Choosing the right welding method is one of our most important decisions before starting the metal joining process. By far, the most popular are three methods: MMA welding, MIG/MAG welding, and TIG welding.
Each has several advantages and disadvantages, but not only a professional welder can handle them. Although they also use them – but also intermediate DIY enthusiasts, welders that operate in all these modes are becoming increasingly popular. Therefore, the number of people who wonder what can be welded with the TIG method is growing.
Using this welding mode is a useful skill – although the work itself will not be as fast as, for example, in the case of the MIG / MAG method. Besides, it can bring very good results. So it’s time to answer the question: what to weld with Tig, and how to use the advantages of this method?
How to Weld with TIG? What is this Method?
Similar to the MIG/MAG and MMA methods, Tig welding is based on joining metals using an electric arc. Unlike the two mentioned modes. However, in TIG welding, work is performed with a non-consumable electrode.
It is a material that distinguishes by an extremely high melting point – this feature makes the electrode not melt during welding. Also, it is one of the elements of the TIG welding torch, different from those found in other welding devices.
Said electric arc glows between the electrode and the surface of the workpiece. The distinguishing feature of the TIG method is the lack of the need to use additional materials to create the binder – the welding wire is used here only in exceptional cases. It is not an element of the handle operated by the welder – semi-automatic welders of the migomag type operate on this principle.
An important element of the TIG welding process is shielding gases. They are needed to protect the weld from oxidation. They are a cover that helps to make the connection without any losses. Inert gases are used for this purpose. The basis is argon – for the most difficult jobs, cylinders filled exclusively with this gas with the highest purity, exceeding 99.99 percent, are used.
However, a mixture of argon and helium is often used in everyday work. The gas is supplied to the weld pool using a nozzle integrated into the welding torch.
The Biggest Advantages of TIG Welding
TIG welding is gaining more and more supporters because it allows for precise movements. While operating the TIG torch, a professional welder and an ordinary DIY enthusiast can control the entire process accurately.
This is because TIG electrode welders allow you to control the amount of heat applied to the material being welded and the shape of the weld pool. However, these features of TIG welding are also associated with one of its disadvantages, i.e. slower work.
An undeniable advantage of the TIG method is the high quality of the resulting weld. If we took care of the appropriate shielding gas intensity, we should get a solid and very durable joint. Importantly, they will also be characterized by an aesthetic shape. During TIG welding, no spatter or slag is produced. It also makes the job a bit easier.
How Much Does TIG Welding Cost?
TIG welding costs from $500 to $1000, but it will be distributed slightly differently than, for example, in the case of using arc or Plasma welding. You will not have to include the price of welding wires in them.
Tungsten electrodes do not wear out as quickly as consumable coated electrodes in MMA welding. Argon cylinders are an additional cost, but their price is slightly higher than the carbon dioxide cylinders needed to operate the migomag.
However, Tig welding is also profitable due to reducing future costs. Durable welds ensure joints last longer than materials bonded with competitive welding methods. Despite the lower efficiency of TIG welding, the workload will also be smaller. The weld will not need to be tediously cleaned, and there will be no unnecessary discoloration.
The cost of welding, especially at the beginning, is also influenced by the decision on which TIG welder will serve us. As mentioned, 3-in-1 devices have recently become popular, allowing you to choose the welding method.
They are usually the most expensive. Among the equipment that will work well in a home workshop, there are also welders working in TIG mode. They are usually two or three times more expensive than MMA welders, but the cost of purchasing them is comparable to migomag.
What Can You be Done With TIG Welding?
However, the great advantage of the TIG method is primarily its versatility and universality. Unlike MMA welders, TIG devices allow you to work in all positions. Small-sized inverter devices made it possible to use them even in hard-to-reach places.
TIG welding is used more and more often also because a very wide range of materials can be joined in this way. It is irreplaceable in the case of welding steel elements. It comes with high-alloy steels, in which the content of alloying additives to carbon reaches even several dozen percent. However, the TIG welder can also help with joining structures that require non-standard solutions and using all kinds of special steels.
We often undertake work in our own workshop, basement, or garage. However, it will be extremely important that TIG welders allow for aluminum elements’ effective and aesthetic joining. And more and more devices and structures are made of them today. Tig welding will therefore work well as a device that will help in emergency repairs. In addition to efficiency, it will ensure the aesthetics of the connection at a high level, which in many cases is equally important.
Why and What is TIG Welding Used for?
What else is TIG welding good for? Many other metal alloys can also be joined using this method. The catalog of materials with which it can work includes, among others, nickel, magnesium, and titanium. It is also the best method of welding copper.
A feature of the TIG mode, which will be useful in everyday work, is the ability to combine various materials. Thanks to precise and fully controlled work, we can adjust the temperature and current intensity to not damage an element made of another material when melting one surface.
This way of operating the welder and its holder requires some practice but gives possibilities unavailable for other types of arc welding.
How to Prepare Material for TIG Welding?
To enjoy all the advantages of Tig welding, you must properly prepare the surface for work. A durable and flexible joint will be created only if the joined materials are properly cleaned beforehand.
The key is to clean the edges of the workpieces. There must be no traces of paint or grease on them. Pieces of oxide or rust should also be sanded off. Any unevenness, even imperceptible, may cause the welded materials not to adhere exactly to each other or deform too much under the influence of temperature.
Sometimes, in the case of thin elements, it is worth bending them a little before welding. This way, the stresses generated during operation will lead to a flat weld.
When is it Worth Choosing TIG Welding?
The deformations above of materials welded with Tig indicate the type of metal elements where this mode of operation is used particularly often. Unlike migomags and MMA welders, TIG welding devices can effectively connect even thin metal fragments.
So if we intend to perform precise work, particularly sheet metal welding, TIG will be the best idea. This function is also useful when working on various types of repairs, for example, cars.
This type of welder will also work very well in hard-to-reach places. So it can be welded at heights without fear that the resulting weld will not be durable enough. For this reason, TIG welders are relatively often used for welding outdoors. If a gutter or roof structural element needs to be repaired, it can be done with the TIG method without disassembling the damaged fragment.
Tig welding is also irreplaceable when we wonder how to weld stainless steel. With the use of non-melting electrodes, we will be able to make the most durable weld.
Welding it with Tig will guarantee that the joints will be as solid and durable as the remaining fragments of their surface. Therefore, welding construction elements of balconies or terraces, balustrades, gates, and fences with TIG is worth welding.
So, in the end, the answer to the question about what we can be done with TIG welding is that we should also use tungsten electrodes when welding steel with special properties. As TIG can connect a variety of materials, large admixtures of other metals or substances will not weaken the structure. Wherever we use specialized solutions made of rare materials, Tig welding will work best.
So, try to work best with the affordable tig welding machine!