There are many proven ways to combine two similar or different metals using pressure and heat. The type of equipment and its uses make one welding process different from the others. TIG welding has earned a spot in most people’s top welding processes list due to the enhanced usability and high-quality welds.
If you are still wondering about what is TIG welding, keep reading to unfold the mystery.
What Is TIG Welding?
TIG refers to Tungsten Inert Gas, which was previously known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). This is an advanced manual welding process that produces the weld by using a non-consumable tungsten electrode. The workspace and weld area are well protected from the potential atmospheric contamination and oxidation by the use of a cover gas or inert shielding gas (argon or helium). TIG welding works a bit slower than its counterparts, but it produces excellent quality weld when done correctly. You will need a set of necessary items to perform this welding smoothly with a top-class TIG welder.
Essentials of TIG Welding
A TIG welder comprises of a welding torch, power supply, electrode, and shielding gas. You can get precise and beautiful weld joints only if you have these pieces of equipment in possession. The essentials and TIG welding basics are described as below.
- Welding Torch
The welding torch comes in two types- Water Cooled and Air Cooled TIG torches. Both manual and automatic torches are available, and one can choose the right one as per their needs. Air-cooled torches are less expensive and come with a downside. It heats up too much and consequently wastes the heat produced by the arc. Water cooled torches are more efficient but involve the use of an additional water cooler.
- Power Supply
You will need a constant welding power source regardless of the change in voltage and the arc-distance. The current source must be relatively consistent as TIG welding functions through using a continuous power supply in order to produce an effective electric arc in between the workpiece and the strong tungsten electrode.
- Tungsten Electrode
TIG welding uses electrodes made of good quality tungsten alloy or tungsten. Tungsten comes with the highest melting point among other pure metals. This high melting temperature keeps it non-consumable when it gets exposed to extreme heat during the welding process.
- Shielding Gas
Shielding gas is vital to keep the work area free from atmospheric contamination. Oxygen and Nitrogen have the ability to cause porosity and fusion defects. They can also affect the welding if any direct contact with the electrode takes place. These shielding gases also work as a heat carrier and transfer heat from the electrode to the target metal.
Applications of TIG Welding
People are using TIG welding for many purposes. But it has special utility in airplanes and spacecraft construction. Automobile manufacturers have also adopted the TIG welding process in auto body repair industry. TIG welding is mostly used to join stainless steel and other similar light metals. TIG welding steel produces the finest of weld joints, whereas other metals look somewhat less precise. One can use TIG welding for almost all types of metals, but it gives the best output when joining stainless steel, magnesium, and aluminum. TIG welding doesn’t fit well with zinc and lead metals. The welding joints will look clean and last longer if you join similar metals in features. Dissimilar metals lack both beauty and accuracy.
How Does TIG Welding Work?
Still confused about what is TIG welding? Then know the mechanism from here. TIG welding works by using an electric arc and a TIG tungsten electrode which isn’t consumable and doesn’t dissolve when welding. It doesn’t need the filler metal to make the weld joints; as a result, the joints are devoid of contamination. The welder has to engage both hands when welding a joint keeping a weld rode in one hand and the source of heat (welding torch) on the other. They inert shielding gas keeps the workpiece protected from the contaminants in the air. Thus, TIG welding generates clean and accurate joints without causing any spatter, sparks, or fumes.
- A welder should wear leather gloves and protective clothing to avoid the extended exposure of UV light.
- The operators should wear dark lenses to cover the eyes and opaque helmets to protect the neck and head to avoid accidental flashes and skin damage.
- The nitric oxide and ozone levels must be monitored taking the exposure duration, quality of smoke and fume extraction, proper ventilation into account to protect the welder from health risks.
To conclude, TIG welding has significant efficacy to weld critical joints where you need to perform small and precise welds. TIG welding produces top-class welding joints when welded appropriately. But, remember to weld only clean and similar metals with TIG welding; otherwise, you may end up with a weaker and dirty weld joint.