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Skinny tungsten sharpening?

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  • Skinny tungsten sharpening?

    I'm not made of gold but I did buy a Dynasty 200DX because of features, therefore I cannot justify a $700 tungsten sharpener. I had been using a regular aluminum oxide grinding stone, dressed to remove iron with moderate success. But in combination with seeing a friend's grinder accident and the issue of thoriated tungsten dust potentially impacting my co-worker's health (he has MS), I had to find a better way.

    I had a bright idea. Dremel. Yeah, that pseudo-tool much maligned by purists but personally a valuable tool. They make a diamond grit wheel, minus would be the vents (holes) but it is worth a try. Well, for the $25 wallet-ectomy, I tried it on 0.040" 2% thoriated, outside to avoid the (minor) radiation issue. Wow! Smooth, fine finish and FAST. No pressure is needed to grind a fine point, even using the "down-hill" (pointed away from travel) to avoid hitting the vent holes. The grind marks are all proper and much finer than a bonded wheel.

    As an added bonus, it came in a nice little blister container which will keep it contaminant free!

    It isn't as easy as a purpose-built tungsten sharpener but it is fast. No concerns about contamination anymore.

  • #2
    There are acceptable substitutes for thoriated tungsten.

    Thurmond

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    • #3
      See if you can search up SundownIII's thread on this topic. He has a good system using diamond-encrusted cabbing (stone grinding) wheels available on ebay. Having used his system, I can tell you it's simple, it's cheap and it works great.

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      • #4
        Why are you using thoriated on that inverter?
        CG

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        • #5
          Tungsten grinding

          Originally posted by Keith_J View Post
          I'm not made of gold but I did buy a Dynasty 200DX because of features, therefore I cannot justify a $700 tungsten sharpener. I had been using a regular aluminum oxide grinding stone, dressed to remove iron with moderate success. But in combination with seeing a friend's grinder accident and the issue of thoriated tungsten dust potentially impacting my co-worker's health (he has MS), I had to find a better way.

          I had a bright idea. Dremel. Yeah, that pseudo-tool much maligned by purists but personally a valuable tool. They make a diamond grit wheel, minus would be the vents (holes) but it is worth a try. Well, for the $25 wallet-ectomy, I tried it on 0.040" 2% thoriated, outside to avoid the (minor) radiation issue. Wow! Smooth, fine finish and FAST. No pressure is needed to grind a fine point, even using the "down-hill" (pointed away from travel) to avoid hitting the vent holes. The grind marks are all proper and much finer than a bonded wheel.

          As an added bonus, it came in a nice little blister container which will keep it contaminant free!

          It isn't as easy as a purpose-built tungsten sharpener but it is fast. No concerns about contamination anymore.
          I use a a 4" diamond wheel (a friend gave me some almost worn out ones), I made an arbor for it and mounted it on the bench grinder, it works beautifully and no dust either. I sharpen tungsten 5 to 20 times a day and there is no sign of wear on the wheel and it cuts quickly. The grit is about 320, works well on small tungsten, (.040).

          I also have the dremel with the diamond wheels from HF, they work well too but I needed a stand to hold the dremel, so I went the other route.

          I also have the Dynasty 200 dx, 245 hours on it and love the machine!
          Last edited by popspipes; 08-20-2011, 06:15 AM. Reason: email setting

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          • #6
            Originally posted by chewinggum View Post
            Why are you using thoriated on that inverter?
            CG
            Because it came with one 3/32" (haven't used) and I have nearly used up the single 0.040" that came with it. The LWS only had 2% thoriated in that diameter.

            The inverter cannot tell the difference between 2% Th or Ce. The fear of alpha particle emission from Th is what shifted the use to Ce.

            Comment


            • #7
              I use a 3" 3M roloc disk on a 1/4" angle grinder. Started this way due to funds not able to buy a grinder. Haven't had a problem so I never changed. On larger diameter tungsten I start with 60 grit and finish with 120 grit.

              Comment


              • #8
                Excellent. I first used Dremel cut-off wheels but these dull rapidly. Yes, on the side with gentle pressure..very gentle pressure.

                The diamond wheel is metal and designed for side loading. Plus it dresses tungsten electrodes faster than a bench grinder.

                I messed up the other day, forgetting to turn the argon on. Didn't take but a second to burn 1/2" of 0.040", then it shattered when trying to dress it down. And it left a nasty deposit in the gas cup which could only be removed with a fine diamond file.

                I am thinking about making a jig+enclosure for the Dremel to make this process easier. Then incorporate a small air filter from a scrap hard drive to trap the tungsten dust, using the rotation of the disk to move the air, assuring the grinding dust stays put.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hello all,

                  Well, what a surprise and education the art of sharpening tungsten. I am a new tig welder, can weld with a mig wanted to step it up. After spending the first night trashing the electrode, grinding, trashing, grinding, trashing, again grinding, and having the best time.

                  I had to find a good and fast way to shape the electrode, with consistency and common sense cost. Reading this forum and searching the products and sharpeners, chem. dip too gold plated sharpeners. I came across this really, unbelievable tip to chuck the electrode in a drill and have at it using ones preferred abrasive.

                  This is a bomb of a tip and has solved my problem. Have an old chisel sharpener, the case is long gone, just the diamond wheel and motor, adding the drill feature. I spin the drill to get the angle then slow it down to get the grinding marks up and down the tip, works very fast.

                  I was actually, today able to weld for 2 hours and only needed to reshape the electrode 3 times....... A huge, monumental, improvement.

                  This works so good I can now start to play with the rod angle to see what will work the best for me.


                  You guys really have one excellent idea with this one VERY SMART!



                  Thank you!!!



                  Chisel sharpener the stone is 3/4 by 2

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                  • #10
                    Here is what I made and use.
                    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...sten+sharpener

                    Ji

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