig welder do you have?"

    I have a Miller Dynasty 280

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    Re: TIG Shocking

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Elliott View Post
    "What model tig welder do you have?"

    I have a Miller Dynasty 280
    Ok, good. You have the "Blue Lightning" arc start. From what I remember you press the "Amps button, then "Gas/Dig" button to get to the arc start screen for that program station. Turn the know down to a lower tungsten diameter and then press "Amp" button, then "Gas/Dig" button again to get you out of the hidden menu. See if the lower setting lights your arc. You should confirm this in your manual as well.
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    Re: TIG Shocking

    Highly recommended that you make sure your line ground is connected to earth ground and then connect your table to a ground stake. See owner's manual for HF control and grounding. A loose connection in your line plug or receptacle will send the HF looking for earth ground and it found it through you. You can check earth ground to the welder case by using an Ohm meter and measure to a known good earth ground point. Like the metal box of a 115 volt receptacle. Should read close to zero ohms. With the table properly grounded The HF will go back to the grounded welder and not find a path through you. Do check the tungsten size set in the welder. It might be set to a very large one. set to match what you are using or one size smaller. which every work best.

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    Re: TIG Shocking

    Quote Originally Posted by ccawgc View Post
    Highly recommended that you make sure your line ground is connected to earth ground and then connect your table to a ground stake.
    I'm far from an expert on electricity, but I seem to recall when we've discussed this issue before, some posters talked about how if your welding table is grounded, weird things could happen to 120VAC tools (like grinders, etc) sitting on the table, with current somehow going back through neutral or something? Not sure I entirely understood the discussion at the time, even, but I remember walking away with the TL;DR thought, "Hmmm, I'm gonna have to think about this whole idea of grounding the welding table more...maybe it's not such a great idea, after all..."

    As for HF shocking, I wouldn't worry about it too much, but would simply try to avoid it. I remember a welding instructor arcing the HF to his tongue......pretty harmless
    Last edited by Kelvin; 1 Week Ago at 07:49 AM.

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    Re: TIG Shocking

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    I'm far from an expert on electricity, but I seem to recall when we've discussed this issue before, some posters talked about how if your welding table is grounded, weird things could happen to 120VAC tools (like grinders, etc) sitting on the table, with current somehow going back through neutral or something? Not sure I entirely understood the discussion at the time, even, but I remember walking away with the TL;DR thought, "Hmmm, I'm gonna have to think about this whole idea of grounding the welding table more...maybe it's not such a great idea, after all..."

    As for HF shocking, I wouldn't worry about it too much, but would simply try to avoid it. I remember a welding instructor arcing the HF to his tongue......pretty harmless
    I would not do that with modern inverter Tigs that have capacitor discharge arc start. I too used to strike an arc on my finger nails with my old tranny Tigs. With inverters it is like holdind a lawn mower spark plug in one hand and spark plug wire connector in the other while your idiot helper pulls the starter cord.
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    Re: TIG Shocking

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    like holdind a lawn mower spark plug in one hand and spark plug wire connector in the other while your idiot helper pulls the starter cord.
    As a kid, I tried that! (Actually, I tried to pull the spark plug wire off the spark plug when the mower was running at a good clip...didn't do that again!) YEEEEOWWWWCH

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  17. #14
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    Re: TIG Shocking

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    As a kid, I tried that! (Actually, I tried to pull the spark plug wire off the spark plug when the mower was running at a good clip...didn't do that again!) YEEEEOWWWWCH
    OK - I'll embarrass my younger self and one up the lawnmower anecdote with trouble shooting a misfire in my 95 toyota 4-runner - really not sure why I decided to grab the distributor coil plug while it was running!!! but - some of the best lessons can be painful!

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