How to Tig Weld Aluminum pt2

AC balance, techniques, tungsten, and feeding rod

Click here to see part 1 of "how to tig weld aluminum"

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In part 1 of this series on how to tig weld aluminum, I asked for comments on the youtube video and I got over 350 questions and comments.

All I can do is start with a few topics while I figure a game plan on how to answer the questions in a somewhat concise manner.

How do I keep a tight arc and still not dip my tungsten?

First thing is to stop the torch while you add filler.

That sounds like a simple thing but it really helps.

when you pause the torch to add filler, you are not required to think about both hands at the same time.

You basically check out mentally on your torch hand, and then concentrate on the filler rod hand.

Another tip is to lengthen the arc slightly while you add filler rod.

If you think about it, every time you add filler rod to the puddle, the puddle grows in height...so why not just pull back the electrode tip to accommodate the puddle. 

Its a subtle movement but it makes a difference in how many times a day you need to grind tungsten electrodes.

What is AC balance? and what is a good setting to start with?

Not all Tig welding machines have an AC balance adjustment.

But it is very nice to have.

AC balance setting lets you set the amount of cleaning action you have in your AC arc.

Cleaning action comes from the EP portion of the AC cycle and the more cleaning action , the more the tip of the tungsten electrode heats up.

Since different aluminum welding jobs have  varying levels of oxidation layers, it makes sense to be able to adjust the cleaning action.

Even though modern inverter tig welders allow AC balance settings of 99% EN, I usually settle in at 65-70% EN.

Its important to note that some machines display AC balance as % of EN, but others display % cleaning (EP)



What is a good all around tungsten electrode for AC and DC?

I like 2% lanthanated.

In fact, most of what you see me do on YouTube is done with a 3/32" (2.4mm) 2% lanthanated tungsten.

They start well on DC with a sharp taper.

And they also perform well on AC and are able to handle more amperage than pure tungsten.

I have done quite a bit of testing of electrodes and have settled in on 2% lanthanated for all my tig welding.

How to TIG weld aluminum involves how to feed the filler rod

Watch the video and at the very end there are a few demonstrations on how to feed filler rod.

get a piece of filler rod and practice feeding it while you watch TV

there is no substitute for practice when it comes to being able to accurately feed the filler rod into the puddle.

Also , check out kanekid on instagram to learn a new way to feed filler.

if you missed part 1, you can view it here

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