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Tig Welding with a Torch Switch and how to use 2t and 4t Settings

First, let me say that I like to use a foot pedal for most of my Tig welding. There is just no substitute for precise amperage control without the risk of moving the torch.

That said, there are times when a torch switch can be pretty handy.

A torch switch is basically an on/off switch so whatever you have the amperage set on the machine is what you get when you press the switch.

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With a Torch Switch you dont have any amperage control


Well, not exactly.

That is where 2t, 4t, and upslope/downslope settings come into play.

What is 2t and 4t?

The t in 2t and 4t indicates the number if touches on the switch that it takes to initiate a different phase of the ramping up or ramping down of the welding current.

So by using the 2t setting and by adjusting the upslope and downslope, there is a certain level of amperage control....not quite as good as a foot pedal amperage control, but better than nothing.

What are some applications where 2t and 4t functions work with a torch switch?

stainless steel tubing weld done on turntable using 2t settings and a timer switch

  • Jobs that are large, and require dragging a foot pedal around a work bench can sometimes be done using a torch switch.
  • Manual pulsing on aluminum tubing (use 2t setting along with 0 upslope and 2.5-3 seconds of downslope)
  • Any thick part that does not require fine amperage control.
  • Semi automated jobs using a stationary tig torch and a turntable.
  • making quick burst tack welds ( I set my amps to 1.5 to 2 times what I would use to weld...and then using a tight arc, quickly press trigger and let off)

A typical 2t setup for an 11 ga thick lap joint using a torch switch

  • pre flow set to .3 sec
  • start amps set to 10 amps
  • 3 seconds upslope
  • 111 amps main amperage
  • 4 seconds downslope
  • 10 amps end current
  • 7 seconds postflow

For really fine tig welding, you really need a foot pedal

While a torch switch comes in handy, it is not the best all around way to tig weld.

I can think of all types of jobs where a foot pedal is the only way to go because any extra hand motion can cause problems.

  • welding really thin wall tubing whether steel, stainless steel, inconel, aluminum, or titanium
  • tool and die repair
  • injection mold repair
  • aircraft parts 
  • any weld joint with a poor fitup or wide gap

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