Purchasing a TIG weld to perform specific welding projects has its advantages. It is most suitable for metal seams and joints like pressure vessels that require x-ray for coding. But some welders do not know that they can TIG weld with an inverter welder for many applications.
So, how to TIG weld with an inverter welder?
To TIG weld with an inverter welder, you can use a sharp tungsten rod to scratch-start your TIG arc, and you keep the filler rod in argon gas at the rate of 8 to 10 liters/minute to avoid contamination.
TIG welding with an inverter welder might seem complicated. But it will not be when you follow the preparation process of some steps. Anyone performing regular oxy-fuel welding will get hold of it.
Read on and learn more about how you can TIG weld with an inverter welder.
Can You TIG Weld With An Inverter Welder?
I have already answered the question above. Yes, you can TIG weld with an inverter welder. If the machine is like a stick welder, the inverter will work fine for TIG. Every TIG welder requires a constant supply of current like stick welders.
So they both go along with the same power brick. On the other hand, MIG welders need a constant voltage supply, which is different.
You will need the correct torch and cable to TIG weld with an inverter welder. There are no HF arc starts or foot pedals, so you have to start from scratch. Since you cannot use a foot pedal to change the current, you have to speed it up and down slowly to take the weld puddles under your control.
What Does It Mean By TIG Welding?
TIG is the short form of Tungsten Inert Gas welding. It is a welding method that produces electrical arcs off non-consumable tungsten electrodes and uses inert gas to protect them. Although purely argon, the shielding gas is sometimes the combination of argon and helium.
TIG welding is more challenging and slower than Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding. But it offers you more precision.
You can also use it at lower amps than with MIG welds. That means it is usable on various exotic metals intolerant of high amps. Besides, it works excellent on thin metals without compromising and burning through the metals’ structural integrity.
Inverter welders run at AC power into DC power that affects the weld quality by:
- Penetrating deeper into the weld’s steel base (Positive DC Current)
- Creating a higher filler deposit to weld thin metals (Negative DC Current)
In Which Projects Can One Use TIG Weld? Who Can Perform TIG Weld?
Using an inverter welder for TIG welds is a fantastic choice for welding thin materials as TIG requires you to get the connecting metal pieces sufficiently hot to make atomic bonds. Contrastingly, MIG welding has a filler wire for linking the metal parts using a seam.
Using TIG welds on thick materials will get the job done, but it can result in heat stress and other structural or cosmetic issues.
TIG welding is more complicated than MIG welding. Plus, it takes more time to learn. So, while inexperienced and beginning welders can go for MIG welding, TIG welding will not be a piece of cake for them. Only skilled professionals can handle this method of welding.
TIG welding needs you to master these three variables: timing, pressure, and electric current. Failing to manipulate any of them during welding can lead to weld failure or injuries.
That is why someone should go for TIG welding only when they are well-versed and comfortable with the metallurgic and electrical concepts about welding.
TIG welding, while a great option for stainless or steel projects, is not suitable for aluminum that requires AC power. Some TIG power supplies adjust with AC, but they do not work well as the inverter design converts AC power into DC power.
Supplies Needed To TIG Weld With An Inverter Welder
You will need some wedding supplies to perform TIG welding with an inverter welder. You have to get them before the beginning. As welding is like a craft, you do not want to scramble during work looking for something you did not remember to keep near your workshop.
Some of those gears require you to work with arcs and molten metal. They are so bright that they can give you eye burns. So, it is crucial to use protective equipment in a profession and hobby like welding.
Therefore, you must make sure to be properly outfitted before starting and keep your tools nearby. As I stated earlier, you need to establish proper control not to get distracted.
The tungsten suitable to use in DC-based welding is not simply any tungsten. You are to have thoriated tungsten. It is toxic, and thus, you must handle it carefully. It has a radioactive compound like thorium, shielded and inert during welding, but you may inhale it while grinding your tungsten.
How To TIG Weld With An Inverter Welder?
Like other stick welding types, this one also has a number of steps you have to follow to perform smooth TIG welding. The first of them is to run the stick out.
What Is A Stick-Out And How To Perform It?
You can define the electrical stick out in TIG Welding as the gap between the tungsten’s unmelted end and the contact tip. You can also refer it to as the wire in resistance amount. It influences a weld in the following ways:
- Melt-Off Rate: The length or weight of the wire/powder/electrode/rod melted in a particular time unit
- Penetration: The depth to which a weld’s fusion line enters the base. The strength of the welding bond depends on the depth of the penetration.
- Shape Of Weld Beads: It is critical for proper weld fusion, and the bond structure depends a lot on it.
Stick-out may be around half of the inner diameter in standard setups. The particular length ranges from one set up to another, but that is the general rule. Do not try to experiment by changing the size to a considerable extent. That will ruin the stick-out.
You can increase the length without compromising the weld quality by incorporating TIG glass lenses. They help keep the tungsten stable and ensure proper transfer of electricity while improving the shield coverage and the welded joint accessibility simultaneously.
How To Use Sharpened Tungsten In TIG Welding With An Inverter Welder?
You can perform TIG welding with an inverter with or without any filler wire. But if you use sharpened tungsten, be careful of the tungsten sticking. If it sticks, you will need to stop, then resharpen it to prevent contamination.
You can contaminate the tungsten accidentally in a number of ways:
- Dipping it into some molten puddle
- Touching it with the rod
Contaminating the tungsten mid-weld is a common mistake. Luckily, you can rectify it by resharpening the tungsten on some bench grinder. Here is the process for you.
- Grind your tungsten in a tungsten bench grinder. Remember not to use a steel grinder. That might introduce contaminants.
- Grind it lengthwise, leaving the tungsten tip twice the electrode diameter.
- Cut the cone tip of the tungsten to prevent the next weld from getting detached and contaminated.
Tap Starting Or Scratch Starting A Weld Arc – Which One Is Better?
TIG welding is not similar to MIG welding in terms of operation. When you are TIG welding, you need a torch live from the moment you turn on the welder. There are no buttons to begin the arc. So you can either scratch or tap start it.
How To Tap Start An Arc?
You do it by tapping the tungsten rod sharply against whatever metal you will work on, which will remove the additional flux from the rod while also creating the electrical contact required to start an arc.
You must perform the movement sharply and decisively, contacting only for a second before pulling back the rod. You have to do it lightly, too. If you do it slowly or use excessive pressure, the tungsten may start sticking.
Your tungsten’s sticking means you have messed it up. Now you have to reread the how-to guide and resharpen the tungsten to try again. There is an advantage to using the inverter. It will reduce the voltage automatically if the rod sticks.
If you have just begun with TIG welding, it will be a wise move to practice this method on scrap metals until you get enough confidence about pulling it off for real.
How To Scratch Start An Arc?
An alternative to starting a welding arc is to scratch start it. That is where one moves the rod across the metal to eliminate extra flux while initiating electrical contact. A welder can lift the rod from the metal in this method when it starts sparking.
During the scratch start, run the rod in a scratching motion to eliminate the coating of flux. Do it in a small and slow circle. Otherwise, it will take you further from the optimal starting point.
You have to pull the rod away ASAP to deter it from sticking before returning it to the regular arc length. Avoid excessive pressure since that encourages sticking.
Scratch starting weld arcs has similarities with tap starting, but it is more vulnerable to sticking if you are not experienced or fast enough. Nonetheless, it is a fruitful method for rods hard to start.
What Is Gas Shielding In TIG Welding Using An Inverter Welder?
Gas shielding is a critical issue with TIG Welding. It causes material contamination. You can use either a mixture of argon and helium or pure argon gas to TIG weld.
If you use argon and carbon dioxide, it will instantly pollute and ruin the welds. So, it is vital to have adequate gas shielding. Observe the procedure below to ensure perfect gas shielding.
Setting The Rate Of Gas Flow: The perfect rate of gas flow for TIG welding with an inverter welder should be 8 to 10 liters/minute. It is equally important to keep it optimum and not go higher. Maintaining a higher flow rate might cause turbulence that again can cause airborne contaminants.
Checking The Hoses And Fittings For Leakage: If you observe contaminated welds and think the shield is adequate, check the setup for any leakage. Run some soapy water over the fittings and hoses to do that. If there is any bubble, you will know where the leak is.
What Are The Common Problems To Face While TIG Welding With An Inverter Welder?
While it is easy to learn the basic concepts and techniques of welding, there are some problems you will run into even if you are an expert. Here are the most common ones:
- Using a DC Current for TIG Welding Aluminum:DC is not the best option for aluminum welding, but AC is. Otherwise, it can lead to contamination. While TIG welding aluminum, ensure that the oxide compounds have been completely burned away. Also, see that the weld spot has become shiny before bringing in the filler rod to avoid contamination. Using AC will take out the oxides, but remember that it can also increase etching by dulling the tungsten.
- Not enough Fusion:If your welds suffer from insufficient structural integrity or fusion at the fillet weld, the reason may be operating errors. And one of that may be feeding your filler rod into your weld improperly or keeping the welding arc distant from the metal surface. You can avoid welding too quickly and feeding the filler too fast. You can decrease the arc length too.
- Grainy Weld:The appearance of the grainy weld usually indicates flaws in the rod material or filler wire. Before starting, look at the filler type to clean it thoroughly to eliminate contaminants like grease, oil, or moisture.
- Craters:Many TIG welders feature a function of crater controls for avoiding the unsightly error caused by the quick reduction of the welding power. You can solve the problem by continuing to feed the filler into your welder while reducing the current slowly to keep the weld from cooling too fast.
What Is The Most Critical Skill Required To Perform TIG Welding With An Inverter Welder?
Arc control is the most critical skill to perform TIG welding with an inverter welder, involving everything from tapping the arc to killing the switch. Plus, it caters to a strong, aesthetically pleasing, and successful TIG weld.
You want to keep your arc as small as possible to control it. While you may feel like lengthening it because that will allow you to weld the puddle better by seeing the contact more clearly, it is more convenient to reposition the body instead of the torch.
If you adjust the arc length during welding, it will impact the appearance of the weld beads while causing structural problems. While in the beginning level, you should practice welding in multiple positions on various scrap metals before going for a professional welding project.
Every welder can perform TIG welding. And anyone that knows MIG welding is sure to excel at TIG welding. They do not have to buy an industrial-grade power source for it. Those who want to use an inverter will need a regulator, a TIG torch, and a tank of argon gas. It is as simple as that.
With the essential gears and equipment, it will be feasible for you to perform precise, durable, and quality TIG welding on exotic and thin metals at your own workshop.
Best of luck with that!