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Noob Tig Needs Critique

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  • Noob Tig Needs Critique

    Greetings: Noob Tig Welder here needing a critique on mild steel tig welds.

    Background. I am older than dirt. Stick welded a zillion years. Moved on to a MM251 Mig. It made me want to throw rocks at my old stick machine. Couple of months ago my wife gave me a new Miller Syncrowave 200 Tig Runner (long tale of chicanery and treachery there). I thought that I would pick Tig up in no time. Used to do a fair amount of OA welding in my youth. The Tig has whipped me! Whipped! It sort of reminds me of running down the road on my '59 Panhead while drinking a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette, shifting gears and trying to adjust the carb. I may be too old to coordinate both hands and one foot to weld.

    The 200 came with a Weldcraft WP17 torch and a 3/32" Ceriated tungsten. I tried butt welding 16 ga. mild steel with no filler and it looked like a mud dauber had been working on a nest. 3/32" tungsten is too big, but I wanted to give her a try. Mostly what I accomplished was to stick the tungsten in the puddle too many times to count. Got fairly good at sharpening tungsten. Tried using a 1/16" filler rod on the 16 ga. butt weld and mostly I managed to stick the filler rod on the tungsten. Sigh.

    I got some proper sized tungsten and filler rod and have moved out of the mud dauber phase, somewhat. I have taken a few photos and would appreciate advice and critique. The pictures labeled Angle, Angle 2, Angle Crush, and Angle Crush 2 are of two pieces of 1/8" angle that were slightly beveled. Put together to form two corner welds. I sawed a 1" piece off the left end to check penetration and crushed it in my press. Penetration looked about 99% with no burn through on the inside.

    Rectangle 1, 2, and 3 are photos of four pieces of 1/8" flat bar joined into a rectangle to give four corner welds (no bevel). Start of welds is on right, end is on left. Rectangle 1 the bead was run with no filler rod - just tried to run a fusion bead. The starts and stops leave something to be desired. Weld bead is not too uniform which I think is probably from not moving, pausing, and dabbing consistently. Also I am having trouble getting the bead to flow out to the very edge as you can see. I tried to move the torch in a straight line, pause, dab, move, pause, dab. Perhaps I should be tryng to circle the torch?

    Okay, with the exception of the one bead run with no filler, all the rest were made with the 200 at 132 max amps (foot control and in trying to back off from that I found I pretty much had to give it full peddle for the puddle to look right). 1/16" Ceriated tungsten sharpened. 20 psi Argon. 1/16" ER70S-2 filler rod (book said to use 3/32" filler). Your first suggestion will probably be to get someone to show me how to weld. That is out. I live at the end of the world, and if I learn to do this it will be on my own. Do any of you move the torch in a small circle, or is it more correctly in a straight line while pushing the filler rod into and out of the puddle? Thanks.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Noob Again

    I did not realize that I was going to be stopped at five photos. Here are the other two rectangle photos. More Noob mistakes!

    And I forgot to add in the first post - Size 5 gas cup and no pulse. I tried pulse on the 16 ga. at the default of ten per and the frap, frap, frap of the arc unnerved me enough that I have gone back to no pulse until I can lay a decent bead.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Archaic; 07-22-2007, 03:33 PM. Reason: added info


    • #3
      I think you're too hot and you're moving too fast.

      Start by looking at the weld calculators on this site to get your settings. Off hand I'd say 16 ga needs only 60-70 amps...not 132!!!

      Your tungsten was sharpened, right?

      Also, start by laying beads on a flat piece of metal...wait on the joints.

      Remember, tig is a slow process compared to mig.

      Some people use the pulse for training themselves on the proper rythymn. Set the pulse for maybe 1 pps, peak for maybe 70%, 50% background.(I'm guessing here) Now hold the torch in place until a puddle forms, and dip, then move when it's 'cold', dip when it's hot, and off you go.

      But don't take this for gospel because a lot of people on this site know a lot more than me...hopefully they'll chime in.

      Good luck,



      • #4
        For the most part, the beads really don't look that bad.

        How long have you been trying at this?

        Given the technique you describe and the results obtained, I'd say your arc length is too long. Long arc length at higher than needed amps will give you a wide cone shaped HAZ off the torch that will not permit the stacked dimes effect. The bead stays hot and the dips don't cool enough to make distinct ridges.

        Keep the arc length down to 1/8" or less. I have blisters all over my hands from holding steady off the work even with thick gloves on. I'm not as old as dirt, but pretty close. Hard to keep the hands really steady without resting them on something. Try shorter beads with shorter arc length to start with.

        Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes.
        Last edited by phila.renewal; 07-22-2007, 08:06 PM.


        • #5
          Thanks Jamscal. So as not to confuse, the photos are of 1/8" thick material, for which I set the 200 at 132 max amps. When I was working on the 16 gauge I had the machine set for 88 max amps. With the 16 ga. I had to back off the peddle after starting the bead. With the 1/8" I tried varying the heat but the puddle and filler seemed to work better at max amps. But, that may play into your -"I think you're too hot and you're moving too fast." I'll try cooling off the arc and letting the puddle take longer to form. I will give the 1 pps pulse a try also. The 10 pps pulse made me sort of nuts. Sort of like trying to weld with a spark plug. Yes, 1/16" Ce tungsten sharpened to a truncated point. I can tell pretty quickly when the point begins to dull. The arc widens and tends to wander making it much more difficult to see the puddle with old, bifocaled eyes.

          Thanks Phila. I have about three hours on the 200 now. Wanted to get more, but work got in the way. I may well be holding too long of an arc length. I think that it comes from sticking the filler rod on the tungsten so often at first. Perhaps I am trying to push the filler rod under the tungsten and not just into the leading edge of the puddle. Again, too hot and too fast is making sense. I think that I will go back to trying to run beads on flat plate and return to the joints later. I hear you about the blisters. I was very surprised at how hot the WP17 gets. Got me to thinking about a water cooled torch.

          I appreciate the help!


          • #6
            You're doing great for just a few hours at the torch. Keep practicing, trying different techniques and it will look the way you want it to.

            It does take more experimentation to learn without somebody showing you how and looking over your shoulder. I'm in pretty much the same boat as you as far as getting somebody I know to teach me better technique. I can tell you that as inexperienced as I am I taught my neighbor to run a decent TIG bead in about 5 minutes. He watched me do it and then tried himself. I was looking over his shoulder, saw he was running way to cold and just said "more pedal" and he got the hang of it pretty quickly. If you could get somebody to do that for you, it save a lot of time. If not, just keep experimenting and after a few more hours, you'll have it.
            Last edited by phila.renewal; 07-23-2007, 02:17 PM.


            • #7
              i found this link on weldingweb

              DISCLAIMER: The following is entirely my opinion, and my opinion alone, as to how one should approach TIG welding. You may disagree with these opinions, you may do things differently, and you may find some statements too broad. This is done INTENTIONALLY, as this is a beginners guide, and...


              • #8
                i dont care for little circles in TIG, MIG yep no problem but with TIG i prefer to set the amps high. i like to TIG about mid peddle so i can hit the heat as needed insted of circleing to get the heat. if you are waiting on the puddle to form you are sending too much heat out into the part. get hot fast dab and move. i back off a little on the foot wile i make my dab and back the torch up and then move forward and bring the heat back up to get my puddle again. i'm still lerning TIG but this has worked well for me. as for the pulse, it and many of the other advanced setting i have not yet botherd with. for now i'm just working with the basics.
                TIG is going to take time to get it looking great, worry about getting a good solid weld first then a nice look later. for the time you have in you are doing great. just keep at it.
                on 1/8" 3/32 tung. should be fine but if you feel better using the 1/16" thats cool too. use what you feel best with and just get comfortable and stay at it.
                as you said add the filler to the edge of the puddle, this is where i find backing up the torch just a smigen helps prevent fouling the tung.
                thanks for the help
                hope i helped
                feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
                summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.


                • #9
                  thanks for the link! AWSOME!
                  FUN4NOW...keep it up buddy
                  I'm not late...
                  I'm just on Hawaiian Time


                  • #10
                    Phila: Thanks for the encouragement! It was all pretty frustrating at first. Still is for that matter. Part of the deal that was supposed to come with the Syncrowave 200 is that there is a technological college a ways from here. I was supposed to get the welding instructor for a "morning". Alas, he is down in Mexico for the next two months teaching, so I am on my own. I think that four hours with someone that really knows their stuff would move me a quantum leap along. No tigging for the next few days as the MM 251 and I will be laying hard surfacing on trencher teeth.

                    Cheeseclip: Thanks for the link! Very informative.

                    Fun4now: Thanks for the advice. Coordinating both hands, my foot, and me eyeballs is proving to be a bigger challenge than I expected. Maybe one day I will be able to post a photo of a decent bead. And then, there is aluminum lurking in my future. The learning curve just keeps getting steeper.


                    • #11
                      it may be unothodox but i found welding vertical to be a big help in getting the hang of controling the puddle. when it was flat on the work bench the puddly just kida sits there and can burn threw befor you notise. as soon as i got tired of playing with lil squares and atempted my cart project i lerned a lot more. you realy need to keep the puddle under controle when moving acrost the side of the aluminum insted of going flat. you lern to use the torch to pull the puddle where you need it, not just get it wet and add to it. kinda hard to explain but you should try a few vertical welds. just to see how the puddle can be pulled by the torch to get it to stay where you need it. it may not help you as much as it did me but it cirtenly cant hurt any. i think you will find it verry helpfull. you kind of have to use the torch like a magnet to pull the puddle, hard to explain but you will see it when you try it.
                      4Hrs with some one that knows what they are doing will be a big help. in the mean time try the vert. thing just for fun see if its any help. you have to get hot fast and controle it at the same time. your amps need to be high enough to melt threw fast when full on.
                      thanks for the help
                      hope i helped
                      feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
                      summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.


                      • #12

                        For three hours on the machine, those are great looking welds. You're well on the way. For the 1/8" material, I prefer a 3/32 tungsten and 3/32 filler.

                        For your starts, try starting 1/4" or so into the material, then back up to the edge, dip, and go from there. If you initially try to start the puddle at the edge, you'll overheat the edge of the material.

                        Don't be so concerned about the "stack of dimes" at this point. That will come as you get more comfortable with dipping the rod and cooling the weld. Actually the bead you laid down is as strong or stronger than the ripples some feel they must use. In some cases, where exaggerated, the ripples (stack of dimes) can be a source of cracks.

                        As you know from your O/A days, it's all about puddle control. As you gain experience, it will all become reflex. Bet you didn't learn to gas weld in three hours either.

                        As mentioned before, learning will be easier on flat plate (butt welds) rather than on joints.

                        You're off to a great start. Be patient. You'll be there before you know it.
                        Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
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                        Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
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                        Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
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