Whilst TIG welding is one of the most preferred methods in the metal industry because it yields the highest quality of welds, it is yet the most complicated processes a welder can become skilled at. Anyone in the welding industry who experienced this welding process will definitely say that in order to attain a great welding job, the TIG method needs an outstanding sense of balance and coordination both physically and mentally. It takes a lot of training and experience to perfect this method. But once you perfected the skill, it will certainly pay off, big time! To be good at TIG welding, you must dig into what this method is all about, including its advantages and downsides.
Advantages and Downsides
Like any other welding method, TIG has its own shares of advantages and downsides. This can either make or break any welding job. The benefits and disadvantages of each welding method are the primary reason why the metal industry uses a different process depending on the type of the project and the metal to be welded. So, to further understand TIG welding, you have to be aware of the good and bad sides of using this process.
- Highest Weld Quality
Compared to other well known methods, TIG welding has the least amount of cracks, damages, poor weld etc. found during inspection. Moreover, if proper technique is used, it generates a nice benefit of making a weld appear really good. So, for the finest quality of welds, TIG welding is a must!
- With or Without Filler Metal
TIG welders enjoy both worlds by using or not using filler metals in the process. The choice depends on the welding job at hand. In cases of autogenous welds, the filler metal is not necessary at all. However, some applications consumable filler metal is mandatory to create a weld fill, which is suitable in most applications. But with or without filler metal, TIG welding generates quality weld.
- Use of Non-consumable Electrode
Compared to other welding method, TIG uses a non-consumable electrode which makes welding a lot easier. This will allow continuity and undisrupted welding operation. Let me explain it further, other method such as Stick welding uses a consumable electrode. In the process of welding, the stick welder needs to halt his operation in order to replace the consummated rod to prevent a bad weld. Otherwise, if he did not change the electrode, the tendency is that, it will produce a bad weld and will impact the overall quality of the finished product. On the other hand, in TIG welding, the process uses a different arc that isn’t greatly affecting the electrode. Thus, there is no need to replace it. This allows a smoother and unceasing operation.
- Perfect for Non-Ferrous Metals
For most welders, working on non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium and copper is a tedious job. If a welder is not experienced enough and does not use the suitable welding method, he is doomed to fail. The most suitable method for these kinds of metals is TIG welding. It will yield the least problem compared to other welding method counterparts.
- The consistent outline of this welding process generates the most reliable weld diffusion.
- Allows greater control of arc length compared to other welding methods. One of the reasons why poor weld exists is due to the inappropriate welding procedure connected to arc length.
- More concentrated arc
- Welds two metals and alloys, even thin ones with ease compared to other welding process.
- No slag of any kind
- No sparks and spatters
- Safety Concerns
The number one disadvantage of TIG welding comes to safety concerns. The use of non-consumable electrode may come as an advantage, but it is also the primary reason why this method has safety issues. Non-consumable electrodes don’t have a flux coating which commonly covers consumable rods. Flux coating is very essential because it acts as smoke screen which blurs out the light and makes the operation more endurable for the eyes. Hence, TIG welders are more exposed to extreme light which is the same as the light from the sun (Ultraviolet rays) that causes eye damage and may burn the skin. However, the proper used of safety gear such as eye goggles, helmet and the like can remedy this downside.
- Complicated Welding Method
As mentioned, TIG welding is one of the hardest methods to learn. Basically because you need all the right skill and enough experience before you can perfect this process. Training is not enough – skill is pretty much has more bearing when it comes to this kind of application. The complexity of TIG welding needs an outstanding sense of balance and coordination. You have to utilize both hands in the process and make sure to adhere to a specific distance between the work piece and the tool to achieve high quality weld. To add up with its complexity, a foot pedal is used most of the time to control the arc needed to join pieces of metals together. TIG can surely be a complicated welding method, but if you master this it will give you a lot of rewards.
- Slow Welding Method
When it comes to productivity, TIG welding is unreliable. So, for mass production and large welding jobs that need to be done quickly, TIG welding is not utilized because this process consumes a lot of time. However, if you are after a fine weld quality then this process yields the best results.
The equipment cost together with the materials and sometimes the accessories needed for this method are expensive compared to the other common welding process. However, the advantages and benefits offered by this kind of operation outweigh its expenses. Remember, you always get what you pay for. So, more expensive, higher weld quality.
- Have lower filler metal deposition rates
- This method utilizes concentrations of shielding gas that may cause build up and can displace oxygen especially when welding is done in confined areas.
While there are advantages and downsides, TIG welding has proven to be one of the best methods employed it the welding industry. Learning this complicated and tedious process is worth it in the long run. Needless to say, quality gets more and more important today than quantity, which makes this method a much sought operation. So, if you are planning a career path towards welding, TIG is the way to go.