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tungsten type and tip profile for AL welding

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  • tungsten type and tip profile for AL welding

    I've owned a TIG welder for a couple of years, and am proficient on mild steel and stainless.

    My aluminum welding and out of position welding need some help, so I have been in a welding class for the last couple of weeks at the local college.

    I started doing some aluminum today after spending a couple of weeks on vertical and over head steel.

    The instructor started me with a pure tungsten electrode after balling it on AC a bit.

    He stated that he uses Thoriated (red) tungsten when he welds aluminum in his home shop.

    I also tried some Lanthanated (blue) with a short taper ground on the tip when welding some of the aluminum coupons and it seemed to give me a tigher arc and bead profile than the pure.

    I was welding 1/8" plate, butt, lap, T, and outside corners.

    I'd appreciate additional opinions on tungsten type and tip configuration when welding aluminum.


  • #2
    That depends!

    An inverter type TIG will want a pointed tungsten -- the old style NON inverter welder will need a balled end.

    Funny -- it took me about a year to find that out... but if you read the fine print on Millers (or the red one) sales info - you'll note the difference for SquareWave machines vs Inverter versions.
    Yes - Weld is my last name
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    mean you have skills


    • #3
      I use 2% Ceriated ground almost to a point with a small flat spot left on the tip for AC on squarewave machine all the time. It will get a small half ball on the the tip after a few minutes, but never gets very big. You don't need a lot of cleaning action running tungsten this way. Both squarewave and inverter machines can use pretty much any tungsten to weld aluminum. 1% Zirconiated is a great AC only tungsten.

      Oh yeah, don't grind a pure tungsten to a point.
      Last edited by wrenchnride247; 01-28-2009, 07:45 PM. Reason: forgot something
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      • #4
        search this site for threads on tig welding. this has been beaten to death several times and will provide a wealth of information faster.