5 tips for a great GTAW Weld

A few hot tips on how to weld GTAW like a pro

GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding) is a form of welding that produces a weld using a non-consumable tungsten. This method of welding can cause problems in the joinery if it is not completed correctly. The tips below will provide adequate knowledge to prevent compromised quality when using the GTAW method.

Choose the right Tungsten

The tungsten electrode is the pillar of the GTAW. The metallic, non-consumable element transports the welding current through to the arc. The diameters of tungsten vary greatly and can start from as little as 0.02in. Tungstens are typically 7in but can also be purchased at a customised size.

It is vital that the welder knows what the tungsten is before commencing the welding process. Different types of tungsten produce different levels of electrodes. The key to knowing a tungsten is to recognise the colour coding system and what it represents when applying electrodes.​

If the tungsten is not suitable for the thickness of the material, the weld will ultimately fail.

Analyse the material

Every quality material used in welding has different characteristics and must be welded using the right tools to obtain the perfect join. When it comes to GTAW, the base material and the filler material must be considered.

The characteristics of the material being welded will directly affect the filler's capability. If the finished product is required to pass structural integrity tests, a filler that is capable of providing chemical and mechanical traction is needed.

Different materials require different treatment when it comes to welding. Some need post weld heat treatment and some need heat treatment prior to the weld. It is vital to identify this.​

Cleanliness Is Key

Cleaning is the key to effective GTAW. If a material is contaminated or uneven, it will affect the quality of the weld. Unclean surfaces can cause porosity, which can lead to a huge cost, as the material becomes damaged thus rendering it unusable.

Materials need to have no evidence of grease, grime or oil before a GTAW weld takes place. Most materials can be cleaned with a cloth that is dry and in many cases (such as with titanium or aluminium materials) the cloth needs to be lint-free. The type of cleaner used on the materials should never contain chlorine.

Secure the Weld

Premium tools are a necessity in GTAW and clamps should always be used to stop distortion from occurring. If a base material is thin or malleable, it must be clamped and secured in many places to stop the material from lifting or damaging the weld.

For larger base materials a support structure that can provide more stability than clamps may be required. Securing the weld so it is performed steadily will help to eliminate the chance of errors.

Test the Weld

Testing is the most reliable way to prevent the chance of errors or a loss of money when mistakes occur in GTAW. The best way to ensure a GTAW weld will work is to use smaller but identical materials and test that the method will work.

Testing the weld before performing it will allow the welder to carry out the weld with confidence and learn from any unexpected prior mistakes.

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