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Tig technique help!

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  • Tig technique help!

    Well I've decided to come out of the shadows and actually participate in the forum. I've been lurking around here for a while now and getting great advice. My name is chris and I do car peformance work on the side as well as being a building operating engineer by trade. Everyone has been very helpful on this site and I haven't even registered
    For most of my welding work I've been using a MM210 but I've decided that it was time to expand and clean up a little bit and try my hand at GTAW. I bought a TA185 about 6 months ago(I know it isn't blue but I couldn't beat the price and if it doesn't pan out, its less money I have to recoup) and played around with it for a little bit but for some reason or another I just couldn't get the technique right I guess?
    On flat stock, I can get puddle and throw it where ever I want it to go. It just seems that whenever I go to add filler, the puddle disappears and I have to start all over again.

    From what I have read on here you 1) create a puddle, 2) add filler to the front of the puddle, 3) move puddle foreward and repeat step 2

    Am I reading this wrong? Just out of the experience I've been having it seems like I am. To me it seems maybe it should be like this:
    1) create puddle, 2) add filler to front of puddle, 3) create another puddle at the front of previous puddle, 4) add filler to new puddle, 5) repeat steps 1-4 until bead is complete.

    can someone please clarify?

    Thanks for reading through my blabbing and helping out a tig newb
    MillerMatic 210, ThermalArc 185, O/A Victor outfit

  • #2
    Welcome. I am new here too. Please list your settings and thickness of material when doing this. Sounds like you might need a little more heat cause as you dip the rod you are cooling off the puddle too much. Also list what size tungsten (type as well) and filler rod you are using.
    Miller Dynasty 300DX
    HTP MIG 240
    HTP 380 Plasma

    Bridgeport Milling Machine
    South Bend Lathe
    Etc. Etc....


    • #3
      As you've noticed, adding filler cools the puddle. You either need more heat, a smaller rod, less filler (not likely), or a combination of these. I agree that details are needed to address your particular situation.

      Before getting into the filler, though, I'd ask you to flip your piece over and make sure you're getting full penetration without filler as you're pushing the puddle around. You should see a molten (not just discolored) area on the back side, that's smaller than the top of the bead and fairly even. If not, then work on that before adding filler. 1/8" stock (or so) should work fine for that welder and this technique. You may burn through at times, but the goal is to learn to get full penetration without burning through. THEN worry about adding filler.


      • #4
        Well what I have been doing is using 1/2" steel practice pieces at first in order to get the technique down first without the worry of burn through.

        I have been using 1/8" 2% th tungstun with 3/32 filler at around 150 amp dc.

        I guess I should start going to smaller 1/8" or gauge steel pieces to get a better knoweldge of the situation?
        MillerMatic 210, ThermalArc 185, O/A Victor outfit


        • #5
          My suggestion would be that you need more heat. i don't know the specifics of the tig machine that you are using, but I think you said it was a 185, and I would assume that it would be a 185 amp max output. My dynasty isn't rated at 1/4" and it should have an output of 200 amps (perfect conditions).

          Therefore, you are an experienced welder, right? so work with thinner material, you should be able to pick it up quickly, I did. I would with .065 tubing and use 1/16 tungsten and filler with a max amperage of about 75. You should see a puddle forming within about a couple of seconds (probably even less than 3 or 4, I haven't paid much attention to timing). See how that goes.

          Keep at it.

          Hobart 135
          Oxy-Acet w/ Victor torch
          Dynasty 200 DX


          • #6
            That 1/2" is acting like a big heat sink, so you're going to need more power to keep the puddle going. And there's no way you're going to get full penetration with that machine. So, yes, try to pick up some thinner stock.

            I understand why you were wanting to avoid burn-through, but I'd work on controlling the heat (pedal) on the thinner metal and maneuvering the torch first, then add filler later. The feedback on knowing how much penetration (or too much, as it may be), is good for building the heat control. Then when you start adding filler, your eye will be better at seeing the effect on the puddle, and your body will be better at adjusting for it. That's the approach I started on, anyway. It's all about breaking the whole process into manageable steps that you can build on.

            BTW, I have a 180SD and I rarely turn the level down. I usually leave the amperage knob on all the way on and just use the pedal to control the heat. On thinner stuff, I may back off the knob to get more control, but that's usually after I've tried with it full-on.


            • #7
              First you should practice with something thinner. It should be thin enough that sometimes you have problems with burn through, and sometimes you have problems with not enough penetration. Experiencing both problems will give you the chance to work on consistency, and judging heat as you weld.
              It's not out of the question to practice on 1/16 steel.

              If you are using a foot control, you should know that you don't get the full amperage displayed on the control panel unless you fully press the pedal. For actual welds you will want the machine set so that full pedal will give you a good start up, but once the weld is moving, you can back off to prevent burn through. If you come across another weld bead or a thicker section you have enough throttle left to pull through it.

              For practice sake, you should go on a little shopping spree at the weld supply store and get a few different sizes of tungsten, gas cup, and fill rod, so that you can try out different configurations. A lot of the knowledge you must acquire as about how to set up of each situation, and what parts work best there.


              • #8
                The tig handbook on the Miller web site is a great place to start.Also the 1amp per .001" of metal rule is a good start.If youre machine is 185 amps you will max out at 3/16".
                To all who contribute to this board.
                My sincere thanks , Pete.

                Pureox OA
                Westinghouse 300 amp AC stick
                Miller Syncrowave 250
                Hexacon 250 watt solder iron


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the advise. I got a bunch of 1/16 steel at home I can try it out on after work. Hopefully I can start to see what exactly is going on with the smaller stuff.

                  One other thing though, do I just start another puddle after I move on or should I be able to just push it along the bead?

                  Thanks again!!
                  MillerMatic 210, ThermalArc 185, O/A Victor outfit


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CLPerformance
                    One other thing though, do I just start another puddle after I move on or should I be able to just push it along the bead?
                    The puddle definately moves along, no need to start a new bead. The "stack of dimes" happens when you move forward a bit and add filler which, consequently, cools the puddle (slightly, but stays liquid). The further you move between adding filler, as well as how much is used changes the appearance of the bead.
                    I'm still new to tig, but that's just what I have figured out. Hope this helped.

                    Hobart 135
                    Oxy-Acet w/ Victor torch
                    Dynasty 200 DX


                    • #11
                      Ok I finally got around to trying out thinner material tonight I would like to know what you guys think. I did it on 1/16" steel @ 60amp start 100amp max with 2%th
                      This first picture shows my first try at filler and the second picture is the backside of that weld



                      This next set of pictures shows my first attempt of no filler at the bottom, my second attempt of no filler in the middle and my second attempt of adding filler at the top. The second picture of the set is of the backside of the welds



                      I will both enjoy and benefit from any critism anyone has to offer

                      Thanks again
                      MillerMatic 210, ThermalArc 185, O/A Victor outfit


                      • #12
                        fix your links. or give us a passwork


                        • #13
                          should be working now
                          let me know if it isn't
                          MillerMatic 210, ThermalArc 185, O/A Victor outfit


                          • #14
                            first pic. blurry, but. looks like you are starting a little too cold. and then too hot as you go.


                            • #15
                              Looks very good for first, second and third attempts.

                              Now is the time to try all sorts of stuff to help you get the sense that you are in control of the puddle.

                              - scribe some lines to follow
                              - burn through on purpose a few times just to study the warning signs
                              - look for the "White Cliffs of Dover" undercutting effect at the front half of the puddle
                              - try for a flatter bead profile, especially at the edges
                              - weld across another bead so that you have to increase heat and then rapidly decrease heat before burning through.
                              - weld up to the edge of the piece without building up a large blob or cutting a bite off the edge
                              -practice clean uniform tack welds with one or two drops of filler
                              -try welding some pieces together
                              -try to fill across some of the holes you burnt earlier
                              -learn how to weld scraps of fill rod together so you don't waste the last 2" of every rod.