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Beginner tig questions - basics

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  • Beginner tig questions - basics

    Well, I have read and viewed just about everything I can find to get me started tig welding. I ran a few beads today and it went pretty well but I wanted to verify where I was starting before I log too many beads and develop some bad habits!

    I'm using a Maxstar 150 STL - unbelievable what this tiny box can do!

    DCEN (this machine is DC only, just fyi)

    Welding on 1/8 and 3/16 mild steel

    Steel cleaned with flapper wheel to all raw steel

    Gas straight argon about 18 cfh

    1/16" Electrode 2 % thoriated sharpened to a moderately long point, ground lenghtwise on a diamond burr on my die grinder and a cordless drill rotating slowly grinding into the rotation of the burr. Point lenghth 2 to 2.5 times the length of electrode.

    Stick out about 1/4" past cup. Cup 3/8 opening (I think)

    Amps cranked all the way up, but using foot pedal.

    Using lift start; touch tip, give pedal, slowly lift and arch starts... usually . Sometimes arch wanders and poof. I think when tip gets too balled up.

    Using a push technique, torch 15 - 20 degrees from vertical facing into the direction of travel, rod fed from direction of travel. Rod is 1 /16 mild rod. (I know I should know the type#)

    So, all seems well, spent some time burning holes, running a few beads without filler, a couple of butt joints, etc.

    Please let me know if I should adjust anything before proceeding...

    Couple of questions:

    Am I working with a good gauge of steel/ electrode/ filler for learning? I am not really having a problem burning through, although it is a bit challenging to keep the heat even through the bead. I started with 3/32 electrode and that worked too, but a bit easy to overheat.

    Do you always push and work into the filler, even with steel? Somewhere I read otherwise... but only in that one article.

    Why does the @#$%#@%^ elecrtrode ball up so quickly?

    Should the end of the filler be in the wash or plume of the arch or strictly in the puddle? It seems that the arch is not distict or crisp To get a decent looking bead I am not melting the rod with the arch but pretty close. Kinda living right on the edge; is that correct?

    My biggest problem... fighting the rubber torch hose. That thing grabs everthing and doesn't s l i d e very well. Feels like i get so far and then I'm stuck like, when someones stepping on your extension cord when your 3/4 through a sheet of plywood with the cricular saw! I can't seem to orientate the cord in a way that it gives me enough slack not to make the torch movement irratic... secret? I do not have this problem with the mig hose or stick electrode holder/wire. Maybe it's the gummy rubber of this hose, unlike the more plasticy, slick rubber on the mig hose. I dunno, maybe I need to get it good and dusty or something.

    Well, I know you guys are busy, so no need to write me a novel, but if anything stands out as incorrect or you have some practical insight I would appreciate some suggestions.

    Thanks for taking the time...
    Last edited by Handy560; 03-11-2008, 01:41 AM. Reason: i can'T tYpe
    John

    Thunderbolt AC/DC
    MM 175
    Maxstar 150 STL
    Blue Star 185 DX
    Spectrum 375

  • #2
    Originally posted by Handy560 View Post
    Well, I know you guys are busy, so no need to write me a novel

    BUSY ???? well i aint got nothing to do.
    im not an expert when it comes to tig ,but it sounds like your on the right track

    but... where are the pics
    my daddy always said i was IRONHEADED....
    feel free to P/M me

    Comment


    • #3
      you gave a lot of information, but STILL missed on telling us what beer you were drinking and how many???
      Nope, sorry, don't have your machine, but as far as what you are doing and are coming along, we need pics!
      I'm not late...
      I'm just on Hawaiian Time

      Comment


      • #4
        Seeing that your machine is an inverter, you might be better off trying ceriated or lanthanated tungsten. I use 2% lanthanated for everything - no trouble with it balling up.

        Use as little stickout as you can get away with, especially with smaller cups. If you need more stickout to get into a tight place, use the biggest cup that will work. Get a gas lense.

        Experiment with a little less of a grind angle on your tungsten, and also try grinding the very point of the tungsten off flat.

        Set the amperage on your machine to about 10 - 20 amps over what you should need for that thickness of metal. You want as much resolution on the foot pedal as you can get, especially when you're learning.

        Make sure that you're using TIG filler rod (e.g. ER70) as opposed to gas rod (e.g. RG45). It will make a difference.

        Regarding wrestling with the cable - I usually wrap the cable around my shoulders. This takes the weight off of your TIG hand. Also, it allows you to adjust the cable length so that it won't drag on things.

        You want your filler rod in the gas coverage but you don't want it being melted by the arc. It must be melted by the puddle.

        Really work on your arc length. This is probably the most beneficial thing that you can practice. Keep as tight of an arc as possible without constantly dipping your tungsten. Also, work on keeping your arc length consistent.

        That's my 2 cents!

        Comment


        • #5
          looks like villemur covered the bases pretty well. I can only add that you may want to consider a cable cover if for nothing else than to add a "slide factor" to combat the rubber :-)

          sounds like you're doing well, though...
          Carmen Electrode (Arc-Zone.com)
          CarmenElectrode.com

          powered by... Arc-Zone.com (R) Inc.

          Comment


          • #6
            1/16" tungsten is too small, use a 3/32". I use 2% thoriated because I have them. 2% lanthanated seems to be preferred for an inverter.

            Yes, puddle should melt the filler. 1/16" is too small for your material. On 1/8" and 3/16" I'd use 3/32 filler. Bead size is defined by filler size.

            Arc length 1/8"
            villemur said: Really work on your arc length. This is probably the most beneficial thing that you can practice. Keep as tight of an arc as possible without constantly dipping your tungsten. Also, work on keeping your arc length consistent.

            villemur is right, turn your amps down. This will make your pedal more accurate for better control.

            Does your maching have hz adjustment? There is another thread describing hz adjustment for keeping the tung from balling; but I don't remember the name.
            RETIRED desk jockey.

            Hobby weldor with a little training.

            Craftsman O/A---Flat, Vert, Ovhd, Horz.

            Miller Syncrowave 250.
            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok, now that is 2 of you that said not to dip your tunsten in too much! I forget his name, although he had some REALLY nice welds, I myself thought and a LOT of people posted that his "dimes" were too far apart! I thought as you are pushing your puddle, dip your tungsten a lot, to keep those stack of dimes nice and tight?!
              thanks for your reply,
              bert
              I'm not late...
              I'm just on Hawaiian Time

              Comment


              • #8
                Dip Tungsten?

                I'm guessing that we're talking about the frequency of dipping the filler. Dipping the tungsten means stop and grind if not stop, brake off a chunk and grind...right?

                I think they were alluding to the fact that as you tighten the arc, the possibility of accidently dipping the electrode becomes greater.

                I was doing pretty well at keeping a tight arc when the arc was not wandering... but when the tip balled up it was like one of the psychedelic plasma lamps...

                On that topic, what is the best way to cut away a contaminated tungsten? I read that snapping it off on the edge of a table works... i cut mine back with a zip disk... 'till i read about the whole radioactive thing... what's best?

                Thanks
                Last edited by Handy560; 03-11-2008, 03:10 PM. Reason: I always think of something ELSE!
                John

                Thunderbolt AC/DC
                MM 175
                Maxstar 150 STL
                Blue Star 185 DX
                Spectrum 375

                Comment


                • #9
                  Guys,

                  Increasing the HZ allows you to focus the arc more than say at 60 HZ on a transformer machine. It does not keep the tungsten from balling. Changing balance to less cleaning (AC only) will help reduce balling the tungsten.

                  Increasing the HZ to prevent balling is just another piece of bad info put ot by a poster who doesn't know what he's talking about.

                  That's one of the problems with the boards, there's almost as much bad info put out as there is good info. Too often the OP who asked the question does not know the difference. When I "take exception" with some of the posts I see, I'm called out for being the "bad guy". Oh well.

                  I've said enough.
                  Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
                  Dynasty 200 DX
                  Miller XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Control
                  Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
                  Hobart HH187
                  Dialarc 250 AC/DC
                  Hypertherm PM 600 & 1250
                  Wilton 7"x12" bandsaw
                  PC Dry Cut Saw, Dewalt Chop Saw
                  Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
                  Thermco and Smith (2) Gas Mixers
                  More grinders than hands

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Handy,

                    Think your biggest problem is you're using too small a tungsten for the amps/material thickness. 3/32 would be a better option. Lanthanated or ceriated would also be a better choice for tungsten.

                    Old "rule of thumb" used to be 1/2 material thickness for tung diameter. Personally, with the inverters, I use 3/32" up to about 1/4" material.

                    Seems you do your homework/prep so I assume you ARE grinding your tungsten properly (in line with the length of the tungsten). A radial grind can also cause arc wander.

                    Swap out that tungsten and I think thing will improve greatly.
                    Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
                    Dynasty 200 DX
                    Miller XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Control
                    Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
                    Hobart HH187
                    Dialarc 250 AC/DC
                    Hypertherm PM 600 & 1250
                    Wilton 7"x12" bandsaw
                    PC Dry Cut Saw, Dewalt Chop Saw
                    Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
                    Thermco and Smith (2) Gas Mixers
                    More grinders than hands

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SundownIII View Post
                      Guys,

                      Increasing the HZ allows you to focus the arc more than say at 60 HZ on a transformer machine. It does not keep the tungsten from balling. Changing balance to less cleaning (AC only) will help reduce balling the tungsten.

                      Increasing the HZ to prevent balling is just another piece of bad info put ot by a poster who doesn't know what he's talking about.
                      That would be me. I've read a lot of posts since I found this site two months ago and I apparently recalled this info wrong. I do not object to being called on a mistake; that's how incorrect info gets stopped.
                      That's one of the problems with the boards, there's almost as much bad info put out as there is good info.
                      You pros are the filter and I know that you've forgotten more than I know. My sig says right up front that I'm a hobby welder. I think it was Handy that asked for help in another post and was told that he wasn't ready for TIG. BUT, he HAS a TIG. Beginner tips to a beginner welder are better than none. I got the tungsten and filler size right. He was wrong on both.
                      When I "take exception" with some of the posts I see, I'm called out for being the "bad guy". Oh well.
                      Anyone that's taken the time to read old posts, knows otherwise.
                      I've said enough.
                      No, you haven't; please continue with your expertise.

                      Referring to one of your very old posts, I do spell better than I weld.
                      RETIRED desk jockey.

                      Hobby weldor with a little training.

                      Craftsman O/A---Flat, Vert, Ovhd, Horz.

                      Miller Syncrowave 250.
                      sigpic

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hz

                        The Maxstar 150 STL is a small portable machine. There is really little adjustment other than the amps.

                        I did read alot of material with great interest about all the setting and frequency adjustments because the goal is to buy a nicer tig welder for my garage shop.

                        I do think I am grinding the tungsten correctly but I think I will try to go back up to the 3/32. I guess my thinking was that I would have more control with the smaller 1/16, but it sounds like I need to dial down the amps so the pedal is less touchy.

                        Learning is fun and thanks for all the advice. BTW, what is the best way to cut the tungsten if contaminated?
                        Last edited by Handy560; 03-12-2008, 05:22 PM.
                        John

                        Thunderbolt AC/DC
                        MM 175
                        Maxstar 150 STL
                        Blue Star 185 DX
                        Spectrum 375

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Handy,

                          I just etch it (where I want the break) with a diamond disk on my dremel tool and then snap it off with a pair of pliers.
                          Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
                          Dynasty 200 DX
                          Miller XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Control
                          Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
                          Hobart HH187
                          Dialarc 250 AC/DC
                          Hypertherm PM 600 & 1250
                          Wilton 7"x12" bandsaw
                          PC Dry Cut Saw, Dewalt Chop Saw
                          Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
                          Thermco and Smith (2) Gas Mixers
                          More grinders than hands

                          Comment

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