TIG electrode preparation and electrode selection

by Steve A
(Boise, Idaho)

I would appreciate it if you could make a video about selecting the most suitable electrode types. I weld mild steel and aluminum mostly. When is 100% best, when is 2%, etc best. Also, electrode preparation. I watched your grinding tip video with the little harbor freight grinder. When do you want a pointed tip, balled tip, etc.

I have a ThermalArc TIG 250 machine. My problem is welding aluminum and keeping a nice small puddle. The arc doesn't stay focused, and sometimes comes out the side and not the tip of the tungsten. This makes a big old mess of the puddle.

Since watching your videos I have put down some of my best beads. Keeping the electrode further inside the cup and dragging the cup instead of trying to do it all "free hand" with the tungsten sticking out too far has helped the most. I contaminate my electrode about half as frequently now!




I will put that one on my list of upcoming videos.

meanwhile, one thing you never want to do is use pure tungsten with an inverter tig welder.

you will not get the benefits of an inverter with pure tungsten. personally, i never use pure anyway. just dont like it.

whether its an inverter or not...

I recommend some 1.5 or 2% lanthanated for everything..steel and aluminum.

for steel taper it nice and sharp and for aluminum just put a slight taper on it and weld.
make sure to set your AC balance to where you have about 65-70 % EN.

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