Tig Welding Aluminum Tips
TIG is an acronym for Tungsten Inert Gas also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). TIG welding is an arc welding process in which a tungsten electrode is used to weld the metallic surface. A layer of Inert shielding gas is used to protect the welded are from atmospheric contamination.
TIG welding is expensive and preferably used for welding thin layers of stainless steel or non-ferrous metals alloys such as aluminum and magnesium. Aluminum is a sensitive metal when it comes to welding and it is widely used in the automotive industry because of its fine texture and clean look.
TIG welding is highly recommended for aluminum. The tungsten electrode rod helps in achieving maximum precision and a clean weld. TIG welding process is critical and requires a lot of focus and practice. An Aluminum welding machine would be used to achieve the process. It is best to practice on scrap metal before welding your actual piece of metal. No matter if you are a best miller TIG welder or a newbie, A few basics of welding aluminum are discussed below:
Assembling Tools for TIG Welding
The first step is to select the electrode for your welding torch. A pure tungsten rod is usually recommended for aluminum. When using a new rod, it is necessary to shape the tip of the rod according to your welding requirements. A grinding machine is used to round the tip evenly. After your electrode is ready, fix it in the electrode holder.
It is very important to clean the aluminum surface before starting the welding process. A thin layer of aluminum oxide is formed on the surface of aluminum and Aluminum oxide melts at a much higher rate than aluminum itself so it can damage the welding process.
For cleaning aluminum, you can spray acetone on the surface and wash it clean. After washing, dry it properly and brush off any contamination with a stainless steel brush. Make sure the brush is stainless steel. Some people also recommend to brush in one direction only so that contaminants don’t move into aluminum.
Using the TIG Welding Torch:
Learning to hold the torch and moving it across the metal surface is obviously the most critical part of tig welding process. You must hold the torch in your hand with a strong grip and keep it a little tilted against the metal surface. Make sure that the distance between tungsten tip is 1/4th of an inch, nothing less and nothing more. If you hold the torch any farther from the metal surface, the arc will become too wide and thus difficult to handle.
Smoothly move your hand against the metal surface. It is recommended to practice with gloves on so that your hand gets used to the grip.
If you are using a filler metal, hold it at right angles with the tungsten torch. Make sure that the filler metal is clean and that the tip of tungsten rod and filler metal never come into contact as it can cause contamination.
TIG welding is quite a simple process. If you have the proper tools and safety accessories, you can easily practice it at home and weld some great automotive structures.