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Tungsten sharpening gadget

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Tungsten sharpening gadget

Postby clavius » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:06 am

A while ago a friend who TIG welds for a living gave me a small container full of short 1/16 tungstens, basically castoffs for him but still have a few more grinds left in them.


Most are long enough to work fine with a stubby gas lens setup. I like having a bunch sharp and ready to go, given that I am more talented than most at poking my tungsten into the puddle.

The problem with sharpening 30 or 40 of these at a sitting was that as they are so short I found myself either burning my fingers on them while grinding or just slightly sanding the skin off my knuckles on the grinder belt. Not ideal. So I cobbled this up using the chuck and shaft from a junk cordless drill I had laying around.


Not brilliant, but pretty handy and easy to make from junk. No need to tighten with a chuck key, hand tight holds them fine and the handle makes it easy to spin while grinding. No more burned fingers or sanded knuckles.
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Re: Tungsten sharpening gadget

Postby cj737 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:32 am

Sharpen both ends. Then you can flip it around if you foul the tip. Also, I have taken to polishing them (end-to-end) with a grey SctochBrite pad. The cleaner they are, the better they weld and the more precise your arc. If they are cast-off's, they are bound to have some contamination on their lengths that will influence your welds. Make them nice and shiny!
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Re: Tungsten sharpening gadget

Postby LtBadd » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:36 am

Good idea, plenty of life left in those electrodes.

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Re: Tungsten sharpening gadget

Postby exnailpounder » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:39 am

I just chuck them up in my cordless and run 'em on the belt sander, works great.
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Re: Tungsten sharpening gadget

Postby Poland308 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:24 am

For those who don't have an old chuck laying around.
It's a pin vice. ... 3=&veh=sem
I have more questions than answers

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Re: Tungsten sharpening gadget

Postby clavius » Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:56 pm

All good comments, thanks. I made this up just because I had the stuff around and the pin vices I have were all too small for these. But for 12 bucks, a real pin vice would work just was well. I know lots do the same just with their cordless drill but in my case, this was just more fun. I have the standard small pile of old cordless drills with dead or missing batteries that are not worth replacing the batteries, so I figured I do something with one of them. This one in particular was not very good when it was new, so I did not feel at all bad recycling it.

cj737, lots of these are sharpened on both ends, I'm about 50-50 on doing that myself. Usually the thing that prompts me to swap tungsten is that the one I'm changing out has a big glob of some crap fused to it, and won't fit into the collet any more...
I like the suggestion to clean them up, I'll add that to my routine. In this case I know that there were pretty much used only for doing fusion welds on very thin SS parts, mostly tubing, for vacuum and cryogenic applications, so they are all pretty nice.

I sharpen maybe 30 or so at a sitting (I get bored after much longer, short attention span) and drop them in a little pill bottle that I keep by my welder. I have another pill bottle with a small hole drilled in the cap, when I mess up an electrode, I just drop it in the hole and get another. When one is empty and the other full, it's time to do more grinding.

Thanks for the comments!
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Re: Tungsten sharpening gadget

Postby MinnesotaDave » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:54 pm

exnailpounder wrote:I just chuck them up in my cordless and run 'em on the belt sander, works great.

Same here - fast and easy :)
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Re: Tungsten sharpening gadget

Postby Oscar » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:53 pm

I bought a pin vise and I really like it. I prefer to hand-spin them on a grinding wheel. Oh and the buffing wheel on the Habor Freight 3" mini bench grinder is awesome at removing oxidation on tungstens.
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