TIG welding is another name for gas tungsten arc welding. The aircraft industry created it to weld magnesium in the 1930s and 1940s. Ideally, the process works like this: the welder makes an arc between the base metal and the non-consumable tungsten electrode, a type of electrode that does not melt. At the point where the arc hits the base metal a molten weld pool forms. A thin wire of filler metal is slowly handfed into the weld pool, where it melts. All the while, an inert shielding gas protects the tungsten electrode and weld pool from oxygen contamination. No fluxes are used. The finished product is a sound, slag-free weld that shares the same corrosion resistance properties as the parent metal.
What Is TIG Welding Used For?
TIG welding can be used for more metals than any other type of process. For this reason, a variety of industries rely on TIG welding. It is used in the construction of spacecraft and airplanes in the aerospace industry. Auto manufacturers use TIG welding on fenders for its anti-corrosive properties. TIG welding is also widely employed in auto body repair shops. Artists appreciate the excellent quality of TIG welds using them in sculpture welding.
TIG Welding Advantages and Disadvantages
One of the greatest advantages of TIG welding is the amount of control it allows. A welder can control heat and amperage with precision using a foot or thumb remote control switch. The TIG welder is thin, which adds to the control a welder with excellent dexterity can have over the process. As a result, TIG welding is good for projects where detailed designs or curves are required on the base metal.
Since the TIG welding torch uses low amperage, the process works well on thin pieces or metal. The combination of the low amperage and remote control switch allows welders to quickly switch from working on thin pieces of metal to thick ones, making TIG welding a versatile process. Since no fluxes are used and it’s possible to produce a low-profile weld bead, the weld is clean and free of slag.
Only a small area of space separates the arc of the flame from the base metal, so TIG welding requires a high level of focus and hand-eye coordination. Performing TIG welding requires skills and patience because the process can be time-consuming. Despite this, welders can overcome challenges with training and practice.