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New to TIG welding

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boostin53

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#1
A bit of an intro:
So I recently bought one of those scratch start TIG torches that plug into an arc welder with a dinse connection. The arc welder I'm using as a power source is an old 250amp ac/dc Busybee. I had to make a new connector for it, as the arc welder uses the old Miller style taper connections.

Got the connector made up, hooked up to a fresh argon tank, set welder to 40 amps, regulator set at 20cfh, using lanthanated tungsten sharpened vertically to a point. Material I'm learning on is 16g 304 stainless flat stock I had on hand, just practicing stringer passes and a few simple fusion welds. I prep the stainless with one of those flappy sanding disks on a drill.

Starting the arc is no problem. Ending the arc is where I need help. I try whipping the torch and bringing it back quick to keep the weld submerged in argon, but still end up with a small crater at the tail. My welds aren't pretty yet, but I want to learn how to end my weld as clean as possible before perfecting my beads. Any help? Or should I have bought a new welder that has HF?
 

Ulma Doctor

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#2
HF is the way to go, if you have it.
i can't even imagine not having a pedal to step on
i even sometimes catch myself stepping on an imaginary pedal when i'm mig welding.

don't worry if your welds are not pretty at first-
i know what it's like to want pretty now, but believe me that will come in due time, unless you are somehow gifted.

having a foot pedal for torch would help with your ending pinhole problem.
my (old blue) welder has post flow timing, so i don't have much of a problem.
i just get off the pedal and hold the torch in place @ 90* to the work

maybe you could add an extra dab of filler rod to the puddle before you pull out.
i suppose you could also play with how you hold your torch angle at the end of the weld too
 

GarageGuy

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#3
I've never used scratch start TIG, so I can't say for sure... I think you dab in a little extra filler just before snapping out.

GG
 

killswitch505

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#4
40 amps might be a little high for 16g I’ve a little cheat sheet I printed up from somewhere online. Also make sure you wipe the metal done with some Acetone after the flapper wheel. If it’s not super clean you’ll see and hear little popping from the impurities popping out of the weld you’ll see that more with aluminum. Are you seeing any cracks on your welds? Be careful if you are to much shielding gas it can cool your welds to fast and crack em. As far as starting and ending i can’t be much help I’ve got a pedal.
 

boostin53

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40 amps might be a little high for 16g I’ve a little cheat sheet I printed up from somewhere online. Also make sure you wipe the metal done with some Acetone after the flapper wheel. If it’s not super clean you’ll see and hear little popping from the impurities popping out of the weld you’ll see that more with aluminum. Are you seeing any cracks on your welds? Be careful if you are to much shielding gas it can cool your welds to fast and crack em. As far as starting and ending i can’t be much help I’ve got a pedal.
40 amps did seem to burn a little on the hot side. I will try around 30-35 next time. While I'm not experiencing popping or any signs of impurities, I will go ahead and use acetone after the flapper wheel. Cleanliness is God when TIG welding from what I read. As far as having cracks, no, I have not seen any cracking of any kind.
 

boostin53

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#6
HF is the way to go, if you have it.
..................................................maybe you could add an extra dab of filler rod to the puddle before you pull out.
i suppose you could also play with how you hold your torch angle at the end of the weld too
I think I'm going to keep learning while I save up for a better rig with HF.

As far as adding extra filler, I wasn't using filler. I was fusion welding. I have yet to play with the filler rod I picked up locally. I will also attempt different methods of snapping out of the weld, including torch angles.

I'm not expecting beautiful welds anytime soon, but I do plan on getting there! Regardless, TIG welding is fun! Can't believe I haven't started learning this a long time ago.
 
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#7
Not having the ability to reduce amperage at the end of the weld will prove challenging to eliminate crater crack or melt down. Cut back slightly on your overall amperage and as you approach the final 3/16 end dab extra rod while reversing direction then flow the puddle to the end keeping the post flow over the area for a few seconds. The tricky part of scratch start is controlling the heat. Also try clamping the base metal to a thicker piece of aluminum to serve as a heat sink. Practice,practice, practice. When you can afford a remote amperage machine you will be amazed at how well you can weld after learning the hard way. Tig is IMO the most difficult to master since every material and thickness has its own set of rules of the road and require eye hand coordination more than other processes. Many excellent Tig welders I have met over the years learned scratch start first as machines back in those days where limited. Many machines (including my syncrowave 250) still offers a scratch start mode for those hard to reach areas where a foot pedal is impossible to employ. Scratch start is important to maintain in ones skill set.

Tip, Place a decent tack weld at the end of a weld joint allowing for blending. As you get better you can reduce the amount of tack/weld .
 

boostin53

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Not having the ability to reduce amperage at the end of the weld will prove challenging to eliminate crater crack or melt down. Cut back slightly on your overall amperage and as you approach the final 3/16 end dab extra rod while reversing direction then flow the puddle to the end keeping the post flow over the area for a few seconds. The tricky part of scratch start is controlling the heat. Also try clamping the base metal to a thicker piece of aluminum to serve as a heat sink. Practice,practice, practice. When you can afford a remote amperage machine you will be amazed at how well you can weld after learning the hard way. Tig is IMO the most difficult to master since every material and thickness has its own set of rules of the road and require eye hand coordination more than other processes. Many excellent Tig welders I have met over the years learned scratch start first as machines back in those days where limited. Many machines (including my syncrowave 250) still offers a scratch start mode for those hard to reach areas where a foot pedal is impossible to employ. Scratch start is important to maintain in ones skill set.

Tip, Place a decent tack weld at the end of a weld joint allowing for blending. As you get better you can reduce the amount of tack/weld .
Well this reply gives me warm thoughts about starting with scratch start! Thank you for the encouragement guys, and the tips! I'll keep working on getting better while saving for a better machine.

I'll be honest, after the first few hours of playing with it, I was bummed out that I wasted money. Now I'm kinda glad I jumped into this by learning the harder method first.
 

killswitch505

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#9
Boostin53, you’ll also find stainless is probably the easiest to TIG in fact depending on what it is and what it’s for I almost always use SS filler rod just because it flows better I used to build a lot of custom bikes (choppers) and almost always used SS filler rod on my tanks fender and the likes.
 

Asm109

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#10
Keep at it, I used a scratch start tig to build a complete dune buggy frame. .083 and .095 wall mild steel. You get good at estimating current.
 
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