How to Set Up a TIG Welder

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Tungsten Inert Gas, or TIG, welding is used in many fabrication processes. The commercial accessibility of TIG welders has increased greatly over the years, making it possible for even regular home craftsmen to have one in their arsenal. If you have recently gotten a TIG welding machine, there are only a few steps to set it up, and no matter the brand the general parts and set-up process are nearly universal amongst TIG welders.

Things You'll Need

  • TIG welding machine and included parts
  • Safety goggles and gloves
  • Grounded metal worktable or other grounded object
  • Metal grinder
  • Plug the torch into the welding machine and then plug the gas and regulator hose in at the marked spots. Each one should be a single hose that either clamps or screws into labeled connectors on the machine unit.

  • Connect the control pedal to the welder if necessary. Some welder models feature an optional foot or hand-operated lever to control the amperage during welding. Others will have this feature built into the torch itself and won't require a separate connection. If your welder has its own pedal, then plug it into the connection point on the welding machine.

  • Connect the grounding clamp onto a grounded object such as your worktable. This clamp should look similar to the clamps on a battery jumper cable and will securely clamp to any decent-sized grounded object.

  • Select the proper material setting on the welder. This will be a knob or switch that allows you to choose amperage based on the material you'll be welding. For TIG welding the general rule is to use "AC" for aluminum and "DC" for steel or steel alloy material.

  • Prepare your tungsten wire by grinding it to a point on a bench grinder wheel. For the best results, hold the tungsten parallel to the direction the wheel spins and grind a point just under three times as long as the wire diameter. As you weld, you may need to re-grind the point as it dulls.

  • Insert the tungsten into the torch. Most commercial models of TIG welder will feature a torch with a removable back section that opens up and allows you to insert the tungsten wire through the torch. Leave about a quarter-inch of tungsten sticking out of the front end of the torch.

  • Plug the machine into an electrical outlet and turn it on. From here you are ready to weld, and the machine will regulate the various other factors such as gas flow as you work.

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