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Small TIG Weld Beads

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Small TIG Weld Beads

Postby sabre1 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:58 am

I typically TIG weld 1/16" steel parts and will be working on aluminum of similar thickness in the near future. My welds tend to be bigger than they need to be (~ 1/8" wide or so) and I'd like to know how to get the beads smaller. I typically try to use a .040 electrode and a similar size filler wire but the welds always end up bigger. I'm an amateur at this and can do a decent job. I have just upgraded to a Miller 200 Dynasty DX, but so far that hasn't made any difference. I don't practice like I should, but since I have never been able to actually create the smaller weld beads, I don't know what to practice..... Torch angle is about right, electrode tips have a longer point rather than shorter and are ground correctly, current settings are ballpark correct (~60 Amps), fit-up is usually good as I don't want to melt the parts before I get a bead going. I do have good success on 1/8" thick steel. I don't recall seeing any videos on smaller beads and a search on this forum didn't turn anything obvious either.

Any helpful suggestions? Thanks in advance.

-Jim
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Re: Small TIG Weld Beads

Postby cj737 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:03 pm

Welding on AC with your Dynasty, you can change the frequency to 150Hz or higher and get a more focused arc. Set your balance to about 72, and switch back to a 3/32 tungsten. A 7 or 8 cup with a gas lens will offer better gas coverage and help protect the adjacent areas.

As for taper angle of your tungsten, a narrow tip creates a wider arc higher up the tungsten. So you’re crossing yourself by trying to keep a narrow arc with a needle taper.
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Re: Small TIG Weld Beads

Postby LtBadd » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:54 pm

Even so, the aluminum weld will be larger then a stainless or steel weld would be given the same material thickness and joint configuration.
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Re: Small TIG Weld Beads

Postby sabre1 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:20 am

cj737 - thank you for the tips, I'll give them a try. It sounds like the nice tapered electrode is at least one of my problems.
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Re: Small TIG Weld Beads

Postby cj737 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:45 am

LtBadd wrote:Even so, the aluminum weld will be larger then a stainless or steel weld would be given the same material thickness and joint configuration.

Dead right. But the same principles apply. The nice thing about AC with his Dynasty, is the adjustable freq. It can make a huge difference in weld size coupled with controlling the balance. Of course, "tuning" can't overcome "technique" issues.
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Re: Small TIG Weld Beads

Postby sabre1 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:00 pm

cj737,

Thanks again for the tip on the electrode shape - worked just like you said it would, definitely a 'eureka' moment for me.

I will use your suggestions on aluminum when I get to that project.

-Jim
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Re: Small TIG Weld Beads

Postby Louie1961 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:10 pm

I'd bet a dollar you are holding too long an arc. Tighten up the arc and you will get smaller beads.
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Re: Small TIG Weld Beads

Postby sabre1 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:10 pm

Louie1961,

You may be right, something else for me to look into. The shorter point on the electrode accomplishes this as well. Thank you for the suggestion.

-Jim
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