Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Aluminum - How to get the Stack of Dimes look

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"Gas Tungsten Arc Welding - Who talks like that? "

Every wonder how to get that “stack of dimes” look on aluminum tig welds?

Well one way is to use the step and pause technique for aluminum tig welding. All that means is that you step about 1/8” or so with the torch, pause and add rod. Do this about once per second and the better rhythm you have, the more uniform and distinct the ripples will be like a “stack- o- dimes”.

And You know what the stack of dimes means as far as quality goes?


(Cannondale bike company even goes so far as to advertise that they wash over the ripples on their aluminum gas tungsten arc welds to improve the fatigue properties.)

That’s right. But here is the thing….people all over have come to believe that the stack of dimes look means a good weld.

People like the look and they want it..

Whether you are talking about NASCAR race car parts, an aluminum mountain bike, a Razor scooter, or a Pontoon Boat (or is it a poontang boat? I am never quite sure) They like the the stack of dimes rippled aluminum weld .

And if you don’t have “ the look” to your aluminum tig welds you will find yourself explaining why the stack of dimes look does not really indicate quality.

And you know what ? That my friend... is a losing battle.

Why not just give em what they want and stack the crap out of some dimes?

This aluminum welding technique comes in handy on a whole bunch of other metals too. I use pretty much the same technique for tig welding 4130 chromoly, stainless steel, inconel, hastelloy, magnesium, titanium, and cobalt alloys like haynes 188.

Its actually easier to learn to tig weld with the step and pause method because only one hand is working at a time. And you can even back the torch up a tad to keep the electrode away from the filler rod.

If you have ever tig welded aluminum, you know what I am talking about here...the filler rod seems to want to jump on the electrode if you are not careful.

Some welders even like to pulse the pedal to get the stacked dime look. And some welders that weld clear anodized aluminum for marine parts and tuna towers , pulse using an on/off switch…that really stacks the old dimes.

But for most gas tungsten arc welding of aluminum, you don’t really have to pulse to get the look, just add rod every 1/8 inch and use the old proven step and pause welding technique.

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