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TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

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TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

Postby Motomazzo » Wed May 17, 2017 12:44 pm

Hello All,

New to the group. Beginner TIG welder who has gotten his feet wet. One frustration I'm having is focusing the arc in the center of the joint. It seems my arc either jumps to one piece or the other. The way I'm getting around it is cramming pedal into it, but it seems like Jody and other welders I see are able to get a pool started on both pieces with very little amperage. Or at least less than I'm using. I've tried several things - keeping tungsten very close/tight to the center of the joint. Waiting for the piece to heat/pool. Different stickout. Cup sizes, etc. I'm using an Eastwood TIG 200 digital. Miller Watermate 1A cooler and HTP #20 water-cooler torch. Gas lens always. Any help you can provide would be great.

Thanks!

Jason
Last edited by Motomazzo on Wed May 17, 2017 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

Postby Oscar » Wed May 17, 2017 3:37 pm

You're mistaken about the amperage. It's a lot. Crank it up. Do it. Mash the pedal like you just got a booty call from a hottie that you've been after. 8-)
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Re: TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

Postby Artie F. Emm » Wed May 17, 2017 5:40 pm

Wondering if this might be a tungsten issue: pure tungsten on an inverter machine, maybe, or a tungsten shape issue. For instance, sharpen the tungsten to a crayon point to focus the arc.
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Re: TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

Postby Olivero » Wed May 17, 2017 6:17 pm

Oscar wrote:You're mistaken about the amperage. It's a lot. Crank it up. Do it. Mash the pedal like you just got a booty call from a hottie that you've been after. 8-)


:lol:

I am stealing that one.
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Re: TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

Postby Motomazzo » Wed May 17, 2017 9:51 pm

Artie F. Emm wrote:Wondering if this might be a tungsten issue: pure tungsten on an inverter machine, maybe, or a tungsten shape issue. For instance, sharpen the tungsten to a crayon point to focus the arc.


Thanks for the input. I dunno. I've tried quite a few variations of sharpening. I've done the needle point which wears into a ball. I've truncated the tip like some suggest. But in fairness, I have not done that in a while. Maybe I'll give it a go tomorrow. When I see videos of Jody or others, it just appears they have so much more control of the arc. I fully realize that much of that is seat time/experience. Then probably machine setup. But to an extent,I can only hold the tungsten so many ways, so close to the workpiece, etc. Not sure what more I can do. I'll just keep at it. I'm sure it will come together. Thanks!

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Re: TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

Postby rick9345 » Wed May 17, 2017 11:50 pm

Torch angle/cup size/argon flow :twisted: ,get the 3 to play together always surprises me how good my welds can be :D :roll: of course this after I have blamed everything else including the dog for wagging tail breeze.:oops:
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Re: TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

Postby noddybrian » Thu May 18, 2017 8:29 am

Irrespective of tip shape the crap Chinese welders seem more affected by surface finish / grain on the tungsten than real machines - not sure what grit your sharpening with but try finer finishing on a linisher if you have one and turn tungsten very slowly so grit marks are straight not spiralled - also I only used the older non digital Eastwood but I believe the new one has adjustable frequency ? what are you using ? try 120hz as a starting place & don't have too much cleaning % - this seems to make the cheap ones arc go funky - torch angle maybe a factor as it's easy to have too much arc directed at the top piece on a lap so the edge melts back before the lower flat part puddles - try nearly upright as the heat will spread to the top part easily - most people start too low thinking they need to heat both sides equally - sure others with more aluminum experience will chime in - I don't do that much.
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Re: TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

Postby Motomazzo » Thu May 18, 2017 9:09 am

noddybrian wrote:Irrespective of tip shape the crap Chinese welders seem more affected by surface finish / grain on the tungsten than real machines - not sure what grit your sharpening with but try finer finishing on a linisher if you have one and turn tungsten very slowly so grit marks are straight not spiralled - also I only used the older non digital Eastwood but I believe the new one has adjustable frequency ? what are you using ? try 120hz as a starting place & don't have too much cleaning % - this seems to make the cheap ones arc go funky - torch angle maybe a factor as it's easy to have too much arc directed at the top piece on a lap so the edge melts back before the lower flat part puddles - try nearly upright as the heat will spread to the top part easily - most people start too low thinking they need to heat both sides equally - sure others with more aluminum experience will chime in - I don't do that much.


Thanks Brian. I had the older Eastwood, before it blew up a couple Saturdays ago....while I was practicing. I was told by tech support that they had some issues with the older "blue" ones....which I had. They ensured me that their new black models are far more robust and superior, so we'll see. I went with another Eastwood for two reasons - 1) Warranty. 2) the HTP water-cooled torch set-up I had just bought wouldn't fit any other machine. Yes, the digital version has adjustable A/C frequency, pulse, 2T/4T, spot, and most features offered by other welders these days.

So you bring up a good point - where should I focus my tungsten/arc? I've been shooting for the center of both pieces. But should I be making a puddle on the bottom piece and pulling in the top piece? I know it's a feel thing. But looking for input to try different techniques. Maybe I'm doing it all wrong shooting for the center seam.

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Re: TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

Postby pgk » Thu May 18, 2017 9:47 am

What do you have your machine set at, freq. balance, amps. argon cfh? how thick is the plate your welding?
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Re: TIG Aluminum - fillet and lap weld - arc starting

Postby noddybrian » Thu May 18, 2017 10:33 am

Well I wish you luck with the new version - I showed someone how to weld with the older model they bought & I would'nt recommend it ! it was actually very over priced for what it was even though cheap in the world of Tig ( I think the new model is better spec but still very much hobby only & I don't trust how many they are giving away to anyone on You Tube that will give a positive review - Eastwood tools are generally good stuff for car enthusiasts but I would never buy a welder from them much like Snap On - it is tragically overpriced hyped up junk ) - I hear you on the warranty - they are pretty good on settling things & will be around long term - the water cooler will with maybe some slight adaption of hose connections fit any machine you choose - so don't be limited in your machine by an easily changed fitting -as others have said a full set of the settings you are using will help but on torch direction if you aim dead center such as you might for a fillet then you are putting heat equally into the middle of a larger piece on the bottom & a thin exposed edge on the top so the top melts back first away from where you are trying to puddle the lower piece so when a puddle forms it is creeping away from the joint - try aiming more on the lower piece first & wash across once you have a puddle on that.
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