Didn't know how else to say it, but when I was TIG'n some mild steel angle iron last night I would get some bubbles that would cool as pock marks in the weld, like that technical description!! I thought I might be holding my torch wrong, so as not to have enough Argon on the weld as it cooled, but changed my angle of attack and it didn't change.
So far I really like the TA185. I have never used a transformer based TIG so I don't really have a reference point, but I don't think it could get better than the TA. The fan's so quiet after you turn it on you barely know it's there.
Someday I'll understand what all the bells and whistles do, but I have been pretty sucessful with both steel and Al. I originally learned to O/A weld, so it came back pretty quick.
The local dealer, AIRGAS, said going to a gas lense wasn't worth the money. I thought I would be able to use less Argon, but he said I would just get a better coverage, but would have to use the same CFH.
You can't weld through the gray oxide layer of hot rolled steel it will give you porosity (bubbles).
Here are some of my past TIG settings answers compiled.
A basic selection of TIG Rod should include Steel, Stainless steel, aluminum, and bronze.
Steel ER70S-2 The basic TIG filler for steel. It comes copper plated to prevent rust, but keep it in a tube or bag anyway. Sizes:
0.045", 1/16", 3/32", 1/8"
308L is the standard filler for 304 SS which is the most common type.
309L is a better filler for joining any kind of stainless to steel.
316L is the best for marine work. Sizes:
0.045", 1/16", 3/32"
4043 is the most common aluminum filler rod. It works well for most situations, but...
5356 is stronger, better corrosion resistance and better color match for polishing or anodizing.
4047 is my favorite for welding castings, but it is kind of hard to find. Sizes:
1/16", 3/32", 1/8"
Bronze Silicon Bronze is excellent for joing other copper alloys such as copper, brass and most bronzes. It can also be used to TIG Braze Weld steel and stainless steel. TIG Braze Welding is very useful for stianless steel since it doesn't actually melt the base metal so there is no chromium oxides formed on the back face of the metal. Sizes Sizes:
0.045", 1/16", 3/32"
An advanced selection would include: Some aerospace alloys like Inconel, Hastelloy, or Haynes alloys. They are my favorite alloys for joining odd things and are extremeley strong. Pure Nickel is excellent for joining cast iron.. Pure Copper is good for TIG welding copper where it will be seen. ER80S-B2 is the current top choice for TIG welding Chrome-Moly tube for planes, cars, motorcycles and bikes.
As to a vendor. The only guys I know that even list TIG rod on the Web are:
Great outfit, they carry all things TIG.
You can also mail order from Central Welding at :
Just call them and they will ship it to you.
Here is an exercise to practice when not welding.
Take a 3/8" steel washer. Place it on a piece of white paper. Take a nice sharp pencil. Place the tip of the pencil against the paper inside the washer. Now start swirling the pencil tip around the inside of the washer to draw a circle on the paper. Keep circling the inside of the washer, while nudging the washer across the paper. Try to end up with the washer traveling in a straight line across the paper. You should end up with a long swirl pattern acrosss the page. Keep parcticing until the swirl pattern is even and in a straight line.
Same setup, with one change. Once again slide the washer across the page while swirling the pencil tip around the inside of the washer, but now DON"T touch the paper with the pencil tip. This means being able to hold the tip of the pencil within a 1/16" of the paper without touching it and without lifting out of the washer.
Do Level 2 while standing next to the table without any part of your arm resting on the table.
Move to a 1/4" washer.
This exercise comes from a welding textbook from 1929, and it still works quite nicely to train your muscles for floating the torch.
Normally I do not swirl the torch while TIG welding, but this still works as an exercise to build up muscle control.
One of my former students brought his Thermal arc 185TSW into class Tuesday evening so I could play with it.
Nice machine. Very smooth beads on aluminum and stainless steel. Pulser, AC frequency, and wave balance all worked perfectly but I was frustrated by not being able to get the sequencer to work.
He called me today to say he found out from Thermal Arc that the Sequencer can not be used with a foot pedal. You have to use a different push-button remote on the torch itself to access the sequencer functions.
It seams funny to me. Most TIG machines with sequencers will work with the foot pedal. It just becomes a simple on off switch. Thermal arc requires you to by a different remote to use it.
CK worldwide sells the remote switch for about $130.
That's BS. You can run less gas AND you get better coverage assuming a draft-free work area. You can also stick the tungsten out farther to get into fillets easier (though you may need to increase flow when you do this).
CK has some great info on their site:
I run CK gas lenses and routinely use 15 CFH without getting porosity on mild steel welds.
I put the flow meter that came with the TA aside for backpurging and I'm using a ball in tube type flow meter.
Its kind of a bummer that you need to shell out for a contactor switch to use the sequencer. I have many more hours to spend practicing on the basic DCEN / foot pedal before I need to worry about the sloper though.
One of the first things I made was a side guard for a yard-sale-special bench grinder that nicked me while I was sharpening a batch of tungstens. The inside corner fillet was made with the TA. (The outside corner weld is kind of ratty, since I used MIG to fill in some gaps from a flame-cut edge).
Gas lenses: I use 12cfm (according to my gage) and get no porosity in mild steel. I have not tried to reduce the flow--humm...guess I should experiment--but I have the feeling I could and still be okay.
I am not a professional but everything in my experience and what the pros here say is that gas lenses _are_ better (see the CK Worldwide website and other gas lense manufacturers). Methinks your supplier is mistaken on this one. What is especially cool is that with a gas lense you get to stick the tungsten out so bloody far and weld effectively. Get gas lenses (with the associated collets and cups) for all your tungsten sizes and Bob's your uncle!
If you decide to get gas lenses, you may want to ask here or call CKW directly with questions. I found it confusing at first, trying to figure out what different parts were needed.
Here's a question from me to anybody: what's the functional difference between a gage and a ball-flow meter?
Assuming you mean a round flow gauge like you'll find on cheaper regulators, the difference is that it's actually a pressure gauge and is reading the pressure behind a fixed size orifice. IIRC the size of the orifice is dependent on the type of gas. The flow reading on the gauge is based on the pressure that will give you that amount of flow through the given orifice. Usually they will increase a little when you stop welding because the solenoid stops the flow of gas and that increases the pressure.
The ball type measures the actual flow of gas through them so when you stop welding they drop to zero because there is no flow. They are more accurate and more expensive but both work well enough in most situations.
This has been discussed a few times here before so you can check Google groups for more info if you're interested.
Best Regards, Keith Marshall email@example.com
"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers (1879-1935).
There's no functional difference. They both measure the presure drop across a calibrated orifice and use a scale to translate that into flow for a specified molecular weight gas.
The gauge type uses an actual brass orifice, the ball in tube type depends on the clearance between the ball and the tube to form an orifice. The gauge type reacts against a spring, so it is insensitve to orientation. The ball in tube type depends on gravity, and must be installed upright.
The gauge type *assumes* you're exhausting to atmosphere (which you ultimately are), and won't give a correct reading if the outlet to atmosphere is blocked. The ball in tube type directly measures the difference between upstream (below the ball) and downstream (above the ball) pressures, and reads correctly even if exhaust to atmosphere is blocked, ie it drops to zero if flow is blocked because there is no pressure difference to support the ball against gravity.
Note that use of a different gas mixture requires a different scale since the molecular weight of the gas for which the flowmeter is calibrated is built into the scale. Gauge type flowmeters rarely have more than one scale, ball in tube types often do have more than one scale (usually different colors) for different gases.