Zirconated tungsten doesn't form a ball

Hail! O Omniscient Suppositories of Welding Wisdom and Wannabe Hangers-On
I have a problem and would like some advice, please.
I switched from pure tungsten to 1% zirconia tungsten for AC welding. I did
that because I'd read seemingly convincing info to the effect that the
zirconated tungsten is more resistant to contamination, erodes less, and is
less likely to split compared to pure tungsten. All that seems to be pretty
much true, BUT - it doesn't want to ball up consistently or evenly. That
seems to distort the arc, making it somewhat harder to control.
Is this a common issue, or should I be doing something differently in order
to get the tungsten to form a ball at the tip? I keep a few pieces of copper
handy for use as chill bars, I've tried pushing the amps up and biasing the
balance towards the positive side, then zapping the copper. That would form
a ball on pure tungsten in a heartbeat, but doesn't seem to produce the same
result with the Z. The zirconated tungsten doesn't seem to ball any better
than lanthanated. Maybe I've got a few "bad" tungstens?
"Joe Blow"
(Not my real name or e-mail address, but I get quite enough spam as it is,
without making it any easier for the bastards.)
Reply to
Joe Blow
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Switch your polarity to DCEP to ball your tungsten, then switch back to AC to weld. Point the torch straight down at a chunk of copper and brung up the heat until you get your ball, then back off and let cool briefly before moving.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler

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