Tungsten Inert Gas welding, commonly referred to as TIG, is a welding process that uses a tungsten electrode to heat the metal that is being welded. The tungsten electrode carries the arc but is not consumed. An inert gas, like Argon, is used in the welding process as a shield to protect the weld from contamination.
TIG welding is the most difficult type of welding to learn. It is therefore usually used in specialty types of welding. The process is also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or GTAW.
Overview of TIG Welding
TIG welding is desirable due to its high quality and applicability to many industries. Additionally, the process can be used for welding more materials than any other welding method. It uses an AC/DC power source and in addition to the inert gas, it uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode that creates an arc to create heat and weld metals together.
TIG welding requires the use of both hands and one foot. One hand supplies the rod which moves on a spool through the welding machine. The other hand aims the electrode at the work surface. Meanwhile, the foot pedal controls the arc length.
A welding gun supplies the shielding gas, which is generally Argon. Argon is easily accessible, easy to control, and less expensive than helium, although helium is also frequently used.
What are the Benefits of TIG Welding?
TIG welding is used for thinner metals and to create welds of high purity. It is also used for delicate work and with non-ferrous metals. Some specific benefits include:
- More metals can be welded with TIG welding than with any other welding process.
- The process results in high-quality, clean welds.
- If the metal being welded is clean, no sparks or spatter are produced.
- No flux is required and there is no resulting slag.
- No smoke or fumes result if the base metal is cleaned before welding.
- Can be used in all positions: flat, horizontal, vertical, and overhead.
What are the Drawbacks of TIG Welding?
TIG welding has several disadvantages. Some are:
- It is a more time-consuming process than other welding techniques. The TIG welding machine is slower than any other welding machine.
- TIG welding machines are complicated to use. The machines require operation by skilled welders.
- The cost of the inert gas is more expensive than any flux material used in other types of welding.
- It takes longer to learn TIG welding than other welding processes.
- TIG welding is not as forgiving of mistakes as other types of welding.
What Types of Metals Work Best With TIG Welding?
TIG welding works well for welding non-ferrous metals together. For example, it is ideally suited for welding:
- Nickel alloys
- Steel, including stainless steel and carbon steel
What are Some Applications/Industry Uses For TIG Welding?
Since TIG welding can be used with a large variety of metals, it is used in many industries. Some examples are:
Aerospace industry. In addition to the use with a variety of metals, TIG welding is also known for its precision and strength. This makes it ideal for use in the aerospace industry.
Art applications. TIG welds have a superior cosmetic appearance over other types of welds. This makes this the ideal process for creating art objects and metal sculptures that rely on appearance.
Automotive industry. Of course, everyone knows automobiles need to be constructed in ways that make them as safe as possible. The precision and safe welds of the TIG welding process make it a great method for welding in the automotive industry. TIG welding is frequently used to weld car fenders since the TIG process is known to reduce corrosion that occurs over time.
Medical and scientific equipment. Due to its precision, high quality, very fine, and polished welds, TIG welding is ideal for welding medical and scientific equipment.
Repairing applications. TIG welding is used for numerous types of repair projects. From fixing a bicycle to a lawn mower, to repairing door handles on airplanes to work on spacecraft, TIG welding is the desired method to use.
Learn TIG Welding at Vern Lewis Welding Supply, Inc.
Vern Lewis Welding Supply, Inc. offers welding supplies, equipment, repairs, and maintenance. Additionally, we offer TIG welding classes at our Peoria location which will provide a great introduction to this welding process. If you are interested in signing up for a class or have any questions about TIG welding, contact us today!