If TIG welding intrigues you, you may know that learning it is complicated. But it is also satisfying once you get a grip on it and create beautiful metal pieces. A part of the learning process involves learning how to set up a TIG welder for mild steel. But, how do you do that?
To set up a TIG welder for mild steel, you’ll need Argon and Tungsten. You will also need proper gas coverage. Plus, learning the TIG welding equipment settings and power unit features is a requirement here.
You will hardly find all the information about setting up a TIG welder for mild steel in one place. So, I wrote this article to lend you a hand.
To give you a better understanding, I will talk about how TIG welding and mild steel work, what power supplies you will need, what are the essential TIG torch options, how you can set up the electrode, and finally, how you can set up your TIG welder for mild steel.
Why Is TIG Welding Different or Difficult?
If you are already learning TIG welding, you know how challenging it is to use both hands in the process. Also, TIG is different from other steel welding processes for the arc and the added filler material.
You have to use both hands – one for holding the torch to create the arc and the other for adding the filler material while welding joints. As TIG welding requires you to use both your hands simultaneously, it is more challenging than other welding processes.
Nonetheless, when you have to weld mild steel, it can also be versatile. All of it will be worth it when you master TIG welding and create the most attractive welds out of it.
How To Use Tungsten To Weld Mild Steel?
I already mentioned Tungsten above. Now is the time to simplify it to understand why it works well for mild steel welding. To put it in the bluntest way possible, Tungsten creates TIG welding. Without it, there would not be any TIG welding.
Tungsten, a radioactive metal, is brittle and hard with limited use. It works magic in TIG welding only because it uses it to generate con-consumable electrodes to create the arc. You will also see Tungsten in light bulbs, heaters, and rocket engines.
Tungsten and TIG welding hit it off during the welding process because tungsten can keep the arc at a consistent and stable temperature around 11,000-degree F. Bringing high melting points, Tungsten also offers remarkable electrical conductivity while you weld. That prevents the electrode from ever burning up.
Tungsten has a unique characteristic, allowing you to create hotter arcs than what you get from the real melting points of Tungsten. Its tensile strength goes as high as 500,000 LBS/Square Inch. Contrarily, the tensile strength is 36,000 pounds per inch for steel. Think about the comparison and see why Tungsten goes along with steel welding.
Additional Read: Best Tungsten For TIG Welding Mild Steel
How Does TIG Welding Work On Mild Steel?
You need 3 things to TIG weld with any metal like mild steel. They are filler metals, shielding, and heat. Electricity, going through the electrode of the tungsten, will produce temperature to create an arc. You need gas in compressed jars to protect it from the air for shielding. Then the filler metal will come from wires dipped into the melt and arc.
You must have these three things to make a finished and fantastic project. To start the process, you have to turn on the flow of gas. You can control that by using your TIG torch valve. You will see the gas flow starting after doing it. Then take your torch to check the welding joint. But do not touch the metal.
Now, bring in a pedal to start the electrode’s arc. The metal pieces will initiate melting and forming a puddle afterward. Use the other hand to fill the weld joint after developing the pool. It means you have to dip a wire into your arc to fill that joint. Then the formation of the metal piece will be complete.
- Argon Gas Pressure For TIG Welding
- How Long Does Argon Gas Last When TIG Welding
- Gas Types Used in Welding
How To Set Up A TIG Welder For Mild Steel?
So now you know how TIG welding works on mild steel. Here comes the main topic – how to set up a TIG welder for mild steel? You will find the answer below.
You will see two primary settings while setting up a TIG welder. They are amperage and gas flow. You will set the amperage based on your desired thickness level for the metal. Then observe how fast the metal melts and adjust accordingly. The right thing to do would be to fix it loosely for testing purposes and then make the adjustments.
Now you have to adjust the rate of the gas flow. First, you must vary the rate. Then, draft the conditions and the welding performance based on the cup size.
If the cup size is bigger and the environment is windy, the rate will range from 5 CFH and reach 60 CFH at max. In the case of mild steel, the gas to use will almost always be pure Argon.
Below I included a list with guidelines to follow for setting up your TIG welder for mild steel.
- 1/16 Tungsten will require you to use amps between 50 and 100. The cup size can be 4 or 5, or 6. The gas flow rate will be from 5 to 15 CFH.
- If it is 3/32, the amps will stay between 80 and 130. The cup size will be 6 or 7 or 8. 8 to 20 CFH will be the gas flow rate range.
- In the case of ⅛ Tungsten, use an amp range between 90 and 250. Get a 6 or 7 or 8 cup. The gas flow will be from 8 CFH to 25 CFH.
Bits & Pieces Regarding TIG Welding And Mild Steel
You will want Thorium Tungsten, Argon gas, and a DCEN for TIG welding. Remember that you need to shape your Tungsten finely to weld steels.
Welding steel and welding other materials are pretty similar. However, the first one is more time-consuming. So you may need some time to practice and experiments to progress further. What differentiates welding steel from others is the required among of gas coverage.
Sometimes you have to put the weld in Argon with filler gas. That is something you have to learn exclusively. Also, if you need more time than others to get a grip on the overall process, do not sweat yourself. That is not your fault.
Steel has this weird habit of getting warped when heat too much. When it happens, welds do not hold tight, causing you distorted metal. You can minimize the distortion by staggering the welds and then bracing the weld area every once in a while.
Keeping It Clean
Do not forget that joint preparation plays an essential role in TIG welding mild steel. It requires you to ensure cleanliness before welding. If not, the filler wire will not flow right. It will not stick perfectly to the joint areas.
Since you do not want to face it, you should keep it neat. You can do so by using a sanding disk. It provides effective results.
So I have covered everything you need to learn about how to set up a TIG welder for mild steel. I really hope now you feel confident about approaching further.
The contents I discussed today are directly involved with the welding activity. If you are serious about it, you will try to understand the whole thing first. It is not easy, but it is doable if you are determined, which will be possible once you are sure you really want to do it.
A friendly reminder now: do not forget about the cleanliness. Your negligence can cause you to end up with imperfect welds. You should pay equal attention to the preparation before and during the work.
Finally, do not worry about progress if you enjoy learning the process and keep trying your best. You will get there when the time comes.
For now, don’t stop learning!