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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Basic Additions for Beginning TIG


    I have searched and read quite a bit, and I'm still not sure I have everything in my head regarding soem of the basics... before I even turn the 180 on.

    I have found a lot of detail, and a lot of options. I know I'll be coming back to read more; but for the short term, I'm hoping understand what I can do to be adequately prepared to begin learning.

    1. I intend to start off welding mild steel and aluminum only. I'm interested in buying basic torch accessories (tungsten, collets, and other parts that I'll need during the course of learning). I'm really just looking for a good place to start.

    2. After reading a good bit, I'm confused by the debates about the different alloy tungsten electrodes. What's a good place to start for a beginner? I want to learn the right way; but, I also don't want to go overboard if not necessary at the beginning. (I've read the cancer discussions about Thoriated, and not sure how fearful to really be.)

    3. Grinding the tungsten appears to run the extremes from hand to specialized grinders. I have a spare grinder, so I thinking about buying a new fine wheel for it to dedicate to the tungsten. I also have a couple Dremels and an unused diamond disk for it. I have seen different jigs and discussions; but, I haven't stumbled across any videos yet that show proper orientation of the tungsten while grinding to produce grind marks parallel to the axis of the tungsten... although I'll be doing more searching for them.

    I guess what I'm asking is advice on what type order/buy initially so that I don't get started, and then make multiple trips to the LWS (or wait for UPS).

    There's a lot of reading to do on all these subjects. I'm just trying to get a foothold.

    Thanks for any advice.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Cave Creek Az


    You need a machine, bottle of argon, gloves, hood, torch, tungsten, filler, metal to weld on. As spares keep extra tungstens, spare collets, spare ceramic nozzles (prefer to change to gas lens), spare end cap. That would be a minimum of spares.
    You can likely just use the orange banded ceriated tungstens for both a/c aluminum, and d/c steel/SS. Works fine in my Sync 180.
    As extras, you will eventually want some smaller electrodes (1/16,) and larger (3/32) along with the collets for each size, several different sizes of gas lens, etc.
    Have a search on this site for the TIG educational videos. They will teach you a lot.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Las Vegas Nevada


    When I got started with the 165 I bought a kit from Arc-Zone that had everything I needed to learn on. Standard cups up to size 8, gas lenses and cups, torch extensions...Everything my child like mind could comprehend at that stage. I think it was about $100 and well worth it in my opinion. I don't have a mentor beyond these experts on this site so that marvelous kit provided me a lot of learning for a minimal expense...
    Miller Diversion 165
    1966 Bridgeport Mill
    Leblond 15x 35 Regal Servoshift lathe
    Solberga SE 1425 Drill Press
    Bigass Bandsaw
    Hydraulic press
    small surface grinder
    Belt sander
    Tons of grinders and hand tools
    Knife edge Balancing rollers
    Heat and AC in the garage

    Jags and racing Triumphs

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Basic electrode sharpening from a noob

    Yes, clean dedicated fine new grinding wheel. Yes insert electrode (banded side) into electric drill, put drill on lowest speed, spin electrode against wheel, high on the wheel to get the length of the ground part right. Yes do search on youtube for everything. Get out there and start. I hear that starting on aluminum is best way to train. So I did, yeah, it's a good way to train, cuz when I finally moved to steel, OMG, it was like learning to read. Steel is soooo **** easy. But I did notice a lot of crap on my cup after the steel and a big ball on the electrode (white), but I did run out of gas right at the end there. I went through an 80 lbs tank doing like 6 to 10 1.6mm rods of aluminum on 3/32 aluminum plate. Nice post, I'll be watching.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Thanks

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for all the advice and encouragement.

    There's a lot more to process mentally than with MIG. (And I had a tough time with it. I'm hoping preparation paves the way for a smoother experience, although I know it will be quite a bit longer.)

    I appreciate the help.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Montana, USA


    Jody and I both use Lanthanated tungsten... he uses 2%, me 1.5% 'cause I couldn't find 2% at my LWS. When I purchased my 165, I experimented with an assortment of different compositions of tungs, and found that Lanthanated held a point much better than all of the other selections.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Dalton, GA


    Hey Jeff,
    I've been doing scratch start TIG for a year or so, but recently bought a Syncrowave 250. So I'm just a little way ahead of you. Here's what I have found and might help you.

    I have recently switched to Blue Lanthanated 2% tungstens. To start just buy 3/32" everything - tungstens, filler, collets, and collet body. Buy some 3/32" ER70S and 4043 filler metal. You may want some 1/16" filler too.

    Get a bottle of argon, the bigger the better. I have 125 cf and it costs about the same to refill as an 80 cf and lasts 50% longer.

    Now you need some 1/8" scrap steel or aluminum or both. Clean the scrap to shiny steel and brush the aluminum with a dedicated stainless steel brush.

    Now, just go start practicing. This setup will let you burn through a lot of filler while learning the proper setups, techniques, feeding filler, etc.

    Once you get better, BTW I'm not really there yet, you can try different tungstens, different sizes, etc. but now you don't need any more variation than you have to have. Stick with the same basic setup until you are pretty good. Then the failures (lots of those) and the successes will be differences in your technique, not the torch setup.
    Miller 211AS
    Miller 375
    Miller Syncrowave 250
    Miller Thunderbolt XL

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