If you’re into welding, you might be familiar with TIG, otherwise known as gas tungsten arc welding techniques. Sometimes it is known as tungsten inert gas. It utilizes electrodes of that element to perform the operation. There are special tools to get the job done, such as grinders, that can help in the process.
Now, this method was developed back in the twentieth century for airplane manufacturing. Then, it was primarily used for magnesium. However, it has evolved since then. If you’re curious to see how it is done in a more modern context and want to know about the tools, continue on in this article!
How TIG works
Let us begin here, since this can be a bit complex to understand. So, when a welder creates an arc between the tungsten electrode and the base metal. The reason this material is used is that it is not consumable – in other words, it won’t melt during the process.
In the place where they connect, a small pool of welding material forms. After that, usually the welder inserts a small wire that is thin and made of some filler metal – gradually it melts. You might think that oxygen contamination is a concern, but there is an inert gas that prevents this from occurring.
With this, you don’t need to use any fluxes. Additionally, the final product will have the characteristics of the base metal, making it a strong contender in many cases where metal working is involved.
Why is it Used?
With a better idea of what it is, you may be wondering what it is used for and why it’s so popular. As I mentioned above, it was developed for the creation of aircrafts. It is still a large part of this, of course – largely because it is such a versatile way to weld metals together. Most base materials can work.
Additionally, there are a lot of vehicle manufacturers who use this technique for creating fenders on automobiles. This is because most metal welds using TIG techniques are anti-corrosive, which is obviously important for a car or truck.
A lesser-known purpose is in sculpting or a personal workshop. You might get a grinder like this one, https://www.techsouthinc.com/tungsten-grinders, for this use. There are many sculptures out there made entirely of metal and welded to create beautiful items.
It’s important to keep in mind that using welding in sculpture is something that requires a lot of practice. As a delicate craft, there are many masters to look to that we can learn from. The knowledge is required to create the more intricate pieces, especially those that use multiple materials. Most of the best ones do.
Why a Grinder, though?
You might be thinking – why do I even need this tool, anyway? Well, it can bring a surprising number of benefits to your TIG technique, even if you don’t realize it! You see, when you know you’re going to undergo a project, you need to prepare yourself and your materials.
A stone tool might give you okay results, certainly. However, if you’re serious about this as a hobby or a job, “okay” simply doesn’t suffice. We should all strive for excellence anyway, especially in a craft like this one. So, you should get the best tools you can for the job.
A tungsten tool can help you sharpen the grinder better and in return you’ll get better results when you go to perform the method. With poorer quality equipment like stone, you might even find that your workshop gets contaminated. Obviously, this is far from ideal.
One reason you might get one made of this metal is that you will enjoy better control over your arc. It might sound easy on paper, but it is surprisingly difficult in practice. Getting an arc with a clean grind is tricky when you’re using sub-optimal equipment. So, to get a stable one, you might want to use one.
Now, if you have that contamination that I mentioned earlier, the weld itself might end up porous. Of course, this makes it weak. That’s never a good thing – we want it to be sturdy and certainly not porous. A dedicated tool to sharpen can assist in prevention.
The final benefit I’ll mention today is that they are portable. If you’re not sure how the overall process works, you might read further in this article. With their convenience and small size, there’s no reason you can’t pause your welding to sharpen your tungsten tip. It shouldn’t take too long, and you can swap out any damaged pieces as well!
Stay Safe While Welding
I would be remiss to discuss this without touching upon how critical it is to employ proper safety precautions and procedures before you get started. First of all, you should always be wearing the character personal protective equipment, often referred to as PPE.
This includes gloves, a hard hat in some cases, and most importantly goggles. If there is any shrapnel that is emitted, you absolutely do not want it to end up in your eyes. This could cause serious injury, which we want to avoid.
Something else to consider is wearing a respirator. We might not think about it, but gasses are being emitted – especially in TIG. Before you get started, it’s a good idea to look at your equipment and inspect for any damages. You should not use anything that is broken, as it could be a hazard.
Remember that anyone welding should not allow any wet clothing or objects to touch the electrode or the electrode holster. Skin should not come into contact with those things either. That’s why it’s best to dress properly and keep yourself dry.
There are many risks that come with doing this sort of thing even as a hobby, so don’t get careless. You could suffer from electrical burns or inhale something toxic. In extreme cases, a fire could break out or there might even be an explosion. That’s why we should prioritize safety!