In this blog we're going to focus on the 4 main topics concerning TIG torches & consumables, these are:
- Torch selection
- Consumables setup
- Care & maintenance
1. Torch selection.
Generally, there are 5 popular style TIG torches - 3 air cooled & 2 water cooled (or liquid cooled as they are sometimes referred to as).
- Air cooled torches range up to 180 amps with a recommended max. tungsten size of 3.2mm.
- Water cooled torches range up to 320 amps with a recommended max. tungsten size of 4.0mm.
The chart below has been designed to help the torch selection process easier by visually highlighting each torches capabilities...
2. Consumables setup
Once you have chosen your TIG torch you then have to think about your consumables setup.
There are 2 options of consumable setup to consider:
- Collet Body Setup
- Gas Lens Setup
Both setup's for the 9 & 20 type torches are shown below...
Also, for the 17, 18 & 26 type torches...
NOTE The 9 & 20 style torches take the same consumables, as do the 17, 18 & 26 TIG torches.
So, why choose a Gas Lens setup instead of a Collet Body setup?
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced welder, you will benefit from a gas lens setup.
- A gas lens setup is required for use in high quality integrity welding applications where a more superior/precise gas coverage is necessary. It also allows you to extended the tungsten stick-out giving you better visibility of the weld pool especially in tight access welds.
- A collet body setup will have more gas turbulence & the gas coverage will not be as good.
Useful tip!! Always select the correct size torch & front end consumable parts for the job in hand. Overheating of the collet and collet body with excessive current will result in them becoming distorted and out of shape. This will result in poor transmission of current.
Having access problems?
For the 9 & 20 TIG torches there is the option of using shorter consumables and a longer torch body to make tighter welds more accessible. These parts can be found in our BINZEL BASICS catalogue by clicking on the link below...
So, what is the best tungsten to use?
When it comes down to selecting the right tungsten, it can get a bit complicated as there are many different grades of materials to choose from i.e. 2% Thoriated, 1.5% Lanthanted, 2% Ceriated etc.
So to keep things simple, below are the 2 tungstens we recommend:
- DC Welding = E3® (Purple) Non-Radioactive alternative to Thoriated
- AC Welding = 0.8% Zirconiated (White) Best for Aluminium welding
Useful tip!! Always use the correct size tungsten for the application. This will ensure a good stable arc with the correct weld bead width and will also ensure maximum life of the tungsten.
3. Care & maintenance
To ensure you keep producing the best possible welds, always consider all the useful tips above and the following...
Take care when grinding the tungsten to ensure a good accurate point is obtained.
- Zirconiated tungsten's used on AC current do not need to be ground to a point as the end of the tungsten will form a ball shape when the arc is first struck .
Don’t weld with tungsten electrodes outside of their maximum or minimum operating current range.
Always ensure the back cap is in good condition and the gas sealing O-ring is not damaged.
Check the torch head insulator is making a good seal.
- A loose or damaged insulator will result in porosity in the weld.
Don’t bend Flexi Head tig torches when cold.
- This work hardens the copper in the head and the resulting in a fracture to the head .
- It’s better to weld for a short time to get the head warm before bending it into the required position.
Make sure when using water-cooled tig torches the cooler is filled to the correct level and checked on regular basis.
- This should be with a non-conductive coolant such as BTC 50. This will keep the cooler and pump in good condition and also extends the life of the tig torch.
Thank you once again for reading my blog, if you found it helpful you may be interesting in reading the other blogs in the BINZEL BASICS series: