What Is TIG Welding?
TIG welding, also referred to as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), is an arc welding process that uses a type of non-consumable electrode, in this case, tungsten. This helps to produce the weld, where the weld and the electrode are both protected from oxidation or any other form of contamination from the atmosphere.
This is created by an inert gas shield being created from either argon or helium. While a filler metal is often used in this process, some welds are done without incorporating the use of a filler.
How Does It Work?
In the GTAW weld, a highly ionized gas is created. This helps to conduct energy across the arc. This is created by a constant current that is produced by a power supply. To accomplish the weld, the welder must maintain a very short arc length. This helps to prevent contact between the electrode and the objects that are being welded.
Because of the method used to create the weld, there is a minimal, if any slag that is produced. This makes it one of the cleanest welding processes available.
It Takes a Skilled Laborer
While a popular form of welding, it also requires a great deal of expertise to be able to perform. First off, this is not a quick type of weld. It is time consuming to do the job right, which requires a steady hand and someone who is quite skilled at using the welding device.
In addition, it takes a lot of expertise to properly connect the right areas using a very limited focus. This is something that has to be practiced again and again to get the best quality weld that also provides the right kind of strength. This is one of the stronger types of weld you could ask for, but it has to be done right to get the full benefits of that strength.
What Is the Application?
The primary reason why this type of weld is used is because of the high quality clean weld that it creates. The welder is given a superior arc and weld puddle control, which allows him or her to create an extremely clean weld. When the appearance of the weld is important, this is one of the preferred options.
Because the weld allows you to either heat up or cooled down the welding area puddle, it gives the welder a great deal of control. This ensures a precise weld bead is created. Because of this, there are three primary areas where this weld is frequently found, automotive, building and repair, and art.
Primary Applications of TIG Welding
Here are the most popular applications where TIG welding is preferred:
- Automotive Manufacturing. In automotive manufacturing, it is easy to see the benefits of the TIG weld. This may not seem apparent at first, especially considering that this requires a skilled welder and is not a weld that is produced quickly. In most cases, automotive manufacturing is an assembly line process, were quick, efficient welds are needed. That doesn’t really represent the TIG weld very well at all.
However, there are great benefits for this type of weld in automotive manufacturing. The most important of these is that it provides a clean weld that is durable and looks good. No one will want to buy a car where there are welding marks or beads that are visible. People want a smooth, symmetrical looking vehicle. This type of weld provides that.
- Building and Repair Services. In building and repair, it is easy to see how this weld would work as the perfect choice. Not only is a durable weld created, but it is also one that looks good. If there is damage to a steel structure or to a large pipe and it is an exterior piece, a TIG weld will give the right kind of appearance and provide the kind of durability that is needed.
- Creation of Artwork. Oddly enough, it is in the art world where this has become an extremely popular choice. A skilled welder/artist can create some unbelievable artwork using this type of weld. Most artists have a great sense of touch and a steady hand, so using a welding torch for this kind of work is second nature to them. It still requires a lot of expertise and practice but, once they have reached that level of expertise, they can create some incredible pieces.
What You Can Weld with TIG Weld?
While you have been shown a number of primary reasons why this is such a popular form of welding, one of the most important of these is that it allows for the welding of dissimilar types of metals or materials.
If you have been in welding for some time, you probably understand that you need to bind dissimilar metals at times. By using a filler metal, one can easily bind to dissimilar materials to create a strong bond. This has a lot of practical application when materials like cast-iron, steel, and nickel are used.
GTAW welding is often used with carbon and stainless steels. It is important to choose the right filler material to ensure that there is not an excessive level of porosity. Magnesium and alumina are probably the most common materials that are bound using this type of welding.
The Advantages and Disadvantages
GTAW welding provides a number of advantages and disadvantages. These include:
- Uses a non-consumable tungsten.
- The shielding protects the weld and the tungsten.
- It produces an extremely high-quality weld that is clean.
- The type of weld worked perfectly with most metals and other materials.
- A filler material is needed to bind dissimilar types of metals.
- Requires a great deal of skill and expertise to create welds with this technique.
This is a type of weld that is not used by many welders. As you have seen, the level of expertise required scares many away from using it. However, when a person understands how to use and create welds using this process, they can do some fantastic work. This is often why this type of welder can find work at just about any business.