TIG Welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or "Heli-Arc" Welding is a welding process that utilizes a non-consumable Tungsten electrode to create an electric arc. Although usually more difficult to master than MIG welding, TIG is capable of precise, high quality welds. A TIG system includes a constant current welding power source (AC output for aluminum and magnesium, DC outputfor most other metals), torch, shielding gas, gas regulator, and ground cable. Joining can occur by fusing two pieces of metal together, or by adding filler metal. Options include remote amperage controls to control heat while welding, and water recirculators to cool the welding torch.
Heres how it works: the tungsten is sharpened and inserted into the torch. The tungsten is held a short distance from the work piece, and the arc established by activating the remote control (usually a foot operated pedal). The arc melts the metal, and the metal is joined either by fusing the two pieces of metal together or by adding filler metal. The shielding gas protects the molten weld from atmospheric contamination. Heat can be controlled while welding using the remote amperage control. Quality welds that are both strong and attractive require the operator to maintain a consistent tungsten to work distance, constant travel speed along the joint, appropriate heat, and the steady addition of filler metal. All of this requires coordination of eyes, both hands, and usually a foot.
Common uses of TIG Welding: