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Becoming a welder takes quite a bit of practice, and that includes setting up the welding machine. Certain machines are better for certain methods, so knowing the nuances of each system is important. Below, you’ll find a complete guide to setting up a TIG welder. Here’s a word of advice before doing any of the actions below: make sure all devices, including the welding machine itself, are totally powered off.
First, let’s start with building your TIG torch. Install the collet holder onto the front end of your torch, but don’t use any random collet holder; it should be properly sized to fit your collet. In fact, your next step is installing the designated collet before screwing the back-end cap into place. After you attach the gas cup to your torch, you can set it aside for now. We’ll come back to this device when it’s time to prepare the tungsten.
Next, you’ll need to connect a series of devices to your welding machine. Start with the torch, gas hose, and regulator. Don’t forget to connect one of the essential welding devices—your ground clamp. Besides connecting it to the machine, always double-check whether the clamp is properly connected to the worktable or workpiece before beginning your project. There’s one more component to check: the foot pedal. After connecting the foot pedal to the machine, you’re ready for the tungsten.
If your weld calls for the use of DC amperage, you’ll have to follow an extra step, which is grinding the tungsten until it’s precisely pointed. If you’re going to do this step with a grinding wheel, only use a wheel that hasn’t previously sharpened another workpiece. Failure to follow this guideline can result in something no expert enjoys—a contaminated weld. When the tungsten is ready, carefully place it in the collet and tighten everything in place.
This wouldn’t be a complete guide to setting up a TIG welder if we never mention about the settings. Before embarking on your weld, always ensure you’re using the right polarity. When welding aluminum, the amperage should be on “AC.” On the other hand, if you’re welding steel, keep the amperage on “DC.”
If you have a machine that is AC and DC compatible, it’ll typically automatically choose one when you turn the machine on, so check closely and adjust when necessary. Now, you officially know the essentials of prepping your TIG welder. With this knowledge under your belt, you can begin gathering the TIG welding accessories for your next weld and all the others to come.