Whether you are a novice at Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), or have trained and worked in TIG welding for years, you may be in the market for your own TIG welder. TIG welding is known for clean, precise and strong welds, making it a great option!
There are many manufacturers of TIG welders and almost as many different features to look for in the machine you plan to purchase. The welder you choose may depend on your level of experience, the metals you plan on using, and the types of projects you plan on completing.
What are Important Features to Look for When Purchasing a TIG Welder?
Keep in mind you cannot do TIG welding outdoors. Taking that factor into account, the following are just a few features to look for when purchasing your TIG welder:
- Type of project. A TIG welder can join many different steels including aluminum, brass, cast iron, copper, magnesium, and titanium. It can weld thin materials and thick ones. The types of materials you plan on welding will make a difference in whether you want a TIG welder that uses Alternating Current (AC) or Direct Current (DC).
- AC/DC: One or the other or both. Many TIG welders offer both AC and DC welding. This provides the ability to weld a variety of materials. DC works well for mild steel and stainless steel. AC is required for welding aluminum. TIG welders that provide both AC and DC are generally more expensive, but in the long run, they may be worth the extra expense if you really want an all-purpose welder that will work for all metals.
- The Duty Cycle. You likely know that this means the period of time the welder can be operated before it needs a rest. The machine gets very hot, and the welder will turn itself off if it gets too hot. This can be frustrating for the welder who may be in the middle of a weld when the machine stops working—giving itself a break.
The duty cycle is usually given as a percentage of 10 minutes. If the duty cycle is 50 percent, then the machine will need to rest for 5 minutes for every 5 minutes it is in use. For less expensive TIG welders, the duty cycle may be as short as 25 percent.
- Portability. TIG welders can be as small as 20-50 pounds. The smaller ones come with handles for easy transport. Others can weigh more than 100 pounds. Consider where you will be working. If you need to move the welder around your shop, you will need a cart for the larger ones. Also check on the length of the power cord, electric holder cable, and ground clamp which all affect the portability of the machine.
- A reliable foot pedal. TIG welding sometimes requires you to assume an awkward position in order to complete the weld. There are times when you may not need a foot pedal and other times you will need to use both hands and a foot pedal. You do not want a foot pedal that requires a lot of pressure or that tends to get stuck.
- Whether you need a multi-process capability. Many TIG welders are capable of being used for other types of welding and are referred to by the catchy name “Multi-process Welders.” This welder is more for craftspeople who use welding as part of constructing their craft project. Professionals generally prefer a machine that is focused on one type of welding.
- The experience of the welder. TIG welding is the most difficult type of welding to learn. There are machines that are compact and easy to handle ideal for beginners. The smaller machines for beginners cannot be used for welding aluminum because they run only on AC current.
What Types of Projects are TIG Welders Good For?
TIG welders are good for a multitude of projects. They are used in many industries including:
- Aerospace due to its precision and strength.
- Art objects and metal sculptures.
- Automobile industry. Commonly used to repair fenders.
- Medical and scientific equipment.
Vern Lewis Welding Supply Will Help You Choose the TIG Welder That Will Meet Your Needs
Purchasing a TIG welder can be complex as you consider your welding needs both now and in the future. You may discover you also need some associated equipment. At Vern Lewis Welding Supply we offer all major brands of TIG welders and will help you choose the TIG welder that is suitable for your specific welding needs.
We also have any welding supplies you may need, and we repair and maintain welding equipment. For your convenience, we have 8 different Arizona locations. Contact us for more information and to see how we can specifically help you meet your welding needs.