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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Rowlett, TX
    Posts
    4

    Default Some General TIG questions

    Hello,

    I just purchased a TIG machine. I've welded with stick and oxy-acetylene in the past, but my only exposure to TIG has been watching American Chopper

    I HAVE read the owners manual, my questions weren't answered within. And I'm looking into a night course for experience, but the next one is several months away. So, while I hate being the new guy begging for help, well, that's what I'm doing....

    OK, so I have a Maxstar 150 STH. I'm welding steel, and I'm using pure Argon. I'm using thoriated tungsten rods and I've got three sizes, .040, 1/16, and 3/32. So far, I've been using the smaller two. I'm using the machine in lift-start mode, and I'm able to start the arc relatively easily, and can put down a decent bead.

    The machine came with a remote control (finger operated), and the owners manual refers to it as 'optional'. That says, to me anyway, that I don't NEED to have it connected, so I've not connected it yet. But after an hour or so of experimenting with various speeds, currents, and electrodes, I'm wondering a couple things.

    First, how do I stop the arc when I reach the point at which I want to end my bead? Obviously, I know that it will stop if I lift the torch far enough, but if I do that, I'll no longer be protecting the weld pool and the filler rod end with the shielding gas! So, there must be a way to stop that arc without lifting the torch. Is that what the remote is for? If there is no other way to stop the arc, then how can the remote be 'optional'?

    Second, if I attach the fingertip control, how do I utilize it? Do I start with it wide open and adjust the current once I've established the arc? Or do I set it like I do the front panel control, and just adjust as necessary? Does it vary the current from 0 up to what I've got the front panel dial control at, or does it override the dial altogether?

    Third, does the remote control have any direct effect on the gas flow? As I understand it, the gas flow starts when the arc is established, and it runs for some time after the arc is stopped. Does the remote control change this? If so, how?

    Fourth, does a foot pedal do the same thing as the fingertip remote? The fingertip remote seems to me that it would be awkward to manipulate while simultaneously holding the torch and filler rods at the proper location. Should I just lose the fingertip remote and get the foot pedal?

    I apologize for asking what are probably dumb questions. I could probably answer them myself through trial and error, but I cannot get out to the garage to practice anymore until later this week, and in the meantime, I'm dying to know the answers to these questions....

    Thanks in advance
    Art

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Hi Art,

    I have had my STL for a couple months now, I got the basic package and wanted to buy a foot pedal also but it had to be ordered (which I did). So I purchased the hand control at the time cause I knew I wanted some control.
    When I strapped on the hand control I really didn't like how far down the handle the dial was and also realized it took three spins of the dial to go from off to full juice. this was just way to much of a loss of control for me (imagine spinning the dial while holding the torch at the end of the handle and trying to keep a good steady arc, wasn't going to happen for me.) I promptly put that thing away and waited for my foot pedal.

    In the last month with the foot pedal (gas starts when you press it)I've made wonderful progress. (no adjustment over post flow but you can pre flow as much as you want - a good thing!) , I am getting pretty consictent results. For myself I strike an arc by pressing the pedal , add some filler with the welder set pretty hot , get my puddle melted then let off the pedal almost all the way as soon as I see that puddle spread (to control the heat) and move halfway down that puddle and repeat. Learning from my destructive tests I've found that the least amount of heat that I can put in to the metal while still getting good penetration is best for me,(I'm welding .065 tube).

    If I over heat the steel the HAZ (heat affected zone) is increased and dull grey looking, and tears easily when i pull it apart in my vice. A recent breakthrough for me was when I tried welding mild steel tubes with 309l (stainless wire) . Simply to train myself to not overheat the weld area. When stainless is over heated it turns grey and from what i understand is not really any good anymore. So by working hot and fast and really working the foot pedal I was able to get a cooler-golden coloured weld and good penetration which really helped the strength of my regular welds with mild steel.

    This is just my experience so far. I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again , but so far I'm havin fun.

    I'ts two am and I just got in from the shop . I saw this post and felt like finally contributing( this forum has helped me imensely). Hopefully some of it is somewhat accurate and or helpful...

    Happy welding
    Whatcha buildin?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Rowlett, TX
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Thanks for the reply. So, about the foot pedal... you say you start the gas when you push the pedal, and can preflow as much as you want. So, I take that to mean that you can start the gas independantly of the arc, using the foot pedal. Can you explain a little more about how you do this? I thought the pedal was like the accelerator of a car, basically just one function. So I'm trying to understand how you can start the gas, but not the arc, with the pedal.

    My original question was more about finishing the bead... how to stop the arc without simply lifting the torch. I guess with the foot pedal, you simply back off the pedal all the way and the arc stops ...is this correct?

    Once I become proficient with this machine, I intend to use it for gunsmithing work. I repair and build 1911 pistols in my spare time, and there are many instances where the ability to do a precise bit of welding would be of a lot of help. Adding material to a thumb safety, or welding on a magazine funnel, for example. In the past, I've had to have that type of work done by others.

    Thanks again for the reply. Sorry for all the questions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    132

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aclundwall View Post
    So, about the foot pedal... you say you start the gas when you push the pedal, and can preflow as much as you want. So, I take that to mean that you can start the gas independantly of the arc, using the foot pedal. Can you explain a little more about how you do this? I thought the pedal was like the accelerator of a car, basically just one function. So I'm trying to understand how you can start the gas, but not the arc, with the pedal.
    It's not really designed to do this, but on most machines just tapping the pedal will start the gas flow. The machine is still trying to establish an arc. Preflow is either preset from the factory or adjustable on the machine itself.


    Quote Originally Posted by aclundwall View Post
    My original question was more about finishing the bead... how to stop the arc without simply lifting the torch. I guess with the foot pedal, you simply back off the pedal all the way and the arc stops ...is this correct?
    You can't. This is why the foot pedal is great. You're right, back off all the way and the arc stops, and post flow happens.

    Good luck,

    James

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Sounds like a cool project.

    By tapping the foot pedal without touching the tungsten I cover the weld area with argon for a few seconds, then I hit the pedal again and start my liftarc . I find this necessary because I dont back purge all my tubes and the air inside wants to contaminate the back of the weld.

    At the end of my bead i reduce the pedal somewhat and add a little more filler instead of finishing with a crater, and let the post flow cool the weld and keep it covered until it cools.

    Again, just My experience with what works best for me.
    Of course I'd like a more adjustable machine some day when the pocket book permits but I'm pretty happy with what I have.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    11

    Default

    At the end of your bead, add a little extra filler, then start laying the torch down. Don't touch the tunsten to the work, it should stay the same distance while doing this. You'll begin to see the puddle dry up. When the puddle is nearly dry (you'll know what's best for you with practice) snatch the torch away to break the arc.

    Don't worry too much about post flow gas, by letting the puddle dry up while the arc is still somewhat active, you're accomplishing the same thing.

    Don't just snatch the torch away from the work, pull out of it slowly, or anything like that. The arc will continue, but due to the increase in resistance, the arc will dance and cause arc marks all over your part.

    Does your machine have High frequency start? If it does, you could always get a moment button. Then there's truly no threat of tunsten contamination.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    673

    Lightbulb ALL of your TIG questions are answered here.

    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...ur-skills/tig/

    If you haven't read this, bottom left, all links.......
    RETIRED desk jockey.

    Hobby weldor with a little training.

    Craftsman O/A---Flat, Vert, Ovhd, Horz.

    Miller Syncrowave 250.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Smile

    the foot control or finger control dose not over ride the panel setting. it just gives you control from 0 to the dial setting. so if you set it for 50 amp's the foot control will adjust from 0-50 . i like to set my dial a little hotter than i want to weld so i can ramp it up quick if i need to but generally spend most of my time about 1/2 to 3/4 peddle, that way i can up or down the amps to keep the puddle how i want it. sorry to hear you got a finger control first, many have trouble with them. they do have a purpose but i don't think its a good option for learning with. just too much for the hands to do all at once, its enough with the foot control..
    don't get discouraged, you will have bad days and good, so don't let the bad ones get ya down. before long you will be wanting the Dyn200Dx so you can play with aluminum, that can drive ya nuts too.
    good to have ya with us, feel free to ask away. pic's help, so take them when problems presist...........or you just want to show off what ya made. 8^))

    also you can download the miller TIG book from there site for more info, good book. its also in the student pack for $25 its a great deal. i think its still $25 but its been a wile so don't hold me to that.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
    summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
    JAMES

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Rowlett, TX
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Thanks for all the replies. I think they answered all my questions.

    Last night, just for giggles, I hooked up the remote control. Probably should have done that first, because by doing it, I learned a couple things. First, the thumbwheel of the remote has a click-position (off, I guess), and once you pass this spot, then you have about three turns of the wheel till you get to wide open. I put the remote on the torch such that I could spin it with my pinky, but it's a clumsy setup at best. I've already ordered the foot pedal.

    Second, if you have HF start selected, then as soon as you move the wheel from the 'off' position, the gas starts. I don't know yet if this is also the case if it's in lift-arc mode, I didn't have time to try that. But I can see how that with the remote, and I assume the pedal, the gas will start when I first touch the pedal.

    HF start is, to me anyway, kind of annoying. It works fine, but that clicking it makes until the arc is started is like fingers on a chalkboard. It's going to take some getting used to.

    I like the tip about extra filler at the end of the bead. I'll try that. I think I'm going to wait for the pedal to arrive before going much further, because I don't want to have to unlearn something once I get it.

    But can someone give me an idea about how long the tungsten should last, specifically, how often do you have to put a new point on the end? Of course, I'm new at this and I expect that I'll contaminate the tip a bunch at first (and I have!). But once I get to where I'm not dipping the tip in the pool, or touching it with the filler rod, how long will the tip last without having to be re-shaped?

    Thanks everybody for the help so far.

    Art

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    first you are correct the gas starts when you turn past the click to on, same with foot peddle. the gas will come on, flow till the pre-flow time is up then the arc will start. this is how you can increase the pre-flow, tap it to start but let off before the arc is going and it will go into post flow, then start the arc during this stage. i cant remember if the max-star lets you adjust the pre-flow time, if not this will get you more pre-flow if you feel its needed.
    also for post flow its best to set it at 1 sec. per 10 amps of welding current.this will inshore the tungsten is protected till cooled.
    as for tungsten life, no idea the actual arc time involved but when its burned up all its oxides it will start to act like a dipped one. you will know when its done. some last longer than others and amp's will have an effect as well.

    wile you are waiting for the foot control keep in mind the 3 turns of the finger roller covers 0- set amps. so if you set it to say 150amps when you only needed 50 you could get the full adjustment you need out of the first turn instead of needing all 3 turns to reach 50 amp's if you set the welder at 50. did i explain that right, do ya get my point ??

    i prefer the HF start myself. funny thing is i have a Imagen-x dinosaur of my son's in the shop and the HF starting my arc makes him growl as if i had pushed his button. caught me off guard the first time and i freaked out. LOL i just didn't get the lift arc thing at first so i just went with HF and have not gone back to it.

    hope some of this is of help, i have never tried a finger control so i cant help much with it other than to say. many have trouble with it when starting and end up going to the foot control just like you are so don't feel bad, your not alone.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
    summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
    JAMES

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