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Thread: TIG Noob

  1. #1
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    TIG Noob

    Very new to TIG, but enjoying the challenge. Been through around 1/2# filler, and have been learning a lot from seat time, the forums, YouTube, etc. I got a chance to practice yesterday padding beads, and tried to focus on the puddle as much as I could without neglecting arc height and angle too horribly. I can see (at minimum) that I left little craters at the end of nearly every bead - should I add a little filler at the end while tapering off or back track a little while tapering off, or other? I was also impatient and didn't let it cool down at all, though I alternated sides. What's a good way to get a lot of arc time in one sitting without overheating everything (I'm already thinking a water-cooled torch would be nice)? Prep lots of coupons and rotate? Dunk in water (or will that contaminate the surface?)? Not worry about it? Right now for a table I weld on the smooth side of a 20x30x1/4" sheet of 6061 treadplate, so it soaks up a good amount of heat pretty quickly.

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    Dialarc HF-P
    3/32 2% lanthanated
    #6 lens and around 10-15 cfh (not quite sure, my flow meter is in lpm, I think), and ~15 sec postflow
    1/16 ER70S (wiped with acetone)
    ~1/4" scrap steel cleaned down to bright metal and wiped with acetone
    For amps, I was in the welder's mid range and set around 80% amperage, so floored I was somewhere around 160 amps, though I think I backed off that a bit most of the time (probably because I let the piece get stinking hot)

  2. #2
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    Re: TIG Noob

    Looking good! But I would not dunk the torch in water. I do find a large gas lens helps keep an aircooled torch a littler cooler if not giving you better gas coverage.

    Tapering off the pedal is a good idea, and adding a tad of filler helps prevent crater cracks as well. That technique really comes in handy while welding alum.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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    Re: TIG Noob

    I think he is asking if he should dunk the metal or coupon he welding on in the water.
    Dunking the material in water should be no problem.

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by psacustomcreations View Post
    I think he is asking if he should dunk the metal or coupon he welding on in the water.
    Dunking the material in water should be no problem.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    This - should I worry about cleaning the metal again? Iíll have to try both ways (just dunking vs dunking and cleaning again).

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by BD55 View Post
    This - should I worry about cleaning the metal again? I’ll have to try both ways (just dunking vs dunking and cleaning again).
    Go for it! We dunked the coupons in water at school. And kept welding.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    Go for it! We dunked the coupons in water at school. And kept welding.
    Awesome, thanks!

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Even if you dunk the coupon it's a good idea to have several to rotate...just saves time.
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    Re: TIG Noob

    So I noticed yesterday that when I'm hitting around 180 amps, the welder starts making some pretty loud rattling noises. It seems like it's probably a side panel vibrating, but I haven't chased that down yet. Just curious if anyone else with one of these older transformer machines has experience with this. To my untrained ear it doesn't sound like a transformer hum.

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by BD55 View Post
    So I noticed yesterday that when I'm hitting around 180 amps, the welder starts making some pretty loud rattling noises. It seems like it's probably a side panel vibrating, but I haven't chased that down yet. Just curious if anyone else with one of these older transformer machines has experience with this. To my untrained ear it doesn't sound like a transformer hum.
    Absolutely. The buzz box welders will rattle and hum like crazy at higher amps. Even more so if you stick a rod. Nothing to worry about unless you see something arcing

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by BD55 View Post
    So I noticed yesterday that when I'm hitting around 180 amps, the welder starts making some pretty loud rattling noises. It seems like it's probably a side panel vibrating, but I haven't chased that down yet. Just curious if anyone else with one of these older transformer machines has experience with this. To my untrained ear it doesn't sound like a transformer hum.
    I've had that happen....side panel just vibrating a bit at certain amperages. On many/most Miller machines they would put a strip of some kind of soft material between the frame/panels/etc to prevent vibrations. Those strips will dry and shrink, or fall off and let them vibrate. I've used double-sided tape to replace the strip and left the cover on one side of the adhesive so it wouldn't stick to the panel...stopped the vibrations.
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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    Absolutely. The buzz box welders will rattle and hum like crazy at higher amps. Even more so if you stick a rod. Nothing to worry about unless you see something arcing
    Thanks for the input. Would this be regardless of TIG or stick process?

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by BD55 View Post
    Thanks for the input. Would this be regardless of TIG or stick process?
    Yes. The process really should matter at all. It's probably more likely to run into the problem running TIG using a foot pedal because you cover lots of amperage ranges per weld compared with stick.
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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    Yes. The process really should matter at all. It's probably more likely to run into the problem running TIG using a foot pedal because you cover lots of amperage ranges per weld compared with stick.
    Thanks! Yep, exactly this ^^^. When getting on it with the foot pedal. I will take a glance for any loose panels, but if that's the way the machine sounds normally, no biggie - I just didn't want to not attend to something that may/may not be an issue and assume it was normal.

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Regarding the buzzing ... I seem to recall reading that there's a "shunt" inside transformer welders that often has some kind of adjustment that can help silence the buzzing...maybe? Also seem to recall something about putting grease on the shunt?

    Maybe someone else will have a better memory than me. That, or maybe Google "welder buzzing" and "shunt."

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    Regarding the buzzing ... I seem to recall reading that there's a "shunt" inside transformer welders that often has some kind of adjustment that can help silence the buzzing...maybe? Also seem to recall something about putting grease on the shunt?

    Maybe someone else will have a better memory than me. That, or maybe Google "welder buzzing" and "shunt."
    So it's not much of a buzzing - more of a rattling, like there's a resonant frequency a loose panel is vibrating at. But that reminds me I should take a look in the manual and see if there's anything in there about what you're talking about.

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by BD55 View Post
    So it's not much of a buzzing - more of a rattling, like there's a resonant frequency ...
    Well, if you can stop or attenuate the buzzing in the iron core, presumably the harmonic rattling will stop or be reduced, too. Might also look at tightening and Loctiting any loose screws in the case.

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    Regarding the buzzing ... I seem to recall reading that there's a "shunt" inside transformer welders that often has some kind of adjustment that can help silence the buzzing...maybe? Also seem to recall something about putting grease on the shunt?

    Maybe someone else will have a better memory than me. That, or maybe Google "welder buzzing" and "shunt."
    That was likely in reference to something like a Miller Thunderbolt where you crank a lever which raises and lowers the shunt to adjust output.
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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    That was likely in reference to something like a Miller Thunderbolt where you crank a lever which raises and lowers the shunt to adjust output.
    Yes. Actually, my old Hobart Stickmate 235/160.

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Gave aluminum a second shot yesterday (first time was a mess (not that this one isn't ) - too high amps, not clean enough, not enough postflow, etc.). This time I noticed the heat seems to be tricky to dial in, I don't know. I couldn't find a sweet spot to put my full pedal amperage. Too high, and I could back off, but then I lose resolution at the very bottom range of the pedal when tapering off and swirling to prevent crater cracks. I'm going to experiment some more to see what I can improve. I think on a good amount of these runs I got decent penetration without blowing out the back (like the first time I tried) and the toes seem to be wetted out too, though inconsistent. There were a couple runs that felt really good and it was cool seeing the puddle fill with the rod then cool as you move along.

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    (the brown spots on the welds are reflections from the wood)

    - ~.100 thick al (I don't think it's 6061; 3000 series maybe?)
    - ~ somewhere around 110 amps full pedal
    - Bumped up my postflow time and flow because the first time I tried Al I oxidized the crap out of the tungsten - now around 20 sec and the electrode is staying nice and clean
    - AC 40-165 range selection, %dial around 50-60%; HF continuous;
    - And obviously with a Dialarc HF-P I don't have balance, background, freq, pulse, etc. So 50/50 balance and 50-60 Hz.
    - 3/32 pure tungsten
    - 1/16 4043 filler
    - ~ 15-20 cfh through #6 lens

    With Al, if your gas flow is too low is it more likely to oxidize the electrode or make crappy weld or both? I bumped up my flow and postflow, but I'd like to optimize to not waste gas - so I'm wondering if I just need to bump up postflow but can keep flow around 10-15 cfh with this lens rather than 15-20 (I expect the answer is "it depends"). I'm going to play around with this some more, though I figured as a noob it'd be better to eliminate gas coverage as a variable as I hobble along the start.

    In retrospect, I think the first time I did Al I didn't have the material clean enough vs not enough gas flow. I think I'm going to try moving my flow back down and keeping the longer postflow to protect the electrode.

    Sorry for the rambling; I plan to use this thread as sort of a welding journal for stuff I learn and general settings and materials used with the added bonus of advice and insights from those more experienced; TIA!
    Last edited by BD55; 06-09-2021 at 09:03 AM.

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    Re: TIG Noob

    That's certainly not a terrible start on aluminum....so don't feel bad!

    I would drop the gas down to the 10-15 cfh range for a #6 cup. I'm certainly not an expert, bus some of those beads look like too much torch angle so it's pushing the puddle away from you...maybe one of the pros will clarify or correct me on that.

    One thing with aluminum is that since it builds heat so quickly (and it travels quickly as well) you will struggle running multiple beads on the same piece...it will get too hot and then the puddle won't cool and freeze when you add filler. That will also mess with your settings as well. I like to keep three or four coupons and rotate them and I have a thick piece of aluminum (.75" or 1") that I set them on to act as sort of a heat sink.
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    Re: TIG Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    That's certainly not a terrible start on aluminum....so don't feel bad!

    I would drop the gas down to the 10-15 cfh range for a #6 cup. I'm certainly not an expert, bus some of those beads look like too much torch angle so it's pushing the puddle away from you...maybe one of the pros will clarify or correct me on that.

    One thing with aluminum is that since it builds heat so quickly (and it travels quickly as well) you will struggle running multiple beads on the same piece...it will get too hot and then the puddle won't cool and freeze when you add filler. That will also mess with your settings as well. I like to keep three or four coupons and rotate them and I have a thick piece of aluminum (.75" or 1") that I set them on to act as sort of a heat sink.
    Thanks! And yes - it would get very hot after every run, so I would dunk it in water before starting the next bead (hence the cracking in some of the beads). I do need to get some more regular coupons for practice rather than random scraps and junk I have around.

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    Re: TIG Noob

    Picked up a water cooler for a great deal the other day - I'm looking forward to getting it all set up and getting a nice torch to go with it. From my understanding, a 20 style torch is the way to go for general all around stuff. Any realistic difference between CK, Weldcraft (the only two brands I'm aware of that are "good"), or other?

    It's a Bernard SS - not sure which model, but it has a Procon pump and is really well made. I think all the Bernard models are the same except for the coolant tank capacity?? I was thinking building a cooler would be a fun project, but when I found this one for $90 locally, I couldn't pass it up. I'm going to flush it out and give it a good once over, but it should be in good shape. The guy was selling it only because his Syncrowave 250 crapped out and he was going another direction, so it was just in use within the last couple weeks. Reading the documentation, it sounds like you can use tap water since it's stainless (not sure what all is stainless on it), but other things I read say that's a big no-no due to conductivity of tap water, hard water, etc. etc. I'm just going to use distilled water for the time being.

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  24. #23
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    Re: TIG Noob

    Yes, 20 series torch is what you want. Everybody and their uncles have them.

    You don't want to use tap water, and I personally will not use distilled water as the water goes looking for minerals. I use reverse osmosis water myself and soluble oil. I will be changing to water wetter from the auto parts store soon as I don't have to worry about freezing.
    Last edited by shovelon; 07-20-2021 at 05:56 PM.
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    Re: TIG Noob

    20 series is more than fine, and definitely no to tap water. The tap water won't hurt the tank, but the radiator has copper, which is a different set of concerns. Tap water has all sorts of stuff in it and you can wind up with cavitation eating at tubing (mostly at bends and joints), buildup of minerals, and slime/sludge/algae. I'm using this stuff from Cantesco which is good to way below any temps I might see here if the power goes out. They have versions rated for higher minimum temps that cost a bit less as well.

    https://www.amazon.com/CANTESCO-CF3-...830566&sr=8-31
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    Re: TIG Noob

    Thanks for the responses! Sounds like I need look into a better solution than distilled water.

    Got it all cleaned up and flushed it out. I was surprised how quiet it is. Quieter than the Dialarc's fan for sure. I'm pleased with the quality of this unit and I'm looking forward to trying out water cooling since just my short foray into aluminum showed me how fast the torch can heat up to an uncomfortable temperature.
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