Is it a #6 gas lens?
...or a #5 cup with standard collet body?
Does it even matter?
It definitely matters.
But it depends what you are welding.
In this video, I want to start the conversation about "What is the best TIG for Aluminum?"
And in future videos, we can address specific situations where certain tig cups seem to work best.
there are lots of options available when it comes to TIG cups.
and certain cups are designed to be used with certain Tig torches.
Lets begin by discussing gas lens style cups
Sometimes I like to use a gas lens setup and when I do , I usually try to use the smallest size gas lens cup that provides adequate shielding for the job.
The video shows a fillet weld on a tube that has 1/4" wall thickness so I used a #6 gas lens cup.
A #8 cup would have also been just fine for this application but would have required a bit more gas flow and since I was using a small 200 amp inverter welder along with a 17 air cooled torch, the #6 cup actually helped focus all the arc energy into the puddle instead of using up some for extra cleaning action outside of the bead.
(I know this might sound like total BS to some folks, but cup size and gas flow actually do affect heat input and when you are limited by the amperage of your welder, you learn workarounds)
I also use stubby gas lens setups quite a bit but having more mass in the collet body seems to help with an air cooled torch.
Another cup I like to use for applications under 200 amps is the Furick #8 pro clear cup.
Not only is it a great all around cup for all metals, but its clear so there are times when I look right thru it to weld in corners.
It also helps me see better. I am in my 60s now and this cup really helps light the path and also really helps with me filming.
It works with 9 and 20 style torches simply by slipping an o ring over the gas lens.
For 17, 18, and 26 style torches, an adapter kit is needed.
I have both water cooled and air cooled TIG torches.
I love having water cooled but I often use an air cooled torch anyway because I make welding videos and the average guy in his garage most often is using an air cooled torch.
When I use a standard 17 style air cooled torch, I almost always use a stubby gas lens.
And when I TIG weld aluminum, I usually choose the #6 cup.
It just seems to be the best all around choice.
In the video, I used a #6 to weld a full penetration butt joint.
The standard #5 cup is a go to cup for a lot of really good tig welders.
The photo above is a kit designed for use with #9 and #20 torches and its available now at weldmonger.com
I also recently added a simple #5 cup kit that works with #17,18, and 26 style torches..also available at weldmonger.com
One of the main benefits to using a #5 cup is argon savings.
a setting of only 12-14 cfh works in most situations.
For me, the #5 cups work great for 1/8" and thinner aluminum.
The answer to the question..."what is the best tig cup for aluminum?"
It really just depends on the type of work.
There are lots of options and there are ways to make one cup work for a lot of different situations...but a #5 definitely is in the conversation.