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radioactive tungsten dust question

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  • radioactive tungsten dust question

    Being new to Tig welding could someone explain how much of a safety problem radioactive dust is coming off thoriated tungsten electrodes for a welder in a home shop, and getting thorium dust on work clothes that are washed in the family washing machine?

    I just have bought lanthanated electrodes and plan to try some ceriated, what do you guys think, thoriated electrodes are nothing to worry about or are you moving to the non-radioactive electrodes yourselves? Also where can I get a good description on the different types of tungsten electrodes. Thanks

  • #2
    just about everybody is moving to the non-radioactive tungstens these days.... the newer formulations offer advantages without the worry about long term health effects...
    here is a link to a datasheet that covers the subject pretty well...

    hope this helps

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    • #3
      While the contamination would be minimal in a home shop, why risk it. I would use the lanthanated tungsten in place of thoriated and be on the safe side.


      • #4
        Thanks guys, H80N I appreciate the link. Thanks


        • #5
          Diamond Ground Products: The Best!


          For what it is worth. I have been sampling a number of pre-ground lanthanated electrodes from Diamond Ground Products. You can go their website: and learn all about tungsten parameters including the hazards posed by thoiated alloys.

          You can also visit:

          Here you can order free samples of what you would like to try. For me the 3.5", double ended, 35 degree taper,.030" flat in 2% lanthanated and 1.5% lanthanated tungstens are the electrodes of choice. I use these all the way up to 300 amps with 75%helium/25%argon on the Dynasty 300DX. I just received some new samples to help determine if there is a noticeable difference between the RA20 standard finish, which is excellent, and the high polish finish.

          To date I have found the 2% lanthanated, 35 degree taper, .030" flat, in a 3/32" tungsten alloy electrode to be the most effective and efficient tungsten available for my use. I can honesly say the tungsten provided by diamond ground products is of the best quality available!

          ALSO THE PIRANHA II TUNGSTEN SHARPENER IS A FANTASTIC PRODUCT! Let me know if you try these folks. I think you will be surprised!


          • #6
            Thanks again guys, I'm going to print this page out for future reference. I'll try Diamond Hawk.


            • #7
              That is an interesting company HAWK. I came across that sight while doing a search for a tungsten chart earlier today. I just checked it out thoroughly after I saw your post. Great tungsten Info in their "How to" section. I don't have any first hand experience with them, but it sure looks like they know what they are doing when it comes to tungsten. I like the customizable options on their pre-ground product. I guess as a distributor, I should worry about a company like this, but I have a hard time finding fault with somebody that offers a service such as theirs....


              • #8
                Sounds GREAT. So the people at this company will give out up to 4 tungstons at a time to ANYONE? Is there any obligation attached?


                • #9

                  Their tungsten products I have tried are fantastic. I can weld 3/8" aluminum fillets (6061T-6511) with their 2% lanthanated tungsten alloy, 3/32" diameter, 35 degree taper, .030 flat, and an RA20 finish at 190 amps to start the puddle and 175 amps to run the weld. This is with the D300DX and straight argon. The machines settings are typical for argon gas. The material is ******, but 65% EN balance is required to get the 5356 filler to really shine. I know that sounds off the wall and adheres to no common rules, but with the conductivity and quality of their 2% lanthanated tungsten alloy electordes it is possible. I must also credit the Dynasty 300 DX for such a great arc and awesome power to achieve such welds within these parameters.

                  Their Piranha series tungsten grinders are also fantastic! The RA20 finish produced on the taper and flats is superb! Should you worry? No. They cater to specific users such as myself and also to the automation and orbital GTAW industry. Their products are not designed for the small quantity user. A minimum order for preground tungsten alloy is 50 pieces. As you can see this is not a small dollar order. Also their sharpeners start at a list price of $700.00. That probably sounds steep, but in this case you get what you pay for.

                  They are a specialty vendor with specialty product. I do not believe they are a competitor to a welding supply vendor. Your inventory is quite vast and "general" by comparison. You are selling welding machines, plasma cutters, induction heating systems of various "colors", consumables in small and large quantities, accessories such as mig and tig torches, welding cables, O/A fuel torch systems, hand tools, power tools, assorted clamps, gloves, industrial and perhaps medical gases, regulators, valves, safety caps, etc.

                  My apologies for the long post, butI got wound up. If you ever need such service, give them a call.


                  • #10

                    No obligation. However, they do this with the intent of increasing product sales. I too give out samples of my work to entice customers to purchase. Talk with Jim and let him know I mentioned his fantastic service on this forum. You will need to know what length, taper of grind, diameter of flat, tungsten alloy, and finish you require. The standard RA20 finish is great! I like the 3.5" lenght for manual welding with a medium back cap. I also like the steeper 35 degree taper to handle the higher amperage with helium. 20-25 degrees is a normal taper as is .020"-.030" flat. Good luck


                    • #11
                      Sort of off topic but what type of electrode do you recomend for my 180sd. Have tried thoirated and just tried some lanthanated on some AL. What do recomend for prep. right now I am using a fine stone on my pedestal grider that is dedicated to grinding tungstens. I also had the pleasure of using a D300DX last week and it sure made me look like I knew what I was doing That machine is great just don't let my parents know that I want one now!


                      • #12

                        The 1.5% lanthanated alloy should work fine for AC/DC. For DC sharpen to a point. For AC let it ball on its own with a piece of scrap aluminum. You can also run the machine on DCRP and ball the end using copper for the base metal.

                        I have not run much lanthanated on square wave machines like the Syncrowaves, but do know the zirconiated alloy tungstens work fantastic on AC with these machines. They withstand the heat well and do not tend to boil off or form large balls-good stuff-only for balled end welding with AC.


                        • #13

                          What's your parent's phone number over there in BC? Just kidding! The Dynasty 300 is a great machine. Does it make you a better welder? I don't think so. It just has a different set of rules to play by being an inverter.


                          • #14
                            HAWK, make sure to report back on whether the High Polish tungsten is of any advantage in your applications over their standard finish, I'll be interested to hear how it works for you.


                            • #15
                              Hey Hawk you had me scared for a minute there !
                              I will try to get a few of zirconiated tungstens from school and try them out. I am also going to get a much finer wheel for the prep. work. I also don't think that D300DX made me a better welder but it is very comfortable up at my school and there is lots of room to do the work unlike my shop
                              Thanks for your help