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First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

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First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

Postby Neosec » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:23 pm

Hello all,
Here are some pics of my first TIG welds on aluminum. The good, the bad, and the (very) ugly.

The metal is mostly 1/8th inch, and most of the welds went pretty well, though not very pretty. The biggest problem I had was trying to weld 0.051 inch flat expanded aluminum to the 1/8th inch angle. As you can see in the pics the heat from the torch quickly melted back the expanded aluminum. I eventually ended up dropping the amps to 11, and building up a glob for filler on the expanded then upped the amps and established a puddle on the 1/8th inch angle and quickly feathering the glob into the puddle.

In the ugly picture you can see the 1/8th inch angle heated up and sagged badly. I started out by lowering the amps, but then figured I needed to increase the amp to get a puddle going faster.

Appreciate any feedback.

Bead1.jpg
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Bead2.jpg
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EM1.jpg
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EM2.jpg
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EM3.jpg
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EM5.jpg
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Mess.jpg
Ugly
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W1.jpg
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Neosec
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Re: First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

Postby Oscar » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:38 pm

Well honestly, first welds on a first project = not a good idea, unless it is scrap-able in the end. It looks like you're having trouble with fusing the expanded metal to the sheet/angle/whatever. So what welder do you have, what settings, etc.?
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Re: First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

Postby Neosec » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:51 pm

Oscar wrote:Well honestly, first welds on a first project = not a good idea, unless it is scrap-able in the end. It looks like you're having trouble with fusing the expanded metal to the sheet/angle/whatever. So what welder do you have, what settings, etc.?


Machine is a Thermal Arc 186.

For the 1/8th inch: Cleaning set to 30% (adjustable from 10% to 65%), Amps about 150, 17 CFH on the argon, Preflow .5 sec, Post flow 5 sec, Freq 125

For the Expanded: 11 Amps, Cleaning 35%
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Re: First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

Postby cj737 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:41 pm

The expanded aluminum is probably 3000 series to make matters worse. I used a spool gun recently to do something very similar.
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Re: First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

Postby AndersK » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:53 pm

I think you're already on the right idea whats giving you the problem. You need to heat the 1/8" fast before the expanded heats up, which would probably be very difficult to control if you're new to it.

I would try and pre heat the thick material up to annealing temp, which is quite close to melting.
Mark the metal with a Sharpie and heat until it disappears then try to weld again. If you already have welded some parts of the expanded metal you might need to bend it up slightly so it doesn't suck up the heat while pre heating.
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Re: First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

Postby Neosec » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:16 pm

AndersK wrote:I think you're already on the right idea whats giving you the problem. You need to heat the 1/8" fast before the expanded heats up, which would probably be very difficult to control if you're new to it.

I would try and pre heat the thick material up to annealing temp, which is quite close to melting.
Mark the metal with a Sharpie and heat until it disappears then try to weld again. If you already have welded some parts of the expanded metal you might need to bend it up slightly so it doesn't suck up the heat while pre heating.


If I preheat the thicker stuff enough would I be able to reduce the amps to 15-20 for the 51 thousandths expanded, and be able to get a puddle going in the 1/8th inch at the lower amps?
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Re: First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

Postby Oscar » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:47 pm

Does the 186 have a spot weld feature, and if so, do you have a on/off momentary switch you can utilize for said spot weld feature? Personally that is what I would be doing, but then again, I've only experimented on aluminum. But found good results from said experiments. :D
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Re: First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

Postby Poland308 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:42 pm

The 186 I have doesn't have a specific spot timer. But I bought the version with the torch mounted controls. It has a momentary switch you can use like a spot timer. You can use it in the 2T function and set on delay or ramp down. Or any combination of pulse to get a desired effect.
I have more questions than answers

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Re: First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

Postby cj737 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:02 pm

Neosec wrote:
AndersK wrote:I think you're already on the right idea whats giving you the problem. You need to heat the 1/8" fast before the expanded heats up, which would probably be very difficult to control if you're new to it.

I would try and pre heat the thick material up to annealing temp, which is quite close to melting.
Mark the metal with a Sharpie and heat until it disappears then try to weld again. If you already have welded some parts of the expanded metal you might need to bend it up slightly so it doesn't suck up the heat while pre heating.


If I preheat the thicker stuff enough would I be able to reduce the amps to 15-20 for the 51 thousandths expanded, and be able to get a puddle going in the 1/8th inch at the lower amps?

Unlikely. The 1/8" material won't weld with that low of amps, no matter how much preheat. A preheat, a 1/16" tungsten and a 1/16" wire (or smaller) and favoring the 1/8" is about your only option with a TIG.
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Re: First TIG welds, First project, Requesting tips...

Postby MinnesotaDave » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:44 pm

Extremely Difficult for a new person - you could just rivet through washers or bolt through washers.

Or lay a 1/8" thick flat strip over the mesh and rivet, bolt or weld.
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