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Need some noob help TIG welding

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Need some noob help TIG welding

Postby YBNORMAL » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:07 pm

Looking for tips on TIG welding aluminum to be specific.

I am getting pretty good at setting up the machine for beads on various thickness material, and my filler rod hand is getting pretty good at feeding rod without getting closer to the torch, and I rarely dip the tungsten any more. I have gone through about 2 pounds of rod between 3/32 and 1/6 filler rod.

I am using an inverter based machine, so I have been using 1.5% lanthanated and E3 tungsten's. It seems to me like the E3 holds up better to high amperage. Any thoughts?

I usually run around 15-20 cfh of argon, have tried more, and less, but I notice that the cleaning action is good at the start of the arc, but then the further I go with the bead the less cleaning action I get. The puddle/weld stays mostly clean during the run, but there is little to no frost around the bead. I have moved AC balance all around, from 10-75%, doesn't seem to make much difference. I ordered a stubby gas lens kit to see if it provided better gas coverage. Any thoughts?

Specifically, I am having a hard time with any other joints besides beads on flat stock and tight butt joints.

On my lap joints the top piece always burns away super fast before I can get a puddle, I suspect this is a torch angle problem, any thoughts?

I cant seem to get a puddle going at the beginning of a Tee joint either. I keep wanting to jam rod in to help it out but it never works, should I get a puddle on the bottom and push the puddle into the vertical piece with the torch? Any thoughts?

Thanks for any advise you can offer :) I have watched all of Jodi's videos, many more than once :)
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Re: Need some noob help TIG welding

Postby noddybrian » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:58 am

Hi YBNORMAL welcome to the forum.

Others here do way more aluminum than me & will chime in as their schedule allows but for what my thoughts are worth.

lanthanated is good tungsten but you have to get 2% - anything less is no good especially on AC - also the make / batch can give you good or bad results - sadly buying it is always a crap shoot.

I would not use a gas lens of choice on aluminum - ( only time I don't ) I keep to a regular 5 or 6 ( not stubby ) if you have gas cover issues on longer runs then possibly as he torch heats up it's causing movement between collet & body restricting flow - switching to a wedge style that won't bulge usually cures this - if you have different make torch components this often happens as there seems to be a wide tolerance on dimensions & not all combinations work together - going to get some hate for this but the worst I found is CK - their stuff works with itself but rarely with other brands - not sure if it's deliberate - there is an outside chance you have a bad regulator or solonoid valve but it's less likely.

Lap joints are always hard to learn as the mind wants to aim the torch 45 degrees into the joint but in truth this directs most of the heat at the top piece resulting in edge burn back especially so on aluminum - aim for a what feels like straight up ( but it never is ! ) only once you puddle the lower part move towards upper piece if it's not already puddled.

T joints you have to remember there is significantly more material bulk / heatsink & no edge to start to puddle so it requires many more amps initially than other joints - I guess you either don't have enough amps from your machine for material thickness or are not using them - hit the start of the joint with everything you got till it puddles - then back off - if you have adjustable frequency there is likely a sweet spot on focusing the arc ( generally around 120 hz ) but if you are maxed out on amps sometimes you need to go lower - no 2 machines seem quite the same.

Hope some of that helps - good luck & keep at it.
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Re: Need some noob help TIG welding

Postby YBNORMAL » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:22 am

noddybrian wrote:Hi YBNORMAL welcome to the forum.

Others here do way more aluminum than me & will chime in as their schedule allows but for what my thoughts are worth.

lanthanated is good tungsten but you have to get 2% - anything less is no good especially on AC - also the make / batch can give you good or bad results - sadly buying it is always a crap shoot.

I would not use a gas lens of choice on aluminum - ( only time I don't ) I keep to a regular 5 or 6 ( not stubby ) if you have gas cover issues on longer runs then possibly as he torch heats up it's causing movement between collet & body restricting flow - switching to a wedge style that won't bulge usually cures this - if you have different make torch components this often happens as there seems to be a wide tolerance on dimensions & not all combinations work together - going to get some hate for this but the worst I found is CK - their stuff works with itself but rarely with other brands - not sure if it's deliberate - there is an outside chance you have a bad regulator or solonoid valve but it's less likely.

Lap joints are always hard to learn as the mind wants to aim the torch 45 degrees into the joint but in truth this directs most of the heat at the top piece resulting in edge burn back especially so on aluminum - aim for a what feels like straight up ( but it never is ! ) only once you puddle the lower part move towards upper piece if it's not already puddled.

T joints you have to remember there is significantly more material bulk / heatsink & no edge to start to puddle so it requires many more amps initially than other joints - I guess you either don't have enough amps from your machine for material thickness or are not using them - hit the start of the joint with everything you got till it puddles - then back off - if you have adjustable frequency there is likely a sweet spot on focusing the arc ( generally around 120 hz ) but if you are maxed out on amps sometimes you need to go lower - no 2 machines seem quite the same.

Hope some of that helps - good luck & keep at it.


Thank you so much for the welcome and the reply. I will need to order some 2% lanth, as all 3 of the LWS around here don't seem to ever have it in stock. Per Jodi'e videos I went looking for it when I first got the machine but couldn't find any and just couldn't wait to try out the machine so I picked up some others to use.

As far as gas coverage issue, I am pretty inexperienced, so I may have a gas problem, I may not, Im just not sure. I have been using a #7 cup figuring bigger is better (noob), so I will try the 5 and 6. I had one of my collets bulge and deform already so I have been keeping an eye on that, never heard of a wedge style collet before your recommendation, it looks slick.

I am running an AHP Alphatig on 220v, so I have 200 amps available and my material is around .060 thick.

Thank you for the hints on lap joints and tee joints, I look forward to more hood time. I have to pick up some more filler rod today since I'm out of 3/32.
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Re: Need some noob help TIG welding

Postby cj737 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:13 am

I differ from Brian in that I prefer to use a #7 or #8 almost always unless I need a #5 to reach into small corners. I also use a gas lens except on a #5 because I find little to no benefit in the coverage it offers.

I run an inverter machine too, and use a 65% balance on mine and find it produces the best overall results for cleaning and penetration, but your mileage may vary. I tend to run a frequency of 150Hz as well, but for some applications/situations, lower it to achieve a different result.

I have used 2% tungstens, but for some reason, still prefer/opt for 100% pure even though I run an inverter. It just seems to run better on my machine, but that could well be the Wave form between machines (?)

If you are running lap joints with 0.060 material, you'll probably melt the top edge no matter what size cup you use. The heat and cup size will melt that over pretty quickly regardless of technique. If you're experiencing that with thicker material, then I'd suggest your too far from the material, and your angle of attack is off a bit. I tend to use a #8 Pyrex cup with a lot of my aluminum welding so I can see really well what's going on with the puddle and base materials. Not so necessary with steels, but its my experience that aluminum demands tremendous focus and awareness on not just the leading edge but the entire puddle behind the tungsten to get the results you seek.
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Re: Need some noob help TIG welding

Postby noddybrian » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:39 pm

I use a stubby #7 or #8 most of the time - only thing I switch out for is aluminum ( which I admit to doing very little of ) - weirdly get a wider etched zone using a regular 6 than gas lens 8 - can't explain why - as to frequency / balance - no two machines seem to like the same settings so it's something you can only say what suits your machine & welding style - if I'd give a starting point I'd have said 70 % & 120hz but I never had machines that display this so it's just turn the knobs till it feels right ! - I find it slightly odd using pure on an inverter - but depending on waveform used & personal choice then if it works for you fine - I see sine wave still optioned on new machines & wonder why people use it - Lanthanated in 2% is very hard to find here - really only Ebay has it - walk into a LWS & you will get the blank stare or if lucky the offer of 1 or 1.5% which I don't rate - would really like to try some 4% thoriated - having read the OP is using .060" that is hard to learn on - some 1/8" is going to make things much easier.
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Re: Need some noob help TIG welding

Postby cj737 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:48 pm

noddybrian wrote:I use a stubby #7 or #8 most of the time - only thing I switch out for is aluminum ( which I admit to doing very little of ) - weirdly get a wider etched zone using a regular 6 than gas lens 8 - can't explain why - as to frequency / balance - no two machines seem to like the same settings so it's something you can only say what suits your machine & welding style - if I'd give a starting point I'd have said 70 % & 120hz but I never had machines that display this so it's just turn the knobs till it feels right ! - I find it slightly odd using pure on an inverter - but depending on waveform used & personal choice then if it works for you fine - I see sine wave still optioned on new machines & wonder why people use it - Lanthanated in 2% is very hard to find here - really only Ebay has it - walk into a LWS & you will get the blank stare or if lucky the offer of 1 or 1.5% which I don't rate - would really like to try some 4% thoriated - having read the OP is using .060" that is hard to learn on - some 1/8" is going to make things much easier.

Etched zone is more a function of the freq than the HAZ in my experience.

Regarding the 2%, I think if I turned my balance up, the 2% would be better. It just tends to tear apart the tip running at 65% and then I get an arc I can't control as well.

But you're right for sure, every machine seems to behave differently as every welder has their own nuances. 8-)
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Re: Need some noob help TIG welding

Postby LtBadd » Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:36 pm

cj737
I have a pyrex cup but haven't used it yet, although I've read that it shouldn't be used on AC current, mine is from Dog Fabrication (FUPA cup)

I bought some 2% lan online recently from Bakers Gas, but see it at other online stores as well, no problem to locate, even Amazon has it.

To the OP, I'd definably practice on at least 1/8" material, I believe you'll do much better.
Richard

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Re: Need some noob help TIG welding

Postby cj737 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:08 pm

LtBadd wrote:cj737
I have a pyrex cup but haven't used it yet, although I've read that it shouldn't be used on AC current, mine is from Dog Fabrication (FUPA cup)
.

I use the same cups. They are AC friendly, but you can't "walk" his Pyrex cups on AC or DC. If you've ever watched Furick weld, he's an "air welder" and doesn't really walk his cups despite the tubing work he does.
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Re: Need some noob help TIG welding

Postby YBNORMAL » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:37 pm

Thanks for all the help guys, I cant wait to get back under the hood. As far as the thickness of material, I can get ahold of some 1/8th to practice on. Ultimately, I am getting into this hobby to see if I can repair some damage to an aluminum boat that I am restoring, the boat is mostly .050-.070 thickness aluminum.

If I am not getting it, I can take it to people that do it for a living, but I wanted to give it a shot. I am all about the DIY, but I do know my limits, and won't do anything unsafe, it is a boat after all :D .
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Re: Need some noob help TIG welding

Postby cj737 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:36 am

YBNORMAL wrote:Thanks for all the help guys, I cant wait to get back under the hood. As far as the thickness of material, I can get ahold of some 1/8th to practice on. Ultimately, I am getting into this hobby to see if I can repair some damage to an aluminum boat that I am restoring, the boat is mostly .050-.070 thickness aluminum.

If I am not getting it, I can take it to people that do it for a living, but I wanted to give it a shot. I am all about the DIY, but I do know my limits, and won't do anything unsafe, it is a boat after all :D .

You will want to use 5356 filler. Clean the ever living hell out of the area to be repaired first. Scrub with a stainless steel brush, then wipe with Acetone or the like.

You will find that if you're filling a crack, the edges will burn away if you're not careful, or a seam will "potato chip" on you. Thin aluminum sheet on a Jon boat is a test of patience, technique, experience, and your 4-letter word vocabulary. Personally, I prefer my Spool Gun for this type of work. It allows a significant amount of filler to be poured in without allowing the burn back on the think aluminum. If you TIG it, loiter over the weld with post flow to help prevent any heat cracking. Skip around too if your work areas provide that option.

You're right though, at the end of the day, its only aluminum and you can grind it down and repair your repairs to insure its filled without any porosity or cracks.
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