Learning Tig Welding

Discussion in 'Shop - Fabrication' started by KayStrait, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. KayStrait

    KayStrait Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    So I have been spending a few hours after work at Camburg to learn some welding. I honesty, thought that Jason was going to have me start with Mig, but he told me that Tig would be better, and thinking of all the sparks and such from mig, I most likely would be even more sketchy than I already am. But, all in all, I have had just a few hours, for a few days of practice. Crazy thing about it, I really like it! Maybe it is the artist in me, it's beautiful and fascinating. Here are my first welds, from day 1 and day 2 of tig welding. I feel like I have been able to decifer between what "feels" right and what doesn't, which helps so I am not blindly welding hoping it is on the right track and such. I have gotten used to seeing through the tinted hood screen or whatever you call it, it was really difficult trying to see what I was doing the first time. I have learned you need a lot of PRACTICE and PATIENCE. I think I'll keep it up when I have a chance to practice more, it seems everytime I go to weld.... I lift up my hood and realize it is 4 hours later! Time flies when you're welding I guess. lol I'll take any advice and feedback, concerns, comments, etc. Hit me with your best shot.

    Also, how many other lady welders are out there? I heard the girls in the welding industry are pretty dang good. I'm looking for a sweet but useful welding hood too, if anyone has any ideas.

    Thanks!

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    Attached Files:

  2. ChromolyKid

    ChromolyKid Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    Phelan, CA
    Keep it up, it comes with time. I learned in an actual class/program and it made a huge difference knowing why you're doing something instead of just saying "because that's what I was told". I would recommend learning about carbon content of metals and martensite and such, just makes you a more well-rounded welder.

    Glad to see you're not pulsing too much, some of these off-road welders falsely believe that the "stack of dimes" look is x-ray quality. Keep the amps constant, use the filler to control your puddle, and be conscious of the thermal conductivity/expansion of your material, it is usually necessary to lighten up on the pedal as you near the end.

    You'll notice your welds get bigger towards the end of the bead (assuming you weld right to left), this is because the material is getting hotter and requires less heat from the torch to maintain the puddle. As far as restarts go, I like to build my puddle about 4-6 freeze lines back from where I stopped, move in the same motion as if you were welding, and then as I run over the end of the bead, start adding filler again. Makes it more uniform without the obvious restart marks. If you want to see an example of top notch Aerospace-grade welding, some of the best welds I've ever seen are done by the guy at Armada Engineering.

    They're doing the right thing by starting you off on Tig, it is the slowest and hardest to perfect, but also the best quality. If you can get that down, doing Mig, Arc, or Oxy is a piece of cake.

    You've already got the fundamentals of it figured out, practice and patience. You're not burning through the material or building bubbles of filler, off to a good start! It is very much an art, you'll create your own style and be able to pick your work out from anyone else's. Have fun!
  3. loufish

    loufish Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Location:
    Burbank, CA
    When you think about how many girls have such good penmanship, it seems like a natural idea that more should be TIG welders....:) Keep up the practice...
    1 person likes this.
  4. Ljubera0250

    Ljubera0250 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Hemet, CA
    That's really cool that you are learning to TIG weld. I absolutely love it. I learned to MIG weld first but I prefer TIG welding over MIG, it's just more time consuming. I used to practice all the time but with a two year old I don't get to practice as much as I'd like to. My last big project was welding the overlay plates on my trailing arms. Finding the time to work on them was challenging. I think it took me a few days working on them for a couple of hours each night around 12am till 2am, once the husband and son were asleep.

    Here are a few pics. My biggest problem is staying consistent, I also tend to weld too hot.

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  5. KayStrait

    KayStrait Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Thanks for all the input I really appreciate it. Also it is awesome seeing another girl tig welding :) Still have been spending a few hours after work to try and improve and perfect my welding and also become more versatile with other welding techniques. It seems my BIGGEST problem is over thinking! When I just sit down and do it, I go with the flow and it turns out more precise. I need to get better at postioning the torch and the rod correctly when welding other things such as tubes, corners, etc. Here are some progress pictures from yesterday :D

    Attached Files:

  6. loufish

    loufish Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Location:
    Burbank, CA
    "Yah know how you get to Carnigie Hall?.....practice, practice, practice..."
  7. TurboTime

    TurboTime New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    Location:
    USA
    I first started learning by watch youtube videos. After that I pretty much got the hang of it after much practice.
  8. KayStrait

    KayStrait Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Still trying to spend some time after work and practice tigging tubes. This was by far the thickest material and the highest amp I have ever used. I haven't been welding for a few weeks so it was nice to get back at it. I start to miss it! Any advice, suggestions? I noticed that the tube would start gapping a bunch because I didn't really tac weld it very well. I also had the amperage at 200 and the rod I used was a thicker one than I normally use.

    Attached Files:

  9. Scott_F

    Scott_F Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson, was Anaheim
    When you make your first tack, and the opposite side of the tube lifts, clamp it and tack it 180* from the first tack. Then you can add a couple more tacks at 90* and start welding.
  10. KayStrait

    KayStrait Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Good to know, thanks!
    Also, from what it looks like... do you think I am welding too hot/cold... not the right angle etc. It seems I can put down an ok bead but then get out of wack trying to make it around. I just try and do as much as possible, stop then continue along the bend.
  11. Scott_F

    Scott_F Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson, was Anaheim
    Everyone stops and goes when welding a radius, unless they have a rotary table.

    Your welds look a little inconsistent, but good. Keep practicing and your stop/starts will become almost unnoticeable.

    If you want to get really good, just watch Jason weld as much as possible, and do what he does.
  12. KayStrait

    KayStrait Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Yeah I need more practice with the starts/stops. I only get maybe a day or two to stay late and practice every few weeks, if I was welding every other day I would be a lot more consistent! Jason has been giving me some tips and I watched him for a while to learn as well. It defintely helps to work for a company that has so many skilled people who can take me under their wing!
  13. standfast

    standfast Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    Abq, NM
    One of the biggest problems that a lot of people have when learning is becoming comfortable to use more amps and travel/dip faster. Timing is everything. Far more important than having a dead steady hand. I have about 7 welders with machines buzzing all day long. The best of them all has the shakes. Try speeding up as much as possible and your HAZ will decrease. Low amps and slow travel speed produce more HAZ than higher amps and faster travel.

    Other thing to help with consistency is to pay close attention to the width of the weld while you are running. Try keeping the wetted area at as consistent of a width as possible.

    Play around with the precise location of where you stab the rod in on different joints and analyze its effect on the weld. (high side/low side)

    Before you start a tube weld, position your hand in a place that will allow you to travel as far as possible without having to restart. Do a dry run using just the torch without welding to make sure you know where you want to start and stop while ensuring you have a good torch angle. When welding tubing folks tend to try to go too far by laying the torch over and killing the penetration.

    Learn when to dip. The puddle will naturally create a "C" or pacman's mouth when it's time to dip. You have a very small window of time to fill it's mouth and move. Timing is everything.
    1 person likes this.
  14. Scott_F

    Scott_F Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson, was Anaheim
    That's funny. I have used the exact same analogy of feeding PacMan. It's as if the weld is telling you when to dip the rod.
    When you get the rhythm right it is like magic.
  15. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    I think the Pac Man analogy is pretty universal. . .my instructor at welding school (a retired Boeing aerospace welder) used the same analogy. . .
  16. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    Funny you mention that. . .I have essential tremors so my hands aren't the steadiest, but my instructor told me that was a blessing in disguise. He told me to try not to fight it, but to work with it. . .once I started working with the shake instead of fighting it my welds got a LOT prettier.

    The other thing that helped (at least while I was learning) was music. . .I listened to a LOT of Bob Marley while I was learning TIG and the beat/rhythm definitely helped my consistency until I learned to read the puddle better.
  17. KayStrait

    KayStrait Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Thank you for the detailed response and visual! haha I like the "pacman" method, I think that will help a lot. Also, I have heard listening to music helps a lot as well. Especially if its country ;) which is good because i really like country! Consistency is VITAL when it comes to tig or really any kind of welding I suppose. Practice.. Practice... and some more practice! I have a hard time moving my left hand holding the rod. When I start to weld, the torch is brought closer and closer to my stationary hand and then I am forced to stop because the rod gets so short and it starts to get hot on my hand! It seems every time I just barely move my left hand or try to actually feed the rod, I get all out of wack. I need to practice and get a tad faster as well so I'm not sitting in one particular spot for too long.
  18. ChromolyKid

    ChromolyKid Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    Phelan, CA
    Moving the rod is definitely tricky to get the hang of. There are a couple different methods. Some people put it in between their pinky and ring finger while feeding it with their thumb and pointer finger. Others hold it like a pencil and stick it to the material ahead of the puddle for just a second while they move their hand up. I've also seen some hold it between their thumb and ring finger while feeding with their pointer and middle fingers, never got the hang of this one myself though.
  19. Tom_Willis

    Tom_Willis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Location:
    18th Flr, Wilshire Blvd. L. A.
    The song "Happy Trails" is recommended for timing.

    Bumbadida bumbadida bumbadida bumbadida Happy trails, to you...................., you know the rest.

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