Learn TIG Welding Process and TIG Welding Basic Information

Published: 07th October 2008
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The acronym TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas Arc Welding and the acronym GTAW stands for Gas Tungsten Arc Welding this is the same process but it is referred to by these two different names.

In the situation you will be welding using an electric arc that generates the heat. You then have a tungsten non-consumable electrode that then produces the weld you are attempting to make.

One of the things that have to happen in this type of welding is that the particular metal that you are welding has to be shielded from contamination in the atmosphere or you will get a poor weld. Because of this, the area is shielded using an inert gas like argon; this is used with a filler metal where necessary.

This type of welding needs constant current to flow across the arc using an ionized gas called plasma. Plasma also has metal vapours within it. You will usually use GTAW if you have to weld thin metals like stainless steel, aluminium, magnesium or copper allows. GTAW also gives the person who is operating the welding process more control of the weld.

What this means to the weld is that it is a stronger weld and has a higher quality than many other types of welding. Many experts say that it is harder to learn, is complex and can be slower than other welding techniques.

Some welders like using a different kind of torch to produce plasma arc welding which is very much like this one but a little different. This type of welding will give a more focused welding arc, but usually this is done through automation.

How It Operates

The reason this welding process is the most complicated or difficult to master is because the welder has to use a smaller arc length; they have to be able to have a very steady hand. If they aren't able to keep a distance between the electrode and the piece they are working on, the piece can become contaminated and there can be problems with the weld.

This is also a two handed process because you have to be able to hold the torch in one hand and feed a filler metal into the space that you are welding. You can see that this is a very intricate process and one that requires high skill.

There are a few types of welding that will not require this type of weld and the individual will not have to use filler material these types include: edge, corner and butt joints. These types of welds are called autogenous or fusion welds (Source: Wikipedia).

A welder who is highly skilled in this process is able to alternate between using the torch and then using the filler material in a pretty fast way. As they do this the filler rod can be taken out as the electrode moves forward, and it doesn't have to be taken out of the gas shied. This is a highly developed process for those who can do it well.

GTAW can operate using several different currents: positive direct current, negative direct current or alternating current. This will all depend on how they set up the power supply in the beginning.

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