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TIG vs Pulse TIG

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  • TIG vs Pulse TIG

    My primary interest in TIG is to do cleaner aluminum welds with stock that
    is really outside my practical ability with my MIG setup.

    This means I am primarily looking at AC TIG welding. Yes once I have it I
    may use the DC for other stuff or burn some 7018 with it, but my primary use
    is aluminum welding. (To be fair my plane old AC cracker box burns E7018 or
    7018AC just fine, and I don't run much of it.)

    When I first started learning about pulse with MIG (I don't have a pulse
    MIG) I got the impression it was mostly about heat control and allowed you
    to make longer continuous beads without dropping out or excessive warping.

    My impression with TIG is that heat control is primarily done with a foot
    pedal or for those who are coordination challenged with a finger control.
    Just let off when your bead starts to build to wide.

    So I am curious. Who uses Pulse TIG and what are the benefits in general?

    What are the benefits for welding aluminum (primarily 5000 series and a
    little 6000 series)?

    For a further note, I may be of the bent to start with the machine set
    closer to the amperage for the material rather than crank it up and adjust
    with the foot pedal. That may affect the answers for me.

    Probably will still use my MIG for longer welds in .100 or thicker.

  • #2
    There are TIG experts here--I'm only a hacker, not one of them. Here is a simple writeup on pulse TIG. Also have a look at Jody has some great stuff in just about every area of welding.
    TIG welding with the pulse feature is most often done for thin metals such as aluminum and can also be used with copper and varieties of steel. Pulsing can be set up with a foot pedal or as a setting on your TIG welder, but


    • #3
      The miller video Library is an excellent resource. But because I like to type...

      Lets say you have a chunk of 10mm thick Ally. You did a math calculation that taking into account conduction, convection...factored in size of material, current capacity of the tungsten it's going to take X amperage to get a spot hot enough to melt the bottom. It would appear then that a little less and you don't burn thru. But you need to weld the bottom? So, turn it up and turn it down before it falls away. That's pulse. It's about values. On/off and how long.

      In the same breath...if It was 2mm would it make a difference? I'm not sure do we have to talk about negative and positive cycle adjustments in this? Or just pulse?

      Granted, it's a bit more then tweaking dials, but...dig a bit of knowledge and you'll be dangerous in no time flat. Current rise, current fall ,over time and duration. Throw in some frequency, wave form, broken hearts and the crack of dawn aren't safe from inclusion on weldable any more?

      Pulse...It also stirs the puddle. Beats a spoon let me tell you.
      Lol...that was a joke.
      Remember Jurassic park, looking at the water shake....just like that. The shaking part. More like blowing thru a straw the force but I'm sure it's a picture by now? It stirs things.

      But the point is, yes you can. And it's as simple or complicated as you need to make it. Learn the functions and what they do, then learn how adjusting them changes things.

      Be the T Rex lol. Tear into it and have some fun.
      Happy New Year.


      • #4
        I do mostly TIG welding, after reading the article Aeronca41 posted, I think that covers it pretty good. Some guys/gals have their go to settings for pulse developed after spending a lot of time playing with it, you could probably line up 10 welders and get at least 10 different opinions


        • #5
          Ive done alot of tig (although mostly stainless but I'm still pretty good with aluminum) and never found a need for it much. With aluminum you can set the pulse too a low speed and when it pulses high the puddle melts and you dab the wire. Then when it goes low the puddle freezes. Give you a bit more control of the puddle and a really good look. It takes a ton of coordination though and to be honest it just messes me up. Guys that are good at it can get some pretty sweet looking beads.

          Now for stainless its a different story. The only use in my opinion is for welding of sanitary stainless tubing. The pulse gives it enough heat to fuse the joint completly while not letting the puddle get to wide. Again I don't bother with the pulse, I can get just as good a weld without it. Maybe I just haven't found the right settings. I find keeping the tungsten very sharp and clean is alot more important.

          Pulsed mig is a different story all together. Its purpose is to have enough heat for good fusion while giving the puddle just enough time to freeze that it doesn't drop out on you when out of position welding. That is its main purpose however it also gives the bead a nicer apperance, sometimes similar to tig. That's probably the main reason its used.

          Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
          Miller extreme 12vs
          Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
          Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ltbadd View Post
            you could probably line up 10 welders and get at least 10 different opinions
            Lol! Most likely nine of them would be wrong but still pretty good odds, close enough works?

            "Ive done alot of tig (although mostly stainless but I'm still pretty good with aluminum) and never found a need for it much.

            I say if the car comes with heated seats you'd be a silly not to use them. It's an accessory, used accordingly, late for work and a cold car? Just saying?

            If I had a Dynasty, I'd be doing it Johnny Cash style, with rhythm ! Wah, wah, wah goes the pedal.

            Happy New Year.


            • #7
              If I start doing a lot of aluminum I may use it more. Like I say I find it takes a lot of coordination. Your controlling the pedal, tig torch in right hand, rod in left hand. Now you gotta dab the filler rod at just the right time it pulses and dont forget to keep feeding that rod through your hand, its used up quick on alum. Dab the wrong time and the puddle freezes and sticks your rod. At that point you usually hit your rod with your tungsten. No real comparison to pushing a button to warm up your but. The other features on a dynasty are a lot more useful. Frequency and balance control make for a massive improvement.

              Again for stainless its different. In that case it would be more used for sanitary tubing, autogenous welds.

              Now if I had a pulsed mig, its mostly all I would use. Different animal altogethor.

              Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
              Miller extreme 12vs
              Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
              Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder


              • #8
                Aluminum has little use for pulse as sombody said above stainless edge more useful high speed 200pps+


                • #9
                  We have found a couple of uses for it on aluminum, but not much.

                  Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                  MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                  Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                  Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                  Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                  Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                  Miller WC-115-A
                  Miller Spectrum 300
                  Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                  Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400


                  • #10
                    I am considering the pulse feature on this stainless outside corner job coming up. 16ga outside corners welded all the way out. If anyone has experience with something similar, I'm interested in your input.

                    Was planning on starting out someone around 50pps with 50% on time and 50% background and then adjust from there.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ryanjones2150 View Post
                      Was planning on starting out someone around 50pps with 50% on time and 50% background and then adjust from there.
                      Sometimes on a stainless joint I like to turn the background % very low, minimize heat input, and keep the puddle full. Just enough heat to make the puddle and it helps with distortion.

                      Pulsing really has so many variables, best to experiment and find what works, but in the end it is about heat management, or something like that



                      • #12
                        That sounds like good advice. I'm trying to prepare well for this job because I have one shot at getting it right. Most of the pulsing I've done has been with the foot pedal. I talked to the customer today and they had to make a modification to the parts because they were too long. I reminded him to pay close attention to fit up since stainless does not do well with welding gaps, especially thin stainless. If it's a good fit up, I won't need to use filler metal.


                        • #13
                          The problem I find with it for stainless aswell is there's so many variables. Its been a long time since I used it so Im not much help on variables. The main advantage I see is for butt welding up to about 1/8" material. The idea is to set the peak high enough to allow for a full pen / fully fused weld, while keeping the background amps low enough to keep the puddle going wide (lower distortion as well). For a corner, lap or tee joint Im not sure I would even bother. Keeping your tungsten super sharp allows you to reduce the amperage, ie heat input and distortion alot aswell. If my memory serves me right I would probably go for a higher pulse rate and a lower background and lower on time. You want that quick high amp pulse to punch through the material so to speak while overall your current is quite low.

                          Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
                          Miller extreme 12vs
                          Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
                          Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder


                          • #14
                            So maybe I'll start at 30pps, 30% on time and 30% background then. I hope this job shows up before I forget.


                            • #15
                              I think it really depends on how you learned.........if your used to throttling the pedal it's just natural to continue..........I have a 280 DX with a remote pedal and have played with the pulse and different wave forms ...........but quite honestly the new machine is so much easier to control the puddle on AC or DC by the pedal or just speeding up's kinda of hard to go experimenting.........and the remote pedal is so slick vs kicking around the old heavy cabled box version ...............I mean I came from the days of laying under a chassis or laying inside one where it took longer to get in position both body , head / hood and pedal than it did to weld the I've pretty much restricted myself to say if it does't fit on the bench or where I can sit or stand next to the chassis fixture.......I'm not welding it!