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TIG Course - progress

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  • TIG Course - progress


    I have started the TIG course and I am not sure what to say at this point.

    The first day was theory that I have already picked up from reading and the second day was practical. There are 8 more days at 3 hours each of practical.

    So far all that we have done is mild steel in the flat position, 1/8" with 3/32 tungsten, 2% thoriated. Practice beads, practice filler, lap joint.

    I feel as though I have done all of this (I have in my garage) and I do not seem to be learning a lot. The instructors say that my welds are good but do not give any sort of additional advice like "there may be undercut here, or try this instead" This is somewhat frustrating to me as I am not sure how I am improving without any feedback. I just seem to be practicing with no guidance. (I can do that a lot cheaper in my garage)

    The one good thing that I got to experience is a TIG machine with a current control pedal. WOW! Is that a treat or what? The machine that I currently own does not have an adjustable current on the fly option. My welds have improved greatly with this feature alone!

    Don't get me wrong as I know that I am not the greatest weldor but I just though that I would be getting a bit more input from the instructors.

    Hopefully as the course progresses and we move to thiner/out of position welding they will have some good comments.

    Will keep you posted.



  • #2
    It sounds like you could be teaching the class. If you do learn some useful tips, pass them along to your buddies here.


    • #3
      Not to sound rude, But try ASKING for some guidance. {especially if youre paying for the course} Get your instructors opinion. My instructor was the same way but one day i told him" Give me some **** feedback" From that day forth he was all in my face telling me this and telling me that, But that was a good thing. . Let him or her know that your dead serious about what you are learning.
      I was lucky and didnt have to pay for my course JTPA {Job Training Partnership Act}paid for it for me.
      I am thinking of getting a PELL grant and going back for an advanced course.


      • #4
        try this. make a bad weld on purpose. then see what he has to say. put the teacher to the test.

        when those classes start, they have to figure than you don't know anything. and have to start from the begining. i'm sure/hope it gets better as it goes.

        keep us posted


        • #5
          Thanks for the feedback.

          I did tell them that I really wanted some feedback as I wanted to improve and all that they said was it looks good.

          I had to ask "is this undercut?", "Was this too hot?", "how do I know about penetration?" and things like that. All the responses were very limited. I will try again next Tue.

          I am by no means an expert TIG weldor and that is why I took the course. The problem is that my welds look real good compared to some other people in the class. Perhaps that is the problem.

          I like the idea of making a bad weld and seeing what they say! Fun to try.

          So far the only thing that I have really learned is that a TIG machine without a foot controlled current pedal is really hard to weld with. Perhaps that is why my welds are a lot better. My wife did not understand until we made the comparison of "Try sewing on a sewing machine that only has one speed"


          Also. We are using 3/32 electrodes for 1/8" steel. I was using 1/16 at home. I am finding the 3/32 with 3/32 filler rod really easy. How do you choose which electrode/filler diameter to use for a particular application?

          I will keep you posted.




          • #6
            Originally posted by Steved

            Also. We are using 3/32 electrodes for 1/8" steel. I was using 1/16 at home. I am finding the 3/32 with 3/32 filler rod really easy. How do you choose which electrode/filler diameter to use for a particular application?

            Well, what I normally do for gas and tig welding is never use filler rod that has a bigger diameter than the thickness of the metal I'm working on. that being said, I use 1/16" I think 99.9% of the time


            • #7
              OK. Day three. Things are quite a bit better.

              Perhaps it was a bit hectic on the first day of welding?

              Did some vertical welds on 1/8" mild steel. First couple of passes really hard but I got quite a bit better after practicing.

              Actually getting stack of dimes, (well sort of), I attribute most of this to the pedal and being able to adjust the current when required.

              We are getting a bit of feedback from the instructor so that is quite helpfull. He mentioned that grinding tungsten on grinding wheels used for other materials is not a problem. What I have read indicates otherwise. Any comments on that? I have a dedicated grinding wheel right now, do I have to keep it that way?

              Also, I purchased a pair of really thin TIG welding gloves. Crap do my fingers get hot sometimes when guiding the torch. The instructor suggested that I cut a couple of fingers off of an old pair of gloves and tape them to the fingers that I use to stabilize the torch.

              I will try that for next class.

              Will keep everyone posted if they are still interested.




              • #8
                when i tig at work, i have no choice but to grind on the shop grinder. on steel it seems to make no difference. i'm not good enough to know if it does for aluminum, but i don't weld aluminum at work anyway, least not yet.


                • #9
                  ThanKs for sharing your experiences here, I've been very seriously researching welding classes in my area. The most convenient thing I've come up with is a local community college.

                  However after reading of your experiences, I think I'll wait and do more research on what the best solution would be; as the course material, and most importantly the hands on instruction are the most important things to me.

                  When experience matters so much, it seems like the instructor might be the most important factor in my decision. I might try and see if I can sit in on some classes at my local schools to get a ball park idea of the experience and insight provided from the instructors.

                  I learn best from trial and error, but to be able to work with someone who has failed all the failures I'm doomed to experienced, I'm sure will save me alot of time in the long run.

                  Keep us posted on your experiences, thanks for any insight on good training programs or training events!!!!


                  • #10
                    Thanks for keeping us posted on your school.
                    I'm not a expert TIG welder either, however I think it is important to have
                    a dedicated gringing wheel. (One for steel, one for Alum) I also go as far
                    as having tungsten just for Alum welding and tungsten just for steel.
                    (just my opinion). Thanks again for sharing your school experiences, I
                    was also thinking of taking some classes.


                    • #11

                      What I do is use a "regular" heavy glove on my torch hand and
                      use the light weight tig style glove on the hand I'm feeding rod
                      with. Often this will allow me to rest my torch hand on the material
                      I'm welding, seems to really help on flat panels being butt welded
                      to be able to slide my hand along them without cooking it.
                      It depends on the application, if it's something really small
                      I might use no gloves and a piece of .023 or .030 mig wire
                      as filler.
                      Good Luck
                      Dave P.


                      • #12
                        Not so that I give anyone the wrong idea.

                        I think that the course is progressing well however I tend to like to learn finer details and perhaps this is not the best place for that.

                        The practical is good, given the class size, and I think that I may be getting less attention because my welds are not really bad, they are just sort of bad and that will improve with practice alone. (there are some REAL bad ones out there - like the ones that I used to place when starting to learn)

                        The things that I am interested in are like:
                        a) How do I know if I am getting enough penetration?
                        b) How deep does the penetration need to be on various joints to constitute a good weld?
                        c) How do I know if I can trust the weld that I welded together? The instructors tell me that I have to 'see' it in the puddle but fail to tell me what I am looking for. I am assuming that I should see good puddle flow into the corners of the joint before I add filler and move on. Does this provide sufficient penetration for a good weld in a lap joint for instance? (No one wants to tell me so I have no idea what to do)
                        d) When I hold my torch higher, I seem to get a wider weld with good flow but I am told to hold the torch closer to the puddle. I am still welding in the gas atmosphere. Does holding the torch higher and producing a wider bead make the weld weaker or does it just make a wider bead?
                        e) How do I know that I have over welded?

                        There are various other questions that seem to pop into my head while welding that would be nice to get clarification to and if the instructor is nearby I can ask and hopefully get feedback.

                        So. I think that the practical is good in that I have the opportunity to weld but the theory and information required to know if I have made a good weld is missing. Based on the last class, I am assuming that this information will continue to flow as the course progresses.


                        • #13
                          Well the course is almost over and I think that I have learned some good things.

                          First off, the class was mostly practical and I think that I could have gotten the same knowledge by having access to a good TIG weldor and watching what they do. Since I do not have access to anyone with that experience then this was worth the money.

                          In a perfect world I think that I would have preferred to know a TIG weldor, ask some questions, watch a couple of demos and be on my way. It would have been cheaper.

                          Andy: I do not know if this is possible but it would be really neat if short films could be made that show proper technique during an actual weld so the viewer could see how the puddle flows, where the rod is, the angle of the torch etc. They could be small downloadable mpg formats. Just a suggestion to help with the already excellent TIG handbook that is on the web.

                          The biggest thing that I learned is the pedal on the TIG machines is a MUST. To tell you the truth, I had NO idea how any of you guys placed the beads that you did. At that point in time I did not know that pedals existed. With the pedal, it was no problem for me to lay down flush welds or stack of dimes. On a positive note, I think that attempting to weld with no pedal really helped my skills.

                          The second biggest thing that I learned is that a true ‘root pass’ really sucks donkey’s ***. Hats off to anyone that can do this and make a nice bead on both the frontside and the backside. I am getting there sort of but by no means am I an expert. I wish that I had a pedal so that I could practice at home.

                          SS is tricky, mild steel is easy and aluminum that I once thought was downright impossible to weld, is one of the easier materials. (As long as you have the pedal) I am sure that this changes as the thickness of the material is reduced.

                          So if anyone has an old TIG (WITH A FOOT PEDAL) that is collecting dust, I will give it a happy home. I actually would like to get a Dynasty 200DX although I am having trouble justifying it as I do not make any money off of welding and 3kUSD is lot of spare change.

                          That is all for now, it will be sad when I go back to my EconoTwin HF machine. Perhaps I can set up so that I can spin the transformer dial with my foot while welding. I am sure that would be an interesting skill to have!!

                          Cheers to all and happy welding.

                          PS. Welding without a foot pedal is like sewing clothes with only one speed on the machine or driving to work at a one speed. Yes it can be done but man, its not pretty.


                          • #14
                            Tig with no pedal definately no fun, The dynasty is cool and Aluminum is awesome. I am in about the place you are. Although my instructor is the best, he gives pointers and sends you to do it again and again after 3 usually he will jump in and show you or check out what your doing right or wrong. I realize that he is a real prize, because he genuinely cares and puts in alot of extra time so we can learn. Hats off to John, and thanks



                            • #15
                              Thanks for the updates, man. I was considering a class some time ago as well and it's been interesting to hear what your experience was. I guess with a large class it can be expected that you'll get good instruction as long as you don't start surpassing everyone else. In other words, the ONE instructor has to focus on the average level of all the class members. Sucks, but what can you do? I'm glad you ended up learning a few things though.

                              Edited: I guess pjseaman's instructor is an exception! That's cool.

                              If Miller put up some instructional videos, that would be really cool. Would have helped me out in the beginning, I'm very sure. Perhaps we could get someone here to do it. It would take some time on their part, however.

                              BTW, is your EconoTIG really old or something? Because all the Econo's I've seen do in fact have a 14-pin remote connector and remote control capability. I've only seen a few, however, and they weren't very old.

                              If it makes you feel any better, big roadie bicycle geeks (which I am not, I'm a trials/street biker ) often spend $3000 on their roadie bikes even though they aren't professionals or anything. Perhaps you could save up for a 200DX and just tell yourself that you are REALLY REALLY into your hobby. (Big GTAW welding geek).