Using Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) is considered to be the ultimate welding technology. Entry into this process can be costly. It takes a lot of experience, and you need specialized equipment to do it correctly. As you will see in these Instructables, you will learn How to Make a TIG Welder from scratch.
You can only weld mild steel or stainless steel with this welder, but it is an inexpensive way to learn how to do TIG welding by practicing your hand-eye coordination. In addition to eliminating penetration, AC power will provide a cleaning action for TIG welding aluminum. You may also want to consider there are other reasons for the AC power source.
How to Make a TIG Welder
The term scratch-start TIG welding refers to arcs started by driving an electrode across the workpiece. Usually, welding machines made of expensive metals initiate the arc by lifting or using a high frequency. The scratch start method is still utilized by some cutting machines, such as when working with electronics.
The last disadvantage is that there is no foot pedal, so you cannot control how much power is applied when welding. In cases like that, where the metal heats up and the amps need reducing, this may be an essential factor to consider. In this setup, the most expensive part is the argon bottle.
It may not be worth your while to buy everything you need to assemble your TIG welder since the cost might be better spent on a proper welder like a MIG; however, if you have an existing stick welder, it might be worth trying this. You can build your own TIG welder by using this method.
Step 1: Parts and Tools Needed
Here is what I used, but there could be many other configurations
- A welder powered by a DC inverter or MIG welder
- Gas Flow Valve for WP-17 TIG Torch
- Argon gas in a bottle
- Atomic regulator
- Thermoelectric (lanthanide) tungsten electrodes
- Rods for filling in
- Belt or bench grinder
- Gloves for welding on a thin surface
- Welding Shields and Helmets for safety
- Welding clothing such as leather jackets
Step 2: Assembly of the Parts
It’s pretty simple to set up. In addition to the standard TIG torch connector, the TIG torch will fit into most compact type welders like those I have pictured. Negatively connect the DC inverter wire lead to the WP-17 Torch wireline. Instead of connecting the ground clamp to the negative side, connect it to the positive side. Direct current electrode negative (DCEN) technology allows for higher deposition rates with less penetration.
Inert Gas (IG) in the acronym TIG stands for argon bottle and argon regulator. The importance of only using Argon is paramount. Do not Argon is the only welding gas that can be used in MIG arcs. You may need to attach the WP-17 torch directly to the argon regulator using a barbed fitting or find the correct fittings to connect it.
There may be an extra DIN connector or something similar on the WP-17 torch; ignore it. Some welders may use that connector for a start and stop control, but this setup will have an always live torch.
Step 3: Sharpening the Tungsten
Since tungsten electrodes are used in TIG welding, the T stands for tungsten. To control the welding arc, you can sharpen or dull the welding rod so that the size doesn’t matter much. With 1/16″ lanthanated tungsten, I grind them with my belt grinder after drilling them in a drill press. Using the tungsten electrodes, I cut them in half and sharpen their tips. Welders usually experience many of them when first starting, whether they burn them up or dip them into the pool.
It is necessary to load the tungsten into the torch using the collet, the collet body, and finally, the gas cup. The stick protrudes from the gas cup end, and the tungsten mass is then calculated by multiplying it by 1/16 of the gas cap number. It means the #5 cup will stick out 5/16″, and the #16 cup will stick out 1″ (16ths of an inch). A #5 cup is an ideal size to play around with when welding thin pieces of steel as it is a good middle-of-the-road size.
Step 4: Welding
Stick welding and TIG welding are very similar, at least at the beginning of the arc.
During the first test of the welder, proceed as follows:
- Using the welding torch, load the sharpened tungsten.
- Gas flow is Gas Cup Number x 2 = CFH. If you need to adjust the gas flow, you can use this formula: Gas flow is argon flow x 2 = CFH.
- Start the DC welder and set the current to 30 to 40 amps (depending on the situation).
- Test the ground clamp on a piece of scrap steel before attaching it to your workpiece.
- Position yourself in a comfortable position and don your safety equipment
- Gas should begin to flow through the torch head when you turn on the gas valve. It should feel most comfortable in the hand of the person holding the torch.
- Lower your welding shield
- As you push the torch, you want to be pushing the weld puddle slightly at an angle. To use the tungsten tip, tilt it from left to right, or right to left, depending on your hand preference. You will need the practice to start the arc and stop it.
- I am practicing, practicing, practicing. If you burn or dip the tungsten, change it.
Start feeding the filler rod into the weld puddle after you are comfortable starting the arc. The metal will heat as you weld, and you’ll need to increase your speed as the metal heats. Document flow you can’t switch off the torch’s power when you stop, so it must be shielded when you stop. You also won’t be able to post any document flow to keep the Argon flowing freely.
A TIG welder that can produce nice-looking welds in capable hands can be very inexpensive to try out. If you already own some of the parts, it’s an ideal way to practice welding without spending a lot of money on a welder.