Even though TIG welding has a couple of advantages over other welding processes, there are no guarantees it is going to be the right solution for you. For starters, you need to identify your needs before you can even consider it as a welding process. Any seasoned welder will tell you there is no single project that is the same. As what BestOfTools have also mentioned in their featured article about MIG welders that it’s most probably worth getting a welder that you can only use for TIG welding, rather than any of the other processes. The reason for this is that it will make your setup slightly more complicated. If you’re in the market for a TIG welder, there are a couple of considerations you should have in mind and we’re going to highlight some of them.
Is TIG Welding the Right Option For the Welding Job at Hand?
This is the first and most important consideration when looking to purchase a TIG welder. A good example is a car welding job. You’ll be dealing with a considerably small assembly and the car engine is made from 1/8 aluminum. Stick will be a bad choice as it is rarely used in such a scenario and there are also poor welding results and fumes to think about. As much as MIG will complete the job faster, you need precision and that you can only get with TIG welding. Make the decision for a welding job is never a straightforward process.
Level of Quality
There are so many trade offs in any welding job. The weld bead appearance is an important consideration in any project. If you’re involved in welding consumer products with high visibility, the best choice will be TIG welding. Such jobs will include piping, nuclear, and consumer goods with a high profile. With such projects, the root pass has to be TIG welded to provide a good bond. For “x-ray” quality where appearance is not a priority, TIG bonding might not be the right choice. This does not mean MIG welding results in inferior quality. TIG is the best option if you’re looking for superior looking quality.
Metal Thickness Being Welded
Think of a scenario where the application requires bellows that are water-thin at three amps. That means you will need to look for a machine that can go down to the required amperage. For thicker materials, you might need to look beyond the common welding processes. MIG or stick might not be the best solution under such circumstances because they put too much heat in the metal. For thick metal, you might not even consider TIG at all in the first place.
Do you Need a Basic or Complex Machine To Perform the Welding Requirement?
If you’re a hobbyist with a small MIG machine, you might not see the need of purchasing a sophisticated TIG welder for home. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a high-tech industrial machine to help with complex projects, going for a hobbyist-like machine won’t be enough. You will need to decide on how much power you will need for the project. It is important that you look beyond the jobs that are at hand because you will need to perform other welding jobs in the future as well.
Is There a Need for an AC/DC Power Source?
Magnesium and aluminum are two of the common metals that weld using an AC output power source. Stainless steel is usually welded with a DC power source. You might need to weld a variety of metals using both AC and DC power outputs. The rule of thumb is if your application is TIG, you should strictly use the TIG-only machine.
Do You Need Portable Welding?
If you’re buying a machine that will be used in one spot, portability might not be a big issue for you. If you will be moving around then it is better that you look for a portable machine. There are two ways you can solve the challenge with portability: engine driven welders and inverters. You can now get inverters that weigh 10 pounds and can run on a 230 volt current.
Why Welding Power Source Duty is Important
The power source duty time is the amount of time the weld can give an output without the fear of overheating. In the United States and in most countries, the duty cycle is based on a 10-minute time frame.
To sum it up, choosing the right TIG machine doesn’t have to be complicated as long as you know what to look out for. If you’re looking for where to start your search ,Gregory ranks them here so that you can make an informed decision. Reading reviews and going on forums will help with the decision making process. Don’t buy a machine just because of the colorful advertising.