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TIG welding is a common method for completing welds, but you need to have the right tools for the job, as is the case with all welding methods. TIG welding utilizes tungsten electrodes, but not all of these electrodes are the same. Plus, aside from the tungsten electrodes, you have to be careful with the filler metal you choose, too. This guide will help you understand what TIG welding rods you should use for the task at hand.
Popular types of tungsten electrodes for TIG welding include 1.5% lanthanated and 2% thoriated. The reason for the percentages is because in addition to the tungsten, they contain around 1.5% lanthanum and 2% thorium, respectively. It’s those ingredients that give the different tungsten electrodes their unique properties. Despite their differences, both of these electrodes can often be interchangeable, with you only needing to make minor adjustments, but the differences mainly come down to two things—AC and DC.
Lanthanated tungsten electrodes are great for either AC or DC welding tasks. The thoriated electrode, on the other hand, is best for either DC or specialty AC welding tasks. Both electrodes have a reputation for maintaining stable arcs; however, thoriated tungsten, in particular, has a knack for being long-lasting and easy to use. So, aside from the AC/DC capabilities you need, you have to take your own comfort and convenience into account as well.
When it comes to choosing a filler metal for TIG welding, there are a couple of factors to consider. First off, you have to consider the type of metals you’re welding. If you are welding two pieces of the same type of metal together, then your filler rod should match that metal. When you’re welding together two pieces of bronze, then aluminum bronze will be an effective filler metal. However, some cases will call on you to use a filler metal that is different from the metal you’re welding with. For example, aluminum bronze also makes an effective welding rod when you’re working with cast iron or steel.
You also have to consider the size of your filler metal. Using too large of a filler metal with too low of an amperage won’t lead to a high-quality weld. Instead, your weld will look warped or messy. Filler metal sizes include 1/16-inch, 3/12-inch, and 1/8-inch. Match the right size with the right power supply and your welds will look as high-quality as they should.
Once you know what TIG welding rods you should use for your current or next project, you’re ready to move onto the next step—gathering your TIG welding accessories. After collecting accessories like filler metals, tungsten electrodes, and other essential gear you might not have on deck (PPE, TIG torches, etc.), you’re ready to tackle the art of TIG welding.