How To Set Up TIG Welder

How To Set Up TIG Welder

The excitement of opening up your first welder and figuring it out is tempered by the reality you’re not going to be able to utilize it as thought. The following article will walk you through the basics of setting up a TIG welder. We have described How To Set Up TIG Welder in detail.

How To Set Up TIG Welder

TIG welding, also known as TIG (tungsten arc gas shielded) or GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding), is a method of joining metals through an arc. The shielding gas shields the electric arc from the atmosphere.

TIG welding equipment varies hugely in price, just like equipment for other welding processes. Most better TIG machines have an AC/DC output option and can change the heat settings while welding. Welding aluminum or magnesium often requires an AC output, while most metals can be welded with a DC output. Stick welding is also possible on machines with multiple settings, making them very versatile.

The presence of HF or high-frequency ignition is also characteristic of better quality machines. When you use HF, the electrode does not need to touch the workplace. You prevent electrode contamination during welding by doing this.

A Quick Brief on How to Set Up a TIG Welder

According to your machine’s complexity, your setup may be different. Here we provide some tips on how to set up a similar TIG welder to Miller’s and Lincoln’s TIG welders since these welders are very popular.

It depends on the kind of material you plan to join to determine the type of welding machine you need. Miller TIG welder setup guides are available online to better understand the process.

Gas Selection

In order to protect the molten pool from contamination, shielding gases usually contain nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen. In your workpiece, these gases interact, causing cracks and brittleness due to the interaction with our atmosphere.

To set up your TIG welder properly, you must choose a suitable shielding gas. In this way, the gas can be pushed out. It is even impossible to use oxygen compounds, such as carbon dioxide, with TIG welders.

Pure argon is the preferred welding gas for the majority of metals. In highly specialized processes, Helium is a third feasible option. Welding aluminum, magnesium, and stainless steel are more familiar with argon and helium mixed, which creates a hotter weld.

Flow regulators come standard with Lincoln TIG welders, which measure cubic feet per hour. Your torch’s cup size determines the amount of gas you’ll use when welding.

Know Your Torch

Torches with TIG welding typically come in two types. Torches with an air-cooled cooling system are cheaper, but they tend to overheat. In addition to a radiator, a water cooler is a feature of a water-cooled torch. It is more efficient at heating than the former, but it is more challenging to maintain. Whatever kind of torch you choose, it’s critical to understand how it works.

The Electrode

To understand what electrodes are, you should know that there are different sizes of tungsten rods. The electrode does not burn, and with a grinder, you can shape or sharpen it according to the material you’re working with. For AC welding aluminum or magnesium, you usually use a balled tip on your electrode rather than a sharp or pointed tip.

Color coding makes it easier for you to select the right metal for your application. A guide comes with all Lincoln welders to assist with choosing the suitable tungsten for your metal. However, you can also find a helpful guide online.

Shaping Your Tungsten

If you want to grind your tungsten to a point, you’ll need a grinding wheel or tungsten grinder. It is somewhat more involved to ball your tungsten than to grind it to a point and then weld it on an aluminum piece using a TIG machine.

It is still likely that the grinding and heat will consume even tungsten that has been marked non-consumable. While grinding your tungsten electrode, be sure to wear appropriate safety gear (such as a dust mask) and have adequate airflow since the dust can be detrimental to your health.

Other Components

Next, you need to put the cup into your torch. You can customize the diameter of the ceramic cup to meet your needs. The cup extends your tungsten, and you can adjust its length by using the copper collet. By allowing shielding gas to pass into the cup, your collet prevents oxygen and other gases from making it into the weld.

Choosing Polarity

Current flow determines the polarization of the welding circuit. TIG welders provide three settings: DC positive, DC negative, and AC. Since TIG welders are also used for stacking, they have the DC positive, DC negative, and AC settings.

  • It can lead to overheating, and contamination of your material as most of the heat goes into your tungsten rather than your workpiece. Stick welding is carried out with this method, and TIG is seldom used.
  • TIG welding is most commonly performed with DC negative. As a result, the torch heats your workpiece.
  • AC or alternate current switches the positive and negative settings. Using this setting, you will prevent the oxides from returning as soon as the oxygen in the air comes into contact with aluminum or magnesium.

Automatic and Manual Balance Control

Using balance control, you can change how much time is spent on each current (positive or negative). The auto-balance function on some machines helps set the balance automatically. Manually operating these machines is the only option. You will be much more successful if you choose a device with automatic balance enabled (like the Lincoln Square Wave).

More About Current

Your welding machine’s amperage flow directly relates to the amount of heat that is delivered to it. Higher currents cause hotter inputs. A calculator can help you determine the amperage you need by giving you other important information, such as the size of the tungsten and gas flow rate.

High currents can help a material emit less heat. In contrast, a low current causes the workpiece to become hot. To work faster, you must increase the current, as decreasing it allows you to work slowly.

The Foot Pedal

For mid-weld control, most TIG welding machines come with a foot pedal. You can handle the amperage with the foot pedal while welding and take more precise measurements, which can lead to better quality welding.

After you set your maximum current output and weld your workpiece, you should continue to press the foot pedal consistently. In addition to increasing or reducing pressure, you can easily add or reduce the heat. It is typical to control the temperature of a welded joint with a foot pedal.

It may take some getting used to your foot pedal initially, but learning how to use it correctly will only serve you well as you progress through the welding process.

How to Set Up a TIG Welder for Aluminum

Welding aluminum presents unique challenges and rewards. Because aluminum requires very high heat to melt, your welder should have a higher output than average.

You can weld aluminum with either DC power or AC power. It also penetrates deeper into metal but is harder to master. It is preferable to weld aluminum on AC settings most of the time.

If you use an electrode made of pure tungsten or zirconiated tungsten, the tip will naturally ball as the electrode is being welded. It is not necessary to use an electrode with 2% thoriated tungsten. It will produce irregularities during the process and create an unstable arc.

The filler rod is also fed manually to the molten pool when TIG welding any material. The type of filler rod that you use depends on the materials, thickness, and other characteristics of your workpiece. Using online charts, you can choose aluminum welding rods.

How To Set Up a TIG Welder for Mild Steel

Mild steel consists of small amounts of carbon. It is sometimes termed “low carbon steel” because it contains up to 0.04% carbon. It is frequently the cheapest and easiest material for beginners to learn how to TIG weld since it is lightweight and easy to work with.

Steel materials use the negative DC setting, unlike aluminum. In addition to providing a smoother output, stabilizing the arc will prevent spattering.

You can weld any steel with 2% thoriated tungsten electrodes. Even though they’re incompatible with aluminum, these electrodes are more durable than their tungsten counterparts. 

You will have to place your filler rod manually into the molten pool of molten metal, as with any TIG welding process. Welding mild steel usually involves filler rods of the E60XX and E70XX lines. It is common, however, not to weld filler material on thinner sheets.


You should look at the type of welder you have first and the materials you plan to use when figuring out how to set up TIG welder. These two factors primarily dictate the setting of your welder. There is always information on the internet that will help you set up your computer.

You will create a beautiful product if you choose the right components and have the proper settings. Make sure you invest time and money into your welding studies, so you are on your way to a welding career in no time!


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