I'm new to tig welding and never got any lessons but I did take a class and learned how to weld with Oxy/Acetylene, stick, and Mig. For some reason whenever I do a bead with the tig welder they look just like my gas welds do. I can't figure out why. Does that matter? When I look at tig welds done by professionals they look different than mine. I'm doing the tig the same way that I do O/A except I don't use any pattern, I just move the torch straight across. What I am wondering is if I'm doing this right or is there some technique I should be using that I don't know about? Any tips on Tigging that might help a beginner?
My O/A welds look like Tig so that isn't necessarily a bad thing :)
Just develop a constant width puddle and introduce the filler at the leading edge. Add enough to create a bead height that is consistant then move on.
However, without pictures it is hard to do diagnostics.
As best I can tell, there is no reason a good (or bad) tig weld should look any different from an equivalent gas weld.
As the years have progressed, my welds have gone from looking like a stack of re-fried cowpies, to the proverbial "stack of dimes". At least one time in a hundred.
Vernon Metal working cowboy
Well, mine look like a stack of dimes too but they are so close together that you can hardly tell where one starts and the next dime begins. I would describe my welds as looking like a stack of dimes but push them together until they look like a gas or stick welded bead. What I can't figure is how to space out the "dimes" so they are not so close to each other.
The other thing is that every bead I do looks different. Is that normal? I know that welding is like writing so there is a certain amount of variation. But every bead I do looks somewhat different from every other one. I don't think I've ever done two that look exactly the same. Is this just me or are everybody's welds different every time?
Just remember the price you paid for my advice... I'm no expert.
However, I did have one epiphany recently while gas welding. And here it is.
When you start your weld bead and are building up that first shimmering ball of molten metal get it to approximately the size of a bowling ball before you start to move it. <joke mode off>
Seriously, before you start to move it build it up with your rod until it's ready to pop. Surface tension will hold it together even though it's fat and roly poly.
Then quickly flick your torch flame about half the diameter of the ball, in the direction you want to travel. The ball will be pulled along. Add another drop or two of melted rod and then do it again. Each time get the ball big enough that it really wants to dance before you lead.
It is the newly added filler metal, cascading down the slope of the ball that just froze, that creates the distinct ripple of the "stack of dimes" effect.
The above is for gas welding. And of course you asked about tig welding. And I've but barely begun to learn tig welding. But that's the price you paid for the advice you got.
However, I want to believe that the lack of distinct ridges is due to the same cause: moving forward before your puddle is fat and jiggly.
Vernon, as a newbie, I found your statement to be interesting. I will try looking at the puddle that way tonight. I wonder though, do you consider these ridges to be a good thing, and why?
"Ignoramos". In Spanish that's "we don't know".
Seriously, I suppose it's a good thing. That "look" is the outward manifestation of having made the weld rhythmically and precisely. In other words, you did things exactly the same way each time, progressing forward with a ball the same size each step. The reason I think this is a good thing is that there's an infernal amount of "frozen stress" ("when HELL FREEZES OVER!") in a completed weld. A weld that's the proper size and UNIFORMITY has that stress evenly distributed. "Harmonious stress" if you will.
In welding I've only had three epiphanies. The first one was, Damn, this is fun!
The second revelation, I published under the title "laying down the limp noodle". It documented the first time I ever laid down a perfect stringer bead with 7018. Oddly, although I was quite proud of the post, it brought a single response, by a single reader, who uttered a single word: "wow". For all I know, that's Swahili for DUNDERHEAD!
Whether I'm stick or gas welding, when I hit that groove it's immensely satisfying. The only thing that matches the joy is helping others hit it too.
The third revelation I had was this. A torch tip that's one size too big (hot) is better than one that's one size too small. But the thing is, as the metal starts to heat up you have to start dancing faster and faster. And of course, the best thing is "just right". But if you're fighting to get a puddle going hang it up and start over with a slightly bigger tip. "Oh dear, this porridge is tooo cold. Oh my, this porridge is tooo hot! YEAH, BABY! THIS PORRIDGE IS JUST RIGHT!!!!"
"That's my story and I'm stickin' to it".
Thanks. I will try to practice that. Did not have time to weld last night. I want to learn to make extremely nice welds.
Already had that one.
I have to say that even though you say you too have barely begun to learn tig welding I think you may have something. It sounds logical that adding the rod to the puddle and waiting a bit before pushing it may be what I need to do. I may be pushing the puddle too quickly for the "stacking" effect to occur. My beads look good quite often. They just look like I gas welded them. I'll give that a try and see what happens because as we all know, it's not good enough to produce a weld that works well, we have to make it purty too.
Either the stacked dime effect or the smooth bead are good welds and contrary to some old wives tail the stacked dime effect is not twice as strong as the smooth weld.
One thing to consider is the in service use of the item. If it is something that you want too be able to clean easily then the smooth weld may be the way to go.
The notches created in the stacked dime effect are not going to be helpful if the structure is dynamically loaded; it will creat stress concentrating points. End result will be a structure that fails sooner than it would have with smooth welds. Mind you this is not the greatest of concerns when welding for hobby purposes where creating a sound weld is the primary goal; the bead can awlays be smoothed after the fact if so desired.
Thank you for those very good points. If I hadn't read it I'd have never thought about it. Indeed, I can see how each ripple could be the source of the dread "stress riser".
And to 'fess up I've only produced a classic "stack of dimes" while gas welding and never while stick welding. Which is why I'm rejoicing in what you wrote. The only near perfect stick welds I've ever produced have been smooth stringer beads with 7018. Somehow I figured out how to push the rod into the weld by pushing and torquing my hand at the same time. I'm miserable at the fancy manipulation techniques. But using 7018 and running really hot I can produce a beautiful stringer nearly every time.