So I tested some Tungsten Electrodes...2% thoriated electrodes, 2% ceriated, 1.5% lanthanated, 2% lanthanated, LayZr tri mix, and E3 electrodes.
All the old welding books I have read (and I have read a bunch of them) stated that Pure tungsten electrodes were the best for tig welding aluminum.
But Pure tungsten has never been my first preference for tig welding aluminum!
Especially since TIG inverters came along. (inverters dont usually work well with pure tungsten)
Every time I would try using pure tungsten for AC, I wound up swapping back to 2% thoriated electrodes because Pure tungsten just does not carry much amperage before you get a quivering ball on the tip that will dump in your weld.
That was before I discovered 2% lanthanated as a great alternative to thoriated and a great all around tungsten electrode I can use for everything.
I tested all kinds of Tungsten Electrodes to find the best all around Tungsten that works for everything.
I dont like having keeping up with all differnet kinds because sometimes I sand the color code off to use both ends.
I am interested in 2 main performance features when it comes to tungsten electrodes.
After all my testing was done, I settled on 2% lanthanated as the best all around for me.
All of them worked fine on DC.
So thats why I currently sell strictly 2% lanthanted electrodes on my store at weldmonger.com
Its from CK Worldwide becuse I trust their quality assurance.
If you later decide to do your own tests to determine the best electrode for your specific application, thats great.
But after going to all the effort of testing all the major types of electrodes, I want to guide people to the best choice.
And one more thing, I think 3/32" is the most versatile size electrode.
especially if you have a 200 amp AC/DC tig welder...because a 3/32" 2% lanth electrode will handle pretty much everything the welder will do.
I keep a 3/32" electrode in my torch about 99% of time.
From 5 amp welding of razor blades, I put a needle point on a 3/32"
For thicker steel at 200 amps, I use a lesser taper.
For Aluminum welding at 200 amps, I round the point with a sander or put a rounded tip on it by using a really low AC balance setting with high cleaning action.