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Closer to trying TIG

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  • Closer to trying TIG

    I may be a step closer to trying out TIG for the first time. If I put an HF box (might get to borrow one soon) on my Trailblazer or PowCon, I should be able to use some old torches that I've had for a while. I'll have to get them out and look at them again, but they are in good shape. I think at least one of the two is the diamond-handled style that Miller uses?

    Anyway, the question is that I know both of them are water-cooled torches. Do I NEED to cool them? If these torches are designed for heavy loads, and I only want to test them out and do some light duty practicing, is it a big deal?

    If I really should liquid-cool them, is there a way to improvise? Say, adapt the garden hose to the torch hose and then let it run back into the garden in an open loop? I also have a tile saw water pump. Is that big enough to adapt into a closed loop system? If I go that route, is it good to use car-type coolant mixture, or just water? I'm sure Miller would recommend a Coolmate with their "special coolant."

    Next, from your experience, what size tungsten and type should I try until I get proficient with the method? I'll practice on mild steel, mostly .065 wall tubing scraps, until I get the technique down. I have some 1/8" filler, but that seems big for that. Should I snip off some .045 MIG wire and use it, or should I go even smaller? Or is it easier to practice with the 1/8" filler and get some bigger scraps?

  • #2

    First off it isn't hard to adapt the garden hose to the TIG torch and you can let it flow and run the water out into the garden or yard if you like. Also you don't have to run the hose full blast either just enough to keep water flowing through the torch should be fine. I don't know whether your wet saw pump will pump the water far enough but if you're going to do it in a closed system at some point you'll have to have a way to cool the water. I'd say if it were me for now I'd adapt the garden hose and use that for now.

    For .065 wall tubing I'd use a 1/16 2% Thoriated tungsten with a 3/8" cup and something close to that diameter for a filler rod. The 1/8 will be too big and you'll end up having to hold the puddle still too long to melt the filler and end up blowing through the work. .045 seems a touch small but it'd be the better of the two choices. 1/16 filler rod shouldn't be that expensive, get a pound of it and give it a whirl.

    You may want to begin with some 11 or 10 guage scraps and use a 1/8 tungsten with a 1/2" cup and the 1/8 filler to get the hang of it. It will be a little easier to learn on as you won't blow through as quickly as the .065 stuff. Start with flat material first as tubing is a little more difficult to weld expecially if you're using coped joints than the flat stuff.

    Hope this helps
    Blondie (Owner C & S Automotive)

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    • #3
      welding supply places used to carry what they called a "city water" cooling kit.... they were about $30bucks... they may still carry them... you might call and check with your local guys..
      hope this helps

      The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

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      • #4
        It gets better! I actually dug through the box last night and found not two, but THREE TIG torches, two water-cooled Weldcraft (different sizes) and one Weldcraft air-cooled. And the air-cooled torch has a built-in gas valve on the handle. So that's the one I think I'll be using first!

        But it has the same gas hose connector as if I was going to screw it into the back of my MM175. How do I connect it to the flowmeter? I should be able to use the same Smith that came with my MM175, right?


        • #5
          Roger that MAC.

          The regulator that came with the MM175 is an Argon or Argon mix regulator. Set it for around 20cfh for your aircooled torch and weld on.

          Good luck!