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Is there a Better Way to Learn to TIG Weld?

Is there a Better Way to Learn to TIG Weld?

 

For a limited time, get a free #7 used in the video with certain kits.

Do you really need to do all the steps in a standardized welding curriculum?

Or is there a better way to learn to tig weld? 

I actually stumbled on a learning hack years ago when I was tasked with creating a training program for some avionics technicians who needed to log 40 hours of welding in order to get their A&P license. 

I wasn't locked in to a specific curriculum so in order to make the week as fun as possible, so I put together a shotgun type training week where they got to weld lots of beads on steel as well as aluminum.

After teaching several of these classes, I noticed that these avionics folks could typically weld a nicer bead than my other students after only a few days of training.

 

If you're curious about the machine I'm using in this video, You can check that out here.. 

CK Worldwide MT200 AC/DC TIG WELDING MACHINE

I think most people would agree with me on this one thing…

No matter what you are wanting to weld, The fundamental skill that everything else depends on is being able to lay down uniform and consistent beads.

No matter how long it takes you or how many beads it takes for you to be able to weld a consistent and uniform bead, that’s the type training you should do before progressing to try to weld 2 pieces together.

Forget about lap joints, tee joints, or butt joints until you have progressed to the point where you can weld uniform beads on plate.

In fact, I will take it one step further....based on what I learned with those avionics technicians I trained.

Alternating carbon steel beads with aluminum beads can shorten up the learning curve and prevent learning plateaus. 

Stacking overlapping aluminum beads on plate and switching over to stacking carbons steel beads on plate is something I would recommend to any person trying to learn to tig weld.

The drill is  also a great time to test things like torch angle, arc length, travel speed, wire feeding methods, tungsten prep, etc.

Alternating between aluminum and steel will keep you on your toes.

I like using 2 inch wide metal pieces so a single bead takes less than 30 seconds ...and I recommend only 3 beads before changing to the other metal.

 While you are stacking and overlapping beads on aluminum and carbon steel, this is a great time to try different torch angles, arc length, filler rod sizes, amperage settings, tungsten tapers, argon flow rates, etc.

Its a great time to make some mistakes and take notes on what works best and what doesn't work. 

Here are some sample questions to ask yourself while you are welding this carbon steel mistake plate:

 

What size cup works best? ( I chose a #7 pro clear cup for this video because its a good all around cup for both steels and aluminum)

What is the minimum argon flow rate that works with each cup you try?

What size filler rod works best? From .045” to 1/8” 

What is the perfect amperage for each filler rod? Write down minimum as well as optimum amperage that works best for each size rod.

What tungsten taper works best? Try different angle tapers and write down the effect.

What happens if I set the amperage to exactly what I think I need and use the foot amperage control as a switch? This exercise helps you make good guesses as to what amperage a job will require. 

 

Can I do the same thing with a torch switch? Sometimes a torch switch is handy and being able to guess a good amperage helps…again, write these things down to help you remember.

 

How long is it taking me to establish the puddle and to get moving? Try to establish puddle and get moving within 3 seconds.  For stainless, 2 seconds is better

How much post flow is enough for carbon steel? When its Sunday afternoon, and you need to complete a job, lowering the post flow to just barely enough can save you argon.

How does er70s2 compare to er70s6? …these rods are similar but flow differently.  Sometimes you don’t have a choice because a procedure calls for one or the other…but when you have a choice, it helps to know which is better for different situations.

 

 

 

 

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