Mostly known as the Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). But TIG basically stands for Tungsten Inert Gas. As you can see, the tungsten plays a very important role here.
The welding working process is very simple. The tungsten electrode delivers the current to the welding arc. Here, the tungsten electrode is non-consumable.
Inert gas like argon protects and cools down the tungsten and the weld puddle. In race car fabrication, people apply the TIG welding wearing the proper welding helmet.
Before we go any deeper, let’s watch the explainer video on what is this welding.
After watching the video, I believe you have understood what is TIG welding, right? There is nothing much to explain any further. But we will now talk about its safety issue, usages, and limitations.
TIG Welding Applications
Like MIG welding, the application areas of TIG welding is very vast. It is mostly used in the following sectors:
- Aerospace Industry: For strength and precision, this welding is second to none. That ’s the reason it is widely used in the aerospace industry. In both commercial plane and spacecraft industry, TIG welding is hugely used.
- Automotive Industry: This industry requires the safe and secure construction of cars. The welding is prominent to do the job that way. It helps the automotive industry to avoid rust. It’s proven that the TIG strategy helps the automotive industry to reduce corrosion over time.
- Repairing Anything: To repair almost anything, this welding really comes in handy.
Advantages of TIG Welding
Due to the pinpoint control of TIG welding, it has many advantages that you won’t find in any other welding methods. Here are some of the advantages of TIG welding:
- When precise welds are required, there is no alternative to this welding.
- The filler material deposition rates are very lower.
- If you need to weld dissimilar metal, TIG is second to none.
- Greater weld puddle visibility.
- Highly effective to produce results on welding thin material.
- Greater control of heat during the welding process.
- You don’t need any flux for this process to work.
- Great control over heat input.
- TIG welding can weld more metals and metal alloys than the all available arc welding process.
- It does not spark or spatter.
- Less chance to have brittle weld.
- This process can be automated since it is a very stable process.
- You can literally weld almost everything including but not limited to copper, titanium, magnesium, etc.
- Almost no welding residue or smoke.
- Using filler wire is almost optional.
- No other welding process offers such a soft start and soft stop as the TIG welding process. This great feature prevents temperature to shock the metal.
- Perfect for extremely complex metal welding like niobium, molybdenum, etc.
- Since it uses non-consumable electrodes, you don’t need to stop to change the electrodes. This ensures continuous working for a higher period of time. Great productivity!
- You do not want the end result to get rusty too soon. Being corrosion-resistant, TIG welding is great.
- Highly suitable for small and precise welding. For critical joints, it’s second to none.
- While welding, you can change the travel rate and current; so it’s no wonder it’s great for complex welding.
- Greater visibility on the weld puddle.
- Very easy to switch between welding one metal to another.
- Affordable cost for the TIG welding services.
Facts About TIG Welding
- Apart from welding aluminum, the TIG welding process requires DC electric power.
- Shielding gas like Argon protects the weld bead and the metal being welded from ambient air. Depending on the heat requirement, wall thickness, etc. – some other gases are mixed with the shielding gas components (oxygen, nitrogen, etc.)
- Radioactive isotopes pose a great health hazard when it comes to TIG welding. In the past, the risk was higher because the tungsten electrodes were thorium based. In modern days, welders use lanthanum or cerium based tungsten electrodes to avoid the serious impact of the radioactive isotopes in addition to wearing a welding jacket.
- Apart from heavier wall applications or welding stainless steel, you don’t need any filler wire. However, you will be needing this for the following cases:
- If you weld corrosion-resistant alloys.
- When a beveled joint is a must while dealing with the thicker wall material.
- When you need to join different types of alloys.
- If for some reason, the structure of the alloys gets modified during the welding process.
About TIG Welding Machines
Considering the huge popularity of the process, lots of manufacturers brought to you a lot of variety of welding machines. From cheaper to expensive TIG welding machines, you can have one within your budget. As soon as you got one, you should immediately familiarize yourself with every part of the machine.
These machines come with a lot of controls. Among these controls, the controls for the balance is the most important one. When you need greater penetration, you need more control.
Most TIG machines come with normal/pulsed mode. To have better weld, use the pulsed mode. When the pulsed mode is on, the workpiece gets less heat and you will have a less heat-affected zone. As a bonus, you will have a rippled wave in the weld when the pulsed mode is on.
My advice to you is that you read the instruction manual that comes with your welders. You should explore every possibility that your welding machine has.
TIG Welding Safety
There are many threats associated with this welding like an electric shock, radiation, welding fumes, and so on, even if you do it on your portable TIG welding machine. And the worst part is it may happen before or after the welding is done. You must identify such hazards before you start welding. Take preventive measures like wearing a welding helmet, leather gloves and jackets, and so on.
Limitations of TIG Welding
You have learned lots of advantages of the welding, but it is not free from some limitations as well. Here are some of its great disadvantages:
- Lower and slower travel speeds than other welding processes.
- Can’t perform well when you weld the dirty metals. It always requires clean metals to work.
- Sometimes, lower filler metal deposition rates can be a problem.
- The UV ray is brighter than any other welding process.
- Huge practice required to master TIG welding. The skill of hand and eye coordination is greatly required.
- It requires the use of your 2 hands and 1 leg which leaving you to stand in one leg only!
- If you work in a confined place where there is no proper ventilation system, the shielding gas may concentrate and displace the required oxygen.
- Requires a cleaner work environment than other welding processes.
- Requires higher energy and the process takes a relatively long time.
- Overall, higher investment requirement.
- Not recommended for welding thick metals.
- If you are in a tight budget, you should avoid this process.
- Not beginner-friendly. You need to be a professional welder to get the best output out of this process.
- Once welded, it’s really hard to separate the two metals without destroying it completely.
- If not done properly, the end result will be warped and defective.
- Since you have to use two hands and one leg sometimes while welding, you will be standing on one leg only! This also makes it difficult to weld tight corners.
- The shielding gas and other equipment are very costly.
- Not suitable for outdoor welding because of the wind.
- The cost of the welding equipment is much higher than other welding solutions.
Briefly, I have covered almost every basic of TIG welding, right? The idea of this article is not to teach you how to TIG weld, but to give you some basic information on it so that you don’t have to start from level zero. Let me know if you need to know anything more about TIG welding.